When people are just getting started with internet marketing, they often want to write and sell an e-book. One of the questions they usually have is: Should you only sell digital copies or should you offer a printed version as well? And, if you sell and fulfill the order by regular mail, should you charge extra?
Let me start by saying, if you’re looking to market beyond the Internet, that’s great. So many people have given up on direct mail since internet marketing became the norm. It’s just so much easier these days to do everything online. So, a lot of marketers don’t do direct mail because they think it’s too hard or too expensive.
Just think back 10 years ago. When you’d go out to your mailbox, did you get more junk, or direct mail, than you do today? Chances are, you did. These days, there’s very little chance of that happening because everyone’s gone online, and marketers have already neglected direct mail.
Here at MOBE, I’ve recently invested about $35,000 (USD) in a complete direct mail sequence—about 30 pieces—that we’re going to send our front-end buyers, who usually start at the $49 level. These pieces will also help the ascension through our back-end programs. The mail sequence they’ll receive will depend on the particular product they purchased.
Now, the reason I’m doing a direct mail campaign is because, while the response to email marketing is still good, it’s declining. And one way we can stand out from any competitor is to actually send prospects and customers something in the mail. There’s just something about being able to go to your mailbox and get a letter or package that you can actually hold. Some people just prefer something tangible; in fact, a lot of people do.
Another reason a physical package can work well is because of where the person is when they’re reading it, regardless of whether it’s an e-book or a direct mail package or a front-end product. What I mean by that is, they’re usually not in front of the computer when they’re looking it over—and that can work to your advantage.
When they’re at the computer, their focus is usually split. They have 10 different tabs open, or someone’s interrupting via Skype, or their calendar’s alerting them to something they need to follow up on. Their attention is constantly being pulled in many different directions.
But with a direct mail piece or your product, they’re usually going to be sitting someplace like their kitchen table. They could be anywhere, but it’s usually someplace with very few distractions. So, you have far fewer competing factors for their attention, which means you’ve got what all marketers want more of: the prospect’s attention.
As far as the second part of the question goes, whether to charge more to get the physical e-book into their hands and to cover postage, it depends. The reason it’s a hard question to answer is because it all comes down to your customer’s lifetime value.
For example, let’s say you’re selling a $10 e-book and, on average, a customer spends $200. If you’re mailing to the U.S., postage will cost you a few dollars.
When MOBE sends out postcards in the States to promote our events, we pay around 75 cents per postcard. That’s for printing and the list rental, which usually isn’t much. Mostly, the biggest cost is always the postage.
So, if you have a customer that’s worth an average of $200 in your particular business model, and you’re selling a $10 e-book, do you really need to charge an extra $3 or $4 for postage and handling?
Make It Easy
Personally, my preference would be to not charge extra. Make it as easy as possible for people to receive your package in the mail, in addition to getting mail online. Because, if people can hold your product in their hands, your response rate, in terms of readers actually consuming that material, is going to go way up.
Now, I’m assuming that your e-book not only provides valuable content for whatever amount you’re charging, but it also helps with your upsell to the next program in your marketing funnel. If it doesn’t, then that should be your priority.
However, if it does provide valuable content and helps with the ascension to the next level, then you absolutely should be sending it out in the mail. And don’t worry about postage and handling.