IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: I was fortunate to be interviewed by A-List Blogger Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. He featured my interview on his blog last Friday. You can read and listen to it here.
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This is the sixth post in my series on how to research and publish an eBook successfully. I recommend you read the first five before proceeding with learning how to market an eBook.
Post 1: How to Research and Create an eBook Successfully
Post 2: How You Can Profit from an eBook & Why You Should Write One
Post 3: How to Research a Profitable eBook Topic
Post 4: A 4,000 Word Guide on How to Create an eBook Product
Post 5: Pricing Your eBook to Sell Effectively
Creating an eBook is the easier part of the process. Marketing and promoting it is where most self-publishers struggle to gain traction.
In this post I will discuss several marketing methods through which you can promote your eBook. Some of these marketing methods are paid methods, while others are completely free.
In my experience, the free methods are effective enough in that you should see some good results even if those are all you do. Therefore don’t feel that you need to spend money to make money. You can leverage the concept of credibility by association by making your eBook available on popular platforms such as Amazon Kindle, thereby leading to more sales. Not to mention that such platforms have their own universe of potential customers waiting hungry for the next eBook release.
That said, investing in promoting your eBook certainly works as well. Some examples of paid methods to market an eBook include pay per click advertising on networks such as Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads. You can also pay other websites and blogs to post a banner or a link of your eBook on their site for a fee.
You may have read internet marketers teach how to “create a buzz” before launching an eBook. While some pent up momentum and anticipation will certainly help you market your eBook effectively, not everyone has the means to “create a buzz” because not everyone has big wig friends or thousands who are reading their websites and subscribed to their newsletters. Many don’t even own web properties.
This strategy is not only limited to promoting an eBook, but also for product and service (training sessions) launches in general. And in order to successfully execute this strategy, you need a large enough network to tap into, whether it is connections with several A-list bloggers, or an email list large enough to do anything with.
Here is how the whole buzz stuff works…
If you have a website, blog or newsletter with a decent following, you can start talking about your eBook before you even start writing it. Once you eventually start on it, talk about its progress periodically. Many marketers create special “landing pages” to collect email addresses of those who express interest in your eBook. By doing this, you can specifically communicate with this group instead of annoying your entire readership.
Reach out to your connections and have them start talking about your eBook as well on their respective platforms. This multiplies the hype several folds and your soon to be released eBook will become more recognized in cyberspace.
Better yet, plan on establishing an affiliate program for your eBook, which gives others more incentive to talk about and promote it to their audience. Why? Because they will be benefiting from the initiative as well. Establishing an affiliate program is pretty much a turnkey process with Clickbank, who is my vendor of choice to host, sell and distribute my eBooks. They handle the entire process seamlessly from cradle to grave (including all the accounting). All you need to do is open an account and submit your eBook.
You can also create a buzz by utilizing free audio and video avenues such as YouTube, TubeMogul and iTunes. These are search engines in their own respect, and avenues where you can also establish a followership. Again, this is more conducive for someone already on these platforms. But if you have the capacity to tap into these avenues just to promote your eBook, I say go for it.
Another good thing about these platforms is that viewers and listeners can subscribe to your “channel”. Say you release a video that your viewers like, they will subscribe to your channel to receive more videos in the future. Many marketers create several videos and audio clips to “create a buzz” and then strategically submit them, spacing them out over time so that small dozes of marketing are fed to their audience over time, each doze (episode) building upon the previous one.
Note: TubeMogul has been acquired by another service, but the service itself remains in-tact. This service helps you syndicate, or mass distribute video content to multiple video sites outside of just YouTube.
This one will take you 2 minutes and you never know who reads your email and where it may end up. It’s yet another free and effortless avenue to advertise so why not? Modify your email signature to incorporate a short ad snippet promoting your eBook.
If your eBook has not release yet, cater the ad accordingly. If you are collecting emails, or Facebook fans or Twitter followers so you can announce your eBook to them once released, make sure you include that in your email signature. If your eBook is live and available for sale, cater the ad to drive the reader directly to the eBook sales page.
