Probably the most ADD interview ever… I talked to Joel Comm about the newest edition of his bestselling Twitter Power book.
Authors, experts, and influencers sold $10 million dollars worth of eBooks in 1995 almost exclusively through Amazon.
In 2014, they sold about $1.6 billion dollars worth of eBooks on Amazon alone.
Now influencers, experts, and authors are becoming more digitally savvy and have built email lists, Facebook fan pages, and Twitter accounts.
They’re using these channels to sell their digital content using a new tool called Heyocart.com.
Heyocart.com allows authors, experts, and influencers to sell to their Facebook fans by asking their fans to simply comment “buy” to purchase. I talked about it at my Social Media Marketing World presentation!
Now, I’ve got additional data to add along with the process, and best practices.
Here’s how it works (you can do this too, it’s free):
- Go to http://heyocart.com and click “Try for Free”
- Select the fan page you want to sell on then type your status update, upload a strong image of the eBook, put in a product title, set the price, then click the orange next button.
- Next, upload the product (Heyo Cart takes care of product delivery for you) and type in how you want Heyo Cart to pay you (either a debit card or your bank account) when you get sales. Click next.
- View a live preview of your post and when you’ve got it set how you want, click publish to publish now or schedule it for later.
- Once your post is live, fans can comment Buy to purchase and Heyo Cart will automatically respond to them telling them to finish their purchase:
- The best part about Heyo Cart is that once fans buy once from you, they never have to put their information in again (they don’t have to click any links!). They simply type “Buy”, and Boom! You’ve got a new sale:
- Once your fans have paid, Heyo Cart then takes them to the product page where they can easily download their new purchase:
- As sales come in, use the Heyo Cart back end to see who is buying. You’ll get first name, last name, and email (many people say buyers lists are the most valuable – so segment this list in your email marketing or CRM tool for future upsells and product launches).
3 Tips For More Sales From Heyo Cart
Heyo Cart is just a tool- you need a good product and the right price, too!
- Price your product between $5-20 dollars (any more expensive and it becomes too big a decision for Facebook buyers)
- Put the “Comment Buy” call to action on the image like Kim Garst did here.
- Tell your fans to “Comment buy to purchase for $5.99” within the first 3 sentences of your post. During the rest of the post, tell them more about the product.
It’s a good idea once you post your product to alert all your email subscribers and social contacts as well. The sooner you get responses on that Facebook post, the wider it will go.
Brian’s Tip: Never Start With a Wedding Cake
Have you ever spent dozens of hours creating an infoproduct and then debuted to lackluster sales?
I have. I’ll admit it.
Even though I ran a poll about it before creating The Awareness Blueprint… what people say they’ll buy is different from what they actually buy. You can’t find out what they’ll buy until you’re selling it! I only made about $1500 from that, which is not good enough given how many hours I put into it.
So instead of creating a whole wedding cake first, create a cupcake to see if they’ll buy it. If they buy, then make a wedding cake.
In other words, create a small $7 or $17 product first, sell it with Heyo Cart, and then if that goes well, create a bigger version that’s more expensive!
Read more on cupcakes and product design in this great piece by Des Traynor.
I’ve tested a couple cupcakes now with Heyo Cart, and got radically different responses to each. I’m already saving time by not continuing to work on the less “buyable” one.
I’m going to create 3-5 more and then whichever one does best, I’ll create a bigger product for that one.
How Influencers, Authors, and Experts are Making Money with Heyo Cart
In a recent A/B test conducted by author and info-marketer Sue Zimmerman, Amazon and heyocart.com were both put to the test. Sue posted her latest eBook for sale on Amazon and also to her Facebook page using Heyo Cart to see which would drive more sales.
On Amazon Sue sold 15 copies, earning her $106.76 over the first 10 days.
Using Heyocart.com, Sue posted on Facebook and sold 95 copies, earning her $591.05 in the first 10 days.
“An additional benefit we gained from using Heyocart.com was that it gave us the ability to collect the email addresses and names of our buyers. This made it easy to put them into our CRM like HubSpot, InfusionSoft or OntraPort for future upselling and content marketing. Amazon doesn’t do that,” said Zimmerman.
Heyo Cart CEO, Nathan Latka expects that trend to continue in 2015. Heyo Cart allows authors and infomarketers to sell on Facebook by having their fans simply leave a “buy” comment on a post.
“There’s an enormous opportunity for experts and influencers to sell digital products to their consumers inside of Facebook,” said Nathan Latka, CEO of HeyoCart.com. “This is where consumers spend their time and it’s where they’ll buy.”
According to internal data from heyocart.com gathered in Q1 of 2015, the best price point for authors and infomarketers to sell ebooks and other digital content on Facebook is $9.00. This was based on a sample size of product prices shown to 1m people who are fans of influencers and experts.
According to Heyo’s Q1 2015 data, the best price point for authors and infomarketers to sell ebooks and other digital content on FB is $9.00 <- click to tweet!
As influencers, experts, and authors look for ways to spread their content, make more money, and gain in popularity, Latka anticipates this trend toward social commerce to grow exponentially.
“Total transaction volume done on social media networks on both mobile and desktop will surpass $40 billion by 2025,” said Latka.
If he’s right, heyocart.com might be the next Amazon for authors and info-marketers. Click here and you can try it for free.
