Successful authors usually have one thing in common: they know a thing or two about marketing.
And you certainly don’t need a degree in marketing to be a savvy marketer of your books.
In this article, I’m going to introduce you to a strategy that is not only relatively easy to set up, but also requires little effort to maintain, and can help boost your book sales substantially.
Companies and brands all over the world use this simple strategy to increase their sales.
I used it myself to increase my eBook sales by 110%.
The strategy I’m talking about is a sales funnel.
What is a sales funnel?
A sales funnel is an intuitive and proven way to take your audience from a prospective buyer to a loyal customer.
This visual will give you a better idea of how a sales funnel works:
Not everyone who first comes across your work will be in buying mode. In fact, 96% of visitors who land on a website aren’t ready to buy yet. By adopting a sales funnel, you extend your reach beyond the 4% who actually are.
There are many types of sales funnels that authors can employ, but I will cover two popular ones today:
1. Collecting emails via a squeeze page
2. Upselling or downselling via a landing page
Collecting emails via a squeeze page
If you are a writer with only one book or product to sell, this is the method you’ll want to use.
A squeeze page is a simple page with the sole purpose of collecting an email address to build your email list.
Squeeze pages are concise and contain no links to other pages.
Here is an example of a squeeze page from Social Media Examiner:
Your email list is one of your most valuable assets as an author. Email marketing has an ROI of $38 for every $1 spent.
I’m going to show you a step-by-step process to sell more books by using a squeeze page to build an email list.
Step 1: Drive traffic to a piece of content
Before you can start collecting email addresses, you will need a piece of content to drive traffic to.
This content should be informative and relevant to your audience. Some common examples of content that you can create are:
- Blog posts
- YouTube videos
Step 2: Offer a freebie or opt-in
Many authors make the mistake of trying to sell to their audience at this step.
At this point, it’s still much too early, and if you try to sell to a new visitor on your website, it’s highly unlikely they will turn into a customer.
You first want to offer something to them for free, which you can do on your squeeze page.
A free item is incredibly low-risk for your visitors, where they’ll be able to get a taste of your bona fides as a writer without having to invest any money.
Step 3: Deliver the freebie
To collect email addresses and deliver your opt-in to your subscribers, you will need an email marketing platform set up.
You can automate this process so that anyone who signs up to receive your freebie gets it in their email automatically — no extra work required on your behalf.
Step 4: Nurture your list and sell your book
Now that you have people signed up for your email list, it’s time to get them ready to buy your book.
You can do this by setting up an automated email sequence. An email sequence contains several emails and spans over several days (or weeks).
Here’s an example of an email sequence to give you an idea of how it can work for you:
- Email 1: Deliver the freebie
- Email 2: Welcome your new subscriber with a welcome email
- Email 3: Provide helpful free content and establish your bona fides.
- Email 4: Pitch your book.
With each email you send, you are effectively moving your prospect down the sales funnel.
By using additional software such as ClickFunnels or Leadpages, you can automate this entire process so that your funnel runs in the background and makes sales without requiring any additional work from you.
Upselling via a landing page
If you have more than one thing to sell (such as multiple books, novellas, short stories, etc.) or have higher-ticket items to sell in addition to your book (such as consulting, coaching, etc.), upselling via a landing page is a highly effective way to increase your sales.
When you are trying to sell higher-priced items, it’s virtually impossible to get your prospective customers to shell out a significant sum the first time they encounter you.
Instead, you first need to gain their trust by providing them with either free and low-priced content at the top of the funnel and then offering your higher-priced items lower down the funnel.
When you think about it, upselling funnels are around us every day. Take your local sports team, for example.
Fans of the game can tune in by watching it for free on their TV. These people are at the top of the funnel.
If they like what they see, they might choose to buy a t-shirt or hat to show their support
And as their love for the team grows, they will be more likely to buy tickets to attend a game in person.
In other words, as they move down the funnel, it becomes more likely that they will spend money on higher-priced items.
Just like your customers.
How I increased my eBook sales by 110% through upselling
Six months ago, I introduced the second of the funnels mentioned above: upselling via a landing page.
Doing so helped me increase my eBook sales by 110%.
Here’s how I did it.
One way my website makes money is by selling eBooks on personal development and eastern philosophy.
Although I found writing and creating the eBooks relatively easy, actually selling them proved to be a lot more difficult.
That’s why I introduced a simple sales funnel.
Step one in my funnel is where I offer a low-priced initial item (a single eBook) on a landing page. These are the landing pages where I focus my energy driving traffic to.
Once a customer purchases an eBook, I immediately offer them a high priced upsell. This is a bundle of all 7 of my eBooks. By immediately I mean they automatically get taken to the upsell page after using the order form to buy the single eBook.
This is the most crucial step in the funnel. By offering a bundle of 7 eBooks for 70% less than what each eBook would cost individually, the customer is getting an irresistible offer.
Below is a screenshot of my exact upsell page:
If the customer rejects the upsell offer, I then offer them a lower-priced downsell (two eBooks instead of seven).
Importantly, these are one-click upsells and downsells, which means the customer only has to click once for the additional purchase. This is because they’ve already entered their credit card details to buy the single eBook.
My funnel isn’t complex at all – it’s only three steps from start to finish. And because of the upsell and to a lesser extent the downsell, my average order value has increased from $9 to $19.
I used ClickFunnels to build my sales pages and funnels. The thing that attracted me to ClickFunnels is that you don’t need to know anything about coding or design. You can use their pre-made templates and customize it with your own text and images.
You can read more about the funnel I used in my review of Clickfunnels here.
Time to make your funnel
If you want to make a living writing, your words ultimately have to become a product for sale. And the most effective way to sell products is to use a funnel.
Now that you understand what a funnel is and how it works, it’s time for you to create your own funnel so that you can sell more books and products to your audience.
If you only have one book to sell, creating a squeeze page and capturing their email address is your best route.
If you have multiple products, building a sales funnel with upsells and downsells will help you sell more items and at a higher price.
Check out BOOKS FOR FREELANCE WRITERS
About the author: Lachlan Brown is the founder of Hack Spirit, a media website which publishes in-depth articles on psychology, self-improvement and eastern philosophy