Is “Content Marketing” Really New?

Content marketing is the hottest area in digital marketing right now. But what is it?

Marketing” is communication with the intent to persuade and bring about a sale.

“Content marketing” is marketing that uses content to persuade.

“Content” includes:

  • Videos
  • Blog posts
  • eBooks
  • Webinars
  • Whitepapers
  • Research reports
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Slide decks

“Content marketing” is the use of content to persuade people to buy stuff.

“Social media” always uses content (media is a synonym for content).

“Social networking” can be simply interaction without content (media).

You might say, “Wow, so content marketing is pretty much everything except verbal sales?”

I’d reply, “Yep, content marketing is a new name for most of what we’ve done as marketing for years. Old practice, new name. Sure, blogs are newish. And using Facebook ads and an ebook as social content marketing is pretty new. But it’s still essentially the same thing as mailing a brochure or writing a book.”

“Advertising an ebook?” you’d ask.

“New way to do the same thing,” I’d reply. “We’re just distributing marketing material to prospects.”

What’s new is that the Internet empowers us to:

  • Target prospects precisely. Both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads have dramatically advanced our abilities here.
  • Track their behavior after they click on ads, email links and social media posts. Use an analytics package like Google Analytics and a CRM like Salesforce to do this.
  • Follow-up with them in an automated, yet personalized fashion. Marketing automation software like Infusionsoft, Eloqua and Marketo do this.

The point of targeting, tracking and follow-up is to get more customers in a more efficient way at a lower cost.

  • Improved targeting means we waste less time with the wrong prospects.
    We save time and money.
  • Improved tracking means we learn what works and what doesn’t. We only continue with the most efficient strategies, content, target groups and advertisements.
    We save money and increase profit.
  • Improved follow-up means we convert a higher percentage of the prospects we paid to get as leads.
    We get more customers and increase profit and revenue.

The content marketing moves people down the funnel toward purchase. It can also filter out the wrong prospects for us. Any content marketing piece may only work at one segment of the funnel. Or it may work on multiple segments. And that’s as far as we can go without getting complicated!

Amazing funnel graphic from Adido! :-)

Non-Fiction Authors: Should You Self-Publish Or Go Traditional?

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.

Overall Advice

  • 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.

20 Free Cowbell Principle Excerpts!

final front cover ony outlineThe Cowbell Principle went to #1 bestseller in three categories and #1,209 overall on Kindle! Buy it today for just $2.99 on Kindle. Anyone can read a Kindle on most major smartphones, tablets and computers with their free apps- click to get yours.

We’ve partnered to get 20 key excerpts out there for you to read for free. Take a look and read one!

We’re super grateful to know so many amazing authors, speakers, entrepreneurs and bloggers… those below are both amazing people and generous, too.

10 Critical Rules for Brainstorming – posted on’s blog by Lynette Young
Analytics And The Limits Of Knowledge – on Scott Monty’s blog
How Emergencies & Tragedies Create Innovation – on Adele Cehr’s Epic PR blog
How Playing Your Cowbell Will Make Billions of People Want You – on Joel Comm’s blog
How To Be Uniquely Valuable – on the Internet Marketing Ninjas blog- thanks to Jim Boykin and Ann Smarty!
How To Get More Results Out Of Yourself! – on Alex Harris’s blog
How to Get So Much Career Momentum You’ll Always Have Work – on The Huffington Post
How To Keep Fear From Ruining Your Career – on Maddie Grant’s SocialFish
How To Succeed By Defying Mediocrity – on Thom Singer’s blog
How To Supercharge Your Career & Marketing With The Innovation Mindset – on Garrison Wynn’s website
Is Your Talent A Cowbell or a Bagpipe? – on Christina Dave’s PR For Anyone
The Perfect Team Is Not Perfect – on Social Media Explorer, thanks Jay Kelly and Heather Dopson!
What Google Trends Can Do For Your Career – on Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert, thanks also to Jess Ostroff!
When The Dumbest Idea Is The Best One – on SEOchat, thanks Ann Smarty!
The Secret of How Geniuses Innovate – on Bryan Kramer’s Blog
Why Irrational Optimism Makes So Much Sense – on PrideStaff’s Blog
Why Success Requires Sacrifice – also on PrideStaff’s Blog
Why We Undervalue Our Biggest Talents – on Charlie Poznek’s The Boomer Business Owner
Why You Need To Know “The Why” Of Your Business Or Career – on Kerri Konik’s Brandscape Atelier
Even The Super-Loner Batman Had a Mentor… Why Don’t You? – on Raven Tools’ blog, thanks Jon Henshaw and Nicolette Beard!
Why We Should Thank All The Haters – on Kim Garst’s blog



Why Was This FB Post Shared 14,539 Times?

