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How to Use Amazon Publishing to Grow Your Online Audience
30th March 2017 • The Digital Entrepreneur • Rainmaker Digital LLC
00:00:00 00:36:26

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The Amazon publishing ecosystem is a great way to build your online audience — if you know what to do.

Search and social media play an important part in growing your online audience. But what about Amazon?

Even if you don’t sell physical goods, Amazon can play a vital role in helping you build your online audience.


By using Amazon’s self-publishing features.

But there is a lot more to being successful on Amazon than just publishing an ebook.

In this episode we explore all the elements of how to use Amazon to grow your digital goods business with our very special guest, Bryan Eisenberg.

Bryan is not only a bestselling author, he is also one of the top thought leaders in online marketing. Bryan is the co-author of Wall Street Journal, Business Week, USA Today and New York Times bestselling books, as well as a professional speaker.

But best of all, Bryan shares the tactics and techniques he is personally using to promote his latest book – Be Like Amazon – on Amazon.

In this 36-minute episode, Sean Jackson, Jessica Frick, and Bryan Eisenberg go in depth with practical tips you can use to grow your audience via Amazon, including…

  • Why Amazon self-publishing should be in your marketing mix
  • The types of strategies you should use
  • The difference between publishing for Kindle versus an ebook
  • The tactics that Bryan is using right now to build awareness for his book
  • And of course, our question for the week – How do you know what the “right price” is for your digital goods offering?

Listen to The Digital Entrepreneur below ...

The Show Notes

The Transcript

How to Use Amazon Publishing to Grow Your Online Audience

Sean Jackson: Rainmaker FM.

You’re listening to The Digital Entrepreneur. The show for folks who want to discover smarter ways to create and sell profitable digital goods and services. This podcast is a production of Digital Commerce Institute, the place to be for digital entrepreneurs. For more information, go to Rainmaker.FM/DigitalCommerce. That’s Rainmaker.FM/DigitalCommerce.

Welcome to the Digital Entrepreneur, everyone. I’m your host, Sean Jackson. I’m joined, as always, by the witty Jessica Frick. Jessica, how the frick are you today?

Jessica Frick: I am fabulous. How the Jackson are you?

Sean Jackson: I am actually sick. If you’re listening to the show, I actually have a horrible ear infection and cold.

Jessica Frick: I’m so sorry, Sean.

Sean Jackson: Well thank you. But here’s the thing, Jess, I love our audience so much that I’m going to plow through this episode, because it’s too dang important. But the good news is, it’s going to be short, because I’m going to go back home and go to bed.

Jessica Frick: You’re pretty hardcore.

Sean Jackson: Well, I only do it for our audience. So, Jess, where did we leave the last episode?

Jessica Frick: Well, the last episode we were talking about Amazon. Is it your best friend or is it your frenemy?

Sean Jackson: Well, what do you say, Jess?

Jessica Frick: I say frenemy.

Sean Jackson: Oh, well let’s get that argument out there. I want to hear it.

Jessica Frick: Well, first off, I don’t think Amazon is a one-size-fits-all solution. Do I think that it should be considered as part of the marketing mix? Absolutely. Do I think Amazon is in business to help you? Hell no. I think they will shortchange you every chance they can because they’re in business to make money for themselves. They don’t care about your book. They don’t care about your brand. They care about money for themselves. So I think if you really want to succeed as a publisher, you really need to consider all of the options available to you, with Amazon playing a very small part.

Sean Jackson: Well, I am going to tell you how wrong you are. Here’s why I say that it is your friend — I’ll put it out there this way — first off, let’s just look at the big numbers. The amount of transactions that go through dwarf any other site on the planet. It’s over 40 percent. It’s huge. The audience is there. All of your audience is there.

I do think that if you’re looking at Amazon publishing as a way to write the classic book you’ve always wanted to, and thinking that you’ll retire as an author in some mountain hillside retreat, that’s probably the wrong way to look at it if you’re a digital entrepreneur. I think that it is probably one of the best vehicles to test ideas, to put thoughts down, and establish thought leadership. And doing so from a marketing perspective, not necessarily from an “Oh, I’m gonna make a ton of money doing this.”

