Having an online business is an incredible opportunity. But the world of online marketing can be a bit… scammy. There are a lot of online business owners out there who are too close to the shady late night “make money” TV commercials.
When you’re starting out, many authors feel weird about selling. Partially because they don’t want to be associated with those scammy businesses. Also, if you’re not used to selling. It’s weird!
However, you don’t have to sell your soul to sell your books. With that in mind, here are five ways you can sell your books without selling out.
1. Put Your Audience First
The number one thing you can do to be ethical in your sales messaging is to put the needs of your audience before your own. In other words, focus more on what service you can provide than the money you can make from it.
This shift in perspective will make sure that all of your sales pages, book descriptions, emails, and everything else is created with the right intention. Most people need guidance to buy, even when it’s something that they need. It’s up to you as a marketer to give them that crucial nudge in the right decision.
If you’re creating advertisements with the needs of others in mind, you’ll sell to people who are best suited for your book.
2. Be Truthful
You must be an ethical marketer. You don’t want to be one of those who are always technically correct, but misleading.
If you really want to be an ethical seller, you’ve got to give the complete truth at the simplest level–like you would if you were talking to a friend.
We’ve all seen those scammy ads on social media and YouTube that say anyone can earn a million dollars in 30-days and live on some private island and generate passive income. When, in actuality, we know that almost none of the customers will achieve that.
With few regulations in place, it’s up to you to make sure you’re honest with your readers and putting your best foot forward. It will help you avoid some angry reviews from people who feel cheated. And it’ll help you sleep better at night too!
3. Tell Someone if Your Book Isn’t for Them
One of the hardest things you can do is turn away a potential customer. But if your product doesn’t suit them, you’ll be growing an audience of angry customers.
So make it clear who yourbook is for and who it’s not for.
It’s not easy, but the best way to build your readership is to connect with the people your book will most benefit.
4. Don’t Make it Impossible to Get a Refund
I’ve returned a fair few things online in my time, and there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.
If you only sell through Amazon, they’ll handle this for you (yay!). However, if you’re selling on your own site, you may need to handle refunds and returns (less yay).
With my software tool, Publisher Rocket, if someone buys and finds the tool isn’t for them, all they need to do is email us within thirty days and we’ll process an email ASAP, without questions.
This is a brilliant way to build trust with those people who may not be suited to your products and books now, but might in the future. Many people who return the software still frequently visit Kindlepreneur and there’s no animosity there.
That’s what you want in your refund policy. Make sure you offer a fair way for people to return a product they don’t need.
I’ve used products (I won’t name names) that said to email within three days for a refund, and intentionally waited until the trial offer ended to process my request. Once, this was even met with a “sorry, but the money-back period is over” reply, even though I messaged them well within the guaranteed period.
Or, there are plenty of businesses that make the refund process long and tedious with phone calls and surveys and all that stuff that’ll turn what should be an easy process into a convoluted mess.
Give refunds and give them fairly. And between you and me, an excellent refund policy will actually lead to more sales. Not less. Because it will give people peace of mind about trying your book and will help you develop a trusted reputation in the community.
5. Communicate With Your Readers
One way to make sure you’re not selling your soul with your marketing is to keep in communication with your readers. For most of you there will be a few straightforward ways to do this:
- Social media
What I love about email and social media is the back and forth communication. You’re not just projecting a message to the masses and replying to comments.
Odds are you already know the value of an email list, but if you haven’t started one, the first thing you should do is build your list. It can be a daunting prospect, and it is a lot of work, but it’s well worth it for authors. When you’ve got a list up and running, you’ll be able to convert a percentage of your new readers into email subscribers and market to them on an individual basis.
You don’t just send your email list sales pitches. Use the opportunity to get to know your readers and have them get to know you. Don’t just send an “I have a recent blog post out” email and expect it to work. Instead, give your email a conversational tone. Even though you’re writing to a group of people, write your email like you’re talking to one person.
When you send emails with personality, you’re opening the door for your email list to communicate with you. I always get replies to my emails and it’s a great way to get to know your list.
Another way to build rapport is through live video on social media.
If you have a social media or YouTube presence, you can use live video to have conversations with your readers and answer questions. You can even have a general ‘catch up’ session where you get to know one another!
On social media, videos have 59% higher engagement rates compared to all the other posts. Live video is pushed towards the top of people’s feeds and it’s engaging enough to stop people aimlessly scrolling through their feed. Live video is even better for engagement too, with up to 6x as many interactions as regular videos on Facebook.
The beauty is you can re-purpose these live streams and add them to your regular video feed. That way, those who’ve missed it can catch up on what they’ve missed.
Openly communicating with your audience will build relationships and remove a lot of the stigma around selling.
Ethically selling isn’t hard. At the end of the day, your moral compass should guide what sales techniques you use and how you use them.
Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash