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11 Ways to Convince Readers to Buy Your eBook

Posted By Guest Blogger 28th of September 2010 Blogging for Dollars 0 Comments

This post was written by the Web Marketing Ninja — a professional online marketer for a major web brand, who’s sharing his tips undercover here at ProBlogger. Curious? So are we!

eBooks are a great monetization channel for your blog. Unlike methods such as advertising and affiliate programs, your own products allow you to keep the lion’s share of the profit. But with this great power comes great responsibility. Unlike other monetization methods, with ebooks, it’s up to you to turn your readers from fans into real customers.

In this post I’ll explain 11 ways you can convince readers that your ebook justifies them pulling out their credit cards.

1. Don’t leave them wondering.

If a reader has to think twice about how to buy your ebook, that’s one time to many. Your readers shouldn’t have any doubts in their minds about how they can order your product. Now this doesn’t mean you should turn your sales page into one gigantic Order button (believe me, I’ve tried), but it does mean you should have clear and identifiable order buttons at the top, middle, and bottom of your page.

2. Give them safety in numbers.

People don’t like missing out, nor are they comfortable with feeling as though their friends, competitors, or colleagues have the jump on them. If 10,000 people have read your ebook and they all love it, make sure you let everyone know. Give your readers safety in numbers, and they’ll give you their credit card numbers!

3. Connect them with advocates.

Anyone can write testimonials, including testimonials that never actually happened — and your readers know that. But what you can do is provide advocates. If there are real people in the real world who love your ebook, ask them if they’d be prepared to openly share that with others who might be interested in the product. A testimonial from someone who includes their social media profiles and encourages readers to get in contact with them is going to pay much better dividends than a testimonial that you made up yourself.

4. Give them a guarantee.

Buying any product requires some sort of leap of faith on the part of your readers. You’re asking them to spend their money on something that, even with the world’s best sales copy, is an unknown. You can reduce the size of that leap by guaranteeing your ebook: “If this doesn’t deliver all that you hoped for, we’ll refund your money – so you’ve got nothing to lose.” The smaller you can make that leap of faith, the more sales you’ll make.

5. Give them a sense of urgency.

Perhaps an unfortunate reality is that we’re often lazy, or easily distracted in our daily lives, so you need to create a sense of urgency to ensure your readers stay the course and complete the entire purchase process. An easy method to achieve this is to threaten a price increase after a certain number of days. If they don’t act now, they’ll pay twice the price.

6. Tell them your story.

Whether yours is a technical book or a novel, readers will value being able to connect with you as the author. If you book involves the completion of a journey that a potential reader is about to embark on, and you can help them avoid all the mistakes you made, they are much more likely to order.

7. Don’t bore them to death.

If your ebook’s sales page contains as many words as your first chapter, you’re going to do nothing but bore them away from your page, and your key sales messages will be lost. Write your sales page as concisely as you can, then strip out 50% of the words — and you’ll just about be there.

8. Make it easy for them.

You’ve only won half the battle once you’ve got your reader to click that Order button. What happens next is perhaps even more important. If you ask them to jump through four more clicks and fill out 20 fields with information, chances are you’re going to lose them. Ask your potential customers only to do the minimum required to make your sale, and get the money in your bank account. If you want extra information, do that after the sale is made.

9. Cater for their preference.

eBooks these days are more than just PDFs. iPads and Kindles have changed the expectations of ebook purchasers. If you can, make sure your product is available in the maximum possible number of formats (ePUB and Mobi). This can be a great point of difference in a competitive ebook market.

10. Know your audience members’ problem and tell them how you’ll solve it.

You probably should have figured this out before you wrote the ebook, but you need to still convey what problem your ebook solves for a reader, and make sure this message dominates your sales copy. Your friends will buy any book you write, but the mass market will buy books that solve their problems.

11. Give them one thing to do on your sales page.

It’s very easy to hedge your bets when it comes to creating a call to action on your sales page. There should be your clear Order button, but you might be tempted to add a Tweet This button, or an alternative product, or even someone else’s ad! Unless you stand to make as much money from someone tweeting your book page, or clicking your ad, as you will through an ebook sale, then ensure your page asks visitors to do one thing and one thing only: buy your ebook.

Selling ten ebooks is easy; selling 10,000 can be a little more challenging. I hope these tips help get you going.

