By Robert W. Bly
Before the Internet, there was a niche in mail order marketing that involved selling books on how to get rich in mail order, the audience primarily composed of business opportunity seekers.
Now the Internet has created an equivalent market of people who want to get rich on the Internet, and an equivalent niche: selling e-books on how to make money writing and selling e-books.
Most oŁ these e-books are specifically on how to make money on the Internet, and deal with various aspects of selling information online. A few are on more general marketing and selling topics. Hardly any deal with subjects outside of business and business opportunities.
The business model works as follows: You write an e-book on a topic of interest to your potential buyers (Internet millionaire wanna-be's) and format it as a downloadable PDF file.
Next, you write a long, powerful sales letter to sell the e-book and post it on the Web as a microsite. Unlike conventional Web sites, which have a lot of buttons and clicking options, the only thing you can do on a microsite for a single e-book is read the sales copy and, if interested, order the product.
(E-books are typically covered by a 30-day money back guarantee. Even though the product can't be "returned," anyone who says they are dissatisfied gets a refund.)
Finally, you drive traffic to the e-book site through a variety of promotional methods, including ads and articles in other people's e-zines, announcements in your own e-tine, banner advertising, co-registrations, cost per acquisition (CPA) deals, making affiliate deals with other online marketers, and sending e-mails to your house file (renting a traditional opt-in list does not typically work for e-book offers because oŁ the high cost).
An "affiliate deal" involves arranging with another online marketer to sell your e-book to his audience in exchange for a cut of the revenue ranging from 30% to 50%. "Affiliates are my most successful method of selling e-books," says Joe Vitale, author of numerous e-books including the best-selling Hypnotic Writing (www.hypnoticwriting.com). Vitale recommends searching the Internet for online marketers who sell other people's products on their site.
"Recruiting people who buy your e-book and love it is the best way to get affiliates," says Fred Gleek, an online information marketer (www.seminarexpert.com). Include a section in every e-book explaining how the buyer can become an affiliate and sell your e-book to his audience.
"With a new e-book, your own list represents the absolute best way to sell a whole lot of e-books really, really fast," says e-book author Jim Edwards, "People who have bought from you before are highly likely to buy again."
The "model" for this genre of "how to get rich online by selling e-books on how to write and sell e--books" is eBook Secrets Exposed (www.ebooksecretsexposed.com) by Jim Edwards and David Garfinkel (www.hypnoticwriting.com).
Edwards makes a handsome living writing and selling e-books; he has sold 5,000 copies of various e-book titles ranging from $29 to $49 over the last 12 months. Keep in mind that the manufacturing and shipping costs for e-books is zero, which is what makes them such an attractive, profitable information product.
"I have two e-books that each generate $10,000 to $12,000 gross each per month," says Edwards. "Another does $3,000 per month in sales, and two others generate $1,200 per month each. One e-Book sold $43,000 in 30 days."
What topics works best? "Topics that address an urgent need that the prospect is aware of, and that you can market to pre-formed Internet groups of prospects," says Garfinkle. "These groups are usually composed of e-tine subscribers are an affinity groups that spends a lot of time on a single Web site or discussion groups that allows production promotion. " He says that e-books on marketing and big-ticket consumer item topics (e.g., how to negotiate the best price for a car, or how to buy or sell your house) work well.
And what won't sell in the e-book marketplace? "Informative, even valuable topics around which there is no pressing need most of the time," says Garrfinkle.
He recently advised another online marketer not to go forward with a planned e-book for junior executives on how to sell their ideas to others. The reason? He couldn't find an interested community on the Web of junior managers that have spent money on career-improving topics. "Also, except in rare situations, most junior managers don't feel urgency about selling their ideas to others," David notes.
A word of caution to the buyer: Some e-books are quickly compiled, shoddily researched, recycled trash, and a rip-off of their S 19 or $29 selling price. Reason: The barriers to entry in e-book marketing are so low, anyone can do it. And so the market is flooded with thin PDF documents written by amateurs hoping to make a quick book.
Your best bet if you want to buy and read marketing e-books: Buy from the proven authors mentioned in this article - Jim Edwards, David Garfinkel, Fred Gleek, Joe Vitale - as well as other known experts in entrepreneurial online marketing including Terry Dean, Corey Rudel, Jeffrey Lant, and Jim Straw.
About the author:
Robert W. Bly is a freelance copywriter and the author of more than 50 books including The Complete Mot's Guide to Direct Marketing (Alpha). His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his Web site address is www.bly.com.