I’m writing this for You, on the assumption that you haven’t ever created a professional ebook.
So the first thing I’m going to remind you is that an ebook is a book.
And that books of all kinds take an enormous amount of work.
Now, the internet is an incredible thing, and it gives you loads of things for free. You will come across all kinds of ‘influencers’ whose reputations have been staked on their free content. If you happen to be a fan of Gary Vee, Neil Patel, Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, or any number of other amazing, wealthy lads, you know exactly what I’m referring to. These guys spend a lot of their time telling you to create loads and loads of content, give bucketloads of it away (meaning, free), and that your funnel will do all the rest of the work.
Well, ok then. If people are cluey enough, it may well do good things for them.
But what happens in practice is that people put their best work into their free material. Then, when someone actually buys a tool, a book, a service, they get something that is almost-but-not-quite as good.
So then they have buyer’s regret.
And they won’t ever become a loyal customer.
Therefore, if you’re looking to create fans, why would you give your best work away for free?
More to the point, if you spend loads of time and money (because you will, I promise) creating a fantastic book of any kind, why then would you give that away for free?
If you are an author, then you may have strategic reasons. I spent 3 days with a best-selling author friend earlier this year, and she has solid, strategic reasons for her freebies.
But she knows what she’s doing.
Now, an eBook can be powerful, don’t get me wrong.
A building inspector we worked with a few years had ago had an SEO guy who wanted a fact sheet to terrify people into buying the building inspection service. The inspector was uncomfortable with that, so we compromised. He got a case study that became a lesson in sales persuasion.
It was an eBook, with just 11 pages (which included the cover). It was designed so perfectly that the illustrations matched the text. Every person who read it immediately wanted their house inspected.
Mission accomplished! How much did it cost him? About $7,000.
He was happy to use this as a loss leader, because it was such a sales magnet. But most eBooks that people create for their businesses aren’t this compelling.
If you are thinking about moving into this content-as-funnel space, really consider how your funnel interacts with your material. If you’re willing to put your hard work and money on the line, and not know whether or not you break even on it — or how it makes you money — then that’s all on your head.
But I encourage you to ask people to cough up cash for it.
There are two further reasons for doing so, besides the time, effort, and expense it takes to create these.
1. Most of the time, the people who take the freebies won’t buy anything else from you, and smart pricing means you win even if the price is low.
2. You probably don’t have a known sales sequence behind your freebies to make them valuable.
Getting great publishing protocols in place is so much bigger than just creating great things. It’s actually about getting your business model into the right shape to start with.
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