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Sell Your Knowledge

Selling ebooks about what you know can introduce visitors to your core services, or be a moneymaker in its own right.

Most of us have some specific product or service that we offer on our Web site. People like me are engaged in an effort to get more visitors to the site, and to make the site more effective in making those visitors into paying customers or clients. Generally, we focus a lot of attention at getting that traffic that's relevant for the offering on the site, and getting those visitors to buy our particular knowledge.

But for that visitor who isn't quite ready to take the plunge and buy your major offering, do you provide them some opportunity to spend some money with you? If they could spend some money with you, particularly if the item they bought had a high margin, if that something also served as an introduction to your business and your offerings, and would continue to enhance the relationship, wouldn't that be terrific?

More and more sites are offering pure knowledge as just such an offering. It's not just an effort to wring a few bucks out of a visitor--it's really a strategic complement to the business itself. In some cases, the sale of knowledge can even become the major reason for the whole site to exist and do business!

My friend Gary Jones starting selling concentrated stocks for making classical French sauces. His site was a model of how to provide lots of information all around what you are selling, to bring visitors and keep them coming back. Then he wrote a cookbook, called "How to Make Restaurant Quality Sauces at Home" and started selling it (as an ebook) on his Web site. He told me one day that he had recognized that ebooks were extremely profitable by themselves. The cost to produce another copy of an ebook? Zero. The purchaser even pays for delivery of it--and printing of it, too, if it's to be printed.

But what about the cost of producing an ebook, isn't this expensive? The ebook can be just a pdf of your manuscript. You can use Adobe Acrobat to make a pdf, for a couple hundred dollar purchase price, or, like me, you can use pdf995, that you can use for free or give them $9.95 and they'll make a couple of advertising screens go away. This will give you a pdf that can be viewed by anyone on any machine; all they have to do is download a free viewer from Adobe. You can write your ebook with your favorite word processing program, and then use pdf995 and now you have your ebook that everyone can read.

But what about those nice ebook covers that you see on sites offering an ebook? Do you need one? Yes, you see them a lot because they're a good idea. But that's not a big problem either--you can buy ecovergenerator for just $97, and it will generate an image of a book with cover or a software box with cover. Just a few sales will quickly cover the low cost of the cover generator.

This still leaves you with the task of actually writing your ebook. You'll want at least 50 pages or more, so that you are providing a worthwhile amount of content to the purchaser. But you are writing in an area that's close to your heart, something close to your business, so it shouldn't be so hard to do. If you sell a variety of sauces, then write a cookbook with recipes for your sauces. If you sell log analysis software, write an ebook on Web marketing, and make sure it features creative ways to use your product. If you run a cooking school, recipes from your school are a natural. What if you sell, for example, property management software? Then, surely, you've come across a lot of good ideas about how to conduct your own property management business; put them into an ebook!

Another way to sneak up on the job of writing your ebook is to write newsletters that you send to clients and prospects, and hang on them. After a while, organize them into chapters, and look for gaps--fill them in with new issues of your newsletter. Finally, draw them all into a single word processing document, edit them into a single work, and off you go!

You probably won't be surprised to learn that the topics for these very newsletters are being chosen so that they'll fit into an ebook, so when there's enough material you'll see an ebook for sale on my site, and of course given away to everyone who becomes a client.

The Bottom Line: Selling an ebook on your site can be profitable in itself. But while it's bringing in profit, and ebook can also serve as an introduction to your business and can help deliver your business's basic marketing message.

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Dave Roberts provides expert Web marketing services to help you meet your business goals. Visit his Web site at: DaveDoesItAll.com


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