Baby Steps for Getting E-book Sales

creativityWhether or not your ebook will sell in large part comes down to the title, the description and the category.

A stellar title will move thousands of copies; while a title that’s mediocre will fail in selling the exact same ebook. Titles generally aren’t “okay” or “good” – They either sell or they don’t sell. In other words, they’re either great or they don’t work at all.

The same applies to descriptions. A great description should make your eyes pop out with excitement. People who read that description should be eager to read the rest of the ebook.

The category is critical because it helps you connect your ebook with the right audience. Never guess on the category and do your homework first.

Here’s how to come up with a stellar title, a great description and a category that facilitates sales.


Getting the Title Right


The title is the most important sentence you’ll write in your entire ebook.

Don’t think of writing your title as an action or a task. Instead, think of it as a process. Don’t commit to a title until the very end.

Start writing titles as soon as you begin your ebook. Write them in a separate document. Write a many titles as possible. Write them down as they come to you.

By the time you finish your ebook, you should have a document with at least 30 possible titles in it. Most authors find that as they’re writing their ebook, possible titles will just continually pop into their minds.

Throughout this process, try to involve other people in the title choosing process. Ask other people for suggestions or possible titles. Run your favorite titles by other people and see what they think.

Treat coming up with a title as a long-term brainstorming process. Instead of a normal brainstorming process, where you let ideas flow freely for an hour or so, this process is instead extended over the course of several weeks and months. Just let the titles flow and edit as little as possible.

You can also look through stores like the Kindle ebook store and see what titles catch your eye. What titles are likely to get noticed?


Once you’ve finished your ebook, that’s when you should finally sit down and make a pick.

The title you choose should have a certain “snap” to it. It should be simple and easy to understand. The title should just have one concept in it, rather than try to convey everything in the ebook. It should have a rhythmic feel to it. It should grab attention and it should tempt people to read the description.


Getting the Description Right


Much like writing the title, the description writing process should start early on.

Begin by looking at how other authors in your industry wrote their descriptions. Start to collect a swipe file – A collection of descriptions that you can reference to for inspiration.

Come up with a few different ways to approach the description. Write several different descriptions, then ask friends which one is the most compelling. For example, you might have one description that factually describes the ebook and another description that paints a vivid picture with words.

Focus on the first sentence. The job of the first sentence is to capture attention and get people to read the rest of the description. People who read the first sentence should feel hooked and sucked in to reading the rest of the description.

Have testimonials. Try to get testimonials and/or editorial reviews from names that people in your industry would recognize. Just a handful of great testimonials can make all the difference.

Reference your swipe file often. Never steal words, but don’t be afraid to steal ideas. If someone phrased a topic in a certain way or painted a picture in a certain way, don’t be afraid to take that writing style and make it your own. Copy what made other ebooks successful.


Picking the Right Category


You should pick the category that gives you the highest chance of ranking in the top charts. Of course, the category needs to be relevant to what your ebook is about.

Let’s say you’re releasing a ebook about how to trade commodities. The ebook could go under business, it could go under finance or it could go under economics. Which do you choose?

The answer: Choose the one that gives you the highest chances of breaking the top charts.

Take a look at the other ebooks in the categories you’re considering. What kinds of ebooks are they? Are ebooks like yours succeeding or failing? Naturally, you want to choose the category(s) that have a natural affinity for your kind of ebook.

5-category-searchIn our example, it’s entirely possible that all finance discussions seem to be limited to personal finance. In that case, you might put your ebook under economics. On the flip side, it’s possible that economics is filled with only theoretical ebooks; while finance is filled with ebooks by other traders. In that case, finance would be the better bet.

Sometimes you’ll want to deliberately target categories that seem slow. This tactic works only if you have an extremely strong marketing engine. If you sense that a category is weak in sales, you could try to pop yourself into the top charts by listing your ebook in that category, then sending in a flood of traffic. Even so, the ebook still has to make sense within that category.

Choosing the category can be quite straightforward. Just see what your competitors are doing and do the same. That said, sometimes you’ll want to put your ebook in a different category if your research shows that your audience seems to respond better in those other categories.
These three factors – The title, the description and the category – Make up the bulk of your selling power. Get these three things right, add in a stellar front cover and a strong marketing plan and you’ll be off to the races.

50 Ideas on What to Send to Your Mailing List


Continually coming up with ideas on what to send to a mailing list can get very tough, especially after you’ve been mailing for some time.

This is a comprehensive list of some of the things you could mail to your readers.

Whether you’re in a teaching mood, an interactive mood, a spontaneous mood or an analytical mood, you’ll find something in this list that you can use.

Here are 50 ideas on what you can send to your mailing list.

1)     Recommend an Article You Loved. You can also include your own ideas, your own analysis or share why you loved it.

2)     Send out a survey. Ask about your products, your service or about what they want to see next in your product line.

3)     Analyze a trend. Is everyone buying yellow shoes this year? Talk about why that’s the case and how it goes with other clothing.

4)     Recap the last year or quarter. What were the most important changes in your industry?

5)     Create a contest.

