So you want to sell ebooks online. Or you’re just starting to investigate what ebooks are and why they are such a booming product for entrepreneurs.
If you’re going to sell ebooks online, it can seem overwhelming at first. You have to do everything from writing and formatting, to designing and publishing. And once you do all that, you have to figure out how and where to sell your ebooks online.
We’re here to do what we do best at Selz and make it simple. Creating and selling ebooks online doesn’t need to be daunting. In this quick guide, we will walk through 4 simple steps to creating and selling ebooks online.
Before we get too much into the how, let’s take a look at the why. Why are so many people selling ebooks online? And why is this such a great opportunity for online entrepreneurs?
Why sell eBooks online?
Digital products, also know as info products, offer business owners the unique opportunity to sell limitless units, without forking out for materials, supplies, or inventory. But these minimal setup costs are not the only benefit.
Any product sold online, particularly those facilitated by automated tools, allow you to generate what’s known as passive income. Passive income is that money you earn without having to do extra work, or put extra effort into the transaction. Every entrepreneurs dream, right? To flit around making money while doing the things we enjoy?
So I’ve sold you on the perks of selling digital products in general, but why sell eBooks online?
It does not require a lot of manpower to sell ebooks online. They don’t require fancy software to create. They’re not expensive to market, or sell, or manage. They’re one and done. This means you can create your brilliant eBook and put it straight on display, for a teeny tiny investment (and sometimes none at all).
And THAT means that you can sell ebooks online at a low cost.
I know what you’re thinking – if you’re going to sell eBooks online, you want to be making tons of money, right? Just bear with me on this one.
Generally speaking, every thriving online business has a portfolio of products, and each of these are sold at different price points. The strategy there is that you will take your customer on a journey. They will start by investing in something that has a “no-brainer” price tag, and after seeing the immense value you offer for such a low price tag, they’ll be willing to shop your pricier and pricier items.
This is the function of you eBook. To be that first, intensely useful, intensely valuable, bargain of a buy. It’s kind of like a taster for the online programmes, or packages you’ll be offering them down the line.
“The function of your ebook is to be intensely useful, intensely valuable, and a bargain of a buy.”
They’re also a super sweet, super effective way to showcase your authority online – you are quite literally packaging up that knowledge you have, and offering it out to your audience. Again, this is ideal if you intend to sell them something bigger and better later on. Your eBook is your opportunity to show them what you can do, so make it count.
Now that you know why selling ebooks online is a great opportunity, let’s get into our 4 simple steps to creating and selling ebooks today.
1. Create a Killer Ebook
Let’s now look in detail at what makes a great eBook, and how you can create one of your own, in no time at all. So let’s dive straight in.
What makes a killer eBook?
It addresses a specific need or struggle.
Don’t choose your topic based on what you fancy writing – be strategic. Uncover the issues your target customers are facing, and address that in your eBook – just make sure it’s relevant to your niche.
Tip: Use BuzzSumo to identify on-trend topics your people are searching for, and use one of those as your starting point.
It’s both informative and actionable.
People don’t just need information. If they’re looking for facts or ideas, they’ll hit Google, they won’t invest in an eBook. People are interested in transformation, so keep that in mind.
Create an eBook that shows people how to implement a particular change – this will will really help you when you start to actually SELL eBooks online, because you’ll be able to really amp up these results in your sales copy.
Tip: Do your research, and wow your readers with stats, but also include a framework that helps them implement your teachings. Think of this as a manual/workbook combo.
It has a logical structure.
Don’t be tempted to cram all of your knowledge into one single eBook. Focus on one idea, and expand on that. You also want to make sure that your eBook has a flow to it – your readers want to understand the journey they’re on, they don’t want to be confused by jumping between different issues.
Tip: Outline your eBook in detail, long before you sit down to write it. You could use a simple Google Doc, or a nifty tool like Right Margin, it’s up to you.
It looks good.
It will come as no surprise that people will be more interested in your eBook if it’s attractive, but don’t panic. You don’t need to hire a pro to get yours looking tip top.
Tip: Customise a free Canva eBook template. Simply paste in the content, select your on-brand colors, fonts and imagery, and you’re done. Simple!
2. Attract Organic Traffic
Now that you’ve got an ebook written and designed, the big question we hear a lot is “how do I get people to my store?” If you’re going to sell ebooks online, this is a very important piece of the puzzle. Let’s start by looking at how to bring traffic to your eBook, without spending a penny on advertising.
To make any of these techniques work for you, you’ll need to create a freebie that relates to your eBook. Make it digestible, actionable and impactful, and then offer it in exchange for an email address.
You don’t need to overcomplicate the landing page, but because many of the organic traffic tips involve sharing a link, we’ll need a link to share.
Here are my favorite ways to sell eBooks online (without the sleaze):
Photo via Blueprint Digital
- Add a call-to-action and a link to the landing page in your bio.
- Pin a descriptive post to the top of your feed. Extra points if you do this in video form.
- Upload a new cover image that promotes your eBook, and pop another micro post in the description (don’t forget to link back to your landing page).
- Host regular live streams to talk briefly about different topics covered in your eBook.
- Schedule updates sharing key quotes from your eBook.
- Run a free five day challenge to build a buzz around your eBook launch. This works particularly well if you have your own Facebook group.
- Make a note of any promo days in the groups you’re a member of, and share a link to your landing page in the relevant threads.
- Add a link to your landing page in your bio.
- Pin a tweet linking back to your landing page.
- Upload a new cover image that promote your eBook.
- Schedule regular tweets promoting your eBook.
