Ebook marketing can feel a bit like attempting to sell a product the buyer can’t see or touch—kind of like trying to sell California beach real estate when you’re living in Kansas. Thankfully, with options like free sampling, selling ebooks doesn’t have to be complicated.
Here are some tested ideas for promoting your ebook.
The first thing to remember is that marketing an ebook is not much different than regular book marketing. You have to go out and find your audience. You have to get people talking about your book.
Recently, I read an interesting blog post by author Dean Wesley Smith on how he promoted his ebook with book cards. He had rack cards (similar to large postcards) printed up with his book cover on one side and a link to download it on the other side, and then went around handing them out an event.
I love this idea and it reminded me of the music download cards available at the counter in Starbucks. Those are closer to business-card size and include a promotional offer for a new song. Why not do that with your ebook?
Book cards make ebooks tangible. You can print discount codes on them, give them away for free, or sell them at an event and write in a code for downloading online. Lots of options!
One strategy that I’ve used is to offer ebooks as bonuses with new paperback books. When LEAP! 101 Ways to Grow Your Business came out, I offered a collection of bonus ebooks and reports to all buyers for the first couple of months. Buyers seemed to love the promotion and it helped give the book a good jumpstart.
Something else to consider is that when you have a book coming out, you can give away the ebook version free and clear for a period of time. This helps build buzz—buzz that leads to more sales in the long run, especially for the print edition. Incidentally, you can do this by setting up your ebooks with Smashwords and creating coupon codes for 100% off!
One other thought about ebooks (and traditional books): they are great for marketing your business. On Authority Publishing, when a new user signs up for the mailing list they receive the ebook edition of Booked Up! How to Write, Publish, and Promote a Book to Grow Your Business. I also use a service called Pay With a Tweet that allows users to get a free copy in exchange for a tweet about the book or a mention on Facebook.
Why am I giving my ebook away so much? Because it’s good for business. That book in particular has helped bring new authors as customers to Authority Publishing. It doesn’t matter to me whether I ever sell another copy of the book; it has already paid for itself many times over.