Want to know a little secret about creating an e-book?
Actually creating the e-book – you know, the meat and potatoes work of writing, editing, designing and publishing – is only about half the work that actually needs to be done. The other half, is (or at least should be) spent on planning, promoting, selling and actually launching your e-book.
For many, the selling is actually the hard part. Most bloggers know how to create killer content and make an e-book, and if they don’t, there are free resources like Epic E-Book Creation to teach them how.
Even more established bloggers don’t always have an easy time with the selling of their products. When Adam Baker of ManVsDebt launched his latest e-book, Sell Your Crap, he left one of the key elements of selling until right before the end: creating the landing page. He talked about what happened in an amazing post called How to Suck At Launching a Product (It’s a must read for launching your product. Run, don’t walk to check it out).
Here’s the lesson Adam shared that I want to focus on:
“Thing I did wrong #4: Left the landing page until the last minute.
I hate writing landing pages. It’s an unnatural, but necessary part of the equation. I don’t mind selling, when I believe in the product as much as I do. But this belief alone doesn’t make me good at selling. It’s a big weakness.”
Quite a few bloggers hate writing landing pages – that’s why they can get left to the very last night, even though you truly believe in the product you’re sharing.
As Baker says, it’s unnatural. In the magical fairyland of blogging (and it is a magical fairyland, that’s why there is a surplus of awesome people), the act of selling can feel extremely unnatural. Yet waiting until the night before the product launches isn’t a strategy that will reduce stress or produce the best results. What if there is another way?
Write The Landing Page For Your E-Book First
Whaaaa? How do you write the landing page for an e-book before you even have the e-book done? Why would you?
Writing a landing page before you actually have a product removes a lot of the stress from the process. You create breathing room for your imagination as you envision all sorts of possibilities. All you have to do is start imagining them. Envision the ideally realistic product that you want to create or the gift that you want to give your customers.
Making outlines or using note cards doesn’t inspire everybody. Writing a landing page and telling everyone about how awesome the product is significantly more motivating.
What Does Ideally Realistic Mean?
Envisioning your product goes a long way towards making it happen, but you have to carefully craft what you are envisioning.
When I first started writing and directing short films as an animator, I learned that it can be really easy to go overboard. My instinct was to tell the most epic, heart-wrenching, gut-bustingly amazing story ever told. It’s a dangerous trap.
An animated short film is 1-5 minutes. An e-book is 20-100 pages. It’s not possible to include everything. You can sidestep the trap by steering yourself with these questions:
- Can you create the product you envision by the time you want to launch?
- Is there an audience for the particular topic you are creating?
- Can you deliver on all of the extras you want to include?
Reach For The Stars
Even though you need to be ideally realistic about your e-book goals, don’t close yourself to your best ideas. Set a few high bars for yourself to clear and stretch your boundaries a little bit:
- Choose some A-Listers that you want to interview.
- Choose some non-blogging industry celebrities to interview.
- Do something you’ve never done before like offering an extra e-mail series or video addition to your product.
- Envision a feature or benefit that will be absolutely unique to your product.
By forcing yourself to expand and grow in order to complete your product, you’ll be setting up an environment that will be conducive to achieving a state of Flow, or “getting in the zone.”
What Goes into an E-Book Landing Page?
You’ve probably seen a few hundred landing pages on the internet. Have you ever stopped to think about what goes into creating one? It’s not an especially sexy thing, even when you dress it up all fancy. You’re trying to answer a few direct questions for potential customers in a way that is going to excite them, help them, and hopefully encourage them to click on the shiny, “Buy Now,” (or any other call to action) button.
Let’s take a closer look at those questions for your landing page and see how they help you plan your e-book by answering them advance.
Why should a customer buy your e-book?
Knowing why someone should buy your e-book is even more important than what goes inside it. You need to believe in the product you are creating. By having that believe, you’ll find energy to fill your e-book with extra love and goodness and warm fuzzies. You’ll go above and beyond to create an excellent, dare we say “epic,” e-book.
Focus on the benefits that you will be offering in your product.
What’s inside your e-book?
What type of information are you going to be sharing? Think of this as the precursor to your Table of Contents. Your organizational style is all your own, but be clear about the content you will provide. You’ll be giving yourself kudos and bonus points if you organize it in a logical way. If you do, you’ll have the flow of your content already figured out.
What extra value are you providing?
There are many ways to deliver extra value to your customers. Extra value is the secondary content that comes with your e-book, to enhance content within the e-book. They are tools, worksheets, interviews, email series and training that build upon or explain the content that you are already providing. You can add value with inspiration, motivation, or by making it easier for people to take action.
How will you offer your e-book?
Can you offer your product in different ways or with different levels of extras? Maybe you have a “Basic,” an “Advanced,” and a “Mastery,” level to your offering. They can differ in price and in the value that they give. Think about what these different levels might look like for your product.
Who should buy your e-book?
Create a set of criteria for who should be purchasing your product. Define who your ideal customer is. When Everett Bogue launched The Art of Being Minimalist, he was launching a product to anyone looking to simplify their lives (very broad), but when he launched the Minimalist Business e-book (the amazing product that inspired me to start By Bloggers), he focused specifically on people who wanted to create a no overhead business for themselves on the web. Very specific and very effective. Aim for that level of specificity by defining the ideal customer for your e-book.
What’s your angle?
Creating a compelling e-product is very similar to creating a compelling story: your goal with both is to create an engaging narrative. Bud Hennekes did this extremely well with his launch of The Fear Gym: Your Fears Down For The Count. He took a topic that was relevant to his community and gave it a unique proposition that made it more interesting.
Who did you work?
Do you want to work with a partner in creating this product? A partner can provide benefits and challenges. It can mean a larger audience, someone to compliment your skill set and share the workload with, and potentially twice the knowledge and experience to share with customers. Choose carefully: a bad partnership can result in disagreements, setbacks, poor communication and a negative working environment that sucks the fun out of e-book creation.
How much will it cost?
How much do you plan on charging for your product? The benefit of pricing your e-book in advance is that it sets up expectations for yourself. If you set a price of $49, you will set up a goal of creating a $49 product. Most people are intimidated by setting any price for digital products, so they end up over delivering by a factor of 5-10x the value. They are seeking to validate their price and convince readers that they can’t miss out. I’d rather over deliver at a $50 or $150 price point, providing $500 to $1,500 worth of value, than to over deliver on a $20 product, giving only $200 worth of value.
How will you remove their risk?
Buying any digital product is a big risk for your customer, especially, first-time customers. What can you do to ease their mind and reduce their risk? How about a guarantee? You can include a 30, 60, 100 day guarantee (or a lifetime guarantee) to let your customers know that there is no risk. Make your customer comfortable with the idea of buying from you and make sure that they know that they aren’t out their money if they regret their decision later.
By the time you’re done writing your sales landing page, you’ll know whether or not your product is one that you would buy. If it’s not, it’s time to revise your current idea and sweeten the deal, or to find a new idea completely.
When you write the landing page for your e-book before you started creating the actual e-book, you leap two hurdles at once – you do the majority of the content planning that you’ll need and you write the content for your sales landing page. Bravo my friend, bravo.
Do you have any questions about creating a landing page for your e-book? Leave your question in the comments and let me know how I can help you!