SSA #040: Our Plans For Direct SalesOct 07, 2023
Read Time: 6 Minutes
You may already know, as I've mentioned a few times over the past several weeks, that we are pulling my wife's books out of Kindle Unlimited (KU).
Books 1 and 2 are now out of KU; the rest of the books in Lori's first series will be out of KU by October 18th.
After that, we can really start going all-in on Direct Sales with the eBooks particularly.
We've already been selling Lori's paperback and hardback books directly on her store, which has been going well, but we're incredibly excited about selling the eBooks direct too.
We haven't been able to do so yet though, because eBooks in KU must remain exclusive to Amazon.
Now they're almost all out, we can start this new venture, and I'm excited to bring you along for the ride...
And today, I'd like to (publicly) share our plans for Lori's direct sales; this should not only give you some ideas for your own store if you're thinking about selling direct...
It also gives Lori and me some accountability, and ensures that we get done what we say we're going to get done!
For print books, we have integrated our store (which we run on Shopify) with Bookvault, who print, pack and ship the books for us using a print-on-demand model.
And customers know they are going to have to wait a few days for their books to be delivered.
eBooks are a little different.
They need to be delivered to customers instantly.
Thankfully, there is a great tool we've been using for years now to deliver Lori's reader magnet, that also integrates with Shopify.
It's called BookFunnel.
And this is the service we'll be using to send customers their eBooks as soon as they place their order on Lori's store.
There are a few technical things to sort out, but BookFunnel has some great documentation and video tutorials on how to set this all up.
Optimize Product Pages
I treat our book product pages as our landing pages.
Because this is where we are sending people from the Facebook Ads we're running.
And just like, Amazon, who have spent millions, if not billions of dollars, testing their product pages, we want everything the customer needs to know to be available on the book product pages, including:
– Shipping Times
– Shipping Costs (if applicable)
– Authority and Credibility (e.g. Editorial Reviews)
– Blurb/Book Description
– Series Details (if applicable)
– Author Details
Shoppers will generally make a decision on whether to make a purchase (or not) on the product page.
By adding all the information they need to know to make this decision onto the product page is going to make their visit to your store far less frictionless, and an enjoyable retail experience.
They won't have to go hunting around to find the information they're looking for. It's all there on the one page.
Of course, there is other information on the website that they can go and explore if they'd like to, but by putting it all on the product pages, they can make their decision more quickly.
Automated Review Collection
The email marketing software we're using with Lori's Shopify store is called Klaviyo, and it's built specifically for Shopify store owners.
Klaviyo will know who has bought what book, how much they paid, when they placed their order, when an order is delivered, their address, timezone, and a bunch of other details.
With this data, what we'll be doing is setting up a pre-written email that Klaviyo will dynamically fill with the customer's details, and asking them to leave a review of the book they purchased.
We can schedule this email to go out any number of days after they placed their order, or after their order was delivered.
This way, as we know most people read Lori's books within 3-5 days of receiving it (based on feedback from readers), we can set up this email asking customers to leave a review, 6-7 days after they made their purchase (eBooks) or their order was delivered (print books).
Naturally, it's going to land late for some readers, and early for others. However, we can also set Klaviyo to send another email to people who don't open a specific email, or don't click on a specific email. Powerful stuff.
Amazon send emails to your readers on your behalf asking them to leave a review.
We can do the same with our own stores and automate it using a tool such as Klaviyo.
N.B. Klaviyo also has its own Review App for Shopify that integrates with its email marketing software. But Klaviyo also integrates well with other Review Apps.
Create Special Landing Pages For Deals
One of the strategies we're going to be testing with Facebook Ads, on top of sending people directly to the product page of Book 1, is sending folks to a unique landing page that showcases a special deal.
Now, this special deal is likely going to be a bundle of books; perhaps all the books in Lori's series for a discounted price (think 30% - 50% off sort of discount).
Rather than having a bunch of distractions on the product page (not that we have many as we've kept the design relatively clean), we want to keep people focused on the special deal.
The only content on these landing pages will be about the deal itself (which will be for eBooks only), and will also include details such as delivery, price, reviews, series, etc.
But the only options shoppers will have on these landing pages is to buy the bundle or click the back button. That's it.
This makes the likelihood of shoppers taking action more likely because they don't have a myriad of different options to choose from. They either like what they see and buy it, or they don't and click the back button.
Just as with any sort of business, tracking the numbers is essential. But tracking direct sales is a little different to tracking Amazon sales, especially when you bring Print on Demand costs into the equation.
So, one of my tasks over the next few weeks is to build out some tracking sheets to allow us to track the most important numbers, that we can then make decisions from.
To increase Average Order Value (a key metric in eCommerce), we are going to be offering products other than books to customers.
These could be in the form of bookmarks, journals, mugs, etc.
We haven't landed on an exact list of products yet, but we have found some suppliers who will make these products as the orders come in (similar to print-on-demand for books) and integrate with Shopify.
More Customized Email Flows
I mentioned Klaviyo, our email marketing software, a little earlier. And at the moment, we're only scratching the surface of what is possible with it.
What we're planning on doing is setting up much more customized emails that are sent to both customers and non-customers (non-customers are those who have signed up to Lori's reader magnet but haven't yet placed an order), based on their behavior.
For example, if someone purchases Book 1, we can have an email automatically sent to them, at a time/day of our choosing, that lets them know about Book 2 and invites them to purchase it (in a non-salesy, non-slimy way of course).
If someone picks up Books 1 and 2, we can automatically have Kalviyo send them a pre-written email about Book 3.
And likewise with the merchandise. If someone has spent over $20 on Lori's store, for example, and bought every book she's ever written, there's a chance that they could be a hardcore fan, and want to buy more – they're just waiting for the opportunity.
So, Klaviyo could send them an email about a branded journal or bookmark, for example.
There are countless opportunities with Klaviyo, and we intend to make the most of them, whilst at the same time, not being scammy or slimy, or destroying the trust we built with readers.
Just nurturing customers based on their own behaviour, providing a more bespoke shopping experience.
Facebook Ads Budgets and Strategy
For us, once we have all of this in place, we're going to be focusing our Facebook Ads budget on reaching new readers every single day and bringing them into Lori's store.
We're going to keep a small portion of the budget sending traffic to her books on Amazon, but predominantly, we are going to be focusing on growing our direct sales.
The strategy we're going to be using for these direct sales Facebook Ads is exactly the same as the strategy we're using for Amazon sales. We're just changing the Campaign Objective to Sales as opposed to Traffic, which is what we use for Amazon.
The testing, account structure, scaling, etc, all remain exactly the same, wherever we're sending traffic.
We're not going to be spending money on Facebook Retargeting Ads, which I know is a hot topic in eCommerce.
Our aim is to introduce Lori's books to new readers every single day, and then use email marketing to do the Retargeting for us, but in a more tailored way than Retargeting Ads.
And with that, I'll leave you to enjoy your weekend.
Direct sales is going to be a challenge, yes, but it's also incredibly exciting and offers a host of new opportunities. It's also a way to diversify income and become less reliant on retailers such as Amazon.
I hope you enjoyed this little dive behind the scenes into our plans for the next few weeks as we move heavily into direct sales.
And, if you're interested in learning about direct sales for your books, join the wait list for the direct sales course I'll be building over the coming months and see how you can get involved.
Thank you for reading.
To Your Success