Make Money Selling Ebooks – Easy Passive Income Ideas For Bloggers
Over the past few weeks, I’ve released a series of blog posts that can help you take your idea, turn it into an ebook and launch it to create a new income stream for your blog or in your business. In other words, it’s going to teach you how to make passive income by selling eBooks.
I invite you to check out my previous posts on this series below to get a full understanding of the steps you need to take to write, format, launch and sell your first ebook:
PART 3: How To Make Passive Income By Selling Ebooks (you’re reading it now)
But here’s what most people do, and where they fail to create true passive income source in their business: they create a digital product, they have a huge launch for it, but once the launch period is over, they stop promoting their product, and, as a consequence, they stop making sales.
But the true beauty in launching an ebook is that you can launch it today and still make a profit from selling it months and years down the line (which is what I currently do with my digital products, and all on autopilot!).
Because that’s true passive income. But even that requires a little bit of work beforehand, and you can’t expect to just wait for the sales to fall in your lap without a strategy.
To help you make money from your digital products, and especially from your ebooks, I’m going to use this post to take you through a few strategies you can implement to make sales for your ebooks (or digital products) after you launch them.
But first, don’t forget that everything you need to write, design, launch and sell your ebook can be found in my Ebook Author Starting Pack below:
Also please keep in mind that this post contains affiliate links, and any purchase that is made through such links will award me a small commission (at no extra cost for you). I only recommend tools and resources that I truly love, use or otherwise offer as alternatives, and these tools are going to be invaluable if you want to write, launch and make passive income with ebooks. But here is how I do it:
Let’s dive right into it as I’ll take you through everything you need to know about how ebooks can help you create a passive income stream online.
5 Strategies To Make Money Selling Ebooks
To do that, I’ve put together 5 strategies that you can use to make more eBook sales for your that are especially useful if you sell it on your own website.
Once you implement these strategies, you can fully automate them so they create that you can make passive income by selling your eBooks, just like you dreamed. Because yes – it’s possible!
But if you’re looking for a full training on how to market your eBook, be sure to check out my signature online course – Ebook Bestseller Bootcamp.
Without any further ado, here are the 5 strategies that I use to make more eBook sales passively on my blog:
1. WORK WITH AFFILIATES
You have to understand that the moment you stop promoting your ebook it’s the moment it stops getting exposure. Sure, you might have to odd sale here and there from people stumbling into it, but you need active promotion and a growing reach to keep making sales.
If you’re selling your ebook on Amazon, they get so many visitors and searches each that the promotion is pretty much handled for you. But if you sell it on your own platform, you need to be more mindful of your marketing.
But maybe you’ve already exhausted your current audience, or you simply want to add a more passive strategy to your marketing plan. And the ideal solution for that is to work with affiliates!
Using a platform such as Send Owl or Teachable to sell your digital products allows you to work with affiliates so that other bloggers and influencers in your niche can promote your products for a cut of the sale.
I have a team of 500 affiliates that keeps growing and they are an essential part of my marketing plan because they get to share my products with their audiences, and in return, for every sale made, they get 35% commision. (Check out my affiliate program here!)
It’s like having a team of online supporters that vouch for you and your products (and all they need is a little monetary incentive!), and in the same time, they exponentially increase your online reach and popularity.
And, because the marketing rule of 7 dictates that consumers have to hear about a product at least 7 times before they make the decision to buy it, having multiple people in the same industry sing you praise is an excellent strategy.
Affiliates basically offer you word-of-mouth marketing, which can be so powerful, and because you only have to pay them when you make a sale (so when you earn profit!), you’re not spending any money that you don’t have.
So implement an affiliate program, reach out to people in your industry who you think would be a good fit and make it as easy as possible for them to promote your products (offer things like pre-made graphics, email swipe copies and more!) and you’re on your way to building your very own affiliate army.
If you need help setting up an affiliate program, finding affiliates to join, communicating with them and everything else in between, I highly recommend Zoe’s Affiliate Program Toolkit which includes everything you need to start + grow your affiliate program, from a certified affiliate manager!
But here are a few good practices for running an affiliate program for your eBook:
- Set up your affiliate program. Make sure the software you’re using to sell your eBook, allows you to track affiliate sales. For example, Send Owl allows you to do both, but you might need to upgrade to their $15/month plan. Other options are Thrive Cart or Sam Cart that you can set up separately.
- Find & invite affiliates to join. Start with your circle of friends that run blogs on a similar topic. You want to find affiliates in your niche, but be sure they don’t have competing products for sale themselves and ask them to join.
