You’ve written an ebook and you’re proud of your work. You’re ready to release it to the world, but you don’t know where to start. How do you raise awareness of your ebook among your target audience, and how do you convince people to download it? If your ebook has a price tag, it’s even harder to motivate people to pay for it.
Thanks to the internet and social media, promoting your ebook for free is easy. Your results will grow proportionally with your efforts both before and after your ebook is released. The key is investing the time and effort into promoting your ebook well in advance of its launch and consistently and persistently continuing to promote it long after it has been launched. Following are 15 free ways to promote your ebook online to get you started:
1. Build your online network and audience in advance.
Well in advance of releasing your ebook, you should spend time building your online network and audience of people who will be interested in the contents of your ebook as well as influential people who already have the eyes and ears of your target audience online. Spend time building your connections on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and start a blog to develop your own online platform. This will help you build trust with your audience long before you launch your ebook.
2. Tease your audience before the launch.
Increase the anticipation level for your ebook by teasing your audience with snippets, quotes, questions, tips, cover designs, and so on. Make sure these elements are interesting, meaningful, and relevant to your target audience, and their interest level will rise. You can do this on your blog, via email, and on your social media profiles.
3. Offer free sample chapters to intrigue people.
Pick a compelling chapter from your ebook and offer it for download in advance of the ebook’s release. You can also send the sample chapter to bloggers and influencers and ask them to share it with their audiences. If it’s good, many of these people will be happy to share it.
4. Repurpose parts of your ebook to build buzz pre- and post-launch.
Your ebook is a goldmine of content that you can repurpose to promote it both before and after it’s released. For example, create an infographic with data from your ebook or create YouTube videos, SlideShare presentations, blog posts, Pinterest pins, and more. Each of these pieces of content gives you another opportunity to talk about your ebook and spread the word about it without looking like you’re shamelessly self-promoting it again and again.
5. Hold contests.
Hold a contest on your blog, on Pinterest, or on Facebook which is open to everyone who downloads your free ebook during a specific time frame. Make sure the prize is a really good one. If your ebook has a price tag, offer it as the prize.
6. Create unique a landing page.
Spend some time creating a compelling landing page that encourages people to download your ebook, and create unique URLs to track each of your promotional efforts. A great landing page can make the difference between thousands of downloads or just a handful of downloads.
7. Participate in forums.
Are there online forums related to your ebook topic where your target audience spends time? Join the conversation by answering questions and providing useful information. Don’t just promote your ebook. Instead, add value to the conversation and include a promotional message and link to your ebook in your forum signature.
8. Don’t forget social media profile and web design.
Social media and online promotion doesn’t have to be limited to your tweets, Facebook updates, Pinterest pins, blog posts, and so on. Be sure to consider how you can integrate promotional copy and images into your social media and website designs, too. For example, your Twitter and Facebook cover photos and your Twitter background can include a picture of your ebook cover and the URL to download it.
9. Publish press releases.
There are many free press release services like PR.com and Free-Press-Release.com that can help spread the word about your ebook. Every little bit of promotion helps, so don’t overlook press release distribution.
10. Consider an affiliate program.
If you’re charging a price for your ebook, then consider setting up an affiliate program where people can sign up as your affiliates and earn a commission on each copy of your ebook that they “sell” via a referral link. Sites like Share-a-Sale and Ejunkie make it easy for anyone to set up an affiliate program.
11. Reach out to influencers and ask for reviews.
If you followed the tips in #1 above, you identified and started to form relationships with influencers who have the eyes, ears, and trust of your target audience well before you launched your ebook. As the launch date draws close, reach out to these influencers directly and offer a copy of your ebook for them to review. Getting a positive review from someone who influences your target audience could translate into a lot of ebook sales or downloads.
12. Set up alerts and jump into conversations.
Use free tools like Google Alerts, Topsy, and Monitter.com to track keywords related to your ebook and jump into conversations as they happen (or in a timely manner). If someone publishes a tweet asking a question that you answer in your ebook, send them an @reply with the answer along with a link to your full ebook. They just might download a copy. At the very least, they’ll probably thank you, and your ebook link has the chance to be viewed by their audience, too. Some of those people might want to download it or share it with their friends. That’s where the power of the internet and social media can drive word-of-mouth marketing which leads to conversions (i.e., sales or downloads depending on whether your ebook has a price or is free).