I think that’s the trap. I think a lot of people get into publishing and they think, “Oh, I’m gonna make all this money doing it.” The problem is you have to look at it as part of the marketing mix. Can you create up content that inspires action to get them back to your site? Where I say it’s your best friend, is because it is a giant universe of potential people out there that you could communicate with through writing an ebook or actually doing self publishing on Kindle. But — and this is the big caveat — if you think that you’re going to write the classic book that’s going to help you retire, I would say no publishing platform’s going to do it, regardless of how big it is.

Jessica Frick: Unless you’re 50 Shades of something.

Sean Jackson: Well, those are the anomalies, right? That’s always the thing.

Jessica Frick: They totally are.

Sean Jackson: It’s the ones that come up and you’re like, “Oh, they did this on that.” And sure, yes, there are anomalies to it. But in the world that we happen to have it, which is “we gotta do things that make money today,” I think that you would be smarter to look at it slightly different. I don’t think that you are going to approach it with the right mindset unless you think of it as marketing versus making money from an ebook. That’s how I look at it.

Jessica Frick: Well I would agree with that. Let’s be real here, traditional publishing is slow.

Sean Jackson: Yeah.

Jessica Frick: Whereas somehow — my son and I were talking about this the other day — you go see a movie in the theater, and now it’s out like two months later. When we were kids, we had to wait like six months, sometimes longer, for the movie to come out on VHS.

Sean Jackson: Yeah. It takes time.

Jessica Frick: Yeah, well things are moving faster. But traditional publishing? Not so much.

Sean Jackson: That’s right. You’re right.

Jessica Frick: So yes, I agree that you can take control. But using Amazon as a delivery mechanism for an audience you already have? Now you’re giving Amazon money when you could’ve just kept it for yourself.

Sean Jackson: Interesting point. And the good news about today’s show is we actually have an expert on who has not only written numerous books and has published, but is also one of the leading thought leaders in online marketing, Bryan Eisenberg. The best part of today’s show is the fact that he actually has a book that he is about to release — another book, I should say. Another book that he is about to release on Amazon. He is actually going to walk us through the process that he is using to write a book for Amazon to build his business through that vehicle. So stay tuned after the break. We’re going to interview Bryan Eisenberg and talk about what a true expert and author does to promote their work in the Amazon ecosystem, so stay tuned.

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Welcome back from the break, everyone. Jessica, please introduce our very special guest for the interview today.

Jessica Frick: Today, Sean, we have the devastatingly handsome and phenomenally intelligent Bryan Eisenberg. He’s co-founder of Buyer Legends and co-author of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times best-selling books, Call to Action, Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?, Always Be Testing, and Buyer Legends: The Executive Storyteller’s Guide. And the forthcoming, hopefully best-seller, Be Like Amazon: Even a Lemonade Stand Can Do It.

Sean Jackson: Bryan, welcome to the show.

Bryan Eisenberg: I’m excited to be here.

Sean Jackson: So, Bryan, I want to preface this for our audience. I want to tell you something that happened back in 2013 that you did that really inspired me. I want to set the stage. We were in Denver at our very first conference for the company, and you were the closing keynote that Friday. You remember that? You were there …

Bryan Eisenberg: Yeah, and I was shocked about coming onstage to talk about the topic I did.

Sean Jackson: Exactly. So you come up on stage and you start talking about Amazon. Now, I’ve been in marketing for a long time, and I’m like “Marketing? Amazon? What the heck is he talking about?” You went through for an hour on all of these amazing things. I remember walking out of that presentation and I said, “I have to buy stock in Amazon right now. I have to go buy it.” At the time it was trading at $270, today, that stock is worth $848.

Bryan Eisenberg: Jessica, he hasn’t even sent me a gift basket.

Jessica Frick: I was going to say.

Sean Jackson: Well I bought a share.

Bryan Eisenberg: It was only a gift basket, man.

Why Amazon Self-Publishing Should Be in Your Marketing Mix

Sean Jackson: That’s right. But even me, as a financial guy, I was sitting there going, “Holy cow!” Your insight into Amazon blew me away. So when Jessica and I were thinking about topics for the show, I was coming up and saying, “Okay, we need somebody about Amazon.” Your presentation stuck in my mind. So let’s get into it, Bryan. Other than invest in stock, why should a digital entrepreneur even think about Amazon in their mix?

