Would you like more people to read your eBook?

That’s a rhetorical question. If you have an eBook, of course you want more people to consume its content.

Your first instinct is to probably spend dollars on social media to get people to notice your eBook. Those bestsellers you hear about have probably done the same.

At this point… I want to let you in on a little secret.

The authors of successful eBooks you see on the internet today began telling people about their eBooks long before they were released. They worked hard to get followers to know, like and trust them, and purchase the eBook if it had a price tag.

While they do use social media marketing for promotion, they initially resort to less expensive platforms. Every author can benefit from having a platform to promote their work. And for eBook publishers, it’s critical.

You might be surprised to know that one of the best platforms to promote your eBook is your own blog.

With the exception of your blog, most of the platforms won’t provide your eBook the long-term discoverability or online exposure you desire… and you’re likely to pay more for promotion. If your blog is already providing great benefits to your target audience – and if you promote your eBook alongside – this alone can provide a platform for success.

But here’s what no one else will tell you…

You need to get creative and thoughtful when it comes to promoting an eBook through a blog.

The point is to illustrate that not many people are going to come across your eBook if you’re just going to promote it via blog posts, which is what most people do.

See, it is not the armchair strategy that will get you sales and downloads; you need to take full advantage of your blog’s functionality to draw in visitors.

Here are 5 ways to go about it:

1. Use the sidebar

Your blog’s sidebar has some essential functions varying from tag listing to promotion. With an effective placement of your eBook in this space, you can benefit from more downloads and finally lift your monetization/promotion efforts off the ground.

But that’s easier said than done, because readers may ignore it for advertising; advertising is studiously avoided by the modern internet user. Here’s what you can do to make sure the eBook gets noticed while it’s placed in the sidebar:

Create a big widget: A widget larger than the size of normal sidebar widgets can do more of a promotion, by letting people know there is something important on offer. You can use a tool like Firebug to add the appropriate styling to your blog’s HTML and CSS while seeing how your modifications are affecting other properties of the blog’s layout.
Make the widget sticky: Your blog’s content will be longer than your sidebar, which means when the visitors are approaching the end of the content they’re reading, they’ve probably scrolled beyond the sidebar. Not a big deal for them, but it’s important to you, very important. To avoid that from happening, use plugins like Q2W3 Fixed Widget and configure from your dashboard. Such plugins will make your widget appear like a sharebar.
Highlight the widget: So by now you’ve taken into consideration the recommendation of putting up a widget in the sidebar and promoting your eBook through it. Take it up a notch by making the widget more eye-catching. You can do this by changing borders, background color, or another element of your choice.

Here’s a layout example:

1

You can just use one sidebar instead of two, and create a bigger widget for promotion.

2. Use pop-ups

Pop-ups are attention grabbers, and they work better if you use them well. They can translate into leads and real-world dollars for your eBook. The modern pop-up is less of an ad and more of a feature integrated into a blog, so they can achieve a balance between conversions and offering a good visitor experience.

With WisePops, you can get creative while designing a pop-up for your site and customize the size, color, overlay and font before you publish it. Timing is going to be important as you don’t want to shock your visitors with a pop-up as soon as they arrive on your blog, but neither do you want the pop-up to appear after they’ve left. Here’s an example of a pop-up:

2

Define where and when you want the pop-up to appear and target visitors by frequency, source and browser. Check your Google Analytics to see the average time visitors spend on your blog and set the pop-up to appear 10-30 seconds after that time. Add some credibility to the pop-up by mentioning the number of people who’ve already downloaded the eBook, or if your eBook has a price, offer it for a discount.

3. Use the scrollbar

Scrolling enables progressive disclosure of your blog’s content. When visitors arrive at your blog, they are immediately looking for content and use the scrollbar to explore the entire blog page. You can leverage this opportunity and present them with further options in the sidebar, such as an opportunity to download your eBook.

Research shows that users scan content vertically, rather than horizontally, so following the buzz around horizontal scrollbars and breaking the eye pattern can be disruptive to your visitors’ natural behaviors. Give an option to download your eBook with the vertical scrollbar on your blog; a widget can catch people’s attention as they scroll, making them stop to look what you have to offer.