Stay tuned from most posts by the secretive Web Marketing Ninja — a professional online marketer for a major web brand, who’s sharing more of his tips undercover here at ProBlogger over the coming weeks.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. Hi
    This is great tips to sell ebook.I will use them.Sharing story and all points are great

    Thanks For Sharing

  2. Great Article. But I guess having an ebook like problogger’s require none of the above mentioned things.

  3. This such great and such concise advice. I think too many people get caught up in turning an ebook into this huge ordeal. I recently launched an ebook called “time management for bloggers with short attention spans.” Anyways, the point is not the launch of the book, but how it ties to many of the things you mentioned.

    1) The Story: I have ADHD myself so I gave the backstory behind that and how I’ve used it to my advantage when it comes to growing my blog. I think that helps people to relate and see that I understand the problem I’m trying to help them solve.

    2) Guarantee: This is so important. The more no hassles you are about everything the more people will do business with you. When I goofed on my first mini product I actually offered an hour of free consulting time to all the buyers to make up for it. I also think you should issue refunds without asking questions. Don’t drag out the refund process especially on a cheap ebook.

    3) Solving a Problem: What may surprise some people is that my ebook is short. It’s only 18 pages and I sell it for 10 bucks. But it solves a very specific problem which is why I think it’s doing well. That’s such a powerful piece of advice that solving one problem could make a huge difference for you.

    Thanks for a great post. Learned alot for this.

  4. All this apart, content still is king.

  5. This is a great post as I plan creating a ebook for sale. I’ve been working on building up email list, affiliate contacts, and so so on. But I did not know about ePub and Mobi. Thanks for such a great post!

  6. I personally hate ebook sellers who put up some fancy copy expecting the reader to purchase instantly when they see the buy button.
    Some go on and on about the benefits of the ebook forgetting that if anyone(at least those who care about what they spend their money on) is to make a purchase, they have to atleast sample the product giving them solid reasons to purchase.

    ‘Don’t scream buy from me’ and expect substantial sales.
    Good insights though.

  7. Hi bro,

    Right now, I am writing an e-book on Twitter Followers and I am hoping to release it on the second week of October. Still now, I haven’t done any researches on how to make it a hit. But after reading these tips, I am sure that I can make my e-book a hit in the market. Thanks for these tips.


  8. Hey Ninja,

    What an amazing list you put together! Number 4 is so huge…Offer Guarantees. When ever I see that there is a guarantee I’ll purchased the product with no hesitation. Guess what…I haven’t return any of the products back for a refund!

    Chat with you later…

  9. Great advice, Darren. Lots of times we forget KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.

    Now I”m tempted to add a guarantee to my book “The Eye Floater Solution.” It’s so important to look at the ordering page from the reader’s viewpoint and see what it will take to get them to click the “order” button for the format they need.


  10. Great post, just in the right moment as I’m trying to increase my own e-books sales. Thanks for the tips!

  11. I love this. I’ve got two e-Books and another on the way. These are tips I definitely need!

  12. Your post couldn’t possibly be more timely for me today, as I’ve just launched my first book and training package.

    I believe that I’ve integrated many of these ideas, but suspect that I should tighten up the copy a bit.

    Over the last two weeks, I’ve been telling the lead-in story, but a summary of that isn’t really reflected so much in the final sales page. The work is never truly complere, is it?

  13. I really like your suggestion of giving visitors one thing to do on the Sales Page. I’ve seen some sales pages that have adsense, external links to other sites and products, and even large advertisements for other products.

    I think it’s important to remember that if you expect one resulting action from the visitor, you should focus everything on that one thing.

    Great ideas here. Thanks for sharing.

  14. I like the point about formats. So many people are stuck on the PDF as the be all, end all. Giving more formats means a higher number of potential customers. Thanks, I will keep that in mind.

  15. Love the idea of including social media profiles in the testimonials.

  16. Thank you very much for this advice Web Marketing Ninja (too Ninja-like for a real name, eh? :P )

    I have yet to try and create and sell my first e-book, but it is definitely something I want to do once I gather a big enough audience.

    I think the hardest point can sometimes be “10. Know your audience members’ problem and tell them how you’ll solve it.”

    A lot of people create products without any real intentions. You need to ask yourself this question before you even begin writing page 1 – what value do you offer?