6)     Announce a Fan Page, Twitter account or Twitter hashtag. Announce a new social media initiative. You can also announce a new conversation on a Twitter hashtag.

7)     Recommend a product. Is there another product that really impressed you? Give it a shout out in your mailing list. You can also make it an affiliate product.

8)     Announce your most popular posts or pages. Look at your website’s analytics and figure out which posts have been the most popular on your site. Let your audience know which articles those are.

9)     Give away a short eBook, report or whitepaper. Pick a topic and give away a non-promotional eBook.

10)  Promote and host a webinar. Get people excited about an online class you’re going to teach.

11)  Send a copy of a recorded webinar. After your webinar is finished, send a recording to your list. Limit the download time to create a sense of urgency.

12)  Video content. Film yourself on camera talking about a certain topic.


13)  Video interview. Interview another expert or prominent figure in your business.

14)  Audio interview. Audio sometimes does a lot better than video. People like being able to consume content on their iPhones.

15)  Conference review. If you went to a conference, talk about what you liked and didn’t like about it.

16)  Product review. If there’s a popular product on the market, purchase it and give it a review.

17)  Product recommendations. Make recommendations for products for specific issues your users may be facing.

18)  Summary of a product or workshop. Summarize all the most important lessons for people who don’t have the time or inclination to consume the product or attend the seminar.

19)  Book review or recommendation. Read the popular books in your market. Summarize it, then tell people if you recommend it.

20)  Announce an event.

21)  Give a special discount. Make sure the discount is one time only and that it expires in a set time window.

22)  Give a one time bonus. Tell customers that for a limited time, if they buy now they get a bonus. For example, anyone who orders in the next 72 hours gets a free email consultation with you.

23)  Have an employee or executive do a post. Have someone else from your company write a post. It can be a great way to give an inside perspective.

24)  Send a guest post. Have another expert in your industry write an email for you. Again, this is a great way to offer a different perspective.

25)  Analyze new ideas or tactics. Are there new ideas or approaches floating around in your market? Do an in depth analysis of the pros and cons of the new approaches.


26)  Find a problem and offer a solution. Go on forums and locate problems that people are frequently having. Solve those problems.

27)  Rant about something. Pick a topic you’re passionate about and just go on a rant. Be unrestrained.

28)  Give advice. Instead of taking on an “expert” or professional tone, try taking on a “from a father to a son” kind of tone.

29)  Write something humorous or satirical. Make fun of a popular idea, a popular line of thought or a public figure.

30)  Dispel a myth. Are there things people commonly think that just aren’t true?

31)  Talk about common mistakes. What trips up your audience frequently?

32)  Give X Top Tips. For example, “55 Tips for Better Web Design.”

33)  Give tips for specific locations.  For example: Fishing in salt lakes, shopping in local markets, making money in Asia, etc.

34)  Do an in depth case study. Take an example of something you or someone else has done and use it as an in depth example.

35)  Talk about news stories. Was there something significant on the news that may influence your industry? Talk about it.

36)  Do a multi-part series. Pick a complicated topic and explain it in detail.

37)  Give away simple software. Go to eLance or oDesk and have someone code up a simple piece of software for you. Give it away for free.

38)  Help people establish a plan. Guide people through the process of creating a step by step plan.


39)  Ask a question. Have them answer you by email, Twitter or Facebook.

40)  Offer a chance to correspond with you. If you have some free time and want to deepen your connection with your market, try giving away some one on one time.

41)  Do a mailbag. Have all your customers mail in their questions, then answer those questions in your email list.

42)  Split test. Test different kinds of emails and see which ones generate the highest open and click through rates.

43)  Try out a new design. Email out a website with a new design template. See how people respond.

44)  Ask them to be a part of a co-created video. Ask members of your audience to send in short videos. Compile them all together into one completed video project.

45)  Make a confession.

46)  Share your mission or vision. For your business, for the world or for your customers.

47)  Offer to help someone on their project. For example, if you run a business newsletter, offer to help someone write their business plan. Make sure you record the process so everyone can learn from it.

48)  Start a cause or movement, or contribute to one. People love being part of something that makes an impact.

49)  Do an FAQ post. What are the most frequently asked questions in your industry?

50)  Recap the most interesting blog posts of the week. Look through all the blogs in your industry, then recap the most interesting posts.

How to Set Up Content Funnels

In order to develop a successful content marketing strategy… we need content…. lots of it!  One of the challenges business owners face is being able to know what their customers are reading and talking about right now.  Historical data is good, but real time data is gold.  Here are some simple ways to setup content funnels so you can have real time data about your industry at your fingertips twenty-four hours a day.


#1 Make  a list of the top 100 influencers in your industry. 

This is probably the hardest part.  Coming up with exactly who your industry leaders are.  This list might change and evolve over time.  If you can’t find 100, start with 25.  But start.  Make a list of the sites your customers are hanging out on.  Try to identify sites that are not direct competitors but rather have an influence over your customers but complement your business.  For example if you sell luxury watches, a complementary site would talk about travel.


#2 Subscribe to their RSS feeds with Google Reader.

