Case Study – How David Made $13,000 Selling a Book Online
A simple setup generated David over $13,000 in revenue in the first two months of sales. What was it? A copy of Thrive Architect and the payment and product delivery service, Gumroad.
In this new Case Study series we’ll be diving deep into exactly how David made it happen. We’ll go through how he ended up selling an e-book, what was working for him, how he put it all together and hopefully, give you some invaluable ideas for your own business.
David is a 30-year-old marketer and copywriter who was consulting for startups and small businesses - until a few friends made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
They asked him to join their startup full time as the head of marketing and sales. It was a “Hell Yes!” for David, but there was one problem...
He still had leads flowing in from the consulting business he’d built up, and it seemed a shame to leave all that opportunity on the table.
If only there was a way to systemize and scale his consulting in a way that didn’t require him to exchange his time for money.
David’s consulting revolved around reviewing and improving businesses’ landing pages. To help his customer’s understand the marketing theory behind the changes he suggested, David created a practical guide to landing page marketing. He would give this guide to his clients as an add-on to his landing page review and feedback service.
Since most of the theory was in there, David came up with the clever plan to beef out the original guide, turning it into the Landing Page Cookbook - as a Do-It-Yourself version of the service he used to provide.
This whole process; working with clients one-on-one, then taking those insights and developing a scalable product from it - is a great example of the customer first approach, explained in the Active Growth podcast series ‘Forget Traffic’.
David had already created his eBook for his personal consulting clients, but if you’re still at the book creation stage, take a look at this post on how to create a professional looking PDF.
You could create your book in a free tool like CANVA, or hire someone on a service like Fiverr to format the whole thing for you.
So David was stocked with:
Now let's take a look at how David turned this plan into a reality using two simple tools.
The System - From Traffic to Delivery
David's existing leads were from his old consulting business, mainly through driving traffic to his yourlandingpagesucks.com consulting website.
While his product changed from a service to an eBook, his lead generation strategies remained relatively the same.
Some of the strategies David uses to bring in leads involve:
David's site wide opt-in offer.
Getting the Sale
All leads eventually end up at this long-form sales page, built with Thrive Architect.
“The process was pretty smooth given that Thrive Architect is really super user-friendly. I know how to code a little bit, but using the page builder just makes the whole experience much faster for me” - David
The buttons on the page are Gumroad buttons. To put a Gumroad button like this on any post or page built with Thrive Architect, you just need to drag in a HTML element and add the button code that Gumroad provides during product setup.
If you want to learn more about how to set up the back-end of Gumroad, take a look at this ActiveGrowth post that walks you through the whole setup process.
When a visitor clicks one of the Gumroad buttons, this overlay pops up. This is powered by Gumroad and you can change the text, pictures and other details within the Gumroad product settings.
“The integration with Gumroad is literally just copying and pasting a bit of code using the custom HTML element. Their checkout is integrated seamlessly and the conversions have been very good.” - David
Clicking the 'I want this' button on the product overlay adds the book to the visitor's cart, which is displayed in the top right of the page.
When the visitor clicks 'Pay' the payment options appear, still in the top right corner of the page.
Adding payment details and clicking 'Pay' one more time confirms the purchase, and the customer is immediately issued a digital receipt.
They can access the book immediately through the Gumroad App, or wait for it to be emailed.
Customers can access the book immediately through the Gumroad App, or wait for the PDF to be emailed. Both options are made very clear in the receipt.
The customer will receives an email a short time after purchase with a link to the PDF and the option to generate an invoice.
You can turn off the 'Discover more products' section by disabling 'discover' in your settings.
Gumroad even adds a little security feature. They mark each PDF with the email of the purchaser to discourage 'sharing'.
Feeding The System
Since launching the book in September 2017, David has sold over 350 copies.
From here it's a numbers game, the more people David can get to visit his sales page, the higher his revenue.
The setup requires very little maintenance, which means it can run in the background whether he puts effort into it or not. Those periods when he has a bit of spare time, he can ramp up the marketing / traffic strategies, and in turn make more sales.
David now has a list of other traffic channels, and is systematically tapping into each one when he has time.
Dissolving the Complexity
I hope this post has shone some light on the technical side of selling an eBook online, and helped your realize how achievable it is.
So what do you think, do you want to see more case study style posts like this?
Let me know in the comments below!