    Anyway, that is just my 2 cents,


    P.S. If anyone goes to my blog and comments I’ll be sure to return the favor. :P

  17. SecretNinjaCommenter says: 09/28/2010 at 8:50 am

    Love this post and love the idea of a secret web ninja – I hope he or she will dress up in ninja clothing as an author avatar!

    Seriously though – as someone about to do my first eBook this was so valuable – thanks!

  18. Giving them a money back guarantee for 60 days or so and also some good feedback from other real users will work most of the time.

  19. Great list of ideas, thanks!

    To clarify #11, are you saying it is best not to include a Tweetmeme button, even though it might help to get the word out? Focus on closing the sale? Would the same hold true for a namesqueeze page for a free ebook?

  20. Wooohoo, this is a great checklist. Thank you. I’m launching my first ebook – Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps – next month. Very exciting and I’m just thrashing out the landing page now. I’ve got everything mentioned here so that’s wonderful to hear I’m planning things right.

    There are a couple of other things I’m considering:

    a. Video – a 2 minute video could be quite compelling if done right.
    b. split testing two different pages so I can see which one best persuades people to buy.

  21. Web Marketing Ninja says: 09/28/2010 at 11:34 am

    Hi All,

    Glad you’re enjoying the post. I’m hoping to share some more thoughts over the next few weeks, and if you’re still enjoying that — I’ll keep going.

    I hope you’re all okay with the cloak and dagger stuff, but by doing this, I can be so much more open and transparent in my posts (and not get in trouble) — and that’s more important to me than building a name for myself.

    Picking up a really good point about the ‘tweet this’ button on the sales page. What I’ve done is put a really strong tweet this button on the order confirmation page, rather than the sales page.

    There’s another reason for this ‘aside from the do one thing only’ approach, and that’s you’re suggested tweets can contain stronger social proof of orders, not awareness.

    For example: “Just ordered X widget, can’t wait for it to arrive ” is a lot stronger than “Thinking about ordering X widget, anyone else own one?”

    You might get less overall tweets, but you’ll protect your sales page, and the tweets you get will have more impact — win win


    Web Marketing Ninja.

  22. Web Marketing Ninja says: 09/28/2010 at 11:39 am

    @Annabel Candy — split testing can be a thing of beauty, but it can also be a real minefield.

    One of the posts I’ll be putting up in the forthcoming weeks will cover that in a lot of detail.

  23. These are great tips! Several months ago (or was it a year ago?) I decided to create my very first eBook. Only recently did I decide to finally take action and do it. I’ve been putting it off for too long. If I don’t get it out of the way now, it will never happen.

    I’m currently in the process of making my sales page. This advice is sure to help!


  24. Wonderful, simple, and straightforward advice! I’m going to bookmark this post for reference when I begin writing my ebook in the next few weeks.

    For a lot of writers I know, the actual writing of the ebook isn’t the problem – it’s the selling. Making your sales page have a single actionable item, giving your readers a guarantee and implementing the most stripped-down check-out process possible are items that I’ll be paying close attention to when I launch my book in a few months. Thanks!

  25. Great points. I currently working on my Ebook, and I’m trying to take a different approach from most. Thanks for the advice.

  26. I think telling potential buyers your story is powerful. It’s amazing how we all like reading about personal stories. I know I do. And if you are selling your ebook from a blog page, I would think a ‘soft-sell’ sales page is better.


  27. Really great tips. Selling your own ebook is not that easy as you’ll have to do everything to convince potential buyers to buy. But if your effort converts at the end of the day – success.


  28. That’s useful info for anyone creating an ebook; you’ve outlined many potential pitfalls which can reduce sales.

    Another useful strategy, which might be contentious (and I will welcome people’s thoughts on this) is to create hype a couple of months before you release your ebook for sale. I’m not talking about going overboard or lying, but building some excitement and enthusiasm around your project is a great way to get people flexing the plastic when it is released.

    Blog about it, tweet it, share it in your newsletters and keep reminding your readers what problem you are going to solve for them before you’ve even written it!

    My own experience of building momentum before a launch (not of an ebook, of an event) bought about a lot of interest and meant that when the launch day came, most of the work had been done already.

  29. Great post!
    Simple but clear.

    I like #6-Tell them your story.
    Truly people want to connect with anybody who has gone the path they are about to embark on because they want to avoid any mistakes as much as possible.

