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How to Turn Your Ebook Into a Conversion Booster

by Sharon Hurley Hall

There’s a lot of hype around ebooks. Depending on your perspective, they are either going to save or ruin the publishing industry.  What isn’t hype, though, is that ebook sales have overtaken print sales because people are downloading them in record numbers.

That’s good news for writers, but what about marketers? Can an ebook actually drive conversions?

The growing number of marketers using ebooks is continuing to rise—from 51% in 2012 to 64% in 2013—which suggests yes.

The rising popularity of ebooks is probably one reason for that. But don’t forget about the growing use of mobile devices. That also has a part to play in making ebooks essential for today’s conversion-minded marketer.

How to Improve Conversions on Your Ebook

Image: Pixabay

As a writer, I’ve seen more requests for ebooks this past year than during any other in my writing career. The key question for marketers is how to make ebooks convert so that you meet your goals, get more leads and win more sales. Here are some tips on turning your ebooks into conversion magnets.

Ebook Format Choices

If people can’t read your ebook easily, they will stop reading and go elsewhere. That’s why it’s worth considering an alternative to the ubiquitous PDF.

Sure, it’s a useful cross-platform format, but as Readz points out, some PDFs just don’t look good on mobile devices, which is where many people read them. That means a poor user experience featuring issues like:

  • the inability to see text and images at the right size or with the right focus
  • difficulty in scrolling among content
  • inability to search content easily

You also have the ability to create your ebook in a format that works with the various e-readers, such as EPUB or MOBI, but even those won’t work with every device unless you download an app.

There’s also HTML5, which works well for some publications. This means that people can access your content easily whether they are using mobile devices or a desktop browser. It may not be right for every ebook, but it’s worth thinking about.

Pro tip: If you make it easy for people to read your ebook, you increase your chances of conversion. So take the time to format your ebook correctly for all readers. At the very least, create a unique layout for Kindle in addition to your PDF or print layout.

Cover Considerations

One of the most important things you can do to boost signups for and downloads of your ebook is have a killer cover.

According to Book Marketing Magazine, the right cover creates a great first impression, makes people take a second look, and showcases value. It’s the part of the ebook that makes that initial connection with the customer, so you have to get it right.

As the Future of Ink points out, that means paying attention to titles (more on those in a moment), branding and images. Of course, you can play with your brand, too, as Crazy Egg does with the cover of this ebook on images. (By the way, if I say so myself, that article is a great resource for helping you find the right image to anchor a compelling ebook cover.)

People don’t want to have to squint to read the title of your ebook, so make sure you choose a legible font, which is visible from several feet away when it’s at the normal size. Roger Packer has a good guide to get you started.

Finally, make sure you have a killer title. As Scott Martin points out, the title is one of the best ways to persuade people to read further. Use our tips on writing winning headlines to come up with an ebook title that makes people want to click. If necessary, use the sub-title to give a bit more detail and have a second chance of winning the click.

Using Your Ebook to Win More Conversions

One of the best places to include a call to action is within your ebook itself. If people click, it gives you another chance to connect with them. Some authors do this really well, with calls to action which:

  • point readers to a second ebook
  • send them to a website for supplementary content that adds value to the ebook
  • invite them to sign up for a mailing list
  • ask for a review

If you don’t ask, you don’t get, so don’t waste those pages at the end of your ebook.

What might that look like? Check out the last few pages of our Crazy Egg ebooks. You’ll see something like this:

ebook cta

Marketing Your Ebook

That tip aside, you can also make your ebook convert better with some savvy marketing.

A good starting point is a landing page for your ebook download. There’s a lot of good advice on creating landing pages on the Crazy Egg blog, including this article by Neil Patel: 4 Landing Page Hacks That Create a Flood of Conversions.

Things to include on your landing page include:

  • the blurb –  since ebooks don’t really have a back cover, you can use this short, enticing description of the content on your landing page and marketing material.
  • a description – highlighting the key features and benefits of your ebook.  That includes the problem to book solves for the reader and a chapter listing.
  • a call to action, of course, or a couple of them

Something like this landing page template by LeadPages:

ebook landing page

A regular marketing campaign will also increase conversions. Remember to:

  • Promote your landing page and your ebook on social media.
  • Write guest articles on the issues covered in your ebook; you can include a call to action at the end.
  • If it’s a substantial ebook, get influencers or advocates to review your book and send traffic and potential buyers your way. It’s no surprise that people who already have large followings find it easy to get their audience to download and buy ebooks.
  • Use videos. Slideshare presentations and even a new Facebook page to promote it (hat tip to Jeff Bullas for these suggestions).

Publishing a Paid Ebook – Case Studies

If you are publishing a paid ebook, all the tips listed above work, but there’s also another consideration. Will you get better conversions if you publish the book yourself or via Amazon? The jury’s out.

Jeff Bullas got 58% more sales when he sold his ebook himself compared with his Amazon sales. In contrast, Scott Britton got 125 leads in 5 days when he sold via Amazon, making more than $36,000 in profit. He recommends including multiple calls to action throughout the content to target the 90% of people (!) who never reach the end of the ebook.

Sean Ogle saw a 600% increase in sales by enrolling his book in Amazon’s KDP Select program (which makes the book exclusive to Amazon for 90 days) and using the promotional periods (during which you can make your book a freebie) to gain additional downloads.

Hubspot believes ebooks are an excellent way to educate leads, show thought leadership and entice prospects into the sales funnel. Are you using ebooks in your marketing strategy? Let us know how it’s working for you by leaving a comment below.

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sharon Hurley Hall.

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Sharon Hurley Hall

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer, university lecturer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website.

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  1. Bart De Pelsmaeker says:
    January 14, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Awesome post Sharon! You really summed it up here. And thank you for the mention, we are honored! A great user experience is so important to optimize conversions, and that’s indeed a core focus of us here at Readz. All the best, Bart

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
      January 15, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Thanks, Bart. I know you have a lot of great advice on mobile content optimization over at Readz.

  2. Darren DeMatas says:
    December 18, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Good stuff, Sharon! Love the tip about publishing the ebook in different formats. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to read a pdf ebook on my Nexus 7 and got frustrated trying to pinch and zoom to read. It’s hard to zoom into that perfect view, and when you finally get it right, it is time to turn the page.

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
      December 18, 2014 at 10:17 am

      I’ve had the same frustration, Darren. 🙂

      • Darren DeMatas says:
        December 18, 2014 at 10:34 am

        Thanks for responding – 🙂 I know Indesign has a great feature so you can export an epub and pdf from the same content. Might be worthwhile for some people looking to publish.

        • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
          December 18, 2014 at 12:09 pm

          Yes, and there are also ways to create ebooks with tools like Scrivener.

  3. Will Hoekenga says:
    December 17, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Great post, Sharon! It’s so important for people to realize that creating the ebook content is just half the battle. What you do afterward is of, at least, equal importance.

    Thanks for mentioning LeadPages!

    • Sharon Hurley Hall says:
      December 17, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Thanks, Will. A holistic approach is definitely best.

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