Today we’ve got an inspiring interview with Steve Scott, who is proof that a little bit of strategy and persistence pays off when it comes to earning an income online.
Although he’s experimented with various internet marketing projects in the past, his current focus is on publishing Kindle books, where he’s on pace to earn a six-figure income from that business alone.
If you’re interested in writing Kindle books, or it’s something you’ve struggled with in the past, you’ll want to read through this interview. Steve shares a lot of great tips and shows why he’s been so successful.
Enjoy the interview!
(As always, questions from The Daily Interview are in bold.)
Steve, I’m a big fan of how you operate SteveScottSite.com in a transparent, “no BS” manner. There are a lot of garbage affiliate marketing sites out there, so I (along with your other readers I’m sure) can appreciate the way your blog stands out (in a good way).
Tell us a bit more about your journey and online business – how did you get into affiliate marketing? What aspects of your business are you currently most focused on?
I’ve run various online businesses for the last decade, but in those first few years I was mostly hopping from one “get rich quick” venture to another.
My affiliate marketing business started back in 2006, when I decided to focus on a legitimate business model. Fortunately, I had a good mentor who said that my #1 priority should be to build an email list. While I’ve moved away from affiliate marketing, I always make sure that I’m building an email list.
Currently, I’m primarily focused on Kindle publishing. At first, I wrote books that focused on the principles of Internet marketing, but I’ve now evolved into writing about habits, which has always been a passion of mine.
What has been your greatest success so far with your online business?
While I still love affiliate marketing and feel it’s a great model for anyone getting started, I’m now 100% into Kindle publishing.
If you have an established platform with an email list, you can generate a legitimate income from this business model. Last month alone (December 2013), I sold over 10,000 copies of my books.
(Note from The Daily Interview: Steve recently published an income report where he shows that he made a whopping $14,918.49 in December from his Kindle books. That’s amazing!)
Obviously, Kindle publishing requires a lot of effort. You have to be willing to write a few hours a day and learn from your mistakes. But if you’re someone who can work hard, then I feel it’s the best income model out there.
Even the most successful entrepreneurs hit a few roadblocks along the way. What do you consider to be your biggest failure with respect to your business, and what did you learn from it?
Relying on Google—parts 1, 2 and 3.
My first real source of income was from Google Adsense back in 2005. Things were going great until Google kicked me out of their program. The same thing happened when I had a nice business from their Adwords program. And two years back a few of my niche sites were penalized during one of their algorithm changes.
My mistake was depending on an entity that I couldn’t control for the livelihood of my business. If you don’t have an email list or established audience, then one shift in the marketplace can instantly destroy your business. No matter how you’re generating an income, you always want to build that database of people who like you and your personal brand.
Kindle publishing is something you do quite well, and you’ve already touched on it quite a bit in this interviw. There’s a pretty low barrier to entry when it comes to creating and publishing Kindle books, which usually means that success (or lack thereof) varies widely. What are some “key to success” that you’ve found, which you think many people overlook?
Here are a few strategies:
- Build an email list (sensing a trend here?)
- Pick a profitable niche and publish multiple books
- Write books that really solve one problem
- Create an attractive sales presentation by using a great eCover and an HTML description
- Leverage KDP Select tools like free promos and Countdown Deals
Like I mentioned before, publishing on Kindle requires hard work. But it’s a process like anything else. Think of each book as an opportunity to learn something new. Work hard, write good stuff, and see how the Amazon marketplace responds.
You talk a lot about building an e-mail list and relying on your e-mail list for much of what you do. It’s clear that building an e-mail list is something we ALL need to be doing, regardless of what our business model may be.
What have you found is your most effective way to build a list? I know “give something away” is the general word of advice, but is there something a bit deeper than that, which you have found to be really effective?
You’re right – it starts by offering something for free. I prefer two types of offers to build an email list.
The first is a detailed solution to a specific problem that my audience regularly encounters. Treat the freebie like it’s a paid product and create a detailed strategy that readers can actually use.
The second is to use a large numbered list—for instance, I’ve given away books that offer 111 and 77 tips on a particular topic. This is often my “go to” free offer because you’re not just giving the reader a handful of tips, you’re offering dozens of possible solutions. This makes it a no-brainer to convince someone to subscribe to your list.
As far as promoting your free offer, I recommend setting up different squeeze pages from a program that offers tracking and split-testing (Lead Pages is my favorite tool for this). Then set up a tracking link/landing page for each source of traffic. That way, you can quickly identify the activities that are actually converting. Simply focus on what’s working and ditch the strategies that are a waste of your time.
Let’s take a step back and look more generally at affiliate marketing. If you had to take your best advice and put it into one sentence or phrase, what would that be?
Talk to your audience, find out their biggest problem, and solve it with a good product. [Click here to tweet this]
What are your favorite online resources?
Got a few:
Aweber to manage my email lists.
Evernote to record and categorize all my ideas.
Google Keyword Planner to research niches and book topics.
To be honest, I’m not really into tools and software. I prefer the minimalist, 80/20 approach where I worry about the big things and not get stressed out by all the minor details.
For someone who is just starting out creating a blog (having not yet monetized with affiliate links, Kindle books, etc.), what advice would you offer? What do you wish someone told you about when you first started?
First off, focus on serving one audience—don’t try to be everything to everybody. (I’ve made that mistake in the past.)
Research related blogs, find out what type of content gets the best response and use this information to create posts that stand out.
Next, think of your long-term income strategy before getting started. Don’t just start blogging, assuming you’ll figure things out. My income strategy is turning blog readers into Kindle book buyers. This requires a totally different approach than someone who focuses on affiliate marketing.
By knowing your income strategy ahead of time, you’ll know what to write and why you’re doing it.
Finally, create a publishing schedule. Blogging does require a certain level of promotion, but it must be balanced with great content. With a publishing schedule, you can map out what will be written over the next few weeks. This will help you find that perfect sequence of when you’ll promote a product and when you’ll publish a great piece of content.
Finally, where can people find you online?
I’m all over the place with all that I’m doing. 🙂
So I’d say check out my blog (http://www.stevescottsite.com) where I mostly talk about Kindle publishing and building an authority Internet business. Also, I have a number of books on different Internet marketing principles: http://www.ebooksbysteve.com
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Steve!
What’d you think of this interview? Have you had any success with Kindle publishing before? Leave a comment below!
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