If you’re not all ready aware from all the advertisements throughout my website – I have written and launched an eBook called ‘How to Not Get Ripped Off By Your Web Developer’.
This was a big accomplishment for me for the following reasons:
- I had created for the first time in my life – a ‘product’ based on my creative output
- I launched this product
- I advertised this product
Now to be clear this ‘product’ – I gave out for free. I didn’t charge people for the eBook – the idea was that people would download the eBook and say – “Wow, I don’t want to get ripped off by my web developer – and since Kosta is so adamant about showing me how to not get ripped off I think I can trust this guy.”
The biggest barrier – in my belief – for most businesses launching their own product and advertising is fear.
Fear was the biggest barrier for me anyway. I had been developing websites using WordPress for 6 years – I knew how to create funnels, how to write, how to do everything that would be required to launch this eBook – the only thing stopping me was the fear of putting something out there. I remember writing ideas for the eBook and literally getting a panic attack.
Anyway now that I’ve launched the eBook I wanted to give my take-away of what I learned.
Keep in mind – for the record I got about 120 downloads on the eBook – and I could probably get more if I pursued my strategy. However rather than saying what I did – I wanted to explain the mistakes I made along the way to finally getting people to download my eBook – since that’s more interesting right?
- Listening to Random People
The first mistake I made is listening to the advice of random people. Now when I say advice I mean people that would comment on my eBook on Facebook pages to which I posted it to. Basically people would give me feedback on the eBook – and the biggest feedback that I got was that the eBook cover was not “professional” or was “too controversial”. Now for the record the eBook cover was this:
The guy pointing the gun at the reader is a bit intense – a bit in your face sure – but when I found the photo I thought it was tongue in cheek funny and attention grabbing so selected it. Boy was I unprepared for the vitroil that random haters flung at me. I wish I still had the screenshots of people that would comment on the Facebook page.
I was called “unprofessional” (what a stupid word by the way, like it takes effort to be professional – a.k.a boring).
There were also other developers that got very offended that I was ‘tainting’ the web development profession by insuniating that web developers were rip offs (ignoring the fact that I was a web developer myself).
Every time someone commented on my post it received more engagement and attention – and thus led to more downloads.
Now here’s the thing – I actually had two alternate eBook covers. My graphic designer had created the eBook cover shown above and also the one below:
So anyway I decided not to use the eBook cover above but just out of interest I asked people on Facebook if they felt the eBook cover above was more ‘appropriate’ to which people on the Facebook group responded with a resounding YES. Anyway I thought my gun slinging eBook cover was way better – so I decided to run a split test using Google Analytics. And guess what? My awesome cover with the dude with the gun pointing at the reader completely smashed the ‘appropriate’ cover with the hacker guy.
What does this mean? To me it indicated that people are so obsessed with being “professional” and pushing it on to others – and while to some level it’s important to be “professional” if what you mean by that is that you respond to enquiries quickly, you deliver a high level of service, and you deliver value to your clients then yes, it’s important to be professional.
But if what you mean by being professional is being boring and not having a personality – then that is you operating on a level of fear. You’re not being professional because you hold yourself to a higher standard, your ‘professional’ attitude is more a polite self-rationalisation for your fear of not being yourself and honest.
Of course everyone is different and every company is different – that eBook cover may not work for a lot of industries and companies depending on how they present themselves – but it worked for me and at the stage that I’m at – my biggest concern is conversion level – so if something increases the conversion level I’m going to go with that.
2. Making sure your email sequence spits out at the right order
After people have downloaded my eBook – the idea was to send 5 emails over a period of 5 weeks with extra content related to the content of the eBook along with a call to action to get in contact with me. The entire eBook funnel was really a lead generation strategy.
The email sequence was setup with Mailchimp however I had screwed up the sequence. While I don’t want to get into the technical details of why it happened – suffice to say that the 5 emails I had planned were not sent out correctly – at first only the first auto repsonder email was sent and not the others – and then later the emails were not sent out at the correct times.
The problem was however – that once I got about 50 subscribers, I couldn’t just re-activate the other emails in the sequence – because the 50 subscribers had all ready been on my list for longer than the time the second email should have been sent out once I activated it.
The whole thing caused problems and was probably one of the lead reasons that I didn’t get any concrete leads.
So the one thing I recommend for those that are setting up a funnel with an email sequence (every funnel should have an email sequence) is to test that the emails are being sent out at the correct times.
If you have an email sequence that is meant to go for 5 weeks – with 5 emails being sent a week for example – you can test the email sequence by scheduling the emaisl over 5 days. If the emails come through for 5 days then you know the system you have setup is correct and you can simply extend it to 5 weeks.
Remember – I’m a tech head and I still had issues figuring out the email sequence for Mailchimp even after consulting with them on chat so make sure you are doing it all correctly!
3. Work within the confines of your funnel system
This one would have saved me a lot of headaches. To create my funnel I used Thrive Leads – and specifically the ‘Thrive Content Builder’ plugin which allows you to create your landing pages in real time.
