If you are reading this post, I can safely assume that you are interested in creating an ebook as you first information product. Or perhaps you sell premium coaching or consulting and you want to introduce an entry level product that will lead people down the sales funnel as they become interested in become one-on-one coaching. Yes, we are talking ebooks.
In the first part of this series, I talked about why you should create an ebook and why it makes a great entry level product (so people can sample your stuff and are ready to buy your higher priced offerings.) I also talked about the eight big reasons which stop people from writing an ebook – even when this is something they really want to do.
In the second part of this series, I talked about how to make sure you pick an idea that will be a sure-fire winner. I explained how to do your research and survey your audience to ascertain their interest in your idea.
In the third part of this series, I discussed the 5 steps that will take your ebook from idea to the final product.
If you haven’t read these posts, go check them out now!
In this final installment, I will tell you how to sell your ebook as well as build your email list at the same time.
Side note: There are many ways in which you can build your email list. The ones included in this article refer to the process you can go through when launching your ebook. But if you wish to get more ideas, here’s a very thorough post on how to build an email list.
Let’s dive in.
If you think that selling your ebook means writing your ebook and putting up a ‘buy now’ button on your website and that’s it – then you are in for a shock. A lot of work goes into getting your ebook sold.
Remember all the time you spent researching your ebook idea and your competitors to access market demand, then getting the approval of your list and finally the number of hours it actually took to create this product and have it ready?
Well, don’t waste all of that effort. Sure, you probably need to invest a lot of time promoting your ebook, but this is the fun part. This is the money-making part. This is the creating-a sales funnel part. Yes, it is tons of work but it is also fun work which will lead to loads of cash (hopefully) and tons of new email subscribers. Now, don’t wait to begin this process until at the end. Meaning, you don’t have to finish your ebook before you start the ‘pre-launch’ process.
You will be launching your ebook in three phases.
- In the first phase, you are getting prepared to launch your ebook. I’ll call this the getting ready phase.
- In phase number two, you will start warming your list and getting people interested in what’s to come. You will give early access to your email subscribers or special bonus to them as a way of saying thank you. You will also aim to get guest posts published on the leading blogs in your industry.
- In the last phase of this process, phase three, you will open the cart and continue with your ebook promotion.
So let’s take a look at how you would go about implementing this process.
Phase #1 Getting Ready
There are certain elements of your ebook launch process that needs to be done in advance of your sale period.
#1 You need a sales page.
#2 You need reviews and testimonials.
#1 You need a killer sales page
Yes, you do. A poorly written sales page will destroy your sales. But don’t stress.
If your offer is unbeatable, what you are selling is of top quality and being offered at the right price, you don’t need to be the salesman of the century. The product will sell itself. Just be clear about your ebook and at what price (the offer), what the benefits are and who this is for.
Remember, people are used to your content. Go ahead and write the sales page that only you would write. That is not to say that don’t include all the parts that make for an effective, highly converting sales page, but try not to copy someone else’s formula. Even if you end up hiring somebody to do the job for you, tell them explicitly what you want.
You want to ‘speak’ and appeal to the right person. You don’t want to focus on their pain too much. You want to highlight the key benefits of your product. You want to make an unbeatable offer. That’s all you need to create your sales page that works.No red text, yellow highlighting required.
How to write a basic sales page – all by yourself
So once you get over the initial resistance to writing your sales page, the rest becomes fairly simple. But before you even put a single word down on paper, you’ve got to list the answers to the following questions.
- Who is your target audience?
- What problem are you solving?
- What do they struggle with?
- What do they want?
- What is your product? (ebook)
- How do you describe yourself (coach, consultant, therapist, speaker.)?
- What results would they get as a result of using your product or service?
- What would prevent them from buying it? (Objections such as too expensive, looks time consuming, will it work for me?)
Once you have all the answers to these questions, you can start writing a very basic, first draft of your sales page.
- You need a headline for your sales page.
This headline needs to communicate the main benefit of what you are offering, and to whom. (It doesn’t have to scream, be sleazy or hypey in any way.) You can also pair it up with a sub-heading and supercharge your messaging.
The headlines differ vastly across industries so the best thing for you would be to do some research (you are probably already familiar with similar products or even competing products). Check their sales page and take notes. Your headline doesn’t have to be perfect. Often times, it the hardest element on your sales page and it is okay to get help.
- In the first section, start with what they want.
Talk about the problems they are facing. Paint a picture of what it’s like to not have all the answers but don’t make it so overwhelming that it becomes hard for them to read any further. Now tell them you have a solution. Tell them what is possible.
- Tell them what you have.
Give them details about your ebook. What do they actually get when they buy?
- Next, go into the details of your product benefits.
What will they get out it? How will their lives improve? What results will they get?
- Now it is time to handle their objections.
Start by saying something like, ‘Now, you might be thinking ….’. Be straight with them and address their concerns head on.