Facebook old-timers [I’m looking at you Dennis, Barry and Jeremy!] remember when we got Facebook page likes for less than one cent apiece. Of course, that was before we all got cynical about the value of Facebook fans. Are they worthless? That’s another debate for another day- and my short opinion on that is that they are still valuable, but shouldn’t be your #1 priority.

Don’t worry- the post we’re going to talk about is below, but first…

See that chart of ads below? Cost per post engagement ZERO. That’s not an error. It says zero because it’s less than $0.01.


Now, I’m pretty excited about the Facebook posts I have that are getting three or four interactions per penny. And no, you don’t have to target a third world country to make that to happen. Not even the whole U.S. I’ve seen similar results targeting one U.S. city, and even one interest within one U.S. city.

The real upshot is that you absolutely must care what people like… you have to be ruthless in testing your Facebook posts. If you don’t know what that means, you probably aren’t even using the right paradigm for your digital marketing. Some people are just throwing darts randomly and not even looking where they hit.

When you find a highly engaging post- that means somewhere between 6-12% of people like it… now hold on a second… you are keeping track of what percentage of post viewers are liking your posts, aren’t you? Those who aren’t are still in Facebook posting kindergarten. Here’s another shocker- Facebook isn’t calculating that “engagement rate” percentage for you. You have to do it. It’s interactions divided by reach. The simple shorthand is likes divided by reach. Do it!

Anyway, when you find a highly engaging post, and it stays highly engaging when tens of thousand of people see it, then what? You’ve hacked your audience’s brain. You’ve plugged into pure affinity. You’ve found their limbic system buttons and you’re pressing them. 

Sounds pretty cool, right?

Here’s an example of such a post…


First, everybody I show that post to laughs. Then I worry they’ve missed the point. It’s like when I’m trying to learn screenwriting by watching a great movie, and I forget and just experience the movie. That definitely was a good movie, because it made me forget to learn anything! The post above might make you forget to learn about Facebook marketing. So, keep your brain engaged.

In 65 days, I reached over 424,832 people and got 50,807 interactions for about $225, an average of $0.004 per interaction.

Do you think shares are awesome? Me too. And they only cost an average of 3 cents per share with this promoted post.

Now, my ads and posts aren’t all huge successes. That’s why I say you have to be ruthless about testing. You’re testing in search of the outlier, and that outlier is one post in 50… one ad in 10. Are you creating a lot of them? Are you testing enough different approaches? Are those tests informed by your understanding of your audience? If you’re not sure, check out Facebookize.

Another tip- I am opposed to creating editorial Facebook post calendars a month or two ahead of time. I think you should create one post per day. Why? Because in my experience, I only have a finite amount of creativity and insight at one time. If I create 30 posts right now, they won’t be as good as the 30 I create if I create one per day. If you’re watching your engagement rate every day from yesterday’s post, you’re smarter halfway through the month than you were at the beginning of them month, because you’re learning every day. Not to mention, you see a lot of things… you watch TV, see tons of social media, have conversations, dream at night, and your subconscious has more stuff to work with. Your day 15 post is smarter (and has a better chance of engaging more people) than the day 15 post by someone who created them all two weeks ago. Especially if they only spent a few hours making them, total. Stop doing Facebook editorial calendars.

The other thing is- those results are engagement only. You might also get a few page likes or website clicks. You can alter this some to get website clicks out of it. I find that they still only go as low as $0.30 or so. But at the same time, you’re getting those same supercheap likes, comments and shares. You have to play with the text and call to action in the post to find the ones that will get website clicks, because often, even when you’re trying, you get a BIG FAT ZERO website clicks.


You have to find a needle in the haystack, and you have to create the haystack. Maybe the needle too. I’m not sure I understand my own metaphor. My point is you have to come up with these amazing post ideas. And write the copy. And do the ad tests of format and targeting.