- Offer a generous commission. For digital products, the standard commission is between 25% and 50%. I currently offer my affiliates 35%. The higher the commission, the more motivated your affiliates will be to promote your eBook.
- Offer a few copies for free to affiliates. When you first start out, you might want to offer a few copies of your eBook for free. Affiliates that have access to your product are 10 times more likely to do a better job at promoting it, because they believe in the eBook! If you’re inviting bigger bloggers to become affiliates, you’ll also want to offer them a copy for review, because they probably pick and choose very carefully what they want to promote to their audiences.
- Provide your affiliates with banners & graphics. This is super important if you want them to add your eBook in their blog posts/emails and so on. So make it easy for them to promote it. I recommend using these templates to speed up the process and create stunning graphics.
- Keep your affiliates in the know and engaged. I run an affiliate newsletter that always lets my eBook affiliates know when I run sales when anything changes about my products, and I even incentivize them with bonuses and affiliate contests. (For example, my top affiliate last month earned a $50 bonus.)
2. CREATE EMAIL FUNNELS
You know when you promote your product to your email list and you think everybody already knows about it, so you stop because you don’t want to appear too salesly?
What you’re forgetting is that new people join your list every single day and they might not be familiar with all of your work or your products. They might not even know that you have an ebook. (And they never will, unless you share it.)
But through the modern-day miracle of email software (such as Mailerlite), you can actually segment your list and automate emails to go out to new subscribers (so you don’t keep pestering the old ones with the same news all over again).
And that’s where email funnels come into play!
Email funnels are a series of dedicated and automated emails that you can set up to be sent to new subscribers so that everyone gets the same emails on a schedule you set up (for example, they get an email the day they join, another email 3 days later, another email 5 days later and so on).
Whether you create a welcome email funnel or a designated funnel for one of your opt-in freebies that relate to the topic of your ebook (which I highly recommend creating), this will allow you to introduce yourself to your audience, offer value, build trust, and after that pitch your ebook.
So for example, this food blogger offers it’s readers a free eCookbook (<- this is what an opt-in or an email freebie is).
Now, I’m only assuming, but I bet their email funnel looks something like:
- Day 1: email with the free cookbook + a short introduction
- Day 2: value-filled email with ways to cook in batches
- Day 3: cooking tips for busy moms + introducing their paid eBook
- Day 5: a dedicated email promoting the eBook + the benefits of buying it (this is what marketers call a hard-sell because you focus on your product)
- Day 6: another value emails with tips + a little reminder about the eBook
Also, these emails don’t need to be sent out on 6 consecutive days, as they can be spaced out how you like, and I’ve seen bloggers create funnels that last up to 4 weeks (with just 1-2 emails a week!).
So not only are you building relationships with your subscribers before you sell, but having this set up automatically allows you to make sales on autopilot and introduce your ebook to everyone you come in contact with in a non-spammy way.
Even if they don’t buy it on the spot, people usually tend to want to support bloggers that they are loyal to, and just knowing about your product highly increased the chances that they will go back to buy them.
If you haven’t started your email list yet, click here to sign up for free with Mailerlite and check out my blog posts below to learn more about how it works:
- The Best Email Marketing Providers for eBook Authors <- find Mailerlite alternatives here
- Why Bloggers Need An Email List
- How To Start, Manage And Grow An Email List
- How To Create A Free Email Course In Mailerlite
My eBook launches are primarily focuses on my email list, so I recommend that every eBook author should start one prior to writing an eBook, whether you choose to implement funnels or not.
But trust me – they work, and they play a massive role in brining in passive eBook sales, so that you don’t have to constantly worry about making sales.
As a nice bonus, whenever your email list grows, you also make more money with selling eBooks!
📌 PIN THIS POST FOR LATER
3. USE BLOGGING & CONTENT MARKETING
Whether you are selling your ebook on your own website or on a platform such as Amazon, it’s still crucial to send high-quality traffic to the sales page and introduce people who really care about the topic to your book.
The easiest way to talk specifically to the people who have the problem that your ebook is solving, is by using your existing content (or creating new blog posts, videos, emails and so on) to form a content marketing strategy.
In simpler terms, that means you can use your free content (such as blog posts, Youtube videos and so on) to attract people who are looking up information about that particular topic and then introduce your ebook to that context.
For example, when I launched my Pinterest ebook, I went back to all my blog posts about Pinterest, blog traffic and social media, and found a way to introduce 1 or 2 paragraphs about it in there, along with a link or a call to action, where I simply asking people to check it out if they need more information than what I can include in a blog post.