User Testing offers its eBook using this method. As users scroll to the end of the page, they are presented with a widget offering the eBook. Here’s how it appears:

3

4. Use notification bars

A quick notification at the top of the blog page can serve as a great call to action for your eBook. Many blogs use sticky notification bars to display the latest events, apps, announcements, and more, so that visitors don’t skip any important information. Most notification bars are light, so they do not increase the loading time of a website.

An example of a notification bar is the Foobar plugin. It allows you to add a customizable bar at the top of your blog, which can be used to promote your eBook. Different notifications and CTAs can be displayed on different pages or a default bar can be defined to display on all your pages. You can also rename the plugin’s name to something else, or completely remove the name.

Simonblog uses notification bars to promote its new offerings, such as handbooks and applications. Here’s how the notification bar appears:

4

5. Use the blog footer

The surprise of seeing something being offered right below the main content of a blog can tempt the readers to take action. The call to action for the eBook can be placed in the blog footer to capture the attention of visitors just as they are done reading. They have likely consumed a decent about of your content and are in ‘explore mode’, so they can download the eBook to figure you out.

Use good typography and vary the footer’s size, letter spacing and weight to improve the legibility of the eBook link in the footer. Give users on-click access to valuable information from your eBook rather than asking them to subscribe to your newsletter before they can download or buy the eBook. Don’t shy away from taking an illustrator’s help to add a creative element that enables a visitor to break away from the necessary utility of the rest of the page.

SocialMouths has a great footer design and it includes a CTA for the founder’s online course. You can do something like this for eBook promotion:

5

Have you used your blog for eBook promotion? Can you think of any additional ways to promote an eBook? Feel free to leave comments.

Throughout any era, two things have always been true about marketing. One, brands want to keep their customers informed about new product offerings and deals. Two, they want a direct line to the customer or prospect in order to do so.

As it turns out, email marketing newsletters have remained surprisingly effective at serving both these needs. As long as your newsletter has something of value to offer, people are generally happy to invite your brand to their inbox.

But first things first: You’ve got to get them to sign up. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to do so. Here are 10 of our favorite strategies to increase email signups in 2015.

1. Give Something Away

If you want people to volunteer their email addresses, you’ve got to be willing to give them something in return. It doesn’t have to be much, but it does have to be something your prospective customers would want — and ideally lead them toward a purchase decision.

Your giveaway could include discounts on your web store, free or exclusive content (e.g., a white paper, a how-to, a song) a month of free service, etc. Just make sure it aligns with your goals for building your mailing list in the first place.

Here is an example from HP’s Vertica platform:

1

2. Highlight the Benefits

Does your mailing list offer content or discounts that customers can’t get anywhere else? If so, do your customers know about it?

Be sure to present a clear call to action to your prospect. Tell them exactly what you’re offering with your mailing list. Do you give advanced tutorials on activities relevant to your product? Do you offer daily deals that customers can’t get anywhere else? Say so.

Take this Salesforce opt-in landing page, for example. The purpose is clear, and most of the text is geared toward how either their content (free demos) or service at large can benefit the user. The cost of this free, helpful content? Opting in to their email list.

2

3. Pass it On

Believe it or not, your customers are more than willing to help you with your email recruitment drive by getting their friends to sign up. Just make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Here’s how the referral option works: offer a discount or other benefit to both the initial customer and the friend. The friend will then follow the link to claim the reward. You can either offer an email opt-in at this point, or make the reward contingent upon the new customer opting in. When in doubt, A/B test the two options.

Here is an example from Ink Garden, who even advertises its referral program on Facebook (see #5):

3

4. Strategically Place Your Signup Form

Many people are willing to join your email list, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to go out of their way to do it. Therefore, it’s your job to make signing up as easy as possible.

Here are some places to consider adding an email opt-in:

• Bars: This one might seem obvious, but a clean, visually appealing opt-in prominent on your site — either as a sidebar or top/menu bar — wherever the customer may be navigating can go a long way (and be sure to highlight the benefits!).

• Comments Section: Blogs and other web pages that have commenting functionality often require a valid email address for a person to post. Since you’re having them input this information anyway, why not kill two birds with one stone by adding a “subscribe to newsletter “checkbox too?

• After a Blog Post: There’s nothing wrong with a direct call to action right after a blog post. After all, you just gave your customer some valuable content. No harm in asking for something in return.