- Reinforce what you promise them with testimonials.
Show them the proof that what you say is true and your ebook have brought success and results for people just like them (testimonials). You can keep adding these elements slowly.
- Back it up with a rock solid guarantee.
Reassure them that if for some reason, they are not 100% satisfied with their purchase, you will happily refund their money in 30 days, no questions asked; or state your terms clearly.
- State your call to action.
Give them one last benefit and tell them what you want them to do. Be confident.
Click here to purchase. Buy now. Download instantly – let them know what will happen after they purchase. Will they get an instant download?
- Give them a deadline, if there is one.
Will your price go up? Will the bonuses go away? Let them know clearly.
That’s all you need to create you first sales page. It doesn’t have to be a scroller. As long as you answer all these questions, you have an effective sales page selling your ebook.
Remember, there are many nuances when it comes to creating a brilliant sales page. Copywriters charge thousands of dollars for this service. So I am not saying it is easy – but there is no need to make it complicated.
#2 You need reviews and testimonials for your ebook
Everybody wants to see great reviews and testimonials for the ebook. Here are my fail-proof tips to get killer review – and testimonials.
- You would love to get your ebook reviewed by the top influencers in your industry but unless you have a relationship going on, don’t waste your breath. You need to connect with them way before this process begins.
In fact, if you are reading this post with an intent to write an ebook, or if you are writing one, start creating relationships with these people now. Be genuine and helpful. Help them first before you ask for a favor.
- Instead, start by asking your peers. Sure, they don’t carry as much clout but 2-3 very good reviews can do wonders for your ebook sales.
- Contact people well in advance. (This is why this falls in the Getting Ready phase). Don’t send them the ebook and expect their review the next day. Ask them first than give them a minimum of two weeks. Even longer if they are super busy.
- Tell them who else is reviewing your book to motivate them to say yes.
- Offer a chapter and ask for feedback on that chapter if they are too busy to read the whole book.
- Give them a deadline so you don’t have to harass them in the future. Make sure you leave plenty of wiggle room in case they are late. Follow up one week before deadline to see if they need help with anything.
- You can also give them prompts on what type of feedback you are looking for. Create a feedback request form based on your ebook content and send it their way to make things easier for them.
- Delight them with a testimonial or a review for one of their own products if you can, before they give feedback. This will motivate them to finish things on time.
- Schedule twice as many reviews so you don’t end up disappointed with the number that actually turns up.
Now you might be thinking, how could you possibly get testimonials for your ebook before it is even out? Surely someone must implement what you are teaching, get some results and only then they’d report back.
Here is how to get testimonials and user reviews before your ebook is officially out:
- Select 2-3 go-getter, action-taking type people from your email list. Select the people who have been leaving comments on your blog and generally engage with your content. Give them a particular section from your ebook and ask them to implement what you teach and report their results in exchange for a discount on the ebook (or give the whole ebook if you feel like doing so. It is totally worth it as there testimonial will lead to even more sales.
- You don’t need many testimonials. People are not expecting any at this moment. Having a few will pleasantly surprise them.
Got the sales page, your reviews and user reviews?
Now you can start working on phase two of your launch process.
Phase #2 : Pre-launch
In the pre-launch phase, you want to get as many people excited about your upcoming book as you possibly can. You have got to work on two different set of audiences here:
- One, people are you already on your list.
- Two, people who are not on your list yet, they may or may not have heard of you.
Let’s have a look at how you can accomplish that. Usually people would tell to expect anything from 1-5% conversions. Meaning, if you have 500 people on your list, you can expect 25 sales. What? That’s no good. But don’t start stressing just yet. There are couple of ways to make sure you get loads of sales at the time of the launch:
- You grow your list, of course.
- You increase conversions from your list.
You should do both, but let’s look the second scenario first.
Warming your email list
So far you have been talking to your list about their problems, topics they want you to tackle, surveying them and what not, they know something is coming. Now it is time to do a whole sequence of pre-launch content.
You should never, ever announce any product without publishing some pre-launch content unless you have a super duper relationship with your list. Even then, some content is beneficial. You see, the better your relationship with your list, the better are your sales going to be. If you put in work to solidify your relationship with people on your list, you can increase your numbers dramatically.
Let’s say you have 500 people on your list. All things being equal, you can expect 25 sales. But what about connecting with more people on your list so that you double that number? Now you have 50 sales. How about if the people on your list loved you to pieces. You will convert 20%. That’s a whopping 100 sales.
You see what I am saying here? When you invest in your relationship with your subscribers, it pays off. But the higher the price point, the more you have to work at it. If you were to sell an online course or launch a brand new coaching program, you might want to warm your audience for an extended period – especially if you haven’t been in regular touch for a while.
