Write it and they will come, right? There probably isn't an author on this planet who doesn't wish that was true. Thankfully, the digital age does offer one reprieve from the grueling trade of bookselling: bookshelves won't groan under the weight of stock you can't sell.
I could paint a picture in which you waste weeks creating a book only your mother will buy, but I really want to cut to the chase and help you avoid that all-too-common scenario. Without further delay, let's dive into the ebook marketing mistakes that will crush your dreams of endless lead generation and steady sales.
Mistake 1: You Create an Offering for a Market That Doesn't Exist
Are you writing a book no one will purchase? It's great that you're uber-excited about your book idea, but are people eager to buy content based on your chosen topic? Make certain there's enough interest and potential to earn before you invest time and financial resources in the creation and publication of something that is unlikely to sell.
Mistake 2: You Create an Undesirable Offering
Have you used a boring title?
Is your book's cover design dull?
Are you using the wrong distribution channels?
Is your price point too high?
Are your payment methods limited?
Is your landing page uninspired?
Have you failed to optimize your book and sales copy for search engines?
Is your book a part of a package with unappealing bonuses?
Is your content the best it can be?
These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself before launch day. If you think you have your marketing mix right and things still flop, assess your offering again. You may need to test the market several times before you get the combination just right.
Mistake 3: You Don't Develop a Solid eBook Marketing Strategy
As much as you'd like it to be the case, your ebook isn't going to sell itself. You also need to keep in mind that your book will contribute to your brand, credibility, and reputation as an authority in your industry. As a result, you need a strategy to manage every aspect of your marketing campaign so that it is rewarding both financially and professionally.
Mistake 4: You Fail to Define or Understand the Book's Unique Selling Point (USP)
What distinguishes your ebook from the rest in its category? If "nothing" is your answer, then you should ask yourself why you even bothered. It may sound harsh, but in today's competitive environment, you have to make a unique proposition to consumers if you want your literary offering to grace their virtual bookshelves. You need to be able to identify the specific benefit a buyer will receive that none of your competitors can offer.
With indie publishers flooding the ebook market in every niche imaginable, many authors find it difficult to pinpoint the single thing that will convince and convert. Many times, it's because we're trapped in a mindset that says, "I've produced great content too," rather than a mindset that says, "This is what I've done differently." Once you can make that crucial switch, you should have no problem identifying your USP whether it's a different perspective on the topic at hand, research results from your own experiments, or new information and advice no one else can offer.
Mistake 5: You Believe You Don't Need a Pre-Launch Campaign
Believe it or not, eBook marketing starts long before you've inserted your final piece of punctuation into your masterpiece. As with any product launch, you should spend time generating publicity and lots of curiosity before your book's release. Let people know you'll be publishing a book soon and start to build anticipation for its launch date. Spread the word early and you'll reap the benefits.
Mistake 6: You Don't Understand Your Target Audience
If you haven't thoroughly researched your target readers and written your book with them in mind, there's no way you'll get your marketing message right. Understanding what people want and why they'd search for a book like yours is crucial for developing an ebook that's not only marketable, but that people will actually buy. Make certain you clearly define your typical customer when developing your ebook marketing strategy and then use the knowledge you have to refine your sales copy.
Mistake 7: You Reach Out Through the Wrong Marketing Channels
If you're a novice marketer feeling your way around the plethora of online marketing channels, don't kick yourself if you've been making this mistake on your journey to greater sales. Even seasoned pros, who know that part of understanding your target audience includes identifying where they interact online, get this one wrong sometimes.
It's natural to want to reach out through every avenue possible, but this can be an expensive exercise if you're not careful. After all, you wouldn't want to waste precious advertising dollars marketing your new "Delicious Meat Dishes" recipe book on community forums for vegetarians. Therefore, it's essential to locate the right people online and start to build a fan base where they are. Find out their preferred way to interact with you and then leverage those communication channels efficiently.
Mistake 8: You Fail To Deliver What You Promise
All those lovely, persuading words have done it. They've convinced a potential reader and helped close the deal. The problem is your marketing message promises something your book doesn't deliver. Perhaps your intentions were lost in translation, perhaps your sales copy was pure puffery. Either way, your customer isn't satisfied and slaps a few cringe-worthy reviews online.
Does this make you a bad writer? It all depends on your ability to write, as well as the perspective of your reader. What it does make you, though, is a marketer who not only needs to do some damage control, but also needs to ensure your promotional materials don't declare something that's not contained in your ebook's content.
Ultimately, you have to think about more than the planning and writing phase of creating your ebook. While your initial focus may be on getting it out there, the reality is that your marketing efforts need to be in effect long before you type your first word. The mistakes listed above are just the tip of the iceberg, but by ensuring you don't fall into their traps, there's no reason you can't release and sell your book successfully.
Have you already made one of these common blunders? Did you make another ebook marketing mistake that has cost you dearly? Drop us a line and share your experience.
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.