After you have the list of sites, or even as you are building it, subscribe to the RSS feeds using Google Reader.  There are many ways to subscribe to RSS feeds: email being one.  But you are going to want to subscribe using Google reader because later on I am going to show you how you can integrate Google Reader with some other tools so that you can update all of your social media channels with just one click!  So for now, add them all to Google Reader.  If you have never done this before it is very easy.  Just click on the orange button with two lines on it that you find at the top of most blogs.  It will open up into a new screen that will allow you to choose your desired method to subscribe to the feed.  If for some reason that does not happen, you might get a page with a lot of data on it that has the word “rss” in the url.  If that is the case, then just copy that url and head on over to Google Reader and there is a place to add it to subscribe to it manually.


#3 Setup Google Alerts with Keywords and Google Reader

The next step is to head on over to Google Alerts.  In Google alerts you can subscribe to get notified anytime anyone on the internet publishes something new about your keywords or brand names.  You will want to set up alerts for your name, your company name, your address, phone number, and other info that is unique to your company.  That way you can also be notified if anyone ever publishes anything… good or bad… about your company on the internet… almost immediately.  Then choose about 10-20 industry keywords and setup google alerts for those to also be delivered directly to your Google Reader account.


#4 Setup Twitter Lists with their Twitter Handles

The next step is somewhat tedious and not always easy… but well worth the effort.  As you visit the blogs, hit the Twitter link at the to and visit their twitter accounts also.  Follow them on Twitter and then add them to a custom list.  You can create up to 20 lists with up to 100 people on each list.  Lists are awesome because they enable you to be able to view all of the updates from a specific group of people without all of the other updates cluttering up your feed.


#5 Setup Hootsuite to view Twitter Lists in the Streams

The final step is to hop on over to your HootSuite account and setup the streams to view your twitter lists.  This way you can easily view all of the updates from all of your social media networks in one central location.  At the end of the day you have two places you have to log in to.  Google Reader and Hootsuite.  And those two places will have all of the updates for all of the top 100 influencers in your industry!


Bonus Tip: Like all of the fan pages of your influencers with your business page.  You can then setup the home page feed of that Facebook page to show up in Hootsuite also!


Do you have any tips?  How do you setup your content funnels?

Three Ways Small Business Owners Can Incorporate Content Marketing

One of the challenges small business owners have when beginning a content marketing campaign, is that they try to separate it out from their normal business activities.


Strategy #1 Recruit Customer Service

Your customer service is your greatest asset when developing content.  Take a day and answer the phone and by the end you will have heard the same questions asked over and over again.  If you surveyed your customer service reps what the top ten questions are that they hear you will find that there is a tremendous amount of crossover.  Nobody wants more work, and your under appreciated, over worked customer service staff is one of them.  To get your customer service staff on board try these simple tweaks.


  1. Change their title from customer service to Client Care Specialist or Director of Excellence, or Director of Client Relations. Make a big deal out of the title change.  Change the title on the door.  Throw a party.
  2. Begin a monthly contest to see which Client Care Specialist can keep track of the most questions from customers.  We are not talking about questions specific to a customer, but questions that could be formatted into blog posts.  Give a gift certificate to everyone that turns in one question the first month, the top 10 people the next, the top 5 the next, and then the top 3 from then on.  If you have a small staff adjust your numbers.
  3. Take the questions the Client Care Specialists provided and have a monthly meeting.  Have the questions written out and room for three main points to answer each question.  Brainstorm with the staff and develop the outlines of the content that will be written.
  4. Send the writing off to either your in house blogging staff or your outsourced copywriters.
  5. Have the articles written or shoot short videos to answer the questions and then upload them to your FAQ area of your site or use as blog posts.


Strategy #2 Recruit Your Customers

Pictures are worth a thousand words.  With SEO and online marketing, pictures and videos are essential.  User generated content is a fast way to not only get new content for your site, but to help that content go viral.  To get your customers to start submitting new content to you try these simple tips.

  1. Create a monthly contest. The funniest picture, video with the most views, or the picture that got the most pins gets the reward.
  2. Ask for picture submissions or create unique photos yourself.  Have a contest with Pinterest.  Ask everyone to pin the pictures to Pinterest.


Strategy #3 Create a Content Marketing Calendar

Content marketing calendars are essential to a successful content marketing campaign.  The easy way to start is to map out all of the holidays over the year.  The next step is to think about a special promotion you could have for each of the holidays.  If you can create weekly promotions even better.

After you have your promotions mapped out, see if the promotions can line up with specific product or market segments.  For example if your promotion is a camping tent at 40% off, then your content marketing for that week could be all about camping tents.


To learn about how to plan your 2013 Content Marketing Calendar, join me this February on a live webinar.  Sign up now at!

How To Set Goals For Your Content Marketing Campaign

Before jumping in to content creation, take a step back and think about your goals for your content marketing campaign.  The question you always need to be asking yourself is… What action do I want them to take?  No piece of marketing material.. from business cards all the way to brochures or direct mail.. should ever leave your desk without you clearly being able to answer that question…

What action do I want my prospect to take next?

Read moreHow To Set Goals For Your Content Marketing Campaign