Giving away free ebooks is a great way to drive traffic to your blog, and it’s something that all bloggers should do. These suckers (ebooks, not bloggers) are retweet magnets, and the chances of you seeing a corresponding increase in traffic are high.
But in addition to getting extra traffic, did you know that you can make some extra money with those free ebooks?
Here are 4 ways to do it:
1. Include affiliate links inside your ebook
This is probably the most common way of making money with free ebooks. You simply include affiliate links to products you use or products that are otherwise helpful. When someone clicks on that link and buys that product, you make some money.
Let’s dive in to a real word example, and we’ll use this throughout the rest of the post. Let’s say you’ve got a blog on how to train pet ferrets to do tricks. And we’ll say that you write a free ebook called, “10 Quick Ways to Train Your Pet Ferret.” If one of the ways to train a ferret is to reward it with ferret snacks every time it obeys you, include some Amazon affiliate links for ferret food. Whenever someone clicks through to Amazon and buys those snacks (or anything else on Amazon, for that matter), you make a commission.
See how easy that was?
And as a side note, it’s always best to disclose affiliate links.
2. Have advertising inside your free ebook
This is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before and I’ve never done it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Before you come out with your new ebook, see if you can find people or businesses that would pay to have their advertisements in it.
How would you find advertisers? You could ask your blog readers or newsletter readers. You could cold call (or cold email or tweet) potential advertisers. Your best bet would be to state the number of readers, followers, and online friends you have (the potential number of people who could see the ebook and the ads) and that advertising with you would benefit that company.
Where would you place the ads? For maximum exposure, you could place the advertisement as a footer or header on every single page in the ebook. Alternately, you could just have it at the front of the ebook (“This ebook is brought to you by…”) or the end (“If you enjoyed this ebook, please show your support for our sponsor”).
How would you charge for the ads and how much would you charge? Obviously, this depends on ad placement and size. It also depends on your audience. One option is to have a flat rate fee for including the ad, or you could set up some sort of CPD (cost per download) system.
So our ferret-loving blogger could partner up with the company that makes hammocks for ferret cages. The blogger could either charge a $50 flat rate fee, or something like 10 cents per download.
(By the way, I think that an ebook advertising network would be a great idea for the entrepreneurial-inclined out there!)
3. Promote a premium version of your free product
A free ebook is the ultimate sales letter.
Continuing our ferret story, let’s imagine that the blogger has created an entire “how to train ferrets” course and is charging $77 for it. To get people interested in the course, the blogger releases a “5 Easy Ways to Train Your Ferret Today” free ebook.
At the end of that ebook, the blogger cleverly mentions, “If you liked this ebook, you ain’t seen nothing yet! There’s plenty more where this came from! If you really want your ferret to dominate and be the ultimate obedient ferret, be sure to check out my FERRET DOMINATION course.”
4. Send readers to your newsletter
“The money is in the list.” It’s up there with “Content is king” as far as internet marketing clichés go. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less true.
While you can make people opt in to your newsletter in order to receive your free ebook, that’s not what I’m talking about here. This is similar to method #3 above, but instead of upselling to a premium product, you’re upselling to have people join your email list.
You could say something like, “If you enjoyed these 5 ferret tips, you’ll love the 10 more that I talk about in my other free ebook! All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter here.” And then include a link to a newsletter opt-in page.
How to make money from your email list is beyond the scope of this post, but just Google “make money email list” to find all the information you need.
What are you waiting for?
And now for some questions that I’d LOVE to see your answers to (and note that I will respond to every comment, so please comment!):
- Have you ever tried making money with free ebooks? Did you succeed?
- Have you ever written a free ebook? If so, how did it go? If not, why not?