Creating information products such as e-books is one thing, distributing it is a whole different ball game. Success on the internet is not only predicated on creating unique and good quality content, but also solid channels of distribution. After all, a brilliantly published e-book is only as good as the eyes it is exposed to.
My name is Sunil and if you have not heard about me or read my blog, I have well over a dozen e-books lingering in cyberspace that have been selling for years now. I published my first e-book in 2007 and since have published several, usually in conjunction with each niche website that I launch.
Not all my books are / were written by me. Not all are promoted and distributed by me either. As I have learned and gotten comfortable with the content creation and distribution process over time, I have employed freelancers and full time virtual assistants to help me run my small online empire.
With all the said, it is important to note that each process, from idea contemplation, to product creation all the way to marketing and distribution, is solely orchestrated by me. I will share with you a few channels one can employ to maximize distribution potential of e-books.
Your Own Website or Blog
The easiest and first channel you should tap is your own website or blog. Chances are you already have an existing audience that you can expose your e-book to. This one is a no-brainer and an obvious choice, but I thought I’d not assume and lay out the base from where we can only build a bigger reach.
There are two ways to slap an e-book on your website or blog. The more obvious one is by including it on a side panel, while other ways include developing a dedicated sales page for it and embedding it on your website, or creating the entire website as a stand-alone sales page itself. Confusing? Let’s look at a few examples:
Look at the bamboo plant care website for example. This is an example of how an e-book may look when dangled on a side panel.
Now the rotator cuff exercises website is also designed in the exact similar way, but look at how the e-book can have a separate stand alone page within the website dedicated just to it.
Finally, look at my website on airline complaints, which is essentially a stand-alone sales page in its own. In other words, the entire website is one big sales page featuring one of my e-books for sale.
When you have a website that is essentially a sales page, or primarily dedicated to promoting an e-book, you can leverage Google Adwords to market your book on a Pay Per Click (PPC) basis. You can employ the PPC strategy even if your e-book is merely a part of your website, but for various reasons I won’t get into here, using PPC to market a stand-alone sales page / website with a relatively simple URL is the most effective way to go.
Turn E-books Into Audio
When you already have an e-book in the market, converting it to an audio book is a rather simple process. You can either do it yourself or outsource the process, but once you have the audio product, you have essentially unlocked several other channels for distribution.
For example, you can submit your audio for sale on a platform like Apple’s Itunes. You can also make the audio available for download / sale on your website. Have a look at this sales page for those interested in getting a job in Abu Dhabi. Notice the sales page has both a text e-book and an audio format available.
When you convert your e-book to an audio book, you are not only expanding your distribution channel reach, but you are also exposing your product to a new audience. For example, those that prefer to fill in gym, driving, cooking or cleaning time with audio books maybe more inclined to purchase your audio product.
My favorite way of distributing an e-book is through newsletter distribution. When you have a newsletter that strives to build a relationship with your readers, you are developing and honing key relationships that warm you up to your readers.
I use newsletters to provide valuable content for free, and when I am ready to promote a product, my conversion rate from my newsletter marketing efforts clearly surpasses any other distribution channel by a WIDE margin. It’s not even close.
Have a look at this website on raw dog food. Notice the newsletter opt in on the right hand side offering free information?
This website has close to a 20% subscribership rate, meaning 20 of every 100 visitors subscribe to my newsletter. Moreover, I have a conversion rate of over 25%. More than 25 of every 100 subscribers to my newsletter ends up converting to or becoming a customer. Those are pretty high numbers no matter who you ask.
A newsletter allows you to pre-sell, a concept that is critical to your success online if you want to make money from selling information products or promote affiliates. I call it soft selling.
Since an e-book is already a PDF / text document, it is already in prime format for tablets such as the Amazon Kindle. Create an account with Amazon’s publisher platform and submit your e-book for Kindle publication.
This process takes a bit of time and effort, but once your product is in Amazon, you will have essentially unlocked yet another powerful channel of distribution. Think about it, Amazon was predominantly a book selling platform before it became a store that carries everything.
There are millions that are readily standing on the side lines waiting to access products on Amazon. The beauty of Amazon is that it is global, and still expanding. Having your e-book on Amazon can drive in a separate stream of revenue from sales that is not even related to your primary website.
Going back to the bamboo website, notice how the Amazon listing has been displayed?
I did this for two reasons. First, to show that my product is on Amazon. Think about the credibility boost you get simply by doing that? Next, to show that the price is equal or better if purchased from my site. Amazon only gives you a small percentage of sales, so the image is there more so for credibility than to drive sales.
After seeing this, hopefully folks purchase from my website rather than Amazon. That said, some people feel more secure and comfortable purchasing from larger brand names. In that case, I can assure at least a sale by making the image a clickable link to Amazon’s listing of my e-book readily available for my visitors.
Google Books – Partner Program
To compete with Amazon’s Kindle program, Google recently launched the Google Books program. This system is still in Beta, but I have had some good early success with it.
Simply apply for the “Google Partner Program” and submit your titles. The good thing about Google’s program is that you not only get revenues from e-book sales, but also from advertisement that Google’s visitors click on which are placed next to your e-book listings.
This discussion would not be anywhere near complete without the mention of Clickbank. Over the years, Clickbank has created a niche for itself in information product distribution and accounting.
Rather than handling all the accounting and transactional aspect of e-book sales on your own, consider using Clickbank as your transaction and accounting platform. Clickbank handles all the transaction, distribution and accounting aspects of e-book selling. Further, it allows you to build your own army of affiliates to sell your products for you. You don’t pay them until they sell, thus a win-win for all involved.
The best thing about Clickbank is that it is a marketplace in its own right. Similar to the Ebay community, there is an entire Clickbank community that is waiting for access new products on the platform, both to consume and to market as affiliates.
Sunil is the author of the Extra Money Blog, a blog dedicated to Entrepreneurship, Personal Finance, Blogging and Internet Marketing. His goal is to help successful working individuals get more out of life, whether financial freedom or the flexibility to live life on their own terms.
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