The following is a guest post from Greg Narayan, who blogs with passion at Dear Blogger. In this post Greg is going to blow your mind with the possibilities of eBooks and ridiculous conversion rates (and by ridiculous – he means 10-15% of people who show up on your blog!). Take it away Greg…
Not too long ago you sat down and opened up your blog, then headed to the dashboard. Your goal? Write the perfect new post.
You had a great idea you needed to get down on paper and were as excited as a little kid who just got a pizza party to share it.
In this post, I’d like to show you why that post might look better as an eBook. Then we’ll talk about making it so irresistible you’ll have folks downloading it while you sleep – and I’ve got the stats to prove it.
An eBook is a cornerstone piece of blog content – all the big blogs have them. At first sight, someone with an eBook knows their business. You can sell an eBook, incentivize new subscribers, or just give it away as a gift. It’s the kind of tool every blogger needs in their arsenal.
But eBooks are…weird
When I first start out in blogging, I thought eBooks were for weird people. Why would I waste the space on my hard drive with something so foreign and cheap?
Pretty soon I gave in and bought a few – and I still remember those words from Darren Rowse, Ana Hoffman, and Erin Falconer each time I encounter a roadblock. Overall, well worth it.
Then – before I knew it – I published my very own eBook, and it was a huge success!
…err, not quite. My first eBook ever was actually downloaded zero times in the first week of it’s existence, which to a blogging junkie like me isn’t exactly encouraging. It flat-lined for the next two weeks too.
Eventually though, I smartened up, and learned a bit of marketing savvy that helped my book take off.
In the following words I’d like to show you how I took a basic PDF file and turned it into something people read, reviewed and ultimately fork over their email address for. Then, I’ll help you make them viral. If you’re making an eBook now, I hope this stands as at least one of your guides to greatness.
How to Make Your eBook
The basics of making an eBook were documented long ago at Dear Blogger. Grip it and rip it here.
The overall concept is pretty simple: find an uncovered topic in your niche, make sure it’s really specific and in high demand, then write 10-20 pages on it, convert to PDF, and upload to your blog in a URL.
Found the inspiration to launch my eBook (more at MadLemmings.com)
Tweet this quote
You can do a lot once the eBook is published:
- Email it as a gift to people who’ve subscribed
- Upload it to a new page, hide that page, then send that page (and the eBook) to a new subscriber
- Sell the book
It’s up to you – and as someone who’s now hit number three in the eBook industry, I’d be happy to guide ya. The point is really simple: having an eBook instantly adds credibility to your blog.
Before they’ve read it, reviewed it, tweeted it, having an eBook tells readers you know your topic. You must know your topic if you wrote a book on it, afterall. So, even if you’re a bit shaky, unsure, or whatever, I would hope you at least pursue the creation part of the eBook. If nothing else it’s a learning process for you.
But, that’s not the point of this post. I want to show you how I took my eBook, and it’s flop of a first week, and turned everything around.
How to Convert at Ridiculous Rates
Experts tell us conversion rates are always low – that’s why we need the traffic. Sure, experts. In my first few months at Dear Blogger, I was averaging 10-15% opt-in rates on my pages and at times cleared 20%.
And this was before I had any serious traffic.
Explanation: The above shows opt-in aka subscriber statistics from May 2013, 6 months into Dear Blogger. S/UD is the number of subscribes per unique display, aka how many people joined in who showed up. As the eBook was a gift, new subscribers signed up for, I associate subscriber stats closely with downloads.
Before I go into any strategies…I guess if you’ve made it this far, before I share any really ridiculous secrets, I should say thanks for reading some non-Ash content.
My names Greg, some call me The Blogger, and I’m really just a young guy who doesn’t know much at all. Thankfully, I found blogging – if not I’d probably be lost in some odd job around the world without a direction or a clue.
Lastly, if this is the first time you’re reading my stuff, nice to finally meet you…on the internet, in a guest blog post.
Now, for the strategies you’ve been waiting for.
External eBook Marketing
1) Use the principle of scarcity
One of the most powerful ways you can market a totally new eBook is to create an aura of scarcity.
- get a discounted copy for only 1 week
- download your copy free – price jumps to full price once 500 copies go
are great ways to do this.
This works for a number of reasons, but mainly because people won’t jump on your eBook just because it exists. They’re much more likely to opt-in if they see copies flying off your shelves.
So try out a few scarcity tactics, and pick one that suits your messages.
2) Create at least 2 landing pages
One landing page is great, but you know what’s even better?
You want one page as your main landing page, and another as a complimentary landing page to add confidence in the reader.
Basically the way it works is one page should use a hard sell, the other a more soft, long-winded, open and explaining sell.
3) Use repetition
Repetition lies at the heart of any online sell. Why? Because next to nobody buys the first time. I mean nobody.
If you think you can sell on your first try – and hold your ego to it – you’ll be disappointed quite quickly.
Even the biggest bloggers beat their readers over the head with offers, understanding the power of repetition.
No one will believe your eBook at first.
Heck, I didn’t even believe myself at first. So, make use of images and numbers because numbers don’t lie. Screenshots from your Google Analytics, like the one below, work especially well.
5) Incentivize tweets with a custom hashtag
There’s nothing healthier than a good discussion.
So, how do you start one, then continue it? Create a hashtag on Twitter, then encourage readers to use it. As more and more readers stand search the hashtag and seeing it in their feeds, they’ll want to join in too.
Internal eBook Marketing
6) Devise your own theories
Be original – even if it means being a bit silly. In my first eBook I tried hard to pioneer new strategies that were both effective and catchy. Of course, 95% of them failed, but for the ones that remained I now have something concrete I can put my name on.
7) Use the power of stories
A good story keeps people interested.
You can’t ramble on forever, but if you can weave one or two stories throughout an entire eBook you’ll really keep folks going due to double incentives. They’ll want to read more on your topic AND find out what happened during your highschool prom.
8) Mention bloggers bigger than you
Cross-networking can produce some interesting reciprocation down the road.
Big bloggers love staying big, and offering them a thankless mention in your eBook can be just what it takes for them to look kindly on you (or just remember you) next time they feel like mentioning an up and coming blogger.
9) Reward readers after each section
Rewarding is essential to keep people focused through your whole book.
How you do this is totally up to you, but I’d recommend creating a “takeaway” section to summarize your best points, or including a personal example of your own successes.
10) Be incredibly, highly, almost unbearably personable
Last, but not least, you want to be your reader’s friend.
No, that doesn’t mean you have to know everything about them and read their mind – you just have to be open and transparent. So many bloggers nowadays pitch content around in a vague way, just hoping for bites, that readers really get wary of certain types of content.
If you can penetrate that weariness with some of your own flare, you could gain a reader for life.
Conclusion: Now it’s Time to go Viral
All of the above can be done in well under a two weeks time on your own eBook creation. So, what are you waiting for?
Now for the fun part: if you can prove to me that you’re serious about making an eBook, I’ll explain how to make one go viral.
Or, if you just want some pointers to get going, happy to offer that too! I’m exhausted – take over for me in the comments!