By Neil Patel
Writing your first e-book is exciting. But once it’s finally written, you’ve got to find a way to get it in the hands of your audience.
After all that hard work, long nights, and endless research, it would be a shame if your book went unread.
For those of you who have recently written an e-book, are in the process of writing one, or planning to write one in the near future, you’ve got to start thinking about your distribution methods.
You could be the best writer on the planet, but if you don’t know how to market yourself, nobody is going to know it.
That’s how you need to approach your e-book distribution strategy. Think like a marketer. Not everyone with great writing skills is a marketing expert.
So for those of you that need some guidance on getting tons of downloads for your newest e-book, you’re in luck.
I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to create a waterfall of downloads. Here’s how you do it.
Start taking pre-orders
Don’t wait until you’re done writing the e-book to promote it. Taking pre-orders in the early stages is a great way to build hype for your e-book and brand.
If people know that they can get it in advance, it might make it seem even more appealing.
Lysa TerKeurst used this strategy to promote her e-book, Uninvited.
This approach is great because it gives people a reason to pre-order it. Anyone who pre-ordered this copy will be able to download the first five chapters right away.
They’re also promoting some limited free gifts, which were undisclosed. Both of these promotions can definitely peak the interest of potential readers.
Getting to download chapters in advance gives people a feeling of exclusivity. They have something that not everyone else has access too.
Plus, if they enjoy the first chapters they could even start promoting the book themselves.
Come up with other ways to give people an incentive to pre-order your e-book before it gets released. If you’re charging for downloads, you can offer a discounted rate for anyone who pre-orders it.
Even if people don’t order it in advance, just putting it out there acts a promotional method and creates a buzz around your e-book for when it officially releases.
Record an audio version
You’ve got to understand that not everyone prefers reading e-books. So recording an audio version can make your book more enticing to a wider audience.
According to the Pew Research Center, print books are still more popular than e-books and audio books.
E-books are more popular than audio books, but as you can see from the data, there are still people who prefer listening to audio books.
But how does releasing an audio book increase downloads for your e-book?
You’ve got to pair the two together. Say your e-book downloads comes with a free audio version as well. Pitch this any way that you want.
You could even upcharge for copies of the audio book and offer the e-book as a free download.
If you continue to release different formats of your e-book, it will appeal to a wider audience and increase the chances of you getting as many downloads as possible.
Create blog posts out of each chapter
For those of you fortunate enough to have an active blog, you need to take advantage of that channel as a marketing resource.
You’ve already got an audience that’s familiar with your voice and visits your website to read your blog. Those are the people that you need to target first.
It’s going to be much easier to get downloads from your blog audience than from people who don’t know who you are and have never heard of you before.
Rather than just blogging about your e-book once or twice, you can generate lots of blog content by writing a post about each chapter. There are so many benefits to this marketing strategy.
First of all, it gives you a way to add fresh new content to your website. This is great for SEO purposes and improving your Google ranking, which can drive traffic to your website.
But blogging is great because it gives you an excuse to promote your new content with your other marketing channels.
For the past four years, bloggers have been using social media as the primary method of driving traffic to their posts.
So each time you blog about a new chapter, you’ve also got an excuse to post on your social media accounts.
Another reason why you should employ this strategy is because these blogs are going to be super easy for you to write. You’ve already done all the heavy lifting with your e-book.
These blogs are just going to be quick summaries of the chapters, which you already know like the back of your hand. So it’s not like it’s going to take you lots of time and effort to write this content.
If you can keep your readers engaged with these blog posts, it can lead to e-book downloads. Just make sure you don’t give it all away in the blog. Otherwise, they won’t have a reason to download.
Tease your audience just enough to keep them interested, but make them download the e-book to get the full effect.
Place a download link on multiple places on your website
Obviously, you need to be promoting your e-book on your website. But don’t restrict that promotion to just one landing page.
Put the download link all over your website. Just make sure that it’s not overwhelming or appear as spam. Websites with simple designs have higher conversion rates.
So for example, put a CTA button on your home page, side bar, and slider menu. If someone navigates to another page on your website, have a pop-up window appear with a download link.
Doing all of this will make it obvious that your e-book is available for download.
Right now, marketing experts are not properly utilizing CTA buttons.
Less than half of websites have a CTA button that can be spotted in less than three seconds. That’s far too long. More than 70% of businesses don’t have their CTA on the interior pages of their website.
Don’t be one of those people who are making this mistake.
You should also start A/B testing your CTA button placement, size, wording, and color. These tests will help you make sure that your efficiency is maximized and you’re getting the most amount of exposure as possible.