    Thanks for sharing.

  30. These are some great tips for selling an ebook. Probably my favorite is not to bore them to death. I think a lot of us spend so much time trying to get our messages across just right that we forget the sales page is just too damn long.

  31. Great Post!
    Simple but very clear

    I like #6-Tell them your story.
    Truly, people want to connect with someone who has gone the path they are about to embark on because they want to avoid mistakes as much as possible.

    Thanks for sharing

  32. Thanks for these great tips. I never knew how easy it truly is to publish a book on Kindle until you mentioned it.

  33. Ironically, I am almost done with an ebook I’m working on.

    I will keep these tips handy!


  34. Thanks! This post is very timely for me as I’m launching my first e-book this month: Yoga Man vs. The Stressor – Yoga for Boys Coloring Book and Classroom Games.

    A few questions I have:

    – for article point #2 – what if you don’t have any sales yet? What to do for a brand new product?

    – do people usually give it away free to other people in their blogging niche to get testimonials?

    – what kind of add-ons make the sale irresistible? I’m thinking of adding a free tele-conference as a special offer and then using the recording as a value add on for later? Any tips on adding on product to make the sale?

    Thanks again for these ideas – they were really great to help get started.

  35. Love the part about the guarantee. Offering a free sample helps too.

  36. Yep, definitely stay away from placing other peoples ads on your sales pages, this is so annoying!

    All the other points are top class to, make things simple & be genuine and you’ll have best results!

  37. Great advice, works for me. I love selling ebooks and what they’re doing to the world of publishing.

  38. If we try to give them urgency thing, but in this way they will think that book will get saturated if it goes to many hands, is it so ?

  39. Some good points but I’m struggling with 5, creating urgency. Threats are not nice. The kind of urgency you are suggesting is manipulative, not authentic. What about meeting an urgent need instead?

  40. Web Marketing Ninja says: 09/29/2010 at 12:09 pm

    @Barbsawyers – threaten is a harsh word — and not one I’d use in my copy — but when push comes to shove, that’s what your doing when you’re attempting to create a sense of urgency.

    I do see what your saying about the non authentic nature of it — and perhaps your right, but I’ve seen time and time again, more than double the sales when you can achieve that motivational urgency response.

  41. agree with those points highlighted. In order to encourage readers to buy our ebook, we need to engage them and call for action. if my topic is about how to make money with adsense, then I need to provide readers with some basic knowledge of what is adsene and bring them thought the several ways to make money with adsense.

  42. @Barbsawyers: I think “threat” was an unfortunate word choice. Urgency isn’t really a threat, it’s a reward. Act now and “be the first”, ‘get a better price,” etc.

    @Ninja: there’s a few typos in your attribution link. Shhh..

    I like the “tweet the confirmation” idea…

  43. Great Tips, and they apply to other online sales than eBooks also!


  44. Web Marketing Ninja says: 09/30/2010 at 2:13 pm

    @jodi typos are my specialty :)

  45. Some good points, but you can never say with certainty what will make people buy. How do you really explain the benefits of the ebook other than through testimonials? I guess emotion has a great role to play here and how we are able to tap into the target user’s emotions.

    I am trying, trying is the key word here, to promote the benefits of The Success Manual, which contains concise summaries of 100+ greatest business and self-help books and more stuff.

  46. Darren more important than all is that your product should be realted to the content on your blog, Its really easy for you to build trust then, you cant sell a health related product on a security blog

    Anyways Thanks for such a nice information, The way you explain it is very unique and awesome

    Free orkut themes

  47. Am hoping that the 3rd reprint of my book will be digital, so this is a most interesting post

  48. Thanks for the great advice.
    I am writing my first e-book and I am trying to sell affiliate ones to help finance my writing. The only problem is that he controls the sales page.
    All the mistakes you mention he does very well.Yes he has a great book that I write about and get tremendous clicks but no sales.
    I sent a copy to him and want to see what he will do.
    What else would you do?
    Thank you so much.
    Thee Quest For Perfect Health

  49. What a great post on how to sell your ebook. It always appear easy to put it all together but the marketing of an ebook can be truly challenging. Thanks for the excellent tips…

  50. Great list! I especially like the points about offering multiple formats and only giving one option on the sales page.

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