This summer I bought an internet marketing training course. I won’t name the course because I don’t want to make this blog post just a big promotion for it. The promise of the course was to build an email list using a free traffic source.
I put a lot of effort into testing the system and in this post I want to share a part of it, also the things I learned from other sources and what results did I get in the end.
The Free Traffic Source
If you have been following the internet marketing niche for a while, then chances are you already know about 90% of the traffic sources out there. For my big surprise, I actually didn’t know about this traffic source.
So, what is it?
Amazon Kindle. Strangely enough, I have stumbled upon it a year or more ago when the opportunity was so much bigger, but I didn’t take action on it because I thought that Amazon Kindle works like this:
You upload a text document.You get a listing on Amazon and when someone buys, Amazon prints the book and sends it to them. Because I thought that it creates physical books I immediately thought that this is not for me.
Well, now I know how wrong I was. Amazon Kindle actually is a bit simpler than that. You upload a book with a cover and enter all the details about it. Amazon starts selling your book and if someone buys they send an ebook to them.
So, this is the free traffic strategy that I used for list building and it really is free, Amazon doesn’t charge any fees to get started, they only take their percentage from the sales made.
The Plan For Getting Email Subscribers
Now, how do you build that email list?
Amazon isn’t giving you the email addresses of the people who buy your ebooks, what you need to do is to have a lead magnet inside your book. It’s actually very simple, you create a small bonus that supplements your book and you give it away for everyone who subscribes for free. You put a link for that bonus in your book and every time someone reads your book you have a chance of capturing them into your list.
I Don’t Want To Write a Book!!!
Okay, the bonus is actually not a problem because if you are building a list, then you are already giving something away, but how about the book? Do you need to spend 6 months locked in at home to write it?
In the training course, it was outlined that you can use PLR content for your book. PLR stands for Private Label Rights, these are books written by other people. You can buy those books, edit and sell as your own.
It is advised to use PLR sparingly and to rewrite all the content by adding some insights of your own, which is still much faster than writing from scratch, MUCH faster.
Well, for my first book I actually took a different route, I wrote it myself, but the book ended up quite short, around 3000 words, like a good long blog post.
Now, because of the length I have gotten some very critical reviews. So, it’s best to have your book between 6000 and 10 000 words for the best results.
Obviously, I wasn’t writing novels or short stories because I’m building a list in the internet marketing niche. So, I wrote a guidebook on Facebook advertising and as my first book it did pretty well.
Another route that you can take, if you hate writing is to outsource the book, but it will cost you some money and if you are just getting started you might end up in a loss. Still, I wanted to drop this in as a possible choice.
Getting Your Book In The Hands Of People
We have our short book written, we have a link to our bonus in the book to get subscribers. Now, what? Well, you need people to read the book, but the problem is that you won’t get a lot of sales of your book when getting started unless you wrote something absolutely amazing and even then it would take time to lift off.
So, here comes the KDP Select program. Amazon gives you two powerful ways to promote your book, if you agree to publish your book only on Amazon for 90 days.
Kindle Countdown Deals
First promotion method is kindle countdown deals, you can sell your book at a discounted price, but still get 70% royalties. It’s a good way to make additional sales of your book, but to make it worthwhile your book should already be selling well. So, this doesn’t work for us because we are just getting started.
Free Book Promotion
Second method is free book promotion. You can give away your book for free on Amazon for 5 days. Bingo! This is what you want to do to get your book out there, you can expect to get several hundred free downloads of your book throughout these 5 days and this is when you get all of your new subscribers.
Also, the free promotion helps to raise your book’s ranking, which helps making sales after your free promotion is over. You can expect to get a few reviews of your book as well and reviews are probably the most important factor for making sales.
If you get good reviews and lots of them, you will make tons of sales. If you get a few bad reviews that are bashing your book you will get very poor sales or maybe not get them at all.
List Building Results
So, I repeated the process of writing a book, putting a bonus for it and then doing a free promotion a few more times. I got up to 10 subscribers every single time I launched a book. Not too much, but also not too bad, if you compare it with other free traffic strategies.