Bryan Eisenberg: You know, it’s a great question. I have a few buddies in the space right now who have had their own ebooks for a long time, and they’re asking the question, “Should we be on Amazon?” So I’m hearing this a lot lately. The answer is: absolutely. That’s where buyers are. 43 percent of all e-commerce sales — all of them — happen on Amazon.

Jessica Frick: Wow.

Bryan Eisenberg: Amazon Prime members — who are their largest Kindle audience — are a great demographic. They spend three to five times as much as regular customers. I think when you start looking at that … To top it all off, they convert about 74 percent of the time once they’re on the website. So it’s definitely a place where you want to be, because it’s the mass audience that you can reach that you probably couldn’t have reached before. And there’s also a brand perception of you being an author on Amazon, versus being an author who has his own little ebook.

Sean Jackson: Right. But isn’t there competition though? Yes, you can get some authority by being on Amazon for your ebook, but isn’t there so much competition and pricing pressures are so much that … Are you going to make any money doing it, putting your ebook out there, knowing that there’s so much competition and pricing pressures are intense?

The Types of Strategies You Should Use

Bryan Eisenberg: It’s a great question. I’ve written now six books, and the lesson I’ve learned from basically all my author friends is you don’t necessarily make money from the book. You make money because of the book. So you need to think of your Amazon strategy slightly different than your ebook strategy. This is what’s happening with one of my buddies, Bobby Tewksbary. He’s one of the top-hitting baseball coaches in the country. He’s actually a Rainmaker client as well, he’s been hosting a membership site there and he has his ebook there.

What we’re doing is going to come out with a different book for a much broader audience. An intro book, so to speak, on Amazon, because that’s where the customers are. Go for the wide net that Amazon has, and then bring them down the funnel into his profitable membership site and his profitable ebook. That’s where he makes the money. Think about the Amazon thing as a lead generator.

Sean Jackson: Yeah, I think that is a very valid point, that it is a lead generator. It is a way to test ideas. See if something that you came up with is even resonating. If it is, then you can expand upon it and grow from it. As well as the fact that it can and should drive traffic to your site. But there is a difference though. You talk about ebooks, and I know a lot of our people who are listening know about ebooks, but what about Kindle books versus an ebook. Is there a difference? If so, what is it? And should we even be concerned with it?

The Difference Between Publishing for Kindle Versus an Ebook

Bryan Eisenberg: There’s a few differences, and I think there’s a couple of other key things that we have to consider on Amazon. Number one: those reviews are second-to-none. You can have as many testimonials on your website and everyone could think that they’re baloney, but the Amazon reviews and the verified reviews are amazing. The advantage to Kindles is there’s a whole ecosystem on there. We’ve used this to our advantage many times. Amazon will often do different kinds of promotions where they’ll take some of … Especially if you have a great product, they’ll go ahead and they’ll do their Kindle Unlimited and basically put your book out there. All of a sudden, you’re getting customers who you would have never imagined beforehand.

Being able to read on the Kindle — what I love about it, personally … Every book I get is on Kindle, and occasionally audiobooks. I love being able to highlight the books in the Kindle and then export all my notes into Evernote and have a place where I can come by and search for it and do all that, which I can’t do with any other book.

Sean Jackson: You mentioned audiobooks, let’s go into that for a second. Do you recommend people should try an audiobook? Do you have to have a book to have an audiobook? I think that’s the first question.

Bryan Eisenberg: You know, that’s a good question. I don’t think so. The key is, audiobooks are a little harder to produce than a regular book today. The only reason I’m saying that is the production value of an audiobook — you better have good recording. Of course, that’s not hard to do today, we see it in the quality of podcasts. But you really have to have an engaging voice. You have to have somebody who’s reading it well. It has to be a good production. If not, people are not going to jump into it and keep listening to the book. But I definitely think it’s another part of the audience that you can go after that you should be looking at, because there are millions of customers there who will absolutely want to potentially engage with your brand if they can find your book on Amazon.

Sean Jackson: You made that great point about the reviews. That’s another aspect of using the Amazon network. When you get those...