• At Purchase: This one is pretty common. As the prospect proceeds toward a purchase and is entering payment info, offer to sign them up for your email list too.

Aside from your basic site design considerations (i.e., you don’t want a visual layout that’s too crowded), don’t worry about putting opt-in forms in too many places. People are accustomed to filtering out the content that doesn’t interest them anyway; so at worst, your email signup form will be ignored, and at best, you’ll earn yourself a new subscriber.

Here is an example of TechCrunch‘s ever-present opt-in form (bottom right):

4

And here, Hershey’s brings attention to their newsletter at the bottom of every post:

5

5. Use Social Media Accounts

Sites like Facebook have plenty of third-party apps that will allow you to insert an email opt-in form directly in your page — and don’t forget the value of adding an email opt-in link in your “About” section too.

Your social media pages should also be a high source of travel for your brand. This makes them a perfect place to promote opt-in giveaways and discounts — and to get your subscribers to help spread the word too.

Here is an example from Canon’s Facebook page, offering visitors many different newsletter options specific to their photography needs.

6

And here is an example of Forbes making sure the newsletter is easily reached on the “About” page:

7

6. Offer Webinars & Tutorials

Again, the more you promote exclusive content through your email list, the more likely people are going to want to sign up. As mentioned above, sometimes giveaways and discounts are enough to do the trick, but especially if you’re marketing to B2B audiences, another commodity is often much more powerful: good content.

Webinars, tutorials and other in-depth pieces of content position your brand as an informed leader in its field. This is content marketing at it’s finest; not only are you offering something of real value, but you’re dramatically increasing the likelihood of converting your prospect.

In this example from AWeber Communications, registration for a webinar subscribes the user to their newsletter. This form is also a good example of keeping things simple (#8), requesting only a name and email address:

8

To sweeten the deal, AWeber even offers a consolation if people can’t watch the webinar live:

9

That’s how to use an email list effectively — promising users that you will give them something valuable in return.

7. Give Your Visitor a Nudge

Remember that a fundamental philosophy of web marketing is to make things conversions and opt-ins as easy for the prospect as possible. Sometimes that means sending your visitor a little pop-up message, encouraging them to sign up for your email list in order to receive additional, similarly useful content.

Think carefully about how you phrase your offer. In fact, it may be useful to craft different kinds of offers based on the type of content your visitor is viewing.

Here is an example for activism site Daily Kos. Here, the organization uses a petition as its opt-in, giving users the chance to join a regular mailing list at the time of signing.

10

8. Keep it Simple

Prospects are willing to indulge a business’s offers to convert or opt-in to a mailing list. Everyone more or less knows the drill when they’re shopping online, so as long as your offers are reasonable and add value to their experience, they will be willing to indulge you.

Within reason, that is. Just make sure you keep things simple for them. On your email list opt-in form, don’t ask for a whole litany of demographic information (unless you absolutely need it). Instead, just ask for the essentials — name and email address — and let them continue on their way.

9. Allow for Social Opt-In

What’s even simpler than asking for a name and email address in an opt-in form? Social signup links!

Letting customers sign up for your email list through their social credentials on Facebook, Twitter or even Google not only makes the entire process about as easy as it can get, it can also add a sense of legitimacy to the sign-in process. After all, many people still feel uneasy about giving their name and email address to so many different parties, and so they will feel comforted knowing that information is being mediated by a trusted social media site.

The extra benefit to your organization? Better data collection without having to ask. Generally speaking, when a prospect provides sign-in credentials through their social profile, they are also sharing other basic (and usually public) demographic information such as age, location, gender, business, etc.

Here is an example from MarketingProfs, who give their users plenty of options for how they would like to opt in:

11

10. Run a Contest or Competition

This combines many of the best elements of the giveaway (#1) and pass it on (#3) strategies. A good competition gives everyone something for participating — again, whether a free download, a discount or something along those lines — and it also encourages people to share.

Aside from growing your email list, this also gives you a chance to build brand awareness. Make sure that the contest prize will have clear value to participants, something likely to either encourage repeat business or convert the winner into an unofficial brand ambassador.

Here, the PGA, in a partnership with Quicken Loans, shows how to collect email subscribers in a heartbeat:

12

Ready to get started building your email lists? Find out how WisePops can help you build an effective, visually stunning campaign!