One of the modules in Thrive Content Builder is the opt-in form creator – where you can create an opt-in form (read: a field with your email address and a sign up button).
Thrive Content Builder also allows you to connect your opt-in form to an email marketing software – and I chose Mailchimp as my email marketing software. Everything was going well until I wanted to do 2 unique things which I thought would be cool, and these were:
1) Create an additional field in the opt-in form that allowed the user to enter their website URL
2) Remove the requirement for users that opt-in to verify their email address with a confirmation email – and instead to instantly receive a download to their eBook (I just thought this would be quicker for people to receive the eBook)
To achieve these two things took me a lot of hair pulling – especially the first point.
While I won’t get into the technicalities of everything – let’s just say I fumbeld around with trying to get point 1 working for over a week – and it actually made me give up on the project since I couldn’t achieve this one thing; I had written my eBook, created the cover, formatted it, created the copy for the landing page – but damn if I couldn’t have my additional text field then screw everything!
The reality was that I was using the additional field as an excuse not to launch the eBook because I was afraid of the reception from people and being judged. After all it was my photo on the landing page – and the content that I wrote was me – if someone rejected the eBook and said it sucked they were basically saying I sucked – or that’s how I saw it.
But suffice to say the Thrive Content Builder software really made it easy for you to have 1 field (just your email) or 2 fields (email and name) when creating the sign up form (when linked to Mailchimp) – but additional fields simply didn’t seem to work. In fact I remember registering and connecting at least 2-3 other email providers to get my desired result.
The amount of time I spent on the issue was crazy for the small incremental benefit that I would have received had I succeeded – an additional text field. At the end of the day if someone signed up for the eBook their website would be in the email in many cases anyway.
The one thing I learned from this experience is that any software that you purchase is going to have certain limitations somewhere – and you are much better off just working within the system instead of trying to twist the software to make the landing page look like you had imagined.
Work with what you’re given and launch! If something doesn’t work do the next best thing!
4. Commit to your list
This is a mistake I made which was more a result of laziness and lack of planning. Basically once I started advertising my eBook and my list started to grow I left the list alone. As per point 2, a lot of the emails that I had planned in my sequence were not sent out in the right order – in many cases users only got the first email and not the 2nd.
After I had built up a list of 120 sign ups I felt good about myself and felt the job was done. I patted myself on the back for writing the eBook, launching the eBook along with a cool landing page and making “everything work” as it were.
However I didn’t continue my system and most importantly – I didn’t work the list.
If you are going to create a landing page or just any way to build your list then make sure you commit to a program where you keep your list informed and stay top of mind for them. Perhaps I could have made myself a commitment that if the list got to a certain size I would make the efforto to email out some insightful information to that list every week or so.
Any time you are creating a list building strategy you should also include in that the time taken to email the list.
Basically I left the list alone and left a lot of money on the table.
5. Break the rules and say sorry
Finally – and this is one I’m proud of – this relates to advertising yourself.
My plan originally was to advertise the eBook on Facebook Ads (which I did do eventually but didn’t get as much success) – however my business advisor advised me to post the eBook to a bunch of business groups which I did and I had much better success.
The thing with posting to various social media groups is that you run the risk of spamming and pissing people off.
This is a very thin line – there’s nothing that annoys me more than blatant spamming and it ruins the atmosphere of a group – but at the same time my belief is that if I were to go into a group and just honestly let them know what I’m working on and what I did in my own voice it’s not really spamming.
After all if there is a group of business owners on a Facebook Group every business owner has a product to sell – if for example a roof tiler created an eBook – 5 ways to tell your roof tiles are in need of a replacement – I may not download the eBook but I wouldn’t be upset either as the roof tiler made the effort to create a valuable piece of content. It’s also useful because were the author to post it on the Facebook group if I had any interest in the content I could also quickly reach out to him and ask any questions.
While I posted in a number of Facebook Groups I did receive a caution from the owner of a Facebook Marketing group about my spamming and I stopped it. However I had another guy in my PM’s who was in the group warning me about getting kicked out of the group for spamming.
The point I’m trying to make is it’s better to share what you’ve done on a group and then say sorry if you’re cautioned against spamming then be concerned about the official “rules” – reviewing them and making sure you’re not breaking them. At the end of the day all these social media groups need new members and they’re not going to kick you out if you’re sharing real content with an authentic voice.
Many times with certain large forums – despite posting content that was considered ‘advertising’ – all that happened was the post that I created was deleted and I was allowed to stay a member of the group.
But hey – by the time I got the caution from the FB Marketing group admin I had all ready gotten a bunch of subscribers to my eBook.
If you’re in sales you have to sometimes do things that not everyone is going to be happy with – including the admins. If you’re told not to do something by an admin then it’s fair game to listen and agree not to – and ask for an apology.
NOTE: I am not advocating spamming the hell out of Facebook Groups with crap spam. I’m just saying to share what you’ve created and if you’re cautioned and informed that your post is considered then simply don’t do it again.
That’s all for my 5 tips. Hope that these give you something to think about and motivate you to launch your own list building campaign!