If you have a blog, a regular audience and an email list (even a small one), selling eBooks is one of the best ways you can make a sizable passive income and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
Thousands of bloggers are making money by selling online courses, trainings, eBooks and other forms of digital products. But studies show that there’s demand for more.
In the U.S alone, eBook sales are expected to cross $8 billion by the end of 2016.
Clearly, there’s a lot of money to be made if you can create the right eBook for your audience.
However, even if your eBook has lots of value in it for the readers, there are still chances you might not make a lot of sales.
Why? Not because there’s anything wrong with the content of your eBook. But because you’re likely to be missing out some of the other crucial factors that are necessary for a successful eBook launch.
And you’re not alone.
The majority of eBook launches fail to reach their potential because of poor preparation. Most bloggers are so focused on creating the content of their eBook that they forget about creating the right launch pad.
Here are some of the most common mistakes that can dent your eBook sales even if it offers immense value to your audience.
1. Offering a Poor Buying Experience
Since everyone in your niche seems to be launching eBooks and courses themselves, the purchase experience on your blog or website can be one of the biggest differentiation points in your eBook sales strategy.
Studies show that as many as 66% of your potential buyers might leave without purchasing your eBook just because of poor user experience and a complex buying process. Even more surprising is the fact that only 55% of companies are doing online user experience testing.
But what are exactly makes up the buying experience on your blog? Here are a few key factors to keep in mind.
- A clear indication of where and how to buy your product (hint: an attractive Buy Now button)
- Detailed information about the product and what it offers.
- Multiple and secure payment options, especially PayPal, for buyers.
- A short checkout process with minimum redirections and text forms.
- A responsive/mobile friendly website design.
In general, you need to make it as easy and convenient as possible for your buyers to purchase and download your eBook. But you also need to make your product look attractive. So you can’t just display the direct download and payment link on your sales page.
A much better option is to go for a modern digital selling app like Selz, which allows you to create attractive and mobile friendly product widgets that can be embedded on your blog with a “Buy Now” button.
It also allows your buyers to pay with multiple secure payment options like PayPal, Master Card and Visa, and integrates seamlessly with your email marketing tool – ticking all the major user experience points.
Unfortunately, many bloggers don’t focus enough on creating a user friendly buying process which costs them heavily in the form of lost sales and dejected customers.
2. Designing the eBook Cover Yourself
Unless you’re a professional graphic designer yourself, I would strongly advise against designing your eBook cover.
Why? Because a poor cover can have a drastic impact on your sales. In a recent study, nearly 79% of book readers said that book covers played a decisive role in their purchase decision. While 60% consider the book cover as the sole reason behind their decision to purchase a book.
Clearly, the cover design of your eBook can make or break your sales numbers. So taking it lightly and designing it yourself may not be the best idea.
Unfortunately many bloggers don’t understand the importance of their eBook cover, and use different DIY tools just to save costs.
Don’t make that mistake.
Even hiring an expert designer doesn’t cost much, especially if you invite design concepts on portals like 99Designs and Upwork.
You’re an expert in writing, not design. Don’t ruin your hard work to save a few dollars.
3. Not Building Anticipation Before the Launch
You’re proud of your eBook, right? Then why are you shy of announcing it to the world?
Many bloggers, especially the ones selling eBooks for the first time, are too shy to get the word out about their new product. Many would just quietly add a link to the sales page in their blog’s side bar, or send an email to their list once.
That’s not how you launch an eBook. You need to create some noise and spread the word about your new masterpiece.
Here are a few things you should definitely do.
- Start mentioning your eBook in your blog posts months before its launch. Tell your readers that you’re working on something epic. Create anticipation and excitement.
- Ask your audience for feedback on your eBook cover design. Get them involved and make them a part of your journey.
- Offer an exclusive discount for pre-lunch orders.
- Host a webinar on the topic of your eBook.
- Approach other bloggers in your niche to host joint webinars.
- Create a series of emails focused on your eBook and the value that’s inside.
- Once your book is up for sale, write guest posts on the top blogs in your niche to spread the word.
The world won’t know how valuable your eBook is unless you tell them about it. There’s just too much noise on the web and, unless you create anticipation before your launch, no one would take notice.
4. Not Using Paid Advertising Channels
Selling eBooks is a business, and every business needs to invest in marketing and promotion. If your blog has a strong SEO foundation, you will receive traffic from search engines. But that is not enough in most cases.
You need to take your product to the right audience who’re willing to pay for it. This is much easier now thanks to the different paid advertising options available.
Facebook ads, in particular, offer a huge opportunity for eBook sellers to aggressively promote their product and reach their customers before anyone else does.