For an entry level, low risk product, you don’t have to make a big fuss. You don’t necessarily want to want a big splash. However you do want some excitement. Here are some things you can do to start creating some buzz about your upcoming ebook:
- Plan a series of super relevant content related to your ebook topic. This will get the attention of all those people who are interested in the idea and also of those who didn’t think this ebook would be relevant to them. This will also clearly let people know who it’s not for. You will see unsubscribes but that’s okay.
- Start publishing your content three – four weeks ahead of launch date. Any longer, and people will start getting bored.
- Remember all the topics that didn’t make it into your ebook? They make great pre-launch content. You can also go and repurpose some of your older content if you don’t have time to create more.
- Follow your usual publishing frequency. Email at least once or twice a week.
- Start off with your best piece of content. You have to get their attention here. If your first piece fails to get any traction, you have to work extra hard on pieces that are to follow.
- Try to from a logical sequence in your content pieces. It doesn’t have to form a step by step but it would be helpful to you if the second piece naturally follows the first one. This way your audience is looking forward to what is next to come. Also, if somebody comes across your final piece in social media, they would want to check out the first there blog posts.
- Do an internal launch where you offer a significant early bird discount or a special bonus to your list and open the cart for your subscribers only. Don’t make it any longer than 2-3 days or people will put it off and forget all about it. You are doing this to reward early action takers (and to give yourself some piece of mind that yes, your ebook is selling.)
- Run your sale in the middle of the week and try to get testimonials from your list that you can use for promotion. Make sure you take the sales page off or people will not trust you again.
- Lead them through the pre-launch content and announce your ebook to your list only and when it will be available for sale.
When you publish your pre-launch content in the form of blog posts, you get two benefits:
- You deepen your relationship with your list (the intended purpose).
- Your content gets shared on social media bringing you new subscribers which grows your list at the same time (the second advantage).
However, you should also be doing other things to grow your email list. Since you have been creating the ebook, hopefully you have been doing all the right things to grow it. Leaving comments on other blogs, guest posting, sharing and forming relationships on social media, maybe even paid traffic via Facebook advertising.
Here is a list of things you should be specifically doing during the pre-launch and launch phases:
- Try to get as many guest posts published as you can in these 3 week period (2 weeks of pre-launch and one week of actual launch with special price).
- If you were connecting with influencers while you were writing the ebook, perhaps you can reach out to them and see if they would share your content.
- Hold a webinar.
- Reach out to people and see if they would interview you.
- Have a contest on social media where you will give away a few copies of your ebook.
- Run ads on Facebook to get people on your list.
- Continue to do all of the above well into the launch mode till your cart is closed.
Phase #3 Launch period
Remember all the hard work that you have been putting in for the past 3 months or so? Now it is time to reap rewards. It is finally time to open your cart and see the sales start rolling in.
Here is what you need to be doing in this phase:
- Announce to the world that your ebook is on sale and open cart.
- Make sure to edit any early bird sale details (that you offered to your list earlier) before you publish the sales page.
- Double check the checkout and payment process beforehand. Ask two people to test it for you.
- Start publishing (and sharing) your launch content.
- If you normally email your list every week or every other week, you have to increase the frequency to create momentum. It is totally fine to email these folks two-three times a week. This way you need at least four pieces of content.
- At the end of each piece, remind them to buy your ebook and give them the link.
- For the launch period, you want the maximum number of sales. To encourage people to buy now rather than later, sell it at the special launch price which will go up as your ebook goes into your store for example $10 off the full price of $49. This discount shouldn’t be less than what you offered your own list.
- You can do two sets of pricing. You can offer just the ebook for $39 and the ebook plus 45 minute coaching at $129. Let everybody know that the special price and the coaching offer will go away and the ebook goes into store at the full price – maybe $49.
- Send two emails on the last date of launch. One in the morning and one final ‘few hours remain’ one.
- Make sure you are adding all the buyers to a customer’s email list so that you can continue to follow up and upsell other services later on.
- Launching any product is a nerve wracking, overwhelming, exhausting process. The more you are prepared for it (reviewers ready, sales page ready, sales process checked, guest posts and social media updates scheduled), the more relaxed you will be. Still, this is going to be no park in the walk. Create time in your schedule accordingly. Don’t say to anything else during the launch week.
- Be ready for unexpected results and things that go wrong. Especially if this your first launch, treat it as a learning process. Cut yourself some slack.
- If you don’t get as many sales as expected, rejoice anyway. Look at how much you have accomplished. You have created a high quality ebook, you have developed so many new relationships, possibly some even with the influencers. You got yourself published on the leading blogs. Best of all, you grew your email list like nobody’s business.
- Lastly, increase the price to its full ticket price and move it to your store. You will see sales continue to trickle in.
- Give yourself a big pat on the back and put your feet up. You have done it.
Writing an ebook is a daunting process, and now you can why. It is extremely rewarding at the same time. If you do everything to the best of your ability, get help when you need it and keep moving on, you are going to come out a winner.
So, will you finally start your ebook?