When I published my eBook – “How to Design the Ultimate Home Office” – around a year ago, I made 32 sales within one hour of launching it. The total dollar amount was $318.
While $318 is not a crazy amount of money (I know some entrepreneurs who make 100 times as much in a single launch), I did that without the help of any partners or affiliates, and without investing a lot of money on marketing.
In this post, I’m going to explain to you exactly how I did it, and how you can too by following simple, straightforward steps.
Step 1: Find out what people are interested in
I never thought I’d write an eBook about designing a home office. In fact, I stumbled on the topic by accident.
Here’s how it happened.
On my other blog, The Couch Manager, I published a post about my own home office that I designed from the ground up using GTD principles.
For those of you who don’t know what GTD is, it stands for Getting Things Done, a phenomenal book written by David Allen about increasing your productivity.
A few days after publishing the post, I got lucky because it was picked up by the WordPress.com editors to be featured on their Freshly Pressed homepage.
Within 48 hours, more than 12,000 people viewed the post, and I received over 100 comments and dozens of emails from folks asking me how I did this and why I did that.
That’s when the idea went off in my head.
I thought that if people were really interested in learning about how to design their own home offices, then maybe if I create a much more detailed eBook about home office design, I could probably make some money off of it.
Step 2: Verify interest using Google Keyword Search
The next step was to find out if people were actively searching online for home office design tips (and specifically GTD) on Google.
The reason for this was that if the number of people searching for those keywords was not enough, then it probably wasn’t worth writing the book.
To do the analysis, I used Google’s Keyword Tool, which is a free tool that lets you check how many people search for specific words on a monthly basis.
I punched in the keywords “GTD,” “Home Office Design,” and “Office layout” and got global monthly searches of around 450,000, 22,200, and 49,500 respectively, which are relatively good figures.
I ran a few other searches and also got some numbers which were promising, so I decided to move on.
Just as a side note, I could have done a LOT more detailed analysis here using the Google Keyword Tool. In fact, there are hundreds of third-party tools, articles and blogs that focus on this topic alone. However, I only wanted to get a general idea at this point.
Step 3: Create an Opt-in Page
Opt-in pages (also called squeeze pages or landing pages) are simple webpages that ask people for their email addresses.
You’ve probably seen those all over the Internet, where they’re typically used to offer you free reports or webinar sign ups.
I had two specific objectives for creating an opt-in page at this stage.
First, I wanted to find out if people were REALLY interested in the topic. My thought was that if not enough folks were willing to provide me with their email address, then it would probably be harder to sell them something later on.
Second, I wanted to have an actual list of prospective customers who I could sell to once I was done writing the book.
So I created a quick opt-in page that looked like this:
Basically, I asked people to sign up to get notified once the guide was out. I actually still have that opt-in page uploaded here if you want to see how it looks like on my blog.
There are a lot of tools that could help you create opt-in pages, but here’s what I used (aff links):
- Premise: I used Premise for creating the opt-in landing page by using one of the preloaded templates that comes with it. [Note: Premise now comes with a lot more features, and is therefore more expensive since I bought it, so you might find cheaper alternatives elsewhere.]
- AWeber: I used AWeber for collecting email addresses. AWeber is hands-down one of the best email management software out there, and it makes it super-simple for you to just copy/paste form code into your blog.
I also created the header graphic at the top of the sales page by drawing it myself. You don’t really need one (you can use a text-based header instead), but having some form of visual is better because it increases the level of appeal. If you’re interested in creating a graphic on your own, here’s a post I wrote about how to create hand drawn pictures even if you’ve never drawn anything in your life.
Step 4: Create a Facebook ad to direct people to your Opt-in page
The next step was to get as many people as I could to visit my opt-in page so that I could track how many individuals would actually give me their email address.
Technically, I could have used any advertising platform for this (Google Ad Words, LinkedIn Ads, etc.), but I chose Facebook because it offers relatively cheap ads, and it lets you easily target people who have an interest in GTD and home office design.
Creating an ad on Facebook is a straightforward process that doesn’t need any technical expertise (click here to start one).
Here is the Facebook ad I created.
The target audience was people living in English-speaking countries (USA, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia), age 20 and over, and like the Official GTD Page or the #Getting Things Done phrase.
The total audience for this demographic was approximately 50,000 users, and I ran the ad for around a week.
I paid approximately $40 and got a total of around 65 people who opted in with their email address.
That was a good number to move forward with.
Step 5: Write the eBook & set up payment processors
It took me around a month or so of part-time writing and taking photos of my home office to finish the final version of the eBook. I spent a good amount of time here trying to perfect the book because I wanted to make sure that I provided enough value to the people who would end up buying it.
At the same time, I set up my PayPal account for accepting payments, and my shopping cart software (through E-junkie) to deliver the eBook automatically to customers. I also kept advertising my opt-in page on my blog and other venues during that time to gather more email addresses.
Writing an eBook is a lot simpler than it sounds. Here’s a 5 minute presentation that I gave about how to write and sell an ebook in 3 simple steps. Click play below to watch it.
And here are the tools I used and mention in the video (aff links):
- Bluehost: for creating a website for your eBook and blog
- PayPal: for accepting payments
- E-junkie: for delivering your eBook automatically to customers after they purchase it
- BoxShotKing: for creating a 3D image of the eBook cover in under 2 minutes
Step 6: Write a sales page
A sales page is a single webpage that convinces people to buy your eBook. It basically describes what your book is about, and highlights some benefits that your readers will gain from it. The sales page also includes the “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button for your readers to purchase if they’re convinced. Here’s the link to the final sales page of my eBook.
I used Premise here as well to build my sales page, where I just used the template they provided, and added my own text and pictures.
Step 7: Email your list announcing the launch of your eBook
A week before publishing the sales page, I emailed the list of people who were interested in the book to let them know that it was in its final stages (by that time, I had over 100 people on my list).
I also emailed them a couple of days before the launch to let them know when I’ll open the doors for purchasing the book.
Emailing everyone a few times before you officially launch the eBook will help keep your book on their mind and increase their sense of anticipation.
On the day of the launch, I emailed my list, and within the first hour, I got 32 sales at $9.95 each (total of $318).
I then got around 15 more sales over the next several hours, and a few more over the next few days.
The eBook still makes me some money on the side every now and then, and I still do a little dance every time I get the notification from PayPal when someone buys it
Would you like a FREE copy of my eBook?
I’m giving out free copies of my eBook for readers of this blog during the next 3 days only (ends Friday, Feb 1, 2013 at noon EST).
If you’d like to receive a copy (whether you’re interested in the actual topic, or you just want to see how the actual eBook looks like), do the following two steps:
- Leave me a comment in the section below, or on my Facebook Page, telling me what you thought of this post or asking me any question you may have.
- Send me an email to hassan [at] parttimewebpreneur [dot] com with your own email address so I can send you the link to my ebook.
Hope this post was helpful, and I look forward to your comments.