Kevin W. McCarthy, the CEO of On-Purpose Partners, had already published his book The On-Purpose Person.

Since its original publication two decades ago, it has sold over 200,000 copies.

However, it was this past April that he decided he wanted to reach a brand new audience by offering the book as a Kindle eBook.

By leveraging his existing business contacts and launching an online promotional campaign, Kevin managed to boost readership significantly – The On-Purpose Person reached #1 in the non-fiction category.

The secret? Kevin made the Kindle eBook free.

The Promotions

From April 24 to April 29, the Kindle version of The On-Purpose Person cost zero dollars.

Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of other Kindle Free books, so not charging anything doesn’t mean that it will immediately become a bestseller.

Kevin took three steps to spread the word about his eBook:

1. Emails

As the CEO of On Purpose Partners, Kevin had access to 4,000 email marketing contacts who subscribe to his blog.  He offered all of his subscribers the free book and encouraged them to share the offer.

“When my base heard about it, the campaign took a life of its own,” Kevin says. “Constant Contact really served as the engine for my promotions.”

His contacts sent emails to their friends and colleagues, and the campaign started to gain momentum – Kevin also emailed a number of radio hosts to arrange interviews.

2. Events

Kevin made use of Event Marketing from Constant Contact to set up different radio interviews and he also used to it to create the next step of his campaign: a free, 30-minute webcast for people interested in learning more about being On Purpose. The session attracted more than 1,000 registrants.

Before the webinar, he conducted an online survey of registrants and gathered responses from over 200 people.

3. Social Media

Kevin offered his Facebook fans a direct download of the Kindle eBook.

This tactic not only helped boost the number of downloads, it netted him 50 new fans.

The Grand Total…

Overall, the free version of The On-Purpose Person was downloaded by 32,529 people. The title became #1 in nonfiction on Kindle Free, plus #1 in leadership, business, advice & how to, religion & spirituality, self-help, and more. It even reached #5 in all Kindle titles.

Kevin added about 1,200 new email addresses to his contact list and ultimately decided to lower the paid price for the eBook from $9.99 to $3.99.

“The point is to get the message out there,” he says.

And, with tens of thousands of new readers, Kevin is sure to have a new audience to promote the message of being On Purpose.

The Essence of Content Marketing  

Whether you’re trying to gain new business for a book or a business, the online strategies remain the same.

Kevin made use of his existing contacts and branched out from there. For him, the selling point of his promotions was the book itself: as long as people paid attention to his emails or Facebook Page, they actually got to read it for free.

Advertising something that returns no revenue may be counterintuitive, but that’s the heart of content marketing in the first place. In fact, the paid version of The On-Purpose Person became #1 in business leadership:

By establishing himself among those 32,529 people with his free book, Kevin now has a new audience that can talk about the value of his services to even more people than before.

How do you use content marketing to promote your products? Let us know below!