So you’ve decided to write an ebook! Congrats—it has never been easier to write and self-publish an ebook. But you need to know how to conduct proper market research so that you can find a profitable ebook topic.
You might be jazzed about your idea for your ebook, but how do you know it won’t flop? How sure are you that people are going to be interested in what you have to say?
Do not set out to write an ebook on a whim (unless you know it is going to be a passion project). If you want to write an ebook that:
- captivates your target clients,
- converts them into leads,
- and makes money,
Then don’t start writing your ebook until you have performed the 3 marketing steps below.
Step 1: Pay attention to your audience’s pain points
If you already own a business or are the head of a personal brand, chances are you have already defined your target client. (If you haven’t yet done this, you might just be starting out, and that’s okay. It takes time to hone down on your niche, but it’s an essential step to focus your professional energies.)
Take some time now to really get to know your target clients, i.e. your audience, your future book readers. Here are some questions to ask:
- Why are they coming to you in the first place?
- What aspect of your business or personal brand are they looking for help with?
- What are their pain points?
- What struggles do they face?
- What do they want to achieve?
If you clearly don’t know the answers to these questions, ask your audience directly! There is no harm in engaging with your followers on social media or sending out an email to your subscribers with a survey.
People actually love sharing this information. They feel looked after, and they will anticipate your willingness to help them by providing some sort of solution. You can even tell them upfront that you are planning an ebook. Maybe you’ll even feature some of your audience members’ stories in your ebook!
Even if you were not planning to help your target clients in the form of an ebook, performing direct market research like this will help you immensely to serve them in the way that best suits everyone. You could get some surprising insight which might even cause you to pivot in your business (or change the original topic of your ebook)!
Step 2: Perform keyword research in Google and Amazon
Once you have defined your followers’ needs, up the ante by performing keyword research in Google and Amazon.
You might be wondering, If my audience has already told me what they want to read about in my ebook, what additional information can keyword research bring me?
You have a certain number of followers right now. Once you have written your ebook, you will market it to an even wider audience with the intent of increasing your followers. The more engaged followers you have, the more chances you have to convert them into paying clients for services or products other than your ebook.
The best way to guarantee that you can gain followers from the publication of your ebook is to make sure that people outside your already established audience are searching for the same information or topic online, namely on Google and Amazon.
Google keyword research
Looking at the search volume of your topic on Google will also inform you on the search volume of YouTube, which is owned by Google. Lots of people look for answers to their questions on both platforms. Although there are many paid tools you can use to perform keyword research, Google itself has 2 free tools you can start out with:
- Google Keyword Planner – To know how popular your chosen topic has been in the past month in Google Search
- Google Trends – To know how popular your chosen topic has been over longer time periods
Amazon keyword research
Looking at the search traffic of Amazon will inform you of book topics people are already searching for. In addition, you will see other authors and titles in your niche. You can already get a sense of the Amazon book categories your topic falls under so you can better market your ebook on the platform when it’s ready to be listed.
Step 3: Don’t be afraid to narrow your topic
You’ve paid attention to your existing audience’s pain points, and you’ve performed keyword research in Google and Amazon. Now you are ready to define the topic of your ebook.
Maybe at this stage your topic is close to what you originally wanted to write about. Or maybe you veered off in a completely different direction following the revelations in Steps 1 and 2. There is just 1 more step to ensure that you will focus on just the right topic:
Don’t be afraid to narrow your topic further. Why?
Become an expert.
“Niching down” is a popular tactic because it establishes you as an authority on a very specific topic. There is less competition the more you niche down. But if you’ve done Steps 1 and 2, you already know it’s a safe bet because people are searching for the information.
Generate more ebook ideas.
The other main draw of narrowing your topic, or niching down, is that you can write your ebook and then turn it into a series of ebooks inside a broader topic. So maybe you are in a position now to select more than 1 ebook topic. That’s great! Seduce your audience with your first ebook and let them know that the next ebook in the series is coming. Double your profits with a second ebook, then triple them.
You don’t have to stop there! Keep listening to your audience. Give them what they want! They are a gold mine for ideas and the direction your publishing will take.
Starting off on the write foot with market research for your ebook
This article is all about how to do the right market research before you start writing your ebook. Once you have written your ebook and you are ready to publish, check out my article about how your business can profit from writing an ebook. This way, you can market it to your audience effectively.
Want more help? If you need a developmental editor or line editor, feel free to contact me and I will get back to you with a recommendation. If you are looking for a copyeditor and/or a proofreader for your ebook, you have come to the right place! Leave me a message and together we can get your ebook ready for publication.