When you start researching how to sell an eBook, one of the first things you discover is how important it is to build a community around yourself and your product. In this tutorial we’ll not only take a look at the technical side of how to sell your eBook, but also some tools and techniques for marketing your eBook online.
You should get started before you have your eBook finished. You can start marketing your book as soon as you have decided what you’re going to write about. Set up a WordPress site and start blogging about the topic you’re writing about. Start getting your message out there and building your audience BEFORE you have your eBook ready to sell.
10 Steps to successfully selling your eBook
Here is an ideal pattern for taking an eBook to market:
- Create a WordPress site focused on the topic of your eBook
- Start blogging about your topic on your website
- Create a couple social media channels
- Create a YouTube channel and regularly post short videos about your topic
- Share links to your posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
- Set up an email sign up form on your website
- Regularly email your subscribers with links to your posts and updates on how your book is coming along.
- Offer a free chapter preview as a way to build your email list
- Publish your eBook for sale on your WordPress site
- Send a coupon for your eBook to everyone on your email list
I bolded steps 6 and 8 because building your email list is a very critical step. You want to make it as easy as possible for your audience to stay informed about what you’re doing. Once you’re eBook is ready for sale, you have a group of people ready to buy.
OK, now on to the tutorial so you can learn how to sell your eBook.
Setting up your website
With Cart66, you have everything you need to get started. Cart66 brings all the e-commerce features to the table for any WordPress theme you want to use. That means, you can create a new WordPress site using any theme you want, or you can do all of this from the WordPress site you already have.
Giving away a free preview
A great way to build your email list is by offering a free preview of your eBook with an email sign up form. This is often called a lead magnet, and it’s really easy to set up. You can use Cart66 for it by setting up a free product. That will enable you to collect the contact information from your customers, including their email addresses. Since the free preview product is free, the checkout page does not collect any billing information.
Using a 3rd party email service
Another way to deliver a free preview chapter of your eBook is through a 3rd party email service like Mail Chimp or Mad Mimi. I’ve recently been referring a lot of clients to Mad Mimi and even switched over to Mad Mimi for our own Cart66 newsletters. The thing I really like about Mad Mimi is the simplicity of creating and sending emails. I think Mad Mimi tends to be thought of as not having the features of other platforms like Mail Chimp. It’s true that Mad Mimi has few features, but it has the features I need without getting in the way. If it’s too hard to build and send your emails, you tend not to do it.
I should probably write an in-depth review on Mad Mimi and why we’re using it, but here’s a quick summary.
Easy Templates: Mad Mimi doesn’t really even have templates. They have color schemes. It’s super easy to set up colors that match your site and your brand and you don’t have to worry about all the fuss of picking, designing and testing out complex layouts. Just pick colors, write your email, and send it out.
Drip Campaigns: Yes, they have the “drip” campaign feature for email automation. You just have to enable it (for free) in your account settings. Drip campaigns are tied to lists. So, when an email gets added to a list, it fires off the drip campaign for that email address. This enables you to send welcome messages when people subscribe to your newsletter. Or, you can set up a complex series of emails to go out to folks over time.
It’s All About Lists: I love how everything is organized by lists. People (email addresses) can be part of multiple lists. You can put people into lists based on how they sign up for your email service. This segments your list based on interest and allows you to email folks the information that interests them.
Link To List: This is my favorite feature because of how powerful it is. The idea is simple. If someone clicks a link in your email, add that person to a list. Drip campaigns are tied to lists, so this lets you set up complex email automation. It’s really easy for me to understand.
Price: Mad Mimi is really affordable. You can up to 100 subscribers for free. After that, you pay for how many subscribers you need. I moved a client off another service where they were paying $150/mo and now they pay $27/mo on Mad Mimi. They aren’t missing any features because they never used any of the advanced features on their previous platform. Again, that’s why I really like Mad Mimi. Most people don’t need the super shiny features that jack up the price on other platforms.
Ok… having said all that, without much trouble, you can set up Mad Mimi, or any other email platform, to send out your free chapter for folks to preview your eBook. Here’s how it works in Mad Mimi.
Upload your free preview
Upload the PDF file you want to use for your free preview to your web server. It doesn’t matter how secure the directory is because you’re giving away the preview for free. So, you can just upload it into WordPress in your Media Library.
Then you can click on the PDF for your free preview and copy the URL you see here:
Now that you have the URL, go into Mad Mimi and set up an email to go out including a link to that PDF preview when someone signs up for your email list.
Check out this video to see how to use Mad Mimi to send a free chapter of your eBook to people.
In this video we look at how to get the email opt-in form on your WordPress site.
Selling your eBook on WordPress
The easiest part of the whole process is setting up your WordPress site to sell your eBook. Here’s a quick video demo of how that works.
Driving sales with coupons
One of the strong benefits of offering a free preview of your eBook is that it grows your email list. Then you can email everyone who downloaded the free preview and give them a coupon to purchase your eBook. This is why it is a great idea to start offering your free preview as soon as you can before you have finished the final eBook. The more time you have to grow your list the bigger it will be. So, when you finally have your eBook ready to sell, you’ve got an audience of people ready to buy it.
As a side note, in addition to offering the first chapter free, if you’re releasing the preview before the final eBook is ready, you might also advertise a discount to anybody who signs up in advance.
Creating a coupon code
Cart66 has all sorts of coupon types. You can create percentage off or a fixed dollar amount off. The discount can apply to the entire cart or just one product. For selling an eBook, let’s create a 25% off coupon.
This video shows how to create a 25% off coupon for your eBook.
Creating a private discounted product
Another option for giving people access to a discounted product is to create a private product with a reduced price, then send out a Buy Now link in an email. When customers click the Buy Now link they will go straight to your checkout page ready to buy the discounted product.
This video shows how to create a discounted product and sell it with a Buy Now link.
Tweaking Cart66 settings for selling your eBook
There are a few Cart66 settings you can tweak to fine-tune your store for selling eBooks.
In this video we’ll take a look at the following settings to enhance your Cart66 site for selling your eBook.
- Buy now mode vs Shopping cart mode
- Coupon stacking
- Download limit settings
- Setting Max cart quantity
It’s a great idea to start marketing your eBook as soon as you can. In the beginning, we talked about 10 ideas for building interest in your eBook. Many of those ideas you can start implementing before you even have your eBook ready to sell.
Email is king when it comes to marketing and selling your eBook. So we talked about how to use Mad Mimi to offer a free preview or a free chapter of your book using an email opt-in form. We also looked at using that email list to send coupons and buy now links to discounted products to drive sales once you’re ready to start selling your eBook.
Finally, we looked at some specific things Cart66 brings to the table to help you sell your eBook such as coupons, discounted products, and buy now links. We also looked at Cart66 settings you can adjust to fine-tune your site for selling your eBook.
If you have any questions, as always, just let us know.