Facebook has more than 1 billion daily active users and the majority of your target customers are already using it.
Why not approach them on a platform they’re comfortable using.
Facebook offers advanced audience targeting features that will allow you to zoom in on your potential customers and maximize your sales.
The costs incurred in paid advertising is a small investment that you should definitely make in order to boost your eBooks sales. Think like a business owner, not just a writer.
5. Creating a Weak Value Package
If you avoid the four mistakes that I’ve mentioned in this post, your eBook launch is likely to be a success. However, if you really want to change it into a block buster sales campaign, offer something valuable in combination with your eBook.
Think like a marketer.
Instead of giving them just the eBook, package it with different value added products such as worksheets, templates, free tools or a free consultation call with you. Convert this simple eBook into an irresistible offer.
Create three different packages for different kinds of buyers. Offer just the eBook at its base price in your basic package. Add a couple of worksheets and resources related to the eBook to create a mid-level package. Add a bit of more spice with a personal call to create the third package.
Price them differently to attract all kinds of buyers. This will also give you the opportunity to upsell buyers later.
Here’s a good example.
Packaging your products intelligently can help you significantly boost your sales numbers and increase the perceived value of your product.
The consumption of eBooks is at an all-time high right now, and the trend is likely to continue for several years. Publishing and selling eBooks has also become much easier thanks to the different tools available on the web. So your chances of success are already pretty high.
You only need to avoid these silly mistakes to ensure that your hard work doesn’t go to waste. Once your eBook is ready for selling, put your marketing hat on and think from your customer’s point of view.
Have you ever sold eBooks to your blog readers? Any plans of doing it this year? If yes, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the post.
Blog Content or Promotion?
I just scanned a tweet. Someone noted how a well-read blog stressed promotion over creating content, going so far to say that blog traffic does not come from publishing great content. 100% of the time, this statement is not true. Why? If you do not publish valuable, helpful, great content, you could promote it in 1 billion places and nobody will care. Nobody will read it. You will not get traffic. Nobody will buy your stuff. You will not boost profits. I know top bloggers mean well, but sometimes they get so analytical that they blind themselves from truths, and advise bloggers inaccurately.
Blog content needs to rock, for people to share it, and for people to buy what you offer, or for people to hire you. But blog promotion needs to be top shelf too, or else you blog in a cyber cave. Nobody will know who you are or what you offer unless you promote your blog effectively through guest posting, through genuine blog commenting and by building your blogger friend network. No way around that one. Like I say in my course for getting featured on top blogs, you want to write your butt off and bond with niche leaders. This means plenty of creating, and plenty of connecting. Or, content and promotion.
But never get promotion twisted, guys. I received a few common emails this morning; strangers asked me if they could submit a guest post to me. I have no idea who they are, what they offer or heck, anything about them. But strangers who never earned my trust want to promote themselves and their blogs on my blog? Nope. I ignore these emails or alert them to buying my eBook so they can learn how to guest post on popular blogs. Promoting your blog is not about promoting YOUR blog. Promoting your blog is about building friendships with bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. Allow friendships to form. As bonds form, blogging buddies promote your blog freely, expanding your reach and increasing your traffic and profits.
Of course, you need to practice your writing regularly to create skillful content showing off your expertise. Readers only gobble up and enjoy content created by skilled writers. Skilled writers practice writing daily, either online or offline. Nobody becomes skilled unless they write a bunch. But skilled writers do lay the foundation for a prolific, successful blogging campaign because folks freely share good content published by experienced, expert bloggers.
Both Content and Promotion
Focus both on creating helpful content and building bonds leading to cross-promotion. Think of promotion being an indirect thing. You will not promote your blog in 1000 places daily by copying and pasting links. But you will make friends with top bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. These friends promote your blog in many spots; indirect but powerful, and effective, in spreading your blogging word around the clock.
Keep helping people through your content and through assisting other bloggers freely, asking for nothing. Content, and promotion, both create a dazzling blogging campaign. Beware about getting caught up in either/or; focus too much on content and you lose your blogger friend network, along with massive indirect promotion. Focus too much on promotion by building your network, and you have no quality content for them to share. Easy does it. Balance between each aspect of blogging and you will become a successful blogger.
Does Blog Content Make You Money?
starts off with a Bali Bang. I slammed into the ground during a wicked motorbike accident. Pain followed. Big time pain. Excruciating pain. What was my life and blogging lesson? Never take your eyes off of the road. I looked at a dog for a split second who’d been hit by a car or motorbike. Shaking my head at his injured paw, I missed the oil slick ahead. Ouch. 2 seconds later, I felt like 40,000 monkeys stabbed me in the back and lungs, after hitting pavement, Superman-style.