If you have a Facebook and / or Twitter account, start discussing your eBook on those platforms and get your network ready for the upcoming release.
On Facebook, you can join groups and post on the walls and start discussions where you can incorporate the upcoming launch of your eBook. Many internet marketers use these platforms to research what topic they should write an eBook on.
If you have a website or blog, it goes without saying that you will be promoting your eBook by engaging in internet marketing and back link building initiatives to ensure your website ranks high for relevant key terms. However, what if you don’t have your own web property?
That’s quite alright. Major platforms such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google Books all assign a static (one that does not change) URL address to your eBook listing. Why is this important? Because any static URL link can be promoted or marketed from a link building perspective.
If you want to market an eBook that is selling on these platforms, you might want to consider link building initiatives to promote your eBook listings to ensure they have the maximum chance of ranking high on search results for relevant terms.
When you list your eBook for sale on major platforms like Amazon, you are required to specify a title and description of your eBook. Needless to say, conduct your keyword research beforehand so that you know what keywords to include in these sections.
Again, this will ensure maximum chance of your eBook listing show up higher on search results. Remember that Amazon too has an internal search engine that you can use to find products you are looking for.
The same goes for your eBook images. Before submitting your eBook’s image, re title your image to include a relevant keyword. For example, your image could be titled “bamboo_plants.jpg” if your eBook is about bamboo plants. Don’t forget about image traffic through Google Images, yet another search engine that “reads” images.
Another no-brainer. Participate in relevant blogs and forums to spread the word about your eBook. However, be careful with this initiative. Never do you want to directly tell someone about your eBook. Rather, participate in conversations in a meaningful and respectful way. Add a ton of value without asking for anything in return.
How do you find these avenues? Fire up a search engine and type in “your keyword + blog” or “your keyword + forum” and a healthy list should pop up to your disposal.
Where on these avenues do you market an eBook? On a blog, make your title or name a clickable link, leading to your eBook listing. On a forum, establish a signature line that appears on the bottom of your post each time you post something. Make sure it includes a link to your eBook’s landing page.
Also consider sites such as Yahoo Answers, where you can establish “expertise” in your subject area, thereby soft selling your underlying eBook product.
Press releases are an underrated medium to promote eBooks. They can be used in two ways, first to build back links to your eBook listing pages, and second to attract media attention. You shouldn’t focus on the latter because it takes some divine intervention for it to happen, but know that it does happen.
All jokes apart, last year I was engaged by a psychologist who is based out of the Maryland / D.C area to work on her brand establishment (marketing) online. My team and I worked on several initiatives for her, including some keyword focused press releases that we syndicated to some heavy hitting sites online (these come at a cost, but there are plenty of press release sites that are free).
Months later her story was picked up by NBC (the television network) and she was featured in several stories and later interviews. Her book on Amazon started selling like hot cakes and she became a best seller in just a few months later. Quite an amazing story. Glad to report that she and I are now very good friends. Since then she has sent several high profile leads to me for similar assistance.
Getting back on track, use press releases mainly for link building, but also understand that there may be residual benefits that no one can predict or see coming. Press releases must also be optimized as much as possible for the relevant keywords in your industry.
As mentioned, the free methods to promote an eBook are very effective if executed correctly. But if you want to further expand your “spider web” online, there are several paid ways to market an eBook that you can consider as well.
The advantage of paid methods is that you can instantly tap into broader and larger markets (customer groups) online. Some avenues also allow you to be very precise in your targeting (think Facebook ads and how granular you can get in demographic specific targeting).
The disadvantage of course is that this initiative costs money, and if you don’t know what you are doing you can easily lose your shirt and some more with paid marketing initiatives. Done correctly, paid advertising can work wonders, especially when you’re playing in a niche that is not too competitive yet you charge a healthy enough amount for your eBook to capitalize on the arbitrage opportunity.