Try to get downloads from your email subscribers
As I said earlier when we discussed blogging, you’ve got to try to get as many downloads as possible from people who are already familiar with your brand.
Targeting your email subscribers is perfect for this. These people are interested enough in your brand and voice that they signed up to hear from you on a regular basis.
It’s much easier than trying to find downloads out of thin air. Check out how Help Scout uses this technique in their email newsletter.
It’s direct and straight to the point. They aren’t trying to promote anything else except for this new e-book.
The message ends with a clear call-to-action button that’s a link for their subscribers to download the e-book.
For those of you charging people for an e-book download, you can try to entice your email subscribers by offering them a discounted rate.
Publish infographics with research from your e-book
People love visuals.
Infographics are great because they help drive more traffic to your website. Here’s why.
If you start publishing high quality infographics then other websites will use your visuals to improve their own content. As a result, you’ll get a referral link.
This will increase the chances of your book getting exposed to a wider audience.
You can even add a logo or some other identifying mark to all of your infographics that has the title of your book. The headline of each infographic could include the title of the chapter you were referencing.
For those of you who have never made an infographic before, don’t be intimidated. It’s actually quite easy.
There are plenty of online tools and resources available that let you create customized infographics for free. Check out Canva if you are looking for a place to get started.
Don’t turn down guest posting opportunities
Refer back to what I said earlier about how blogging on your own website can benefit downloads. Well, you can also get more e-book downloads by writing guest posts.
Guest posts expose your e-book to a new audience. People who read other blogs may not be familiar with your brand and voice. But once they see your guest post, you can get their attention.
Just like with infographics, you’ll be able to get referral links for your guest posts too. You can even have these referrals go straight to the download link.
I see way too many people turn down guest posting opportunities. In fact, more than 40% of bloggers don’t write guest posts at all.
This is a complete missed opportunity. Anytime someone offers you a guest post you should jump on it. Just make sure that their website has the same core values as your brand.
You don’t want to be associated with anyone that contradicts your morals. If nobody is offering you guest posting opportunities, go out and find them on your own.
Websites will be thrilled to offer guest blogs because they get to publish new content without having to do any of the work. This is a win-win scenario for everyone.
Read sections on a live video broadcast
Live videos made the list of my top marketing trends to look for in 2018. This is a great opportunity for you to reach and engage with your audience on social media platforms.
I’d recommend starting with platforms like:
- Facebook Live
- YouTube Live
- Instagram Live
Use whichever platform has the largest social media following. If you’ve got lots of followers on all of these networks, then that’s great. Host live video broadcasts on all of them.
Just make sure that your live stream isn’t boring. You definitely want to read some passages to give people an idea of what they can expect from your book, but that’s not all you should do.
Marketing experts say that live video is a great way to create engagement and attain a deeper interaction with your followers.
So answer questions in real time about your writing process, research, and inspiration for writing the e-book.
You could even give away some free copies to people watching the live stream.
Leverage social media platforms
You want to make sure that you exhaust all of your marketing distribution channels to promote your e-book. We’ve already discussed your website, blog, and email subscription list.
In addition to using social media to broadcast live videos, you’ll also want to take advantage of the other features on these platforms.
Post pictures and videos to get the word out to your followers.
Encourage shares on Facebook and retweets on Twitter. Add a download link to your Instagram bio.
Think about all of the followers that you have on these platforms. Target them before the release. Promote the release day hard. Even after the book is written, keep up your social media marketing strategy to get more downloads.
You can try to work with social media influencers on these platforms as well.
Promote your personal brand
Why should anyone read your e-book?
You need to start promoting your personal brand. Position yourself as an expert on the subject.
Let people know if you have a degree in a specific field or any personal success stories that are relevant to the content of your book.
Answer these questions to help you define your personal brand.
What makes you qualified to write an e-book?
If you can brand yourself properly, it will add credibility to your book. As a result, more people will be interested in hearing what you have to say.
This will lead to more downloads.
Just writing an e-book alone isn’t enough to get downloads.
You’ve got to be proactive and take the proper steps to make sure that people download your e-book.
Start taking pre-orders to build hype and gain exposure before the book is released. Record an audio version to make the book more appealing to people who prefer listening to books.
Blog about it. Use each chapter of your e-book as inspiration for a blog post. You can even take advantage of guest posting opportunities.
Create infographics to drive more traffic to your website. Make sure that your site has a clear CTA on every page with a download link.
Target people who already know who you are. Use social media as a distribution channel and stream live videos to create an authentic interaction with your audience.
Always promote your personal brand so people know that you’re an expert on the topic and qualified to write this book.
If you follow these tips, you won’t have a problem getting tons of downloads for your latest e-book.
What strategies are you using to get more downloads for your new e-book?