For example, if you write a blog you would be very happy to get 10 subscribers per post when you are just getting started. With guest blogging you would be happy as well, you need to strike a very good guest blogging deal to get more than ten subscribers. So, it’s a very effective free traffic strategy.
After releasing 3 books, I took a break from publishing on Kindle, I was busy working on other things.
The break took about a month, but I did check my stats every single day and here and there I saw a book of mine being sold and those sales just didn’t stop.
I started thinking to myself, if I can make sales of a book without putting much effort what could I achieve, if I actually focused on this.
So, I started writing again and this time I focused more on making sales instead of building a list. To this day, I got a total of 7 books published, when I say books I mean short guidebooks on different internet marketing topics.
I also started looking for ways to improve my knowledge of the Amazon platform so, I bought a product on Amazon SEO. Now, it didn’t give me a tremendous boost, but it sure was useful.
What I learned was that Amazon is like a search engine, just a very old one, I would compare it to Google, when keyword stuffing still worked.
So, how do you optimize your books on Amazon?
Well, the main idea is to use Amazon suggestions to find keywords that are relatively easy to rank for. What I mean is, when you start typing something into the Amazon search, it starts spitting suggestions, if there’s a suggestion it means there’s a huge search volume and it’s a good keyword.
You need to find 7 good keywords related to your product and use them in your title, subtitle, description and keywords to rank well for these terms.
The next thing I learnt about Amazon was about its sales rank. Basically every single product on Amazon has a rank. The lower the rank number the more likely your product is going to show up for different search terms.
Note: A high rank is #1 and a low rank is #400,000, just like Alexa traffic ranking goes.
The sales rank is mostly influenced by the amount of sales that you get, but I’m guessing several other factors come into place like reviews.
So, what can we do with this information? Well, we need to try to get as much sales as possible when the book launches, this will raise its rank fast, making it more visible on Amazon and that generates even more sales. This should ensure high rankings for your book, but the problem here is making those initial sales.
To raise your sales rank fast, you will need to use your list to promote the book or you will need to buy advertising. What I’m saying is, that to get your book to the bestsellers list you need to invest in it quite a bit.
Reviews Can Kill Your Book Sales
I had two of my books bashed by one person who left me one and two star reviews. What can I say, those books aren’t doing well.
Generally, when you have a bunch of reviews that are positive, one bad review won’t do you much harm, but when the first review that you get is negative, then it becomes very hard to make further sales.
Trying to “game” the review system isn’t easy. If someone hasn’t bought the book and tries to leave a review Amazon usually filters them out. Also, any kind of review exchanges are forbidden by Amazon so you should only rely on real reviews.
My Results Selling Ebooks On Amazon
Firstly, here are the books that I have currently published on Amazon:
My 90 days download results:
What you see here are all the downloads: free and paid. The green spikes are the free downloads and from 7 books I got quite a few of them, but the trend looks like to be pointing down. My first two books got a lot of free downloads as you can see, but the last books that I published didn’t get as much, I even had two of my books free at the same time.
I’m guessing that it’s harder to get free downloads right now because there’s a lot more competition than it was during summer.
And here you can see the paid downloads of my books.
Red spikes are paid units, meaning you get royalties from them instantly.
Blue spikes are purchases made by people who use Kindle Unlimited, which is a subscription service allowing to get as many books as you want for free. You only get paid, if a person reads 10% of your book. So, not every single KU sale might put money in your pocket.
Still, as you can see most of the sales are paid units.
Wrapping It Up
So, is it worth spending your time on Amazon Kindle?
Well, if you want to build a list, you can expect to get up to 10 leads per book during the free promotion if done right. As I already mentioned the numbers are very good in comparison to other free traffic sources.
Keep in mind that you can create these books very quickly and every 90 days you can repeat the free book promotion and get more leads.
Writing to make sales is also an option, as you can see from the sales I made by publishing just a handful of books. If you focus and publish a lot of books, put in the time to promote them, then you can make a decent income from them.
Obviously, you won’t become an overnight millionaire, but if you put in the work, you can get very good results.
Now, if you are interested in making money using Amazon Kindle, I cover the whole process more in depth and share other strategies how to get ebooks written fast in my course Hands Free Kindle Publishing.