You know pop-ups help convert visitors into subscribers, but great writing in those pops-ups can take you from ho-hum conversion rates to stellar conversion rates in no time. Great copywriting in a small space can be a challenge, but with these 5 tips you can clean up your copy and get it working for you.

Tip 1: Benefits, benefits, benefits.

A pop-up is not the place to launch into details of your products features. You want to succinctly state why forking over their email address will benefit your reader. It’s not about your product and why it’s so great, it’s about your customer and how to make their lives or their business even better.

Let’s look at an example of good and bad copy in a newsletter sign-up:

This:

Free Marketing Guide!

Get 50 smart marketing tips when you sign up for our mailing list.

Not this:

Sign up for our mailing list, you’ll love it!

Tip 2: Less is more.

You’ve heard the old adage, but nothing could be truer for pop-ups. In just a few seconds, you want readers to glean enough information to feel right about signing up to hear more from you. If the pop-up is crowded with too many words, readers are going to look for the little ‘x’ is quickly as possible.

Here’s an example for a pop-up that welcomes traffic from a specific source:

This:

Special Welcome for Facebook Users: 20% off your first order. Use code FB20 at checkout.

Not this:

Thanks for visiting from Facebook! We appreciate our new customers and would like to offer you 20% off your first purchase. Please use coupon code FB20 at checkout.

Tip 3: Provide metrics.

How many subscribers is this reader joining? How much time can they save from the services you offer? Money? Including metrics makes your copy more concrete and compelling.

Let’s look at how this works in a promotion pop-up:

This:

Join 25,000 Entrepreneurs in learning this time-saving technique

30% our flagship productivity course

Join now.

Not this:

Sign up and save 30% on our productivity course.

Tip 4: Be direct, not cute or wishy-washy.

Don’t try to be cutesy, make referential jokes or play on cliches. Your customer doesn’t have time for that. Be direct. Don’t make your pop-up language into a riddle.

Let’s see how to welcome a repeat visitor, then how not to:

This:

Great to see you again! Take 15% your next purchase. Use code: repeat15

Not this:

Gee, thanks for stopping by again! We noticed you’ve been by here a few times and we want to thank you. Please take 15% off your next purchase of $25 or more. Our treat.

Tip 5: Leverage Power Words

Pop-ups are not the place for bland and banal language. It’s well acknowledged by great copywriters that certain words have more power and influence than others. Words like “Free, instant, guaranteed, proven, confidential” are action motivators. Use them.

Here’s an example of power words versus weak words for an exit pop-up:

This:

Free instant download to skyrocket your productivity. Sign up now!

Not this:

Sign up right away and download our ebook to increase productivity.

Now is the time to take a look at the existing copy in your pop-ups and see if you can apply these tips to make your pop-ups shine — and convert.

Looking for some new campaigns to increase conversions on your website? Here are a few proven ways to optimize your performances with targeted pop-ups:

  1. Popup an immediate welcome message to new visitors. If you don’t already do this, it’s time to start. The pitch is simple: visitors come on your website every day, you want to have to make sure you capture as many emails as possible. Such campaign might increase your conversions by up to 400% so definitely worth a try.
  2. Popup a last time offer to visitors about to leave your website (exit pop-up). Prompt an attractive message to visitors when they leave your website. Last chance to convert, it works well too and you have nothing to lose!
  3. Popup your big events or hot topics to visitors who land on your product pages. Why? Because most of the traffic do not land on the homepage, so only a few share of your visitors can be aware of what’s important on your website right now. Displaying a pop up to all of those who do not land on your homepage is a great way to increase the visibility of your on going campaigns.
  4. Popup newsletter sign-up invite to visitors coming from Google Adwords. Adwords visitors probably are those who cost you the most – by capturing their emails you will simply increase the ROI fo your campaigns.
  5. Popup a super reward coupon to visitors who came on your website more than 4 times this month. You should reward your most loyal visitors, and not only focus on new ones. Rewarding repeated visits on your site is a great experience for your customers.

Try yours on WisePops, and come back to share your results!

