Fans of Austin Powers, prepare your little fingers and repeat after me…
Mwahahahaha! My evil plan is ready to spread the world over! Mwahahahaha!
All right, enough megalomaniac stuff for this morning, let’s back to the real business. January is historically one of the best months both in terms of traffic and income. It seems like finance is similar to gym memberships.
People don’t really want to go to the gym just like they don’t really want to care about their personal finances, but once or twice a year (the other time is usually in September), they make a resolution and pay for their membership! This is also why so you see so many rebates in January. Each year, I work on maximizing this first month of the year to make as much as I can from affiliate products. But this year, I have an evil plan to make even more money. Something in the range of nine billions of millions of dollars… mwahahahaha!
There is nothing better than offering free coffee to sell more breakfasts, right? If McDonald’s is doing it, I’ve got to learn from them! Last year, I put out a small eBook about the best 2012 Dividend Stocks. This eBook was downloaded 4,287 times this year. It’s not as impressive as the 24,773 downloads of my first free eBook over 18 months but still, it’s pretty good as I didn’t do any promotion except during January. Considering that my investing newsletter size has tripled (the exact number is 3.36 more subscribers from Dec2011 to Dec2012) during this year, I will aim for 10,000 downloads for my 2013 eBook.
I’ve revisited my format and updated the content to generate a great offer: 20 US stocks and 10 CDN companies. All one pagers that outline a company description, main strengths & weaknesses and several financial metrics. Another thing I’m doing is that I started the creation of this book 2 weeks ago whereas I created the 2012 edition between Christmas and New Year Eve’s which didn’t leave much time for editing (confession: I didn’t edit a single paragraph!).
I’m far from being able to create a viral video of a cat singing and dancing with a mouse on the top of the Empire State Building. Investment topics are not made to be so viral (unless you mention another Black Swan event!). But I know that investors are looking for predictions and stock picking ideas. I also know that they are looking for them in January because:
a) It’s the beginning of the year
b) It’s right before the RRSP season when people will invest their contribution
c) They return from the Holidays and are willing to spend some time on their personal finances
I’ve already announced to my mailing list subscribers that I’m working on the 2013 edition. I’ve got many replies (somewhere around 150 emails) giving me their thoughts on the format or simply sharing a few stock picks for the New Year. By telling them about the book 1 month prior to its launch date, I’m creating some expectations from them. Solely from my list, I should be able to get a good 2,000 downloads within the first 2 days. Last year, 51% (unique) of my subscribers opened that email and I got 42% of unique downloads just to give you an idea.
But that’s only the start. There is a limit as to how many downloads I can reach by myself, but there is something I can try this year that could triple my numbers at least. This “something” is called Amazon! When you publish a book on Kindle, you are allowed to offer it for free for up to 5 days. My plan is to use the first 5 days of January to give it away for free. Most people don’t work on January 1st and 2nd and I always get a boost of traffic. I guess that they are too burnt to go outside and play in the snow ;-).
On top of being a search engine for products in and of itself, Amazon also publishes multiple types of rankings. If you are able to get a massive amount of downloads in a short period of time, you will ultimately appear on the top of several rankings for your book. During that period, chances are that several Amazon users that are not connected with your site and have no clue that you are a blogger will download your book (man, it’s free!). The effect is like being featured on Pinterest for example. The main difference is that people see your book instead of seeing your site. If I can reach the first page on Amazon, I’ll definitely be able to get my 10,000 downloads rapidly.
This is where the nine billions of millions of dollars will be made mwahahaha! The 2013 version is a genuine and helpful guide to find interesting stock picks. I’m definitely making real efforts and am investing real time to apply different screens, read about companies and search through their financial statements. In 2012, I am doing okay with the US stocks (I’m slightly under the index because of 1 pick… but the rest of the portfolio outperformed the index) and I’m crushing the Canadian index by 6%. I think it’s enough to say that my book is useful. So why give it out for free? The answer is simple: because I can upsell my “customers”.
This book is the perfect tool to promote my sites and products. It’s professional and useful and I’m convinced that all readers will enjoy the book. This is why I am mentioning my main investment sites, newsletter along with my book at the beginning and end of the book. On each page, I’ve included my blog url in the footer too. I want to make sure that everybody that reads the book knows where to find me and where to buy my other books.
I’ve tried this technique with a newsletter I sent recently. In that newsletter, I simply outlined two very interesting articles I wrote on my blog over the past month. In these 2 articles, I included mentions to my Dividend Growth eBook. I sent the email on Friday and by Sunday, I was showing 11 sales in three days. My average sales/day had slowed down to under 2 per day prior to that mailing. So the odds are that at least 5-6 sales came from my email that was far from being as useful than a complete eBook on the best dividend stocks.
If my book goes viral on Amazon and I reach over 10,000 copies, chances are that I will be able to sell another 300 books during that month! 300 books at $9.99… I’ll let you know figure out how I will start my new year with few of thousand in my pockets ;-). So the 2013 best stocks eBook will not only boost my sales but will also boost my rankings for Dividend Growth. If I can consolidate my 1st page positions for most of my keywords, I’ll be assured to sell between 1 and 2 books per day for the whole year. This is when you can reach passive income!
If I publish my book with Amazon, it has to be 100% exclusive content and I can’t offer my book anywhere else for 90 days (that’s the rule if you want to offer your book for free for up to 5 days under the “KDP Select program”). This also means that the book must have a price once I’m done with the 5 day promotion. I’ve seen other cheap eBooks at $0.99 ranking very well in Amazon and they show as little as 30 pages. With all my content, I should be able to reach roughly 50 pages. This is why I should not be shy of selling my book for a small amount.
I’m not going to be greedy as I want to make sure to spread the word and upsell customers with my “real book”. This is why I’ll probably charge $0.99 for each copy after January 5th. The cool thing is that I’ll be able to make a few bucks throughout the year. This will also help me to reach my monthly minimum of $100 in order to receive checks monthly. I’m not expecting much from the sales but if I could make an extra $50 per month with the book, this will pay for the time invested to write it! After all, if I successfully operate my marketing strategy, this book should rank pretty high on Amazon.
To be honest, I don’t think I have much to lose besides my pride. I can’t lose on the money side but my ego can be hurt. How’s that possible? Because by playing the Amazon game, I have to play by their rules.
The first thing that bugs me is that I can only offer the eBook in a Kindle version. While I sold a lot of copies of Dividend Growth so far (I’ve crushed my objectives 1 month in advance!), I received several emails asking for a PDF version. This is the biggest obstacle that could lead to a slower start and not getting the boost I’m looking for to appear on the “most popular rankings” done by Amazon. If I fail with Amazon and I don’t get a boost from their customers, I’ll obviously have a hard time getting 10,000 downloads and my feelings will get hurt. On the other hand, I’ll always have the options after 90 days to offer it in PDF for a small price… who knows, I might end-up good money with the “free” eBook ;-).
On the other hand, I don’t have other options: I either offer the PDF versions and please all my readers or I go with Kindle versions on Amazon and try to get new customers. The thing is that my readers are already loyal readers and have been offered my book more than once already. Therefore, most of my readers who would have bought my book already did by now. Plugging the book to existing readers via the Best 2013 Dividend Stocks won’t have a huge effect on my sales. Getting more investors from Amazon will. It’s an “all-in” strategy but I truly believe that it’s how I will eventually hit a home run with my online company!
What’s your take on my strategy? Anything you think that could be improved? Is the price of $0.99 a good idea or should I try to rack-up a few more bucks with a price at $1.99 or $2.99?
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