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Tapping into Joy and Disappointment: Lessons from Our Biggest eBook Launch Ever

Posted By Darren Rowse 10th of February 2014 General 0 Comments

Over on dPS last week we launched an eBook on Posing Portraits that has sold faster than any other eBook launch I’ve been a part of.

While talking with a friend about the success of the launch, he asked why I thought it had done so well. I thought I’d share my response here as I think there’s a couple of good lessons to take away from it.

There are certainly a number of factors at play that helped with our launch today including:

  • almost eight years of daily posting and building up a readership – this of course is the foundation for all we do and cannot be overstated.
  • a repeat author for the eBook – Gina, who wrote this eBook, has written two previous Portrait and Portrait Lighting eBooks and has contributed on our blog over the last couple of years. As a result she’s familiar to many of our readers.
  • a popular topic – portraits is a topic that many of our readers are interested in – in fact it’s the number-one type of photography that they do
  • a well-honed sales page – we worked hard on our sales copy for both the sales page and emails that we sent our subscriber list
  • a beautiful book – the cover and sample pages we showed of this eBook are beautifully illustrated and designed – it’s certainly easier to sell something with visual appeal
  • readers trust our products – this is our 16th dPS eBook. We pride ourselves on producing quality and useful eBooks and this builds trust/credibility over time.

But Perhaps the Biggest Reason Is…

As I was pondering our launch today a reader left this comment on our Facebook page:

Posing feedback

Then I spotted this comment just now on the blog post announcing the eBook:

Posing ebook feedback

When I saw this feedback I realised that probably the biggest reason that this eBook has been so popular with our readers is that it fulfils a felt need that many people have.

As that last comment says – most people know the feeling of seeing a photo of themselves (or others) that is awkward or stiff. This is a disappointment that we can all relate to as we realise that the image taken doesn’t really reflect the person in the shot.

On the flip side are those times when you see a shot of someone which captures their true spirit – feelings of joy accompany these moments!

At dPS we see both the joy and disappointment that many experience when shooting portraits and it was this very reason that we wanted to publish this eBook.

While at the time I don’t think we realised just how much it would connect with readers, now with hindsight we should have expected it.

Take-Home Lesson

Do everything you can to get in touch with the challenges that your blog’s readers face. What problems do they struggle with? What disappointments do they encounter? What moments of joy are they chasing?

Tapping into disappointment and joy is a powerful thing.

I think creating products (and for that matter writing blog posts) that respond to those things is a great recipe for success.

On a practical level this can mean manny things including:

  • identifying your own challenges, disappointments, joys (past and present)
  • watching the comments on the posts you (and other bloggers) write
  • asking readers to submit questions or identify problems that they face (further reading on one way I do this)
  • watching what search terms people are searching for to land on your blog
  • running focus groups with readers to ask them about their needs
  • running polls and using surveys to tap into reader needs (learn more on how I’ve done this here)
  • share your own needs/challenges/disappointments as stories on your blog (this often unearths other peoples)

The main thing is to keep putting yourself in the shoes of readers and let that experience inform your blogging direction.

PS: a Word About Manipulation

It is worth noting that tapping into the disappointments of readers is something that can at times lead to manipulation.

Playing on fears and problems and promising solutions is something that can definitely drive sales, but unless you’re backing it up with a solid product that actually solves those problems, you’re running the risk of manipulating your reader. Apart from helping you make a quick buck, it’s a ploy that doesn’t help anyone in the long run.

Instead of letting your readers disappointments inform empty marketing spin, let it inform the actual products you create to increase their actual value to those who buy them.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Darren I am running a personal Blog, So How Can I write about what reader needs?

    I am just starting so I don’t even have enough readers, Please reply

  2. Hi Darren,
    This post meant so much to me and I just pick something good here. For past 12days I’ve been so busy typing all day long compiling together my first ever ebook.
    I appreciate your effort in writing this, thanks for sharing.

  3. This is a great post and recap of what’s working well Darren! I love that you’re also allowing your community to tell you what they want, and creating exactly that. If that isn’t the recipe for launch success, I don’t know what is!

  4. Hi Darren, thanks for sharing this post. It’s really interesting to hear your thoughts on why you think the eBook has done so well. Asking questions is something we’re really trying to push at the moment on our blog, so we can figure out our next eBook step! Thanks for the tips :) e + c

  5. Nice write up darren. Great post and a lesson to be learnt here especially for new bloggers

  6. A creative product is not made in days or months. It has struggle of someone of years and years. This I hear in this post. In your extreme modesty you didn’t mention it straight but being regular visitor of your blog I have an idea how you reached the height of perfection with your long long struggle of more than ten years.
    Being a learner of blogging I do want to put my feet in your shoes but I know it is not symbolic in any way. The hard and continuous labor is leather of these shoes and consistency is the sole while quality is its glittering polish.
    Darren; thanks for sharing such inspirational post that really motivates me to start my ebook and never be idealistic to develop a product.

  7. I would also say you have a untapped niche. Posing for photos is something that IM’ers like myself don’t think about making Ebooks about all we are concerned with is making money online (so our goal is to sale to the salesman which is much tougher) I can see why your successful with your online efforts.

  8. This is great, thank you for sharing. This is quite important for my site. I really believe in your tips and I get many ideas for site of mine.
    I was just searching for this and what do you know it came up in my feader just then :-)

  9. Great post Darren

    In my experience when you solve a desperate problem with your product your path to sales is a lot easier.

    Combine that with the trust you created over eight years of daily posting and your results must have been phenomenal.

  10. One more thing…

    I’d try to integrate the customer language into the headline and see if it improves results

    Something like…

    Portraits: Striking The Pose
    Produce Amazing Portraits Even For Stiff and Uncomfortable Subjects

    Often when you mirror the customer language it increases conversion.

  11. I thing relationships and engagement play the most important role in marketing and promotion of anything. If you know the people in the industry, you can always get a good response on your future efforts and launches like the one above. Congratulations on your success.

  12. Nice post darren. nice lesson to be learnt here especially for new bloggers like me.. :)

  13. Darren,

    Hitting pain points does wonders for ebook sales.

    I think of the biggest problems faced by my audience before creating an ebook or even a single post. If I am creating I address some need, problem or unfulfilled dream which I know resonates with my audience.

    Power tips.

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  15. Excellent post Darren! words of wisdom, very inspired by your words, your thoughts. Thanks!

  16. That’s a huge success Darren, thanks for sharing this big event in your life. And I can totally agree with “Tapping into disappointment and joy is a powerful thing.”

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