If you’re an expert, as some point, if you haven’t already, you may write a book, and one of the first questions people ask at this point is whether to self-pub or go with a traditional publisher.
Each option has pros and cons, and ultimately I would recommend you do both in your career, but here’s how to figure out whether your next book should be self-published or not.
The Pros of Traditional Publishing
- It gives you credibility, because people know you’ve been vetted. People believe you’re credible and your idea is good. They’re willing to risk their time and money on you.
- It forces you to go through the book proposal process which asks important questions about your audience and competing books.
- They put you through a rigorous editing process.
- They may give you an advance on royalties.
- They may help you with getting more publicity and/or speaking gigs.
The Cons of Traditional Publishing
- The process from start to finish may take at least 6 months. Even after editing is done, the book launch may be delayed for calendar reasons.
- You still will have to do a lot of the promotion to sell the book.
- You have to sell enough to “earn out” your advance.
- Your ebook may be much more expensive than competing self-published works.
- You probably can’t control the amazon description or keywords.
- They may require right of first refusal on your next book idea.
The Pros of Self-Publishing
- You can control the price, even make it free for a while for promotional practices.
- You can sell paperbacks at a lower cost than traditional publishers.
- You can control the amazon description and keywords. You can do keyword research and make sure they’re optimal.
The Cons of Self-Publishing
- You may not get much feedback, unless you ask for itso your book may not be received as well by as many people.
- You may decide not to pay for editing, end up with errors in your book, and get bad reviews because of it.
- You may not be as rigorous about checking the market and competition to make sure you have the best chances of success.
- It’s much harder to end up in traditional bookstores.
- If you’ve never published before, try a traditional publisher first. You’ll learn a ton about the process. You may find out that no publisher wants your book concept- and that may be because they don’t get it, or it might be you need a better book idea. You’ll get more credibility and build a firm foundation for the future.
- If you decide to self-publish, put yourself through the book proposal process to think the whole thing through, and pay for editing. Ask peers to review your book when your first draft is done, then improve it based on feedback, then hire a professional line editor for the final draft.
In preparation for my forthcoming book, The Cowbell Principle, this is a fun quiz- we’ll get serious later!
I had an interchange recently with a fan, and first, it’s really awesome to have fans 🙂 I’ve said this same kind of thing about books to a bunch of people over the last few years, but I’ve never blogged or ebooked about it. And the math part of it is something everybody looking to do ecommerce online should look at, so here it is.
And by the way, I know there are exceptions- Jay Baer has a great slideshare about how he drove Youtility to bestseller status. But that’s an outlier- an exception (and required a big investment that he hopes will pay off in the next three years, you’ll find if you read the slideshare). If you want a product to sell that typically is successful, books aren’t it.
THE FAN: I want to promote my books on facebook. If the sales hit a million or a minimum thousand, I will share 40% of revenue with you. Here are my books on Amazon: REDACTED
Mar 14, 01:13PM
ME: Thanks for reaching out! Books are a very tough product to sell because the author usually has a really low margin. I am happy to work with you on a services basis- if you’re interested, I can send our services and fees info.
Mar 14, 07:23PM
THE FAN: Thank you Brian for your input. I would love to coordinate with you on other projects. I’m into self publishing at this time and promoting my business books. Will let you know about other businesses………
Mar 15, 10:01AM
ME: Cool, please do. With self published books it’s a bit easier, because you can choose to have a bigger profit margin- but Amazon doesn’t have granular tracking to allow for optimization- you could optimize it if you’re selling it in a way that does allow for advertising conversion code.
Mar 15, 10:04AM
THE FAN: But I’m a great fan of yours would like to work with you on some joint venture. I’ve written some 4 to 5 books. At this time the book sales is rather slow. And I’m hopeful that it will boost up with time. If you can play some magic with these kindle published books then I can share half of my royalties with you for a considerable time as you like. I’m making my presence on G+, Pinterest, and other channels. However, It will be nice if some sound marketing strategy is in place. I’m also working as a freelance writer and editor on oDesk and Elance and I’ve a proven track record of successful projects. Anyway its nice talking to you.
Mar 15, 10:15AM
ME: It’s a math thing. Figure out your possible cost-per-sale range and see if your profit margin can tolerate that.
- What percent buys? Say 5% of the visitors buy, and that would be an amazing conversion rate (CR).
- What’s the lowest possible cost per click (CPC) on Facebook (the cheapest targetable mass traffic ad solution)? Maybe if you’re amazing it’s $0.20
- Cost per sale is CPC/ CR… $0.20 / 5% = $4.00 as spend per sale; Your books would have to be at least $15-20 to have some wiggle room on those numbers, because it could be as bad as 1% conversion, $0.50 CPC = $50 per sale.
That’s why it’s so hard to sell really low price products at scale.
That’s why you see the infoproducts guys selling things for anywhere from $97 to $2,000 – not that I support that; a lot of these are people using hype and manipulation techniques to take advantage of buyers (who often are trying to buy their way around laziness)- read my blog post about Internet Training Ethics.
It’s just the ROI math of ad spend and profit margin.
You at least need to make enough to break even on your ad spend- and that’s fine to do if you’re investing in your long term career. For me, the reason I write ebooks and give them away and advertise them, is that they’re a loss leader. If I spend say $500 to promote an ebook but it brings in a few clients that yield me thousands in revenue, that’s a good investment.