There’s a secret 99% of authors don’t know.
If you carefully read the words to follow, you will be better off than 99% of your competition.
It all goes back to a Zoom call in August 2020.
I was in a hotel room in Lynchburg, Virginia.
It was the height of lockdown and my wife and I was getting our daughter settled in for her first year of college.
While out of town, I was invited to a “Town Hall Meeting for Online Business Owners.”
It was a who’s who of influencers (many of which if I named them you would know who they are).
This was an Invitation-only Zoom call so I felt honored to be included.
The purpose of this call was to get all the smartest marketers in a room to discuss what’s working and NOT working in the midst of lockdowns.
It was a full day of sharing, listening, and observing on Zoom.
One of the benefits of being on the call was we split up into smaller Zoom meeting rooms online to “mastermind.”
One of those calls someone said something that GRABBED my attention.
What he said changed everything for me.
What did he say?
He said, “we are killing it right now with our free book funnels. I think everyone in our industry is asleep on this strategy.”
Those words stayed with me for the next few months as I was getting ready to launch my book, Your Message Matters.
In fact, the free book funnel strategy is our #1 strategy for growing my business and selling my books.
Once you have a free book funnel set up, you now have a powerful way to market and grow your target audience.
We acquire new customers every single day via Facebook ads, podcast interviews, marketing emails, social media posts, etc.
So, WHY is this strategy so powerful?
BIG LESSON: A buyers list is 16x more profitable than an email list of freebie seekers. A free book funnel is a sales funnel in disguise.
There is nothing wrong with giving away something for free to get someone on your email list…
…BUT you can’t cash in your number of email subscribers at your bank.
A BUYER’S list is different. Why?
A buyer is a buyer is a buyer.
If someone has ALREADY spent money with you they are more likely to spend money with you in the future.
I’d rather have 1,000 buyers on a list than 16,000 freebie seekers.
What do you think?
Would you rather have 1,000 customers on a list or 16,000 email subscribers?
TL;DR: There’s nothing wrong with building an email list. But what would happen to your business if you focused on buyer’s list?
As you've read so far, a free book funnel is a sales funnel. It's a great way to increase your book sales and build your email list at the same time.
I have self-published and traditionally published books. Self-publishing on Amazon allows you to get your book at a better author-discounted rate.
Should you do an ebook or physical book with your free book funnel?
Another question I get often is if you can do a book funnel with an Amazon Kindle book or eBook.
The short answer is yes, but you'll want it to be an eBook version (or PDF version) of your book.
You can still sell your Kindle book on Amazon, but for the book funnel, you'll want to send the PDF version.
Instead of charging for shipping (like you would for a physical book), I'd recommend that you charge for your eBook but at a steep discount. So if you have your Kindle book listed at $9.99 on Amazon, you should charge $2.99-$4.99 on your book funnel.
The reason you still want to charge something is so you can collect their payment information and credit card.
Most book funnels have upsell opportunities. These upsells in your book sales funnel are where you can earn more profit than by selling your book all by itself.
If you want to ship out physical books (this is the method I use), then you'll want to purchase a box of your own books.
The best way to do this is to go to KDP.Amazon.com and purchase your books by choosing "order author copies."
For my self-published book, I can buy copies for as little as $3.27.
Next, you want to decide on one to three upsells that would pair well with the topic of your book. Oftentimes, this is an online course that dives deeper than the book.
I'm not a fan of endless upsells and downsells inside of sales funnels.
While you want to maximize sales in your sales funnels, you also should be building a great experience for your new customer.
For my book funnel I have:
If someone says "no" to upsell #1, then I send them to the thank you page.
If someone says "yes" to upsell #1, then I show them upsell #2.
If they say "no" to upsell #2, then they go to the thank you page.
Below is an image that shows the overview of my free book funnel.
Once you have your sales funnel mapped out it is time to build it. There are many tools out there that you can use. In most cases, you can even start with a free book funnel template.
A few of my favorite funnel software options include:
The final step is to promote your book funnel. A book sales funnel is a great marketing strategy because, after all, who doesn't love free books?
A few of my favorite ways to promote my book sales funnels are:
1. Email list - if you have an existing audience, share your book funnel with them. Pro tip: Promote your book funnels to your list at least quarterly. I'm always surprised at how many new sales are generated even though I feel like my audience should already know about my free book offer.
2. Podcast guesting - This has been my #1 book marketing strategy this past year. I've been on well over 100+ podcasts to talk about the book. At the end of the podcast, I share the link to where they can go get a free copy of my book.
Pro Tip: Buy a domain name that links to your book funnel. It's easier for a podcast listener to remember.
3. Facebook Ads - Only go this route if you plan to have upsells and order bumps for your book funnels. You need your book sales to cover both your hard costs of shipping your book and advertising costs.
Don't forget about this important step! The sales funnel itself only includes front-end sales. On the back end, you can maximize your results by offering coaching, memberships, and more.
Email marketing is still the #1 sales generator hands down.
The goal of book funnels is to not only sell books but to be a lead generation system as well. Since you collected an email address when your target audience first came into your book funnel, you now have the opportunity to further build the relationship.
Set up a 5-7 day follow-up email sequence that encourages your new customer to consume the book and purchase any of your back-end offers.
An important part of sales funnels that most people forget about is the stats. How do you know if your funnel is performing well?
Below is a screenshot of my actual book funnel in Clickfunnels and my stats.
Before we look at the revenue, let's look at the conversion stats.
I did some digging for the industry standard free book funnel conversion rates, and I placed them next to my results below.
Now, let's take a closer look at the revenue.
In the first year of launching my book, I collected $28,892.95 on the front end of my book funnel.
My average cart value was $23.28.
What that means is I made $23.28 for every free book I gave away.
But it doesn't stop there.
On the back end of the funnel, I have an email sequence that encourages readers to apply to my group coaching program.
It's called Fast Track Insiders.
From the additional email marketing I did on auto-pilot, I've been able to collect an additional $80,247.
Front-end sales = $28,892 + Back-end sales = $80,247 = $109,139
When take the total revenue ($109,139) and divide that by the number of customers, that means I earned $87.94 for every free book I gave away.
Can you see why I'm a fan of building free book funnels?
If you are an author, don't go to sleep on free book funnels!
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