I have run a ecommerce website for 5 years, and worked with hundreds of web entrepreneurs and marketers. We all know how huge amount of time, work, and money is needed to get new visitors. However I am always surprised on how we naturally focus more on getting new visitors than on improving conversions. Visitors are so hard to get, we can not afford not to maximize chances to convert them. Popups offer an amazing way to feature one clear call to action to our visitors. If they take the action it, it’s a win. If they don’t, well, at least we have asked. And at the end of the day, you get lot of wins. How can we be so sure? We see this every day on thousands of websites. And since we also know why you may hesitate to use pop ups, and here is our view on the most common received ideas.

Received idea #1: If I display a popup my visitors will be disturbed and leave.

False. There is no correlation between the bounce rate and the use of a popup. This has been tested over and over, and you can test it too. What will happen if your visitors do not like the popup? They will do what we all do when we are not interested, they will close it. Not leave your website. And that’s probably what more than 90% of your visitors will do. Others won’t, and this is a huge opportunity you can not just waist.

Received idea #2: I have already optimized my landing page for conversions, no need to add a popup.

That’s great if 90% of your visitors land on your landing page. But unless if you are a one page start-up, it’s quite certain than more than 50% (80%?) land on your other pages (products pages, posts pages, etc.). You want to reach those visitors too, and popups give you this opportunity.

Received idea #3: If my visitors do not convert, it is because they are not interested.

Again, false. You do not have 99% visitors not interested and 1% who converts. You have 80% not interested, 20% interested, and 1% who convert. Improving conversions is only about learning on how to deal with those 20% of interested-hesitating visitors. And my two major learnings / pieces of advice are 1) if you want your visitors to do something, ask; and 2) make it easy for them to do it. I believe a popup is the best way to ask, and the easiest way for visitors to take action.

Feel free to share your thoughts!

Managing a road map for a Saas is absolutely strategic, and very challenging. It is not easy – at all – to make sure you know what is the next feature you should work on.

Over time, I have set a very useful framework to prioritize our road map, and I hope this can be useful to others dealing with the same challenge:

First set of criteria: the output, or the type of expected impact on your business (I want to have at least 3 of those 4 outputs impacted in each new release).

  1. Acquisition – will bring new visitors
  2. Conversion – will help convert new visitors into customers
  3. Retention – will improve experience of existing customers
  4. Price – will increase my average revenue per user

Second set of criteria: the pain, or how much does this hurt not to have this now? (each new release should include features dealing with 1 or 2, and with 3 or 4).

  1. Critical
  2. Bad
  3. Can do with it for a few more weeks
  4. No hurt, but long term impact

Third set: the workload, or how much efforts are needed? (Look for a 40% / 40 % / 20% structure).

  1. Quick win
  2. Average feature
  3. Big (will require time in specifications + development + beta period, etc.)

Fourth set: who will benefit? (no rules here, excepted that 3. should always be paid by the customer).

  1. All customers
  2. Only a segment
  3. Individual needs

Those are my main criteria, and each line in the WisePops road map is stack ranked this way. Can not use this to prioritize automatically of course, but this helps make sure you take important factors into consideration when prioritizing.

Hope that helps, and feel free to share your own best practices!

Creating a high converting popup takes three steps: 1) the content, 2) the design, and 3) the display scenario – this is when is your popup displayed on your site.  Today we are sharing with you 5 display scenarios for your popups that has proven to reach high conversion rates.

1. Immediately welcome your new visitors. Set your popup to display to all new visitors, immediately after landing on your site. This will be the cover page of your site, the first thing visitors will see. Two great advantages: 1) you can display a very clear welcome message and test it (much easier than doing this on your frontpage) and 2) it is a good time to get visitors signup (before entering, …).

2. Reward repeat visitors. Set your popup to display to returning visitors, that have been on your site more than 3 times the past week. Those are highly interested customers and with a right message you can get strong conversion rates, even if on a smaller batch of visitors.

3. Target Sponsored links visitors. To make this short: you pay so much in sponsored links that you want to make sure any visitors landing from this trafic source will have an opportunity to easily drop an email for you to contact back.

4. Exit popup. Set your popup to display not when visitors land on your site, but when they are about to leave. Consider this as a great opportunity to have one last chance to convert them. Test a message like: “before you leave, are you sure you don’t want to …..”. Scenario with no risk & good results.

5. Strategic content. Set your popup to display on a page that you know raise great interest from your visitors. You can them custom the message like “if you have liked (…), we have more to come – stay tuned”

Feel free to test those display scenarios for your popup, and to share results. Do you have other high converting tips with popups?