So the sponsored post above did get clicks too, at $0.29 cost per website click- but also at only $0.007 per engagement. So in one day of just a $2 spend, it got 7 website clicks, 141 likes, and 45 shares… this part, getting the website clicks at the same time, is new for me, so stay tuned for more test results later.

How To Write Copy & Content That Sells

Successful digital marketers test a lot of ideas. Which means they come up with a lot of ideas. Then have the discipline to go through multiple tests. It requires both creativity and organization.

Conversely, we’re pretty much screwed when we get writers block, only have bad ideas, or get seduced into writing for engagement rather than sales.

What Are Your Marketing Molecules?

These days in digital marketing, we have several very similar things:

  • Facebook or AdWords ads (10-12 words, <=90 characters)
  • Blog post headlines (8-10 words)
  • Corporate elevator pitches (up to 75 words)
  • Unique selling propositions (18-22 words)
  • Email subject lines (3-12 words), and
  • Tweets (about 15 words, 120’ish characters, if you leave room for a link)

These are all basically the same thing- short copy that convinces people to look or buy… I call them marketing molecules. the DNA of your elevator pitch. Your unique selling proposition (USP- if you don’t know what it is, keep reading- and btw you can have a USP for every blog post, every service or product you offer…)

The 3 Most Persistent Marketing Copy Pitfalls

  1. One of the biggest problems we have in modern marketing, content creation and advertising is: how do you come up with enough ideas to test?
  2. Another big problem is: How do you come up with good ideas?
  3. Yet another: How do you come up with copy that sells?

It’s awesome if you can write clickbait, even muted (less annoyingly obvious) clickbait that still arouses curiosity. It’s exciting if you can get 1,000 shares, but… is that piece of content contributing to your business’s bottom line? Sure, a lot content has an indirect benefit and may somehow partially convince someone to buy if you’re lucky and the weather is just right… but that’s sort of like trying to survive on hors d’oeuvres.

Do you have meat and potatoes content that SELLS?

Or are you stuck at the level of just trying to get people to pay attention for five minutes before they flip back over to a viral video on Facebook?

4dAmazing Content Is Four Dimensional

The best copy and content can do all four of the following at once:

  1. Inform
  2. Entertain or Inspire
  3. Compel People To Share It and
  4. Sell Your Stuff.

A lot of content only gets to level one- it informs- boring! Next level writers can entertain, inspire and motivate- that’s 2D Content. If you write the kinds of things people share, you may get to the third level- that’s 3D Content. But to go into the fourth dimension- which is either spacetime, a freaky Devo song, or amazing content that sells, we have to go further- to infinity and beyond.

That may be only the top 5% of content you luck out into writing- and really one out of twenty blog posts or email subject lines that can do this is not a bad ratio compared to how poorly most companies do. But is there a way we can increase your luck and help you create four dimensional copy more often?

Sometimes the things you need to write to get sales are harder to write. They require more thinking, maybe research, maybe even – oh no, the dreaded talking to customers.

Questions and formulas are very helpful… and that is where we’re headed!

I thought I’d show you my process of marketing my new online course… this began with a process of surveying my lists for topics, then testing ideas with Facebook ads, and finally creating two pathways for sales- one is a Ryan Deiss “Funnel Blueprint” series of lead magnet, tripwire and core offer; and the core offer, which I’m also testing as a direct first exposure, is a Jon Benson-style Video Sales Letter.

And by the way, there is a real feedback loop between marketing and product/service improvement. If what works and doesn’t work in marketing doesn’t inform improvements in your product and service- well, you’d better create things that are as awesome as iPhones. You can’t put lipstick on a pig and make it win prom queen.

15 Marketing Copy Elements

Alright- ready for some work? Because yes, you’re going to have to work. You have to answer these questions first… and as I alluded to before, you can answer these for your entire business, or for one product or service. You may find when you try to do the former, that there are really different answers for each product or service, and you’ll have to do this process for each. Yes, it’s a ton of work. Grow up and put your big boy pants on. Do the work, if you want great results. Otherwise, you might as well go waste time on Facebook and get mediocre business results. There are plenty of people creating distracting content that will help you procrastinate.

If you want to do the work- you can list 3 or 5 or whatever I ask, or you can write 10-20. If you write more of them, you’ll end up with better copy. Brainstorming never goes out of style for those whose fashion is marketing results.