The beauty of this is that because people are already reading that blog post, you know they are interested in growing their Pinterest account or blog traffic, so your ebook is highly relevant to them and you will get a lot of high-quality traffic and a way better conversion rate when it comes to sales.
A good content marketing strategy is to start creating content about the topic of your ebook or product BEFORE the launch, so that you attract a relevant audience. (For example, I am in the middle of creating a course that will help bloggers write, launch and sell their first ebook, and that’s why I decided to write this blog post series!)
So not only are you offering a lot of value to your readers for free, but you are priming them to buy your ebook and promoting it in a very organic way. Give it a try!
The question & answer content strategy for eBook authors
If you want to see good results, the content you create can’t be random – it has to be strategic and answer the questions that your audience has.
And those answers need to lead to your eBook – obviously.
No matter what niche you are in, or what your eBook is going to be about, there are always “how to” questions that your target audience is probably Googling daily.
How to use essential oils? How to train a dog? How to get a baby to go to sleep? The list is endless. And therefore, one of my favorite ways to research the topics that are on my future eBook buyers’ minds, is by googling it.
Let’s say you’re writing a personal finance eBook for single moms. Just go to google and type in “how to budget as a single mom?” or any question that pops into your head that’s related to what your eBook can do for people.
VERY IMPORTANT: make sure you add the question mark at the end!
Then if you scroll down just a little, you will see that Google automatically suggests a full list of related questions that people usually search on the topic. This information right here is gold!
If you click on the last question and then click again to make the answer withdrawn under the toggle, they will display more questions. Click again and you get even more questions.
Every single one of these questions is a topic for your next blog post that is going to draw in the perfect audience. So start writing! (On some blog posts, I even add a FAQ section at the end, answering multiple questions that Google suggested to increase my chances of ranking for them.)
So for example, I would make an entire blog post on “How To Afford To Be A Single Mom” offering valuable budgeting tips and money-hacks, and at the end, I would add either a) a short introduction of my eBook or b) an email freebie that will lead people to sign-up for your email funnel (check strategy #2) or both.
If you want to take it one step further, and research more topics that are sought after, you can invest in a Keyword search tool – this is the one I personally use and love.
They have a feature under Keyword research called “Brainstorm” where you can begin typing in a question or search term (I typed in “how to budget”) and they show you an array of things that people type into Google or Youtube or even Bing every single day.
Besides helping me come up with months worth of content, I also use them to determine which keywords are easiest to rank for in Google. You can try them for free here.
But the beauty of it – if people are actively looking for answers to these questions on Google, they are going to be relevant to your audience no matter where they come across your content.
So if you promote your blog posts on Twitter or Pinterest or anywhere else, you’re going to get an amazing reception from people who are then going to be a perfect fit for your eBook!
But don’t forget that in order for this strategy to work, you need to have constant traffic to your older blog posts. A really easy way to automate that and make sure that new people are discovering your blog every single day, is to promote it on Pinterest and use Tailwind to schedule or loop your pins.
Here are a few useful blog posts on how I do that (because I drive traffic to both my blog posts and my ebooks sales pages with Pinterest every single day without lifting a finger):
- Getting Started With Pinterest – A Guide For New Bloggers
- 65+ Ways To Promote Your Blog Posts
- Best Blog Traffic Tips From Pro Bloggers
- Three Ways To Grow Your Blog
And of course, if you want a step-by-step process on how to make that happen, you could look into mastering one of the following:
- Pinterest – grab a copy of my Pinterest ebook and unlock all the secrets I use to get traffic to my blog posts all year round.
- SEO – grab this SEO eBook for bloggers and get organic traffic from Google from the exact people typing in those questions
4. CREATE TRIPWIRE PAGES FOR YOUR EBOOK
Once the launch is over, the excitement for your ebook starts dying down and the scarcity goes away. That means people are no longer pressured by time to buy it by a certain date (which is usually the case with launches, where you can give away bonuses or have an early-bird price that expires at the end of the launch period).
That usually means that your readers or followers are no longer motivated to buy it on the spot, as they are under the impression that they can buy it any other time (which usually translates to them probably never buying it).
One quick way to rectify this, induce a little bit of scarecity and give people an extra push to buy your ebook on the spot is to set up tripwire pages. (See an example of mine below.)
Tripwire pages are basically pages that appear when a set action happens (I redirect people to a tripwire page when they sign up for a freebie on my blog) that offer your reader a limited time discount and offer.
