How to Create a Book Sales Funnel | NY Book Editors
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How to Use Funnels to Generate More Book Sales

FEATURED IMAGE New York Book Editors 12 20 2021 How to Use Funnels to Generate More Book Sales

You're a writer, not a sales marketer, but…

If you’re planning to self-publish your book, you must do everything in your power to promote it. That is if you’d like to make enough money to justify all of the hours you spent hunched over your computer typing your fingers to the bone.

This is why, my dear writer, you need a book sales funnel.

What is a Book Sales Funnel?

I’m glad you asked. A book sales funnel is a series of steps that lead readers to buy your book. It’s a marketing strategy, and it’s called a sales funnel because of its metaphorical shape.

You see, the funnel is larger at the top because it draws in a large group of prospective readers. But it’s narrow at the bottom because only a relative few of those prospective readers will buy your book.

Why is a Sales Funnel Important?

Book Sales Funnel

Writing a book does not guarantee that you’ll sell it. And this is especially true if your prospective audience doesn’t know about you. On any given day that you decide to launch your book, you’re instantly competing with thousands of other books that are published that same day. And you’re also competing with millions of books that have been published since the beginning of time.

The bottom line is that people have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a new book to read. Why should they choose your book?

Especially if you’re an unknown author…

Especially if your book doesn’t have any reviews…

And especially if your book isn’t even showing up on a list of bestsellers or recommended reads?

Creating a sales funnel won’t magically transform you into the Prince Ali, Aladdin-style, but it will give you the opportunity to do the following:

Build Awareness and Generate Leads

You can use a book funnel to get in front of your target audience and tell them about your book. This will allow you to generate leads, i.e. a list of people who may eventually buy your book.

Build a Relationship With Your Prospective Readers

Once you have their email address and permission to market to them, you can establish a relationship with your prospective readers. This connection can prompt them to purchase your book.

Works on Autopilot

Your book sales funnel springs into action automatically. Once you set up the process, you won’t need to make any additional moves.

Your book sales funnel springs into action automatically. Once you set up the process, you won’t need to make any additional moves.

From building awareness to closing the sale, your sales funnel will handle it all.

How Does a Book Sales Funnel Work?

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of book sales funnels, let’s look at how this marketing strategy works.

In a book sales funnel, you offer something of value for free in exchange for the potential reader's email address. Once you have their email address and permission to market to them (which is made explicit when you ask for their email address), you can start to build a relationship.

How Do You Create a Book Sales Funnel?

There are several types of sales funnels you can use to promote your book. Here are the most popular types of funnels:

Funnel #1 Straight Book Sell

If you only have one book to promote, you’ll use this funnel. It’s focused on selling only one book. This type of funnel is focused on winning over new readers. And this is the one we’ll discuss below.

Funnel #2 At the End of Your Book

You can create a funnel to sell your next book to your current readers. This type of funnel builds awareness for the other books you’ve written. To create this funnel, you can offer a free gift at the end of your book, such as a sneak peek for your next book. Once the reader downloads that sneak peek, of course they’ll want to read more. You can follow up that sneak peek with a special, discounted offer for purchasing your next book.

Funnel #3 Promoting a Series of Books

If you have multiple books in a series, you can take the above funnel and add it to each subsequent book. Alternatively, you can share book one for free in order to promote book two. Then, you can offer book two and forward at a discount of descending value. For example, offer book two at $5, book three at $5.49, book four at $5.99, and so on, promoting the most recently published book at full price.

This sales funnel works because you’ve enticed the reader with an entire book. If they finish that book, they’re likely to want to read more. This funnel ensures that they keep reading.

Practical Steps to Building Your Book Sales Funnel

Book Sales Funnel

There are four components to a book sales funnel:

1. Your Book

Well, this component almost goes without saying. You're promoting a book, so you need a written and completed book to build a sales funnel.

2. A Free Incentive

In addition to your book, you need to create a freebie to give away to your prospective reader. This freebie is known as a lead magnet or opt-in gift. It’s a free gift, usually a digital download, that you offer in exchange for the reader’s email and inbox marketing permission.

There are different types of lead magnets that you can offer, such as:

  • Free book

  • Free chapter of the book

  • Back story of the main characters

  • Book cover artwork

  • Short story

  • Sneak peek of your next book

If you're promoting a non-fiction book, your list of lead magnets expands even further to include:

  • Worksheet

  • Checklist

  • Toolkit

  • Free course

  • Video series

  • List of best practices

  • Consultation

  • Coaching

  • Blueprint

The easiest format for a digital download is in PDF format. Saving your file as a PDF makes it easier to upload to your email autoresponder service and easier for email users to download.

3. An Opt-In Page

This is a page on your website where you will collect email addresses from interested potential readers. Your opt-in page should be a single page on your website that's stripped of any distracting bits that a regular webpage may have, such as a menu bar to navigate away from a page. This page should focus exclusively on the offer.

Your opt-in page should have the following elements:

  • A headline

  • An image of your book cover or a screenshot of the freebie

  • A list of benefits your reader will gain from downloading the freebie

  • An opt-in form that’s short, sweet, and doesn’t ask too many questions (aim for a two-question form, such as first name and email address)

  • A descriptive call to action, such as “Claim my free book chapter”

Creating an opt-in page is pretty easy if you use a service like ConvertKit (a personal favorite) or MailChimp. You can build both a landing page and a book sales funnel through both of these services.

4. An Email Autoresponder

This may sound scary if you’re new to online marketing, but don’t worry. An email autoresponder is a tool that automatically sends out pre-written emails. You write a series of emails. Next, you schedule a time for the autoresponder to send out those emails (i.e., send email three 72 hours after subscription). Then the autoresponder service deploys the emails automatically.

When creating your emails, keep the following in mind:

  • Plan to write between 5 to 7 emails.

  • Schedule your emails to send over the course of 7-30 days.

  • Confirm and thank them for signing up in the first email. Also share the free gift.

  • Follow up with an introduction of yourself in the second email. This will build trust.

  • In email three, and so on, you can use different angles to promote your book. One way is to share a special introductory offer just for email users. You can even provide unique, expiring coupon codes with the help of a service called Coupon Carrier through ConvertKit or through MailChimp

Promote Your Freebie

Once you have a freebie, start promoting it. Sure, the end goal is to sell your book, but the immediate goal is to sell your freebie.

You can promote your freebie in several places:

On your website

First, use content marketing to drive new traffic to your website. Create a post that reflects what people are searching for in Google, such as “books about…” or “new sci-fi books to read in 2022.” Then promote your book in that post while also doing a round-up of other books that are comparable to yours.

You can also promote your freebie in a pop-up on your website.

On social media

You can promote your freebie through your organic posts or through your paid ads.

On your bio

Additionally, you can add a link to your freebie opt-in page in your bio on social media, guest posts, and podcast interviews.

Remember, your advertisement should promote your freebie, not your book (even though that’s the ultimate goal).

Final Thoughts

Creating a book sales funnel is one of the best ways to promote your books to a new audience. Use the above tips to start building a reliable sales funnel now.

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