Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
Thousands of writers use our sales tool, Selz, to sell their ebooks, so we analyzed the sales of those in the top 10th percentile to find out how they are so successful. Here are the five most common tools used by our top sellers to drive sales.
Tool #1: Abandoned Cart
Ebook buyers put things in carts—an unwieldy concept in the physical world but the norm online. Yet more than 68.5 percent of all shopping carts are abandoned at the checkout (those fickle readers). However, the important point is that many of those sales can be recovered by simply reaching out to the buyer and politely reminding them that their ebooks are still sitting there waiting to be purchased.
If you’re running a blog and you’re using a tool like WordPress, there are abandoned cart plugins like Abandoned Cart Pro for WooThemes (about $100). If you’re using MailChimp for your emails, you can make use of a plugin like Fresh Relevance. And if you’re already using Selz, you can start sending fully automated and tailored abandoned cart emails by simply switching on the Abandoned Cart app.
Tool #2: Writing as Marketing
The relationship between writer and potential customer is intimate: it involves trust and respect, and having potential customers like you helps. We don’t mean Facebook like; we mean actually like you. To do that, the experience of our top sellers tells us you need to have an accessible opinion and tone of voice outside of your work. The quickest and most effective way to do that is to have a blog.
Writers who actively blog sell up to 17 percent more than similar writers who do not blog.
Firing up a free blog is simple with tools like Tumblr, Blogger and Medium, though you will need to integrate your ebooks into the blog as products if you really want to get the bounce.
But your blog is of no use if you don’t post to it. Our most successful sellers post at least three times a week and they recycle that content on their social channels (see Tool #4 coming up).
Tool #3: Accept PayPal
Yes, you need to accept all major credit cards. But 143 million people also use PayPal, so why push them away?
Adding PayPal as a payment option can increase your conversion rate by as much as 25 percent. PayPal has a host of integration options depending on how technical you want to get. You can use their standard Website Payments setup, but controlling the look and feel is tricky. If you’re a developer or you want to hire one, you can make a deeper integration with their Pro solutions or Express Checkout. If you’re using Selz, you can accept PayPal payments, as well as all other major credit cards, by just switching on the PayPal app.
Tool #4: Invest in One Social Channel
All our top sellers are nailing it on at least one social channel, be it Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. But running your social channels can chew up a lot of time. If you’re blogging regularly, then you can save a lot of time by recycling that content on your social channels. Some of the time-saving apps being used successfully by our sellers are:
• Autogrammer is used to schedule posts for Instagram. It’s a nice, simple service that lets you load up Instagram posts and memes for release across the week.
• Buffer is still difficult to beat for scheduling your posts to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
• We’re also getting good reports from our entrepreneurs about Australian start-up Canva for making great images and designs for your social posts with minimum fuss.
Tool #5: Email Is Still King
By all means gather Facebook likes, Twitter followers, Pinterest followers, etc. Get all your content out over all your channels. But remember, those relationship aren’t really yours; they belong to the social network and it will ultimately decide how you (and for what price) can contact them.
The same goes for marketplaces like Amazon or iTunes. They’re never going to give you your customers’ emails. The marketplaces keep those (thank you very much) and use them to build their business using your work so they can sell them your competitors’ ebooks.
But gather an email from a customer or a lead and it belongs to you. Period. You decide when you want to contact that potential customer. If you’re selling direct to your customers through Selz, you own the email addresses of your customers and you’re in control.
So the best tool on our list for successful sellers is good old email, and there are several ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your email lists:
EDMs and Newsletters
You need to be sending regular communications, like newsletters and new releases, to your mailing list. You can send the first chapter of your upcoming ebook, or the first few pages of your next comic or journal.
MailChimp and Aweber are both great tools for managing this process. You can use them as standalone services and import your email contacts from whichever e-commerce platform you use. And if you’re using Selz, you can connect your MailChimp or Aweber accounts easily by just switching on the relevant app.
It’s one of the age-old rules that your next ebook sale is more likely to come from an existing customer than a new one. Custom receipts are therefore a great way to use that dynamic. So when you’re saying thanks to a customer for a sale, why not show them the rest of your ebooks, journals or comics?
Again, you can do this through event-triggered emails using MailChimp or Aweber, but it will take some pretty gritty technical skills. If you’re using Selz, you can start sending custom receipts by switching on the Customer Receipts apps.
We understand that all of this sounds like a full-time job in its own right—with little time left for actual writing. But it needn’t be overly burdensome. The trick is to find a couple good tools from the above that work for you and stick with them.
Every day, we’re thrilled to see these techniques paying real dividends for our writers.
To get all the ebook and digital publishing news you need every day in your inbox at 8:00 AM, sign up for the DBW Daily today!