21 November 2013 By Northern Lights
We are very excited! A month ago we decided to see if we could become an Amazon bestseller when we launched our new ebook, How to Write a Top-Ranked Business Blog.
And this evening we have done it! Just the day after our ebook went live.
A lot of people have helped us do this and we promised to share what we did, if we were successful. So here are the key points.
1. Focus your sales
When we have produced ebooks before, we have sold them in a number of places – on Apple iTunes, pdf from our own website and as a Kindle ebook on Amazon.
This all dissipates the impact. This time we decided to sell just on Amazon’s Kindle Store. We also signed up to KDP Select Benefits with Amazon which means increased visibility and publicity for your title and you make your book exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days.
2. Maximise sales on the first day
I attended one of Nigel Botterill’s workshops a year ago,on marketing digital content. He gave away dozens of inside secrets to his success – one of which was how he became a Times bestselling author.
From memory, I think with the Times it is the sales over a week that matter. Nigel focused all his efforts on sales on that first day – offering prizes and incentives, though you cannot go out and buy books yourself for this.
So our plan was all about getting sales on the day the ebook went live.
3. Build up expectation
I wasn’t quite sure about this bit of our plan – but decided to go with it! Innovation is not always comfortable.
We created a hashtag #SocMedX and announced our social media expertiment to become an Amazon bestseller and asking for help.
We put it out on Twitter, with the tweets clicking through to our blog about our plans, here. I thought it felt pushy – but this blog has easily been one of our most tweeted blogs. Some of these ideas came from a free webinar I watched by Alicia Dunams, on Write a Bestseller in a Weekend.
4. Anticipate problems in buying
Not everyone has a Kindle, particularly not our typical clients and contacts. However, Kindle has produced apps to download so you can read ebooks on PCs, tablets and smartphones.
Sandy in our office wrote this blog about where you find this software and how you download it for those who are not so tech savvy. We were then able to send to anyone who was having problems downloading – there were a lot. We tweeted about this several days before our launch so people could get ready with the software.
5. Build up interest in your network
In the last three months I have given numerous free talks on social media for business people: Yorkshire Mafia Business Week; Yorkshire Enterprise Network; Scarborough Business Growth Conference; HSC Leeds – and a lot of paid sessions for businesses including masterclasses for University of York; LinkedIn sessions for professionals and so on.
These were all people wanting to learn about business-focused social media – a perfect audience for our ebook. At all of these, I asked for cards if anyone wanted details when the ebook came out.
6. Set a launch day price
We decided to set a low price for the first day, to maximise the chances of sale. Our client Denise Howard suggested we choose a price that jolts the mind rather than get lost in the everyday. We were going to launch at £1.99 or similar, but then decided to go for £2.13 – since it’s 2013. The eventual price will be £8.13*.
(*actual price is set to £8.04 as Amazon didn’t allow us £8.13)
7. Proceeds to Children in Need
Sue in our office had been reading about the most successful ebook launches – one of which gave all the first day’s takings to a charity. The team suggested we give everything to BBC Children in Need – that made us all feel much better about asking people to buy the ebook.
8. Email all our contacts
We used this month’s ezine (enewsletter) to promote the blog and its special price on launch day. We included tips about writing blogs and links to a 20 minute webinar on how to win business from a blog (we reckon we’ve won at least £100k from our blog) and a 3 minute clip about the ebook.
Despite this newsletter being one of our most promotional ever, it has had the most clicks of any – and surprisingly especially to the videos on YouTube!
9. Social media to launch an ebook
As you would expect, we have used social media ruthlessly – and I am certain we would not have achieved bestseller status without them. We have a fantastic following on Twitter – 1700 plus – and people have been extremely kind and helpful. We blogged about the ebook and posted comments on LinkedIn.
Earlier this week, I was reading Chris Heaton’s post on Sheffield Hallam’s Inspiring the Workforce blog. He writes about how he ran 30 marathons in 30 days and gives his tips for what can translate to business. A key factor is to set the vision, visualise yourself doing it and believe in it.
In our case we all decided to go for it and everyone in our team added their own nuggets to the process. We had a real vision and pulled together to make it work.
Perhaps I should say that it turns out that although we agreed the vision and said we would do it – none of us secretly thought we actually would!! But that public goal made it work.
So there you go, no expensive launch parties, book tours or advertising. And all in a day.
But perhaps the most critical ingredient in this success was our fantastic network of clients, friends and contacts. People have been generous in so many ways – and we couldn’t have done it without their support.
Thank you – it is a great honour to be featured on the Kindle Select 25, see below, alongside Robert Peston and Sheryl Sandberg.
Interesting experience, I wonder what’s the long-term strategy to grow, or you would you just repeat the process?
Confess, the launch was so intensive, we haven’t got to the long term strategy. Tut tut! My thoughts are to do a monthly – ? – campaign on different blogging issues and see if we can drum up continued interest. The key will be getting interest beyond our network of contacts – I see that as being a sort of breakthrough moment and we haven’t reached it yet. Would welcome anyone’s thoughts or tips on this!!