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Three free sales and marketing tools from Firsty Express.

According to the findings of the Harbottle & Lewis Independent Publishing Report over ‘89% of independent publishers now sell direct to consumers in some way. On average, members now make 30% of their sales direct to consumers—10% through their own websites and 20% through other D2C channels.’

Direct to consumer sales (D2C) have become an integral and increasingly important part of independent publishers sales strategies over the last five years.

However, some of the most common questions we receive from our publisher partners are about how to engage consumers, how to maximise sales and how to drive traffic to their websites and turn those browsers into buyers.

With that in mind we’ve created some free tools that publishers who are signed up to Firsty Express can use to help address these challenges.

Buy buttons

Give your ebookstore the prominence it deserves. You’ve invested time and energy getting your ebookstore up and running so don’t let it languish in anonymity hoping someone will find it.

One simple way to ensure your ebookstore receives visibility on your own site is to add buy buttons to your product pages. By adding a simple buy button to every product page you are effectively turning your catalogue website into a fully-fledged ecommerce website.

By driving browsers to your own ecommerce site you are effectively achieving two very important goals of a D2C proposition: maximising sales revenue and building a database for future customer engagement.

Generally the percentage of sales revenue you receive by selling direct will be higher than redirecting to a third party sales channel. More importantly, you also collect valuable customer data when you sell direct enabling you to engage directly with your customer.

Another great way to use buy buttons is to add them to your email communications with customers.

You can find out how to create buy buttons within the ‘Manage eBooks’ section of the Firsty Express’ publisher dashboard.

Voucher codes

What are they? A voucher code is a set of numbers and letters that can be used to receive a discount on downloadable content.

So why use a voucher code? Voucher codes are a great mechanic (or call to action) to offer time limited discounts to segmented groups of customers.  They’re also a great way of price testing for your ebooks by tracking redemption through the sales analytics tools on Firsty Express’ publisher dashboard.

Here are our top four tips for using voucher codes to drive sales:

  • Send a thank you email to customers on their first purchase/repeat purchase. Include a coupon code offering a discount on their next purchase.
  • Encourage your customers to follow you on social media. Offer a discount as a reward.
  • Offer customers a discount if they sign up to your mailing list.
  • Reward customers who post a review. Self-published authors, in particular, use this mechanic very successfully to encourage reviews.

Finally, don’t forget to make your voucher time limited to encourage recipients to act quickly!

You can find out how to create voucher codes here.

Customer data

Data, data, data… enough has been written on the importance of data collection to fill the British Library several times over so we’ll focus on some practical tips to help you grow your email database for free.

  • On average email databases lose approximately 22.5% of subscribers every year. Your content needs to be compelling and on target if you want your customers to stay subscribed.
  • Encourage your email subscribers to share and forward your emails by including social sharing buttons and an ‘email a friend’ button. It’s also a good idea to include a ‘subscribe’ button at the bottom of your email so that those receiving the forwarded email can opt-in easily.
  • Add a link to employee email signatures that encourages recipients to opt-in to your newsletters.
  • Use social media to promote sign up to your email list. The most effective way of doing this is to create a lead generation offer that requires an email address to receive exclusive content or a discount off their next purchase (use the voucher code feature to achieve this).
  • Collect email addresses at offline events. Use your book launches and author appearances to collect email addresses. Don’t forget to send a welcome email that confirms their opt-in to your list.

The most important advice we can give you is to make use of the customer data you’re collecting and engage with your customers on a regular basis.

If you’re new to email marketing there are several marketing platforms that give brilliant advice on getting started, one of our favourites is Hubspot.

For more information about Firsty Express please visit or email us to set up a demo.

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