Blogging is similar. You will be punished if you take your eyes off of the proven, straight and narrow road of blogging fundamentals. One such fundamental is knowing YOU, not your blog, and not your content, makes money. Sometimes, we say blogs or content makes money because we speak in casual terms to help people see importance in creating and connecting. But getting clear, and helping you understand this simple concept, behooves me to stress how your generous practice, your creations and your connections make you money through your blog. Never, ever is it the other way around because blogs are inanimate objects. Content is an inanimate object too; it cannot do anything, or be anything,
You are the one, the blogger, the being, that puts everything into motion. This involves your generous effort, your willingness to learn a skill and your daily practice, creating and connecting for years, to make your content pop. Sure I sell stuff THROUGH my content but it was me, and my generous effort, and not the content itself, that did the selling. The content is not anything. Content cannot do anything. Content is worthless unless bloggers inject worth into it; see what I mean? The blogger makes it pop, or, makes content a dud, and that pop-dud outcome bases itself solely on a blogger’s generous effort and full commitment to learning their craft, day after day, for years of their lives.
You can and will succeed. You can do it. Really. But you need to understand how you are the center of it all. Everything moves according to your focus, practice and generosity. Content is a tool; like a hammer, if by itself, totally useless. Hammers need humans to work, and hammers need skilled carpenters to really sing. Content needs skilled, generous bloggers to make it sing, too, and the skills increase as your focus and generous practice, and service, increases.
Does blog content make you money? Nope, not at all. Put in the time and energy to helping folks for free. Improve your skills. Increase your exposure. In time, slowly add multiple streams of income to your blogging campaign. Allow cash to flow to you as people see you in all types of spots, making a serious impact where you show up, because of your blogging skills. Everything gets easier if you commit 100% to honing your skills blogging-wise because the content genuinely sings when you get the job done, with your prodigious, polished blogging skills.
Content makes zero dollars.
You, through your practice and generous service, develop the skills through which you make your content top notch. Profits follow.
Why Do You Want to Publish an eBook?
One subsection of my eBook on writing eBooks is:
Know Why You Want to Publish an eBook
Knowing why gives you clarity if you write to free yourself and to free your readers. But if you write just to make money or to be well know, clarity lessons. Fear invades your mind because you write mainly to get, not to give. Shifting from fear to fun intent-wise just takes a little decision on your part. Small potatoes really. But this shift does feel a bit uncomfortable if you are new to the eBook writing process because you need to face fears. Who wants to face fear? Nobody, really.
But facing fear is one tax to pay for being successful in blogging and life. Ditto for your self-publishing journey. I largely faced fears to be who I am today, although I keep uncovering fears along the way. Part of the journey. I am cool with that. I had to ask why I wanted to publish an eBook about 4 years ago when I went on a tear, but even before, in 2014, I asked why I published an eBook in the first place? Simple. I created a new blog and brand in Blogging From Paradise and just believed having an accompanying eBook would help me be successful. I only had one eBook in mind. I never thought beyond the single eBook. But someone told me I deserved to write another eBook so after my first, I wrote and self-published a second eBook. I caught the writing bug.
100 plus eBooks later, here I am, writing eBooks for years, and now, promoting the eBooks effectively. The why, the emotion I chose in writing eBooks, propels me forward because I do what I do to have fun, to spread love and to help you, largely. One small part of me wants to make money online too. This is OK. As long as it is a small part of what you do, eBook-wise. Moving that money aspect mostly to the side gives me the energy to keep writing and to keep promoting, should I choose to write another eBook. Now I am all about promoting those suckers.
Why did you consider writing and shipping an eBook? Be honest with yourself. Think through your driver. Money? Fame? Sweet passive income stream? Each primary driver saps your energy because money, fame and passive income flow to you years or minimum, months, after publishing your eBook. What do you do during that zero dollar time? Money drives you, but you see no money. Since you lose your motivator, you quit. This is why so many authors fade into obscurity. Poor driver. Sell 3 eBooks, get flustered because you made $4.35 over 6 months, and quit, because money drove you but you made no money. On the flip side, bloggers and authors who choose a fun, freeing intent promote and write every day for their online career because the work is the reward. All else feels like a bonus, gravy, extra, or icing on the cake….including money.
Be straight with your eBook driver. Do not bother writing an eBook if you mainly want money because you quit and fail when money does not arrive. Even in rare cases if you make money pretty fast, you lose your heart and feel bad reaching money goals because we are mainly designed to have fun and help people, not to make money.
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