  1. BENEFITS: List 5 benefits (problems you solve, and the positive version of that)- ALSO, decide on the CHIEF BENEFIT- this is the most valuable one, the one people are most likely to buy, the easiest one to sell.
  2. TARGET MARKET: List 3 specific types of people who it’s for- could be personality types, job titles, or family roles, for example.
  3. COMPETITORS: List 5 competitors- and I don’t necessarily mean specific companies. For example,
  4. WITHOUTS: List 5 things customers have to do now or think they’ll have to do, but don’t have to, with your solution. List 3 things your competitors require them to do that you don’t.
  5. PROBLEMS: List 3 problems they have without your help, and each of their 3 solutions.
  6. MISTAKES: List 5 mistakes your customers make without you, and the consequences of each.
  7. LIES: List 3 lies they’ve been told about the issue and the truth about each
  8. TIPS: List 5 tips you have for them to solve their problems
  9. SUPERLATIVES: List 5 things your company is first at, best at, most whatever, cheapest, oldest, latest, newest, funnest (I love that word), largest etc. – check out wikipedia superlatives lists
  10. CONFESSIONS: list 3 confessions where you screwed up
  11. PROCESSES: list 3-5 specific processes you use, anything you’ve trademarked or patented… e.g. Google’s PageRank, Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm… I made up one called “The Rock Star Effect”
  12. SPECIFIC RESULTS: List 5 very specific results- quantify some aspect of your solution.
  13. CASE STUDIES: Quantify the results for 3 standout customers- if you absolutely can’t quantify it, find the most impactful way to convey
  14. SOCIAL PROOF: Quantify how many customers you have, or if you can’t or won’t, get 5 testimonial quotes from customers. When you ask for these quotes, try to get them to say what concrete benefit or result you had for them. That makes for better copy!
  15. EXPERT PROOF: Get 3 quotes from experts about your solution/product

Now if you actually do that work above, you have a TON of ammo to create a shotgun blast of sniper bullets. And THAT was the worst chimera of a meta-analogy-phor I’ve ever created! Forgive me.

Also, if you want to do humor, come up with hyperboles (exaggerations) of the above… you’ll see what I mean in the last few molecule examples below.

10 Example Marketing Molecules

Molecules are composed of elements. Now that you have all those marketing elements (because you answered all those questions above, right?), we can form marketing molecules out of them. Combine all of your marketing elements into marketing molecules and test them!

After you combine them, you can add other aspects of copywriting wisdom to complete the molecule. The first two of these should look familiar- they probably account for 68.2% of the Internet’s non-horrible blog posts.

  1. List # BENEFIT: example, “3 Tips For Becoming Your Potential Buyer’s #1 Choice”
  2. How To BENEFIT: “How To Get On The Media’s Radar”
  3. DOUBLE BENEFIT: “How To Get On The Media’s Radar And Be Your Potential Customer’s #1 Choice”
  4. USP = SUPERLATIVE + CHIEF BENEFIT, e.g. “The Awareness Blueprint™ Is The Only Marketing Course That Can Transform Your Company Into The Rock Star #1 Choice In Your Niche…
    Even On A Modest Budget.” But of course for 90 character ads, you have to shorten that, so you can create two versions from it, “The Only Course That Makes Your Brand Your Niche’s #1 Choice, Even On A Modest Budget.” and “The ONLY Course If You Want To Get On The Media’s Radar And Be Your Customer’s #1 Choice.”
  5. Stronger USP = SUPERLATIVE + CHIEF BENEFIT + WITHOUT, if you can fit all that in! “The #1 Course For Brand Awareness Without Wasting Time or Money”
  6. BENEFIT + WITHOUT: I’ve found in my Facebook ad tests that benefits get an even higher CTR when you add a WITHOUT to them, e.g. “Finally Make People Pay Attention To Your Company Without Wasting Your Time Or Money”
  7. BENEFIT + COMPETITION: Emails, tweets and facebook posts are all competitors for your attention. That enables me to write copy like: “How To Get Your Brand Noticed Amongst Millions Of Businesses, Tweets, Posts and Videos”
  8. SPECIFIC RESULT: “Want Your Company Seen By 2.8 Million Members Of The Media In Newspapers, TV And Radio?”
  9. TESTIMONIAL QUOTE BENEFIT: “How On Earth Did Your Company Get This Much Attention And Acclaim?” or “Brian tells business owners where to put their marketing dollars to get maximum reach.”
  10. An End To a PROBLEM: “An End To People Doubting Your Company Because They’ve Never Heard Of It”
  11. List # Mistakes + Avoid: “5 Mistakes Brands Make With Publicity And How To Avoid Them”
  12. Step By Step BENEFIT WITHOUT: “Your Exact, Step-by-Step Blueprint For Mega Brand Awareness Without Wasting Time or Money”
  13. Want to sell with humor? Add HYPERBOLE: “How To Get Potential Customers To Stalk You Because They Can’t Wait Til Morning To Buy From You” or “5 Mistakes Brands Make With Publicity That Lead To Public Flogging” – Ok neither of those is hilarious, but I just made them up. And you’re going to have to write at least 20 jokes to find one funny one… sorry, but that’s a pretty standard comedy industry ratio. And I’m not going to write 18 more right now :-p

