How to successfully market any product online

How to successfully market any product online

Question:  Hi Sally, I’m writing a book and want to know some strategies for marketing and selling it online.   Can you help? This is my first time as a writer so I need all the help I can get. If you dont mind explaining that to me that would be great. I’ve include a few writing samples for you.

Thanks, Nadia.

Answer:

 Hi Nadia,  I read the three excerpts of your book a few times over. You are a very creative and imaginative writer.  I was able to see vivid images in my mind’s eye while reading, which is a difficult but important aspect for an author. Good work!
 
I did find some grammar and sentence structure errors. I would suggest that once you get your book together, you work with an editor to polish it up.  This is not a bad thing .. even Stephen King has an editor. Like a diamond, the hardest part of writing is developing that rock – but even the largest of rocks take polish to make them shine. You have created the golden nugget, now it’s time to get it polished.  Once your have a finished product, you can sell your books.

Step 1: Your web site 

It is actually quite easy to sell books – or any product for that matter, on the internet and there are many strategies you can tackle to do this successfully.  I will cover some of the main fundamental points here that you can utilize to help get started and get your books sold.  

For a first step, I would suggest that you set up a website. It can exclusively represent your product or it can represent you, the author, and feature your book on it. My recommendation would be to develop both.. a full blown website for you, plus a 1-2 page mini-site with catchy sales copy that is solely dedicated to selling your book. Both sites should compliment each other and will provide you with some instant back-links and a nice navigational flow.  There are many free and paid ways to set up a website. The free sites contain ads, the paid ones do not. Naming your website is VERY IMPORTANT!!!! Before you get started, I’d suggest you read a couple of my past articles on the Sweet Spot Training website, namely:  “URL gonna love this! How to Name Your Website”  and “What are Keywords and How to find High Ranking Keywords”.

I do not know what your budget is for this. Our base price for a WordPress website is minimal and includes website optimization, SEO and some online marketing to get you started (something you don’t get with web developers). Included in our website build for small business owners and entrepreneurs, are hands-on sessions to teach you how to use and manage your new website, create pages, edit your content, etc. We also provide you with more information on marketing your products and your website on your own (something else web developers will not do).  Here is a list of our web building services:  http://sweetspottraining.com/website-building-services/

You can also choose to build a website yourself if you have the know-how. If you do choose this method, you will find our website is filled with articles on marketing online. Receive even more tips, online marketing strategies and webinars by signing up to our free membership. We also offer website building workshops and courses for the do-it-yourself types, specifically geared to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Check our calendar for more information on class schedules and times.
 
I highly recommend using WordPress for your websites. It is a free blogging website platform for setting up websites, is powerful to the search engines, has hundreds of beautiful *free* themes to choose from (the layout, look & feel), is super easy to plug-in functionalities to (for example: you can plug-in a scheduler, survey, testimonies, social media buttons, etc. with 2 clicks of your mouse – no coding knowledge required!) and using WordPress will allow you to blog and provide regular updates about you – the author, about the book and any new projects. WordPress is also the easiest website building software to learn for making updates to a website, where little to no technical knowledge is required.

 [box type=”info”] Adding fresh content on a regular basis is an effective marketing method to BOOST your website ranking in the search engines. [/box]

Step 2: Offer an opt-in to something of value

With this type of website, you will want to have an opt-in. An opt-in is a sign-up box that allows people to enter in their name and email address, and saves this information in a database for later use.  Usually, people will opt-in when you offer them something of value, such as a newsletter, a free mini-book, or in our case, free web building and marketing tips. Your opt-in tool gathers their information and allows you to send emails to your list, create newsletters, sales letters, provide them with updates, and market to them through email, among many other things. You create one email or newsletter and it will send out to your entire list. You then use your list to sell your book and to market (and cross market) any other products to. If you plan on gathering email addresses at all, then using a proper opt-in email marketing tool is vital to saving you both time and headache, since it not only allows you to easily manage and market to you list, it also allows people to easily opt-out (unsubscribe) automatically. You can try to manage an email list manually yourself but you will find it very tedious and time consuming, trying to keep up with adding and removing people. The cost of the email marketing tool we use is about $49/quarterly and is well worth every penny! Here’s a link to the web promotion tools that we use and highly recommend to our members, including our favourite email marketing tool:  http://sweetspottraining.com/web-tools/
 

