My friend Andy is working on an eBook about how to make a living as a freelance WordPress developer. He is writing from his experience of developing a successful career working for himself after quitting the corporate world. We were talking about how to market the eBook which can be summed up two questions:
- Do people really want the eBook?
- How should I price my eBook?
I have put together an overview of my advice for Andy below.
How to Know if People Will Buy Your eBook
The most fundamental question you have to answer when you plan to write an eBook is “do people want to read what you plan to write?” You need to make sure there is demand for the advice that you want to give out before investing in your eBook. If no one is looking for what you’re talking about in your eBook, all of your hours and effort are wasted.
What Andy did, and what I see a lot of people do, is he put up a page on his site to announce and explain the eBook and collect email addresses to let people know when the eBook is launched. While this is well intentioned there is a big problem that is common on these announcements – it doesn’t say whether the eBook will be free or paid.
If you are planning on selling your eBook and your announcement page doesn’t say anything about whether the eBook is free or a paid product, your email signups are not a true gauge of interest. When you don’t mention that an eBook will have a cost, most people will assume the eBook will be free. As such, you’ll significantly over report interest in your eBook and you’ll likely be disappointed with sales when you launch.
The good news is there’s an easy fix to this. On your announcement page say that you’ll be selling your eBook.
How to Price Your eBook
Now the harder question, how much should you charge for your eBook. This is really important to get right, or at least in the right ballpark, to maximize your profit. You’ll get more customers when you sell your eBook at a lower price, but can you make more money off selling a lot of cheap copies or by selling fewer copies of your eBook at a higher price?
If your price is too low, the eBook might not be considered very valuable causing either fewer sales or people to not take your eBook as seriously. Conversely if your price is too high, you’ll limit sales.
The good news is that we can figure out what price point people respond most favorably to. We can do this with some simple A/B testing. Using a tool like Optimizely or Visual Website Optimizer, we can create different variations of our landing page that highlight different price points.
Based on the number of signups at each price point, you can figure out what price will generate the most interest in your eBook and which price point will be more profitable for you.
Should You Give Your eBook Away For Free?
While we all want to turn a profit, there are instances where you can make more by giving away your eBook for free. Typically this happens when you are selling your services or product and you are able to use the eBook to show potential customers your expertise and value.
Even if you don’t charge money for the eBook, you should still get value in exchange for your effort – often an email address. This allows you to follow up with people who download your eBook and continue to build trust with them after the initial touch point.
Is my eBook’s target market more valuable as a customer of my product or as a customer of my eBook.
This is what you need to ask yourself when deciding whether to sell your eBook. Basically it boils down to does the typical reader of your eBook have the means and need for your product. If so, you may be better off giving your eBook away for free.