Write a bunch of them. Applying these to content creation is how you make sure you’re creating content that sells. A lot of the 15 elements above are the things that convince people to buy. There are a bunch of other elements out there like funny videos and animated gifs will not necessarily sell.

adideasexcelMy first use for mine was Facebook ads. I wrote 60, put them in excel to find out how many characters were in each one (the formula is =LEN(cell)), and then rewrote or split up any that were over 90 characters. Then I created another column called “central”. I can’t test 60 ads at once, or at least I didn’t want to, so I asked myself, which of these communicate the central thing about my course? And how central on a scale of 1-10 were they? Your USP is going to be pretty central. I also numbered the ads for easy reference in my facebook ad names.

It’s not a bad idea to use them as Facebook ads first to see what your target market clicks on the most. It’s the quickest, cheapest, easiest way to test. Read this post about that. Once I find out which ones get the best CTR or conversion rates, I’ll pick from the top 3-5 and reuse them as subject lines and tweets and other content.

That’s all folks! Copy the elements questions above into a document and start answering them! :-)

2,200 Content Ideas That Will Actually Get You Sales [VIDEO]

Businesses today must create CONTENT. What should you create? And do you avoid creating interesting but disposable buzzfeedish crap and conceive more content that actually gets you sales?

“The best way to have good ideas is to have a lot of ideas” – Linus Pauling (you know, the only guy to win four Nobel prizes by himself)

Great video, bad hairday. My hair has its own ideas.

For the tools in this video, look below!

Check out:

[Infographic] Why Webinars Are One of the Highest-Profit Content Marketing Strategies

Webinars are one of the most effective content marketing strategies. Marketers consistently rank them first or near the top, with only in-person events and case studies ahead of them. Unlike many types of content marketing, webinars can lead quickly to sales, and thus short-term ROI (your CFO is jumping up and down and clapping). But they have other benefits too, depending on how you use them:

  • Webinars can drive lead generation
  • Webinars can prompt a faster buying decision
  • Webinars can drive customer engagement
  • Webinars can create loyalty and improve customer retention

But a lot of webinars suck. Before I ever conducted a webinar, back in my agency days, I watched tons of them. My attention waned as the speaker droned on and on. Perhaps the webinar title promised greatness but the content was too basic, or the whole thing was just a veiled sales pitch. My employees agreed they were often time-wasters.

Webinars are a great way for experts to partner with businesses. The expert lends their credibility to the company while getting paid to teach. I’ve been fortunate to be hired for paid webinars by companies that include Microsoft, Citrix, Marketo, Mediapost, and Instant E-Training. (If you want me to do one for your company, click here!)

So, to create an EFFECTIVE webinar that gets high participant ratings and makes the sponsoring company happen, combine

  • Best Practices and Practical Takeaways so participants get a return on their time,
  • Success Stories that prove you aren’t full of crap, and
  • Entertainment value that keeps people awake.

Tech Content Marketing Infographic Series: Webinars

Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

How To Become a Creative Genius: Step One


QUIZ: Which More Cowbell Character Are You?

In preparation for my forthcoming book, The Cowbell Principle, this is a fun quiz- we’ll get serious later!

Why Books Can Be One of the Worst Products to Sell Online

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.
Thanks! Brian
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.

  1. What percent buys? Say 5% of the visitors buy, and that would be an amazing conversion rate (CR).
  2. 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
  3. 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).

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.