Anyone who’s been delving into webmarketing for more than a month or so knows about e-books. They’re popular with readers, they’re pretty darned easy to create for anyone with basic computer skills, and hordes of marketers are taking advantage of them.
Sometimes you even run across marketers who lament that there’s an awful -glut- of e-books… Are there -too many- books in the bookstores and libraries too?? Somehow I don’t think “a growing number” equates with too many! The real measure of (e-)books’ effectiveness is whether people read them – and they do.
Still, a lot of people on the Web may just not have what they feel is the right idea for what to put in an e-book that people might want. …After all, they’ve probably already covered what they wanted to say in their websites!
Well… People might want -that-!
Many good suggestions for e-book content have been made:
—In-depth material on a subject of interest
—Compilations of articles (yours or others’)
—Marketing suggestions for affiliates and sub-affiliates
—Even collections of graphics (paper books don’t necessarily have -textual- content – e-books don’t have to either!)
The first in the list, though, is the most common… and it implies -new- material, or -more- in-depth material than you’ve already given. Which is excellent! …But I’m going to take a look at an e-book concept that’s far more accessible, simpler, and easier to bring to fruition – and that people will appreciate.
…-Copying- your website.
It’s one of a kind. It’s full of useful stuff (isn’t it?). And some people are only reading it online because there’s no other way they can get it. Let’s look at giving them another way…
It May Be Redundant, But It’s Not Superfluous
Think about all the great content on your website… You’ve probably worked hard at it, and it’s a good, quality addition to the Web.
If you’re more than a novice webmarketer, you probably know that theme sites are more effective in attracting search engine “notice” and answer well to the needs of site visitors. If yours is tightened up into a theme site… hasn’t that made it rather book-like?
Now think about the person visiting your site… She (let’s say) isn’t approaching it as you’ve approached it, sitting there offline as you create and compose (piecemeal, no doubt). She comes to your home page, or some other entry point, and is likely presented with -way- more of interest than she can read at one sitting. Also…
—She might have internet connection problems – a very slow connection, or a -dis-connect problem.
—She might get interrupted and not easily find her way back to you. (Who knows what circuitous route she’s taken to find your site… And she probably hadn’t bookmarked it yet.)
—She might have to conserve her internet connect hours. (Some people don’t get unlimited internet access. Some people have to share it with others. Some people actually don’t even -have- internet access at home and might be cruising the Net only on their breaks at work.)
—She might -really- like to read only from -paper-… and wish to easily print out what you’ve written in a more book- like format.
…She doesn’t -want- to read your content online, even though she was pleased to discover it there – she actually wishes it were an e-book!
And if you give it to her, you have one more powerful promotional route to draw new visitors/customers to your site/business.
What’s In It for You That -Isn’t- In Your Site
Your website is basically one type of marketing tool. An e-book is a -different- kind of marketing tool… with different potentials:
—It can be advertised where your website can’t… in e-book directories – and, if it’s free, in many freebie directories. (By the way, plenty of e-books are listed as “software” with a “1.0” after the title!). And this is a way to attract traffic to your site (or perhaps just customers for your business) who you wouldn’t otherwise reach.
—If it’s free, it’s viral – others might pass it on. Plenty of webmarketers are disposed to recommend or give away quality e-books – perhaps as bonuses for purchases or e-zine sign-ups, perhaps bundled with -other- e-books (their own, for instance).
—Even if it’s for sale (we’ll talk about that in a minute), it might be viral… if you give away or sell resell rights to it.
—You can make it -rebrandable- (more on that in a bit too) – so that downloaders of it will be more interested in (will get more benefit from) passing it on to others.
—Even if your website doesn’t generate enough traffic to attract advertisers, you might be able to sell (or trade) ad space in your e-book.
And you don’t even have to write anything… it’s already written!
A Look at the For-Free vs. For-Sale Issue…
Most website content is for free… so most e-books “lifted” from websites will probably be free. After all, if they can get it for free in one place, why not the other?
