f you do a quick google search for How to Sell Your E-book, you come across some really crappy advice. #sorrynotsorry
Some of the stuff I read may have worked in the past, but certainly not in today’s marketplace. Plus, some of the articles had no advice at all, just a list of sites you can sell your e-book on.
Here’s a quick tip: just because your book appears on Amazon or Clickbank doesn’t mean you’ll sell any copies… but they don’t tell you that.¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The other advice I read relied to much on other people. For example, getting your book reviewed, getting a sponsor, and partnering with other blogs puts your success in the hands of other people. Not a good idea for the release of your first book.
So if these tips aren’t helpful, what do you actually need to do to get e-book sales? That’s what we’re here to talk about today. Below is a list of things that directly lead to e-book sales – and things you have complete control over.
So if you ever said to yourself, “okay, I got the e-book, how do I get people to buy it?” – this is for you. Let’s get started…
People need to be waiting in line for your products, whether that’s a book, a course, a piece of software… whatever. Apple does this very well. The iPhone 7 just launched (Sept 2016) and the marketing strategy has stayed the same for years.
Apple understands the power of creating anticipation and excitement for their products. You can use the same strategy for the release of your e-book. Here’s a quick breakdown of the iPhone Launch Strategy:
- Sneak peeks of the phone (so the big blogs talk about it)
- Turn the launch into an event (the unveiling)
- Set a date to start taking pre-orders
- Set a launch date for the general public
The funny part is that it happens around the same time every year. You’d think this launch strategy would stop working after a while. Apple fanatics are used to it by now, but it works nonetheless. How you can create anticipation for the release of your book:
- Send out sample chapters of your e-book
- Create a 3 part content series teaching the topic
- Set a launch date and keep reminding people when it launches
Get a Payment Processor
In order to start making sales you need to set up a way for customers to pay you AND receive their e-book. This sounds simple enough (and it is once you figure it out), but people get stuck doing the technical things.
So let me break this down for you. You have a lot of options
…and a bunch more. Your job is just to pick one. They all do the same thing with some different features. Some are easier to set up than others, and some give you more control of how the payment process looks like for your customers.
My recommendation? Start with Gumroad. It’s free to setup. You can have your payment processor up in minutes by uploading your e-book, setting a price, and copying the code for the payment button. All sales go straight to your bank account every Friday, and the e-book is delivered automatically to your customers when they buy.
If you run into any issues, send me an email and I’ll help you out.
Build an Interest List
Okay, so we’ve built anticipation by talking about our book and we got a payment processor setup ready to take orders. What now?
You need an audience that has shown interest in the topic you’re talking about. Ideally, this email list is growing every day. The way you grow it is by giving away free content and offering an incentive for people to sign up to learn more. Here are 4 list building incentives you can create:
- Sample chapter
- Video series
- Free workshop
- Checklist or templates
The way I build my email list is by offering MULTIPLE incentives for people to sign up. On this site you’ll find the ‘6 Step Guide to Writing and Selling E-books’, ‘Free E-book Templates’, and 9 free courses on multiple topics – and people sign up every day.
Of course, I’m also getting hundreds of search engine visitors because articles I wrote years ago still ranks really well on Google. You don’t start out that way; we all start out at zero. You could speed things up by buying Facebook Ads and paying for those visitors, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.
Create a Sales Page
If you want to make sales, you have to sell it – like reeaaally sell it. That means you have to do more than just write a blog post (or email) saying, “Hey, I got a new e-book, it’s really good… go get it!” – that probably won’t go too well.
Three things need to happen before a sale is made.
- Your audience needs to trust you.
- They need to have the want/need to fix their problem
- They need to see the pitch
Trust is established by actually helping people for free. That’s where the free content and incentives come in. You should have a pretty good idea of the problem your audience wants to solve by reading comments, connecting with them on social media, and reading their emails.
But the last part is where most people mess up. They don’t pitch, and if they do… it’s a soft pitch – like they’re afraid of offending someone. The way you sell a book is by creating a page that talks about all the awesome ways your e-book will benefit them. (we’ll talk about benefits vs. features later on).
Here’s a quick breakdown of a e-book sales page that works:
- State the problem
- Introduce the solution (your e-book)
- State the benefits (in detail)
- State the price
- Offer a guarantee
- Show testimonials
- Ask people to buy
That’s very different from “hey go buy my book” – it’s a strategic page designed to do one thing. Sell Your E-book!
Create Ebook Packages
This is a bit more advanced and you don’t have to start with packages if this is your first e-book, but I wanted to include it in the list because it’s a smart thing to do.
You can only sell an e-book for so much, which puts a cap on how much you can make in terms of sales. With e-book packages you can charge upwards of $500 if you add enough value to justify the price tag.
E-book packages include additional resources and content that make it easier to implement the ideas you share in your book. For example, for E-book Blueprint I have the complete package which includes access to:
- 4 training modules (videos)
- the e-book launch plan
- 5 sales page teardowns
- the tech module
- the audiobook version
- launch email templates
- 10 custom e-book templates
- 90 day email consulting
Another example is Double Your Freelancing Rate by Brennan Dunn. He offers his e-book in two packages priced at $297 and $147.
Nathan Barry has 3 packages for his e-book Designing Web Applications. He charges $249, $99, and $39 for his. Here’s a quick list of other “add-ons” you can include in your packages to create these premium products:
- expert interviews
- weekly coaching calls
- training videos
- private community
- case studies
- templates and workbooks
- copy and paste swipe files
- free updates
- bonus chapters
…I’m sure there are more things you can add to create more value for your customers, but these 9 are a good place to start.
Tell People About it
None of this matters if you don’t tell people about your book. The process is simple: build an audience, find out what they want (their struggles and desires), create something that solves that problem, and sell it.
Unfortunately, most people sell from their heels. They kinda tell people about it – sometimes – in a blog post…. in the third paragraph, using a link. Can you imagine if my sales strategy was that ONE link? I’d be lucky if I made ONE sale.
You need to tell people about it, proudly – with confidence. You spent weeks, maybe even months creating an e-book that will solve someone’s problem. Not to mention the years it took to learn the skill you’re teaching.
Don’t be afraid to tell people that I know that my design e-book can help people keep more visitors on their website AND get them to convert at a higher rate. So I make sure I mention that in my sales page and in my emails. The same goes for E-book Blueprint. I know this e-book will help you develop, write, and launch an e-book from scratch – especially if you get the complete package. The point is… you can’t be afraid to sell.
Use the automation tools in your email marketing service. Whenever someone signs up for your email list, send them the lead magnet and then tell them about your e-book. Some people will be ready to buy, while others might need some time. Use the sidebar on your blog to build awareness. Hold a 5 day launch sale.
There are may different ways to get the word out and make sales – use the other 5 things we spoke in this post to get people to see the value in what you’re selling.