The best approach of course is a combination of both free and paid marketing initiatives. This ensures maximum exposure for your eBook and therefore more sales. The organic initiatives also help ensure that your eBook continues to get exposure even after you stop pouring in money into paid advertising initiatives.
One way to engage in paid advertising is by contacting website and blog owners whose audience may be interested in your eBook. If so, have the website owner put a text link or a banner ad that promotes your eBook on their site. If needed, you can get some decent images done for $5 or less on services like Fiverr.
This type of advertising typically requires that you pay either a fixed monthly fee, or as per the number of impressions, usually in increments of 1,000 impressions.
Another type of advertising you can use to market an eBook is pay per click or PPC advertising wherein you pay for each click that leads to your target destination (page / eBook listing in this case). Yahoo Overtures and Google Adwords used to be the biggest names in this arena, but now we have Facebook ads and LinkedIn ads as well.
With PPC advertising, it is important that you understand what keywords people are searching for and what the keyword competition is. While this topic can be a whole blog in itself, all I will say about keyword selection is to make sure it is as specific to your eBook as possible. Avoid broader terms, focus on narrower, more specific terms.
Another key component of PPC marketing is the ad you create, or the message you display to the reader. Getting this right is very important. You can read more about creating an effective advertisement here.
Important: It is critical to ensure your landing page is effective in converting visitors to customers. You don’t want to end up paying all that money driving traffic to your eBook listing and the listing not convert. Make sure you closely monitor and track your results (ROI). Many platforms have split testing functionalities built in, so make sure you take advantage of those.
This is a list of websites that can help you as you promote and market your eBook online. Each specializes in something different, but they all share the common love for eBooks. I know these will help you.
In addition to the marketing mediums, there are strategic initiatives you can undertake to effectively market an eBook. For example, if a major occasion or holiday is near your launch date, it may make sense to delay the launch to coincide with the holiday and offer some freebies along with the eBook in the spirit of the special occasion. People are generally in good spirits (think Christmas) and as a result more inclined to make a purchase.
You can also adjust the pricing of your eBook for numerous reasons to encourage more sales. One such reason is the scarcity factor. When you tell your audience that your eBook will only be available at the one-time discounted rate for 30 days, I bet you will get a quick rush of sales coming in. You have to stick to your word however to make this as well as all future similar promotions effective. People don’t like Bluff Masters.
I know this is quite a bit of information to digest, and I hope you found it helpful and practical enough to start taking action today. Try any one or all of these as you market your eBook and see how it goes. Sometimes it’s just a matter of consistency in trying a variety of things to discover what truly works for you.
If you want my single best advice to market an eBook, I will say to spend as much time as you can conducting keyword research. Effectively researching keywords will set the tone for the rest of your eBook promotion campaign, which is basically just a matter of execution (in other words you just have to follow through and do it).
Your keyword choices will help you in everything you do, from pay per click, to social media marketing, to eBook listings on large platforms like Barnes & Noble, to YouTube marketing, and the list goes on. It’s worth reading that sentence again.
You can check out a list of resources that I utilize in promoting and marketing my eBook here. And if you are contemplating which keyword tool to get, I personally use Market Samurai in most of my internet marketing activities, not only before I write each blog posts, but also when I market an eBook. It’s simply the best keyword tool out there in my opinion.
Readers: What do you think of the promotion methods in this article? Do you have additional suggestions how we can effectively market an eBook? Do you have any questions after reading this article?Previous: Make Money Teaching What You Know – Monetize Your Expertise
Awesome resource post! I am using many of the suggestions, including forum and blog commenting. The one area that I need to learn and improve on is audio and video marketing, I have yet to explore that avenue.
thank you Dan. good to see you here and let me know if you have questions along the way as you promote your books
Wow… Awesome resource.
I subscribed to your RSS over the weekend because I have a series of eBook that I’m going to produce over the remainder of 2012 and I want to be on my game when it comes to selling them.
I’m glad I subscribed because this article is great.
glad you found it helpful Ryan. let me know if you have questions along the way
Hey Sunil, Congrats on landing the interview on Pat’s blog. That’s a huge win and no small accomplishment!
thanks Geoff. hope you found it helpful
Love all these suggestions Sunil.
