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Writing a book for Lead Generation; A Masterclass

publishingI’m going to be sharing with you a quick masterclass of how to use your book as a lead generation tool, (as opposed to getting it on the ‘best seller’ list and making money from the front end sales) as well as the three critical questions you need to answer before you start.

Writing a book does many things for you, from elevating yourself from ‘just another service provider’ into the ‘expert’ domain and then being the ‘only logical choice’ in the eyes of your prospective customer or clients. As well as using it as a very effective lead generation tool (when set up properly; see the three critical questions).

When you write a book, it can be used in many ways. You can write one with the intention of getting it on a ‘best seller’ list. You can write one to leave a legacy for your children. But one of the best uses of becoming an author, is to use it for getting more customers and clients into your sales funnel.

Writing with the specific purpose to get on a ‘best seller’ list (or make money from the front end sales) is incredibly difficult and almost impossible. I don’t want to sound defeatist or negative, but the number of people who try and get their book endorsed by a large publishing house is staggering, and in fact rather depressing. The statistics are (at the time of writing) less than 0.1% of authors become best sellers, and it’s a very hard statistic to argue with.

The problem is that most publishers will not review unsolicited proposals or manuscripts. You need to find a literary agent to represent you. This is usually the only way to get in the door with a publishing company. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to get publishers to read your work, and it usually requires many rejections before success is achieved.

(I’m not here to dissuade you from your dream, if you are really committed and determined to become a best seller, then I suggest you do a lot of research, and read 2012 Writer’s Market by Robert Lee Brewer. Or for the UK market The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook (A&C Black) