Been having a couple of bad days, thinking dark thoughts.
One thing that troubles me is that I’ve not been doing what I planned to do, as evidenced in the book I use as a planner.
NOTE: This newsletter should contain images. If you can't see them, you can click the links to see them on my website.
I didn't do the pilgrimage in April. Didn't run the Whizzy Group (May to July). And didn't do much, if anything, to mark the tenth anniversary of my book How To Change The World.
Just didn't feel like it.
And the very sight of the planner made me sick. So it seemed like a good idea to rough it up a little – to “waste” a couple of pages in order to create a bit of lightness.
Having roughed up the pages, I took a photograph of the roughing-up, then additionally roughed that up by drawing over it in my iPhone Photos app. Like this:
I’m sorry to report that this childish outburst made me feel (a very, very little bit) lighter.
Why have I been having bad days? Well, several reasons. Here's one:
For over a month, I've been advertising my assistance to people who are about to deliver a wedding speech.
It isn't going well.
My ads (on Google) don't sneak up on anybody. They're shown only to people who actively search for "wedding speech" and related terms like "best man" or "father of the bride".
I only pay Google if those individuals click on the ad to visit my website. Over a month, 1,537 people have done that. I've paid approximately 20p per person, or £10 / day.
Question: Guess how many of those 1,537 visitors paid for my help? Answer: Zero.
You may wonder if I've tweaked the pages. Answer: I have.
There are three pages, similar but all slightly different. I've changed each of them carefully, after consulting Google Analytics, roughly every week.
At first, they were packed with info and very long. But Google Analytics told me that most people spent less than 30 seconds reading. It also reported that practically nobody was scrolling down the page, which was a bit of a blow.
I cut back the lengthy text, drastically.
And I quickly stopped offering to sell my help. I guessed that these visitors, who don't know me, might perhaps feel more comfortable getting free advice by email. If that proved helpful, I could offer more.
Guess how many signed up for (free) emails (about the thing they had actively been searching for)? Answer: Two.
Yep, two out of 1,537.
When I read about advertising and marketing on the internet, it is generally written by People Who Know Just What To Do, and can make you a zillionaire if you follow their advice.
I thought it might be helpful, perhaps even invigorating, to share a different story, of not-success (yet, anyway).
To be clear: I have received excellent assistance (from R.W.) with the ads themselves, which work well. Perhaps one day my web pages will turn out to be astoundingly brilliant. But not yet.
Please wish me luck getting better at this.
And if you know anybody who wants help with a wedding speech - well, you know where I am.
UPDATE: I just checked the latest figures. There have been 1,792 visitors. And 77 have downloaded a PDF (without needing to give their email). I have paid Google 18p for each visitor.
In other news, I suppose I should report that I saw off the final proof of my next book this week.
I'm pleased with it, because half the pages are illustrations, by me, and I always dreamed of being an illustrator. (The other half is writing by me, but that's less unusual.) It's not out for months, but is listed already on Amazon. Annalisa Barbieri, columnist on The Guardian and The Observer, saw a proof and said: “Absolutely gorgeous… a beautiful, quirky, comforting book”.
So that's quite nice.
Finally, in hope I can redeem what I fear must be an outstandingly dreary email, please accept a drawing of a rose from outside our front door.
Last year the greenfly did for it. Not this time.