Over on dPS last week we launched an eBook on Posing Portraits that has sold faster than any other eBook launch I’ve been a part of.
While talking with a friend about the success of the launch, he asked why I thought it had done so well. I thought I’d share my response here as I think there’s a couple of good lessons to take away from it.
There are certainly a number of factors at play that helped with our launch today including:
- almost eight years of daily posting and building up a readership – this of course is the foundation for all we do and cannot be overstated.
- a repeat author for the eBook – Gina, who wrote this eBook, has written two previous Portrait and Portrait Lighting eBooks and has contributed on our blog over the last couple of years. As a result she’s familiar to many of our readers.
- a popular topic – portraits is a topic that many of our readers are interested in – in fact it’s the number-one type of photography that they do
- a well-honed sales page – we worked hard on our sales copy for both the sales page and emails that we sent our subscriber list
- a beautiful book – the cover and sample pages we showed of this eBook are beautifully illustrated and designed – it’s certainly easier to sell something with visual appeal
- readers trust our products – this is our 16th dPS eBook. We pride ourselves on producing quality and useful eBooks and this builds trust/credibility over time.
But Perhaps the Biggest Reason Is…
As I was pondering our launch today a reader left this comment on our Facebook page:
Then I spotted this comment just now on the blog post announcing the eBook:
When I saw this feedback I realised that probably the biggest reason that this eBook has been so popular with our readers is that it fulfils a felt need that many people have.
As that last comment says – most people know the feeling of seeing a photo of themselves (or others) that is awkward or stiff. This is a disappointment that we can all relate to as we realise that the image taken doesn’t really reflect the person in the shot.
On the flip side are those times when you see a shot of someone which captures their true spirit – feelings of joy accompany these moments!
At dPS we see both the joy and disappointment that many experience when shooting portraits and it was this very reason that we wanted to publish this eBook.
While at the time I don’t think we realised just how much it would connect with readers, now with hindsight we should have expected it.
Do everything you can to get in touch with the challenges that your blog’s readers face. What problems do they struggle with? What disappointments do they encounter? What moments of joy are they chasing?
Tapping into disappointment and joy is a powerful thing.
I think creating products (and for that matter writing blog posts) that respond to those things is a great recipe for success.
On a practical level this can mean manny things including:
- identifying your own challenges, disappointments, joys (past and present)
- watching the comments on the posts you (and other bloggers) write
- asking readers to submit questions or identify problems that they face (further reading on one way I do this)
- watching what search terms people are searching for to land on your blog
- running focus groups with readers to ask them about their needs
- running polls and using surveys to tap into reader needs (learn more on how I’ve done this here)
- share your own needs/challenges/disappointments as stories on your blog (this often unearths other peoples)
The main thing is to keep putting yourself in the shoes of readers and let that experience inform your blogging direction.
PS: a Word About Manipulation
It is worth noting that tapping into the disappointments of readers is something that can at times lead to manipulation.
Playing on fears and problems and promising solutions is something that can definitely drive sales, but unless you’re backing it up with a solid product that actually solves those problems, you’re running the risk of manipulating your reader. Apart from helping you make a quick buck, it’s a ploy that doesn’t help anyone in the long run.
Instead of letting your readers disappointments inform empty marketing spin, let it inform the actual products you create to increase their actual value to those who buy them.