Hmm… Actually, I see no reason why some interested webmarketer might not -try- selling an e-book that reproduces his free website. Marketers of all sorts try different prices all the time – often including “free”. And if you can gain access to entirely different market segments for your site and your e-book, one might reasonably be happy to pay for what the other expects for free.
I can think of one circumstance where it might make -excellent- sense to sell rather than give away what’s free on your site… Translations. A complete translation of your site content into another language certainly sets you up to approach another market entirely. If it’s one that doesn’t have access to much useful material on your subject (most of it’s in English?), those folks might be -delighted- to pay so that they don’t have to wade through a language they’re not proficient with.
And maybe everything on your site -isn’t- free. If you sell access to a “private site” archive of some sort, selling a compilation of selections from that might make sense. Especially if your private site members could be persuaded to -re-sell it for you! – via an affiliate program or resell rights.
Of course, you can make an e-book free -and- for sale… if you password-lock the for-sale portion/s. (And if you aren’t a very well-known author, this is an excellent way to get your book out there – via free, viral downloads – -and- make some money selling the passworded part. That’s kind of like having a free website that includes a membership “private site” as well…)
Also, some authors choose to sell e-books to the people who download directly from them… And let those people resell or -give- them away.
Oh, and of course if you do -sell- an e-book in some fashion… You really ought to consider setting up an affiliate program for it! If you don’t want to go all out… ClickBank ( http://hop.clickbank.net/?irisjetta ) offers an easy means of doing this (for a -single-tier program) -and- for inexpensively taking credit/debit card orders.
What Can You/Should You Reproduce?
In any case, your -whole- website might not be needed for an e-book. (In fact, you’d probably do well to purposely leave something out… so the people who have never visited your site have a reason to go there -also-.)
Perhaps you’d be able to just focus on one type of content. (You can always allude to the rest in the book – providing links, of course!)
Even just one long article might be something people would love to read as an e-book. …No one says a great book can’t be short! (Another possibility is to submit just -some- of that article to online article directories and e-zines… Letting readers know that -the rest of it- is available in e-book form.)
Or you might indeed want to gather together all of, or a subset of, your own articles into book form. (You’d need permission to put someone else’s work into an e-book of your own. That’s a possibility too, though – since it would mean good exposure for the other author.)
Nor should we neglect graphical content… ArtToday.com could probably make a bundle selling “e-books” of web graphics by topic. (An e-book doesn’t -have- to be downloadable – it could be on a CD.)
Choose content that’s both of popular/timely interest and that hangs together well. That which hangs together well is almost a book already!
And you should -definitely- consider reproducing content that pre-sells (recommends and adds value to) one or more affiliate programs. …Take full advantage of the viral aspect of e-books, and get your affiliate links in there! An e-book can be a -wonderful- way to promote affiliate programs (in the background, most likely).
One More Great Reason to Do This…
Turning your website into an e-book is a wonderful opportunity to review your site! All kinds of useful revisions and fruitful ideas can come out of that. (…Like -this- e-book did for me!)
And yes, I -have- turned one of my websites into an e-book. If you’d like to take a look at it to see what I’ve been talking about, download “The Affiliate Marketing Primer e-book” (for free) at: http://cynted.com/primer/
If you’d like to read this article -and its continuation- as an e-book, you can download it for free at: http://Website-Ebook-Marketing.8m.com/ See the e-book for top e-book directories and for tips on the mechanics of creating an e-book from a website, including:
—How to access my free e-book “How To Create Your Own Ebook”
—Choosing the e-book compiler
—Setting up the e-book files
—Features to include in your book
—Do you need an e-book cover?
—What to do if you can’t offer downloads from your site
Sherry Gordon – Gordon Pioneering – Copyright 10-2001
Sherry Gordon is the author of the e-book Ad Brokering
Opportunities – an explanatory idea manual of 135 different
ad space windfalls (and its companion e-book, Other
Brokering Opportunities… two for the price of one – or
one introductory volume for free!) – available at