Step 3: Determine how they will buy your book

Once your website is made and your opt-in is in place, you can link your sites to Amazon and other websites to promote and sell your book. As I mentioned, there are many excellent ways to market books online. If you want to sell your book directly on your website, one method is to purchase a shopping cart and merchant account. Setting up a shopping cart can be complicated if you are not technically inclined and there are legal forms to fill out and associated costs for both the shopping cart software and the merchant account. Sweet Spot Training provides full shopping cart set-up and website installation.  An even simpler method is to sign up for a PayPal merchant account and allow people to buy your books using PayPal. Keep in mind that they do charge a fee and take commissions. The initial PayPal set up is less cost and work than having your own payment processor but understandably you will make less profit per book.  Alternatively or in addition, you can sell your book on eBay, Amazon and other merchant sites but note that these sites also charge fees and commissions.

Ideally, if you are planning on printing hard (paper) copies of your book, you may still want to offer your book as an instant PDF download. As an added incentive to your customers, you can offer the downloaded version at a lower price to entice your web visitors to buy, since there is no associated cost to print. Even through a downloadable version stands the risk of being illegally copied and passed around, the benefits of offering your book as a download will far exceed the risks, since they will result in higher sales per unit.  Online spending trends tell us that people who shop online for books actually prefer downloads and instant access nearly 2:1, so making this option available is truly is a HUGE incentive and is  ‘highly recommended’.
 
Once your website is done and you have enabled some kind of payment system (PayPal, shopping cart or whatever) so people can buy your product, you need to market it.  There are many strategies to do this. Here is a link to Sweet Spot Training’s online promotional services: http://sweetspottraining.com/website_promotion_services/ 

Step 4:  Killer sales copy that converts prospects to buyers

One thing that is for sure when selling any product on line that can make it or break it is the sales copy. To effectively sell products on line, you’ll need a killer sales letter that entices people to buy. This is a style of writing all it’s own but can be learned. There is information out there on how to write effective sales letters but I feel the need to caution you to beware of subscribing to some of these self-proclaimed internet “guru” types.  They can usually write great sales copy and know how to pitch products and ideas that will entice you to opt-in but once you do, you’ll be spammed with product sales pitches while receiving very little to no marketing information.  In my opinion, a true professional does not need to trick anyone because they allow their reputation and the information they offer to help others to stand for itself. If you decide to hire someone to write your sales copy, make sure they provide you with their SCR (Sales Conversation Rate). THE SCR represents the actual number of people who bought the product after landing on their sales page. A decent sales copy writer should have no less than a 3% conversion rate. My typical conversion rate for sales-copy is 17%, although I have acheived over 50% conversion using other tools and strategies in combination with the sales copy. There are more strategies for converting prospects (web visitors) into buying customers but  too many to mention here.  (Stay tuned for upcoming articles on sales conversion techniques.)

Step 5: Pulling it all together

There are many other strategies I could write about – setting up a launch marketing campaign, cross promotion, paid sales, Google Analytics, social media, online networking, etc. but then I’d have a book! 🙂 I believe that I have touched on the main points here and provided you with a good, solid foundation to build your online marketing strategy on. If you  are interested, Sweet Spot Training offers full-blown marketing plans that delve into much more detail and include step-by-step instructions you can either 1) apply yourself or- 2) hire us to do for you.  If you choose to do the marketing yourself, you are welcome to read through our articles. Again, you are also welcome to sign-up to our free membership to learn even more marketing tips that will allow you to market it yourself. We also offer occasional free tips and webinars on our “Target Niche Website Building, Internet Marketing + SEO” group on MeetUp.com. You can find the link to this group on our website.

I hope this helps. Feel free to let me know if I can be of any further service.

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