For example, I give people an opportunity to snag my ebooks (or my other digital products) for $10 or $15 off, but the offer is only valid for 15 minutes once they reach the tripwire page, so they have to act quickly.
If you don’t know how to set up a tripwire page on your blog, check out this tutorial on how to create pages for free in WordPress.
I also highly recommend grabbing these landing page templates, as they have a pre-made tripwire page template that you can easily customize (along with 6 other templates that you can use as sales pages, freebies landing pages and more!).
Besides the fact that the process is fully automated, so I no longer have to do anything once I set it up, it’s a brilliant way to boost sales and offer exclusive discounts to people who might be wary of spending too much on digital products.
5. OFFERING DISCOUNTS / HAVING FLASH SALES
On the same principle, sales tend to be an amazing opportunity to promote your ebook to your list again, draw more attention to it and make more sales – because who doesn’t love a discount.
Besides my launches, my flash sales have performed so well that they have created spikes in my revenue and allowed me to reach those followers that would maybe not pay full price for a digital product. (As someone who always shops in the “SALE” section of stores and online stores, I can totally relate to this!)
So if your sales have stagnated, have a flash sale! There are numerous sales you can have and you get to decide what discount you offer and for how long the sale will go for.
Here a few ideas of sales you could have: a flash sale, a Black Friday sale, a holiday’s sale (whatever the holiday is, use it as an excuse!), a “it’s my birthday” sale, an “i’m updating the ebook and the price will go up” sale and so on.
Sales can be both announced and unannounced. You can choose if you want to let people know it’s coming or just spring it on them – both strategies work.
My best tip for running successful sales it to plan it out, get your affiliates involved, make it really clear on your sales page that you’re offering a limited time discount (have a banner with the discount code a rundown timer) and email your list multiple times during the sale.
You could also offer discounts to your email list or on social media from time to time, urging people to check it out and giving them a reason to justify the purchase. Works like a charm!
And there you have it! These are my 5 strategies to make more passive income by selling ebooks, or spike your sales if you’re having a slow month.
If you need more resources on how to make this happen, be sure to get access to my Ebook Author Starter Pack (it’s free), where I share the top resources I use to create eBooks and sell them successfully.
And don’t forget to check out the previous posts on this topic if you’re not ready to sell your ebook yet, but you need some help creating and publishing it:
- The Quickest Way To Write Your First Ebook
- How To Publish, Launch And Sell Your First Ebook
- How To Make Passive Income By Selling Ebooks (you’ve just read it)
The Ultimate Guide To Marketing Your Ebook & Increasing Sales
These 5 marketing strategies only scratch the surface when it comes to what you can do to promote your eBook online, reach your target audience and increase your eBook sales.
For the past 3 years, I’ve been perfecting my own strategy for creating, launching and selling eBooks, and I’ve captured it all in my self-publishing video course – Ebook Bestseller Bootcamp.
I’ve gone from earning $3,504 in 2017 by selling eBooks, to $11,512 in 2018, more than tripling my digital product sales with a few quick changes. And now I’ve made over $55,000 in sales (some for eBooks I’ve written 1-2 years ago!).
If you’ve published an eBook that you’re proud of, but you’re struggling to make reoccurring sales and profit from it, consider enrolling in EBB and learn how to turn that around.
Here’s what you’re going to learn in the 30+ video lessons included:
- How to come up with an eBook idea and title that will sell
- Choosing the best platform to publish your eBook on (Amazon Kindle vs your own website)
- Formatting and designing your eBook to meet the Amazon KDP requirements
- Creating an eBook cover that will stand out
- Self-publishing your eBook – a step-by-step guide with video tutorials
- How to create a launch calendar & strategy
- How to work with collaborators and affiliates to increase your eBook sales
- Email Marketing 101 for eBook authors – growing and using your email list to make sales
And it’s not only me teaching you in there – I’ve interviewed an affiliate manager, and SEO expert, fellow eBook authors that earn 10x times more than I do selling eBooks and a few sales strategists that shared their secrets.
Use the code “EBB20OFF” and get $20 off enrollment today! It’s time you get serious about creating this eBook – and this course can help you do that.
But regardless of if you choose to enroll or now, I know that publishing eBooks can be a great way to diversify your blogging income and implement a more passive revenue stream. So I want to encourage you to go for it!
And I hope you took away some actionable tips from this blog post series.
Have questions, comments or helpful advice for other aspiring ebook authors? Leave it in the comment section below!
Article Last Updated: June 2020