- Search for any problems that your eBook could solve. Respond to the people facing that struggle with a link to your landing page.
- Join Twitter chats that your ideal customers take part in.
- Share any relevant Instagram images to Twitter, by using this IFTTT recipe
- Add a link to your landing page in your bio.
- Share plenty of visuals that relate to your eBook, but get creative with your ideas. For example, you could share screenshots of extracts, selfies of you working on it, key quotes you’ve pulled out from the content, or positive reviews in visual form.
- Take advantage of hashtag opportunities. On Instagram you can post up to 30 hashtags per image, so come up with a list of 30 (yes, use them all) that relate to your eBook. Each time you post, paste your 30 hashtags into the first comment.
- Add a link to your landing page in your bio.
- Create a handful of Pinterest-friendly graphics and upload them directly – don’t forget to add the link to your landing page (but never use a link shortener on Pinterest)
- Draft a keyword rich description for each of these pins.
- Share each pin to as many relevant boards as possible.
- Join relevant community boards, and share your eBook pins there too.
5. Blog posts and emails
- Draft a really fabulous long-form blog post that focuses on one the key points from your eBook. Link to other thought leaders in your post, and then share the article with them – usually receiving a mention will encourage people to share content with their own audiences.
- Pull out a section of that blog post and turn it into a new, shorter, post, to publish on Medium. You could also send this version to your email list.
- Draft a third version of this post, and submit it as a guest post.
BONUS: Tools to help you sell eBooks online:
- Use NinjaOutreach to find influencers and seek their help to promote your eBook in order to gain more traffic landing page.
- Use Canva to design your new cover images, your cool quotes graphics, and your on-brand pins.
- Use Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your social updates ahead of time.
- Discover relevant Twitter chats with Tweet Reports
- Find impactful hashtags with Hashtagify
- Use PinGroupie to identify the best Pinterest community boards.
- Use IFTTT to automate additional social posts and activities.
3. Use Paid Traffic
Organic traffic is great (and free!), but a lot of times, you need to invest a little into paid advertising. Using these simple paid methods, you could quickly drive a wider audience to your eBook, so that you can sell more online.
Let’s get straight to it.
PPC, or pay-per-click, advertising would involve placing an ad somewhere, but only paying for the number of click-throughs to your landing page.
Google AdWords is the simplest way to get started with this method. In a nutshell, it allows online sellers to bid on keywords, and show ads at the top of searches involving that keyword.
For an in depth tutorial on how to setup and start using Google AdWords to promote your eBook, read this article
Social media advertising
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Youtube all offer paid advertising opportunities, and all are reasonably cost-effective, assuming you target your ads correctly.
The challenge here is to pick the platform that will have maximum impact for you as you start to sell ebooks online. This isn’t about focusing on the channel you enjoy the most, but the ones where your dream customers spend their time.
For example, if you’ve written an eBook for HR professionals, or recruitment consultants, LinkedIn would be perfect. If you’ve written an eBook for crafters, Youtube and Instagram might be your jam.
As a general rule, you can assume everyone’s on Facebook, but the other options are worth investigating too.
Affiliate marketing involves bringing others on board to promote your eBook, in exchange for a small commission following any sales.
You can reach out to business buddies, or your most loyal clients and invite them to take part – it doesn’t have to be complicated. I advise keeping your affiliate scheme super simple, and managing it directly through a plug-in on your site, such as AffiliateWP
In the final step, we’ll be looking at how to build a funnel for all of your traffic (organic and paid), so you can finally start making those sales.
4. Create a Funnel for your ebook
In this final step, we’ll be looking at how can take all that traffic we generated using the last two posts (both organic and paid) and turn those visitors into sales.
In the business world, we call this sales journey a funnel. In essence, you’re guiding your customers towards buying your eBook, but you can’t go straight in for the kill. You need to warm them up first, and you can do this by creating an email sequence.
The only tool you need? Your email marketing software. I personally use ConvertKit, but you can use whichever you like. If you sell ebooks online using Selz, you can quickly and easily connect your online store to a variety of email marketing software options. If you’re completely new to the world of email marketing, Mailchimp is a good option – it’s completely free for a list of up to 1,000 people.
You’ve already created a killer freebie, and sent plenty of traffic to that sign-up page. Now it’s time to start nurturing that list, and drive them towards that eBook of yours.
Sell eBooks online with a fab, FAST funnel
Your simple sales funnel can look something like this:
Welcome >Intro > Action > Authority > Preview > Exclusive > Buy now > FAQ’s
This is the email they will receive right after they sign up for your freebie. Send them a personal welcome note, and let them know how to access that free content. Tell them how they can contact you.
Introduce yourself, and your business. This is your opportunity to really connect with them, and get them to care about your brand. Weave in your special sauce – that thing that makes you stand out.
Remind them about the freebie they signed up for and show them the benefit of actually implementing that lesson. A case study or believable example will work wonder here.
Share a really amazing tip that relates to the topic of your eBook, and be specific about how they can implement it themselves.
Share a sneaky peek of this eBook you’ve created – this email can be mostly visuals. Don’t give too much away here, this is just to whet their appetites.
Share a free excerpt from your eBook. Pick something that packs a real punch so they’ll be interested in reading the rest.
Hit them with your pitch. Outline the content and really emphasise the results they’ll see if they take your teachings on board.
Think about all of those beliefs that may be stopping them from buying your eBook, and address them in black and white.
There it is, 4 simple steps to create and sell ebooks online today. If you are looking for more in-depth advice on any of these tactics, you can , take a look through FounderU (we’ve covered tons of topics on ebook creation and selling), or comment below with your questions!