Would you like more people to read your eBook?
That’s a rhetorical question. If you have an eBook, of course you want more people to consume its content.
Your first instinct is to probably spend dollars on social media to get people to notice your eBook. Those bestsellers you hear about have probably done the same.
At this point… I want to let you in on a little secret.
The authors of successful eBooks you see on the internet today began telling people about their eBooks long before they were released. They worked hard to get followers to know, like and trust them, and purchase the eBook if it had a price tag.
While they do use social media marketing for promotion, they initially resort to less expensive platforms. Every author can benefit from having a platform to promote their work. And for eBook publishers, it’s critical.
You might be surprised to know that one of the best platforms to promote your eBook is your own blog.
With the exception of your blog, most of the platforms won’t provide your eBook the long-term discoverability or online exposure you desire… and you’re likely to pay more for promotion. If your blog is already providing great benefits to your target audience – and if you promote your eBook alongside – this alone can provide a platform for success.
But here’s what no one else will tell you…
You need to get creative and thoughtful when it comes to promoting an eBook through a blog.
The point is to illustrate that not many people are going to come across your eBook if you’re just going to promote it via blog posts, which is what most people do.
See, it is not the armchair strategy that will get you sales and downloads; you need to take full advantage of your blog’s functionality to draw in visitors.
Here are 5 ways to go about it:
1. Use the sidebar
Your blog’s sidebar has some essential functions varying from tag listing to promotion. With an effective placement of your eBook in this space, you can benefit from more downloads and finally lift your monetization/promotion efforts off the ground.
But that’s easier said than done, because readers may ignore it for advertising; advertising is studiously avoided by the modern internet user. Here’s what you can do to make sure the eBook gets noticed while it’s placed in the sidebar:
• Create a big widget: A widget larger than the size of normal sidebar widgets can do more of a promotion, by letting people know there is something important on offer. You can use a tool like Firebug to add the appropriate styling to your blog’s HTML and CSS while seeing how your modifications are affecting other properties of the blog’s layout.
• Make the widget sticky: Your blog’s content will be longer than your sidebar, which means when the visitors are approaching the end of the content they’re reading, they’ve probably scrolled beyond the sidebar. Not a big deal for them, but it’s important to you, very important. To avoid that from happening, use plugins like Q2W3 Fixed Widget and configure from your dashboard. Such plugins will make your widget appear like a sharebar.
• Highlight the widget: So by now you’ve taken into consideration the recommendation of putting up a widget in the sidebar and promoting your eBook through it. Take it up a notch by making the widget more eye-catching. You can do this by changing borders, background color, or another element of your choice.
Here’s a layout example:
You can just use one sidebar instead of two, and create a bigger widget for promotion.
2. Use pop-ups
Pop-ups are attention grabbers, and they work better if you use them well. They can translate into leads and real-world dollars for your eBook. The modern pop-up is less of an ad and more of a feature integrated into a blog, so they can achieve a balance between conversions and offering a good visitor experience.
With WisePops, you can get creative while designing a pop-up for your site and customize the size, color, overlay, and font before you publish it. Timing is going to be important as you don’t want to shock your visitors with a pop-up as soon as they arrive on your blog, but neither do you want the pop-up to appear after they’ve left. Here’s an example of a pop-up:
Define where and when you want the pop-up to appear and target visitors by frequency, source and browser. Check your Google Analytics to see the average time visitors spend on your blog and set the pop-up to appear 10-30 seconds after that time.
Add some credibility to the pop-up by mentioning the number of people who’ve already downloaded the eBook, or if your eBook has a price, offer it for a discount.
3. Use the scrollbar
Scrolling enables progressive disclosure of your blog’s content. When visitors arrive at your blog, they are immediately looking for content and use the scrollbar to explore the entire blog page. You can leverage this opportunity and present them with further options in the sidebar, such as an opportunity to download your eBook.
Research shows that users scan content vertically, rather than horizontally, so following the buzz around horizontal scrollbars and breaking the eye pattern can be disruptive to your visitors’ natural behaviors. Give an option to download your eBook with the vertical scrollbar on your blog; a widget can catch people’s attention as they scroll, making them stop to look what you have to offer.
User Testing offers its eBook using this method. As users scroll to the end of the page, they are presented with a widget offering the eBook. Here’s how it appears:
4. Use notification bars
A quick notification at the top of the blog page can serve as a great call to action for your eBook. Many blogs use sticky notification bars to display the latest events, apps, announcements, and more, so that visitors don’t skip any important information. Most notification bars are light, so they do not increase the loading time of a website.
An example of a notification bar is the Foobar plugin. It allows you to add a customizable bar at the top of your blog, which can be used to promote your eBook. Different notifications and CTAs can be displayed on different pages or a default bar can be defined to display on all your pages. You can also rename the plugin’s name to something else, or completely remove the name.
Simonblog uses notification bars to promote its new offerings, such as handbooks and applications. Here’s how the notification bar appears:
5. Use the blog footer
The surprise of seeing something being offered right below the main content of a blog can tempt the readers to take action. The call to action for the eBook can be placed in the blog footer to capture the attention of visitors just as they are done reading. They have likely consumed a decent about of your content and are in ‘explore mode’, so they can download the eBook to figure you out.
Use good typography and vary the footer’s size, letter spacing and weight to improve the legibility of the eBook link in the footer. Give users on-click access to valuable information from your eBook rather than asking them to subscribe to your newsletter before they can download or buy the eBook. Don’t shy away from taking an illustrator’s help to add a creative element that enables a visitor to break away from the necessary utility of the rest of the page.
SocialMouths has a great footer design and it includes a CTA for the founder’s online course. You can do something like this for eBook promotion:
Have you used your blog for eBook promotion? Can you think of any additional ways to promote an eBook? Feel free to leave comments.