One person somebody might to look up when marketing their ebook is a guy by the name of Ron Douglas.
Ron is a New York Times Best Selling author. He’s sold 1.1 million books in print – 50,000 digital copies and he did all this with $5.8 million dollars worth of free publicity. And this discussion is about how he does this.
If you’ve got a product that sells well online this can translate into a good story for the media but if you never approach them, you’ll never know.
He started his business selling cookbooks on ClickBank and Amazon as the founder of RecipeSecrets.net – the largest restaurant recipe community. This helped him write, “America’s Most Wanted Recipes” cookbook series that ended up being a New York Times Best Seller.
His print book sells in Barnes and Noble, Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, on Home Shopping Network, anywhere super popular books are available.
He’s been featured on Fox News, ABC News, The Today Show, People’s Magazine, etc.
America’s Most Wanted Recipes has ranked #1 in the Click Bank cooking category since 2004 and he’s built up a list of 220,000 names from giving away free recipes in his “Recipe Secrets Newsletter”.
For anyone who’s looking to take their ebook concept to the next level, I trust that Ron would be able to teach you a thing or two.
brilliant advice on marketing an e-book,youve obviously worked hard on this, youre right, its trying many things till you find one that works for you
welcome Jenny, thank you and looking forward to seeing you more often
Awesome interview Sunil! Being featured on SPI should skyrocket your blog.
thanks Steve, it’s always nice to be noticed by other A List bloggers in the sphere
Listened to your interview with Pat Flynn when it was posted around a week ago, have to say that I really enjoyed it and agreed with a lot that you said, especially about how great it is to have sites that earn passively for years and only need very little work to be maintained.
Anyway let’s get onto this post. You have timed this perfectly for me because I am just in the process of starting an e-book, although I think I am going to give the 1st one away for free.
All the information you have provided is going to help a lot, and I will be bookmarking this as a reference to keep coming back to through the process, thanks Sunil.
I think a great future post would be how you got featured on Pat Flynn’s podcast?
welcome Bobby and thank you. more on this series in the coming weeks. what are you working on and how is it going for you? definitely a good suggestion for the future Bobby. please let me know if I can be of any help along the way.
I’m back into the living world 😀
First thing I did when came home, opened and saw this post, brilliant! Thnx for info, it’s priceless!
Google images post link also is very nice. It kinda opens new “platform” to test. I don’t know why but I like images 🙂
Digression: I was walking in the park just few hours ago and saw sponge Bob helium balloon, hmm… this seems familiar somehow ;D
welcome back Vedran – glad you escaped the scary place. image search engines are a great resource for traffic if your topic calls for it (example: a travel and tourism site).
I still love Sponge Bob!
Thanks for the amazing share my friend.
I have a close friend that recently published his first book although he went for the physical copy and currently selling it through Lulu.
I will let him know about this post, pretty sure he might benefit from it, thank you again!
I will check out the rest of the links though, since I’m interested in promoting digital ebooks. 😉
welcome Sergio. digital books can be very lucrative, especially once you start publishing multiple. let me know if I can help along the way. all the best to you
First of all, great article! Although I do have a question.
I am in the process of creation and marketing an ebook. I was wondering if I were to go the ppc route, if I should send that traffic to an opt in page where I then create an e-mail list, THEN try to promote my ebook. Or should I just send that traffic to the sales page?
Thank You in advanced.
great question. I’d do both, but carefully monitor (test). in my experience, capturing email IDs allows me to market the book, cross and up sell. the “money” is always in the list…
Great post. Very helpful. eBook promotion can be fun and extremely profitable. There are fewer businesses in the world with higher profit margins that in marketing digital information products like ebooks. Needless to say, you need to master the art of eBook promotion, which can be said to be even more important than the eBook itself.
marketing can definitely expedite and increase success. leveraging platforms like Amazon is an instant and effective marketing strategy simply by being visible on it