Welcome to another update of the Authority Internet Business case study.
So far, we’ve talked about how to lay the foundation for a successful website. In today’s post, we’ll shift gears and take that first step towards monetizing this brand new business.
Whereas most Internet experts recommend spending months preparing for a formal “website launch,” I like to start promoting as soon as possible.
Specifically, I recommend Kindle publishing as the perfect mechanism for getting that initial burst of traffic and income.
To illustrate this point, I’ll detail the specific strategies I used to launch my first book on Amazon. Plus, I’ll provide exact numbers and an important lesson I learned during this process.
Let’s get to it.
Building an authority business is a very lengthy process where you’re spending money without seeing an immediate return on this investment. The one thing I’ve learned is it’s easy to get discouraged if you don’t get any feedback from your target audience.
One solution to this problem is to publish a new Kindle book every 4 to 6 weeks while you’re building up an authority presence.
There are three reasons why I recommend using Kindle books to launch a new business:
#1: You can get a surge of new readers if you use the five free days that Amazon provides through their KDP Select program.
#2: You can generate immediate income because Amazon readers can buy a lot of books.
#3: You get honest feedback on what reader’s want. (i.e.; If your book sells well, then you know it’s information that people actually like.)
There is no perfect time to launch a new business. I know some blogging experts say you need “XX number of posts” before you start promoting a site. However, I think it’s smart to post a book on Amazon and use their platform to start connecting with an audience.
To show you what I mean, here is the strategy I followed to launch my first Kindle book for the DevelopGoodHabits.com (DGH) authority site.
While I’ve published 30 books in the past, I’ve never taken the time to do a formal launch for a new book. Usually my “strategy” is to write a blog post, send an email to my list and post an update on a few social media sites.
However, I knew I couldn’t follow this strategy with my “70 Healthy Habits” book because I had NO existing platform to leverage. Instead, I had to focus on getting as many free downloads as possible in the five days that Amazon provides.
Here are a few things I did to maximize this promotion:
#1: Included links in the book to specific blog posts on the DGH website.
#2: Offered a free report to start building an email list from the readers and buyers.
#3: Added a blurb in the “back matter,” that asks for a review on Amazon
#4: Emailed the 100+ DGH subscribers to download and review the book
#7: Posted an update on Pat Flynn’s Facebook Group on the lessons I learned during the launch. (Specifically I mentioned the three Fiverr gigs that actually worked for me.)
To be honest, this was a lengthy process that took five hours of my personal time. But I think the effort was worth it because it generated that initial rush of downloads.
Okay, let’s talk numbers. Here is what happened during the free book launch and some preliminary results after the promotion ended:
- Book Title: “70 Healthy Habits – How to Eat Better, Feel Great and Get More Energy”
- Date of publication: May 23rd, 2013
- Dates of free KDP Select promotion: June 4th to June 8th
- Total free downloads: 4,627
- Highest ranking on the free charts: #149 overall
- Total net sales (after refunds, in all countries and up to 6/20/2013): 121
- Total borrows (all countries and up to 6/20/2013): 21
- Average sales and borrows per day: 12.9
- Revenue Generated: $284
- Current Email Subscriber Count: 185
- Total unique visitors since book launch: 337
- Reviews on Amazon: 8
I’ll be honest – I was extremely disappointed with the number of free downloads. While 4,627 downloads exceeds anything I’ve done before, I was kind of hoping for a number in the tens of thousands.
With that said, I still think it’s a good start for the first title in the dozens of habit-related Kindle books that I plan to write. Moreover, I didn’t expect the book to sell more than a handful of copies a day, but this book is surpassing my expectations. Finally, I’m happy to see that Amazon readers are turning into email subscribers. Another good sign!
Recently I read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. In this book, she described a story from her childhood:
“ Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.
I think the “bird-by-bird strategy” is the perfect advice for anyone building an authority site. Contrary to what you’ve been told, you won’t achieve instant riches from an online business. Instead, you have to take it day-by-day and look for “small wins” when you reach a specific milestone.
As of today, I have $284 in my pocket from one Kindle book. While this doesn’t come close to the money I’ve invested in DGH (more on this in a future post), it’s a great start because it shows that I picked a niche where people are willing to spend money for information. That’s an encouraging thought as I move into other monetization efforts like Amazon Associate products, mobile apps and information marketing.
Basically I’m building an authority business, bird by bird.
Let’s wrap up with a quick lesson for your budding authority business…
Nobody is going to come along and tell you when it’s time to start promoting your website. Instead, it’s up to you to take action.
Sure, it’s important to network, write great content and build backlinks to your site. But the real test of a niche idea is to put a paid product into the market and see what happens. Fortunately, we live in age where there is a small “barrier to entry” to making money with a new website.
All you have to do is follow this strategy:
#1: Identify a “hot topic” in your niche market on Amazon. (You can look at existing titles to see ones under the #20,000 sales ranking)
#2: Find a unique hook or angle, which provides better information than what’s currently published.
#3: Write a 13,000 to 18,000 word, step-by-step solution to this problem
#4: Include links to quality blog posts within the book content
#5: Add a free book offer to start building an email list
#6: Sign up for Amazon’s KDP Select program and give away this book for five days
#7: Promote the heck out of this free offer, beginning with the excellent list that Tom Corson-Knowles provides.
#8: Rinse and repeat as you build an online presence from Amazon readers.
Nowadays, it’s possible to make your own success with a new authority business. You don’t even have to wait around for Google to “notice” your website. With Kindle publishing and other user-generated content platforms, you can build a brand simply by publishing great information and leveraging these websites to get attention.
All you need to do is work hard and build on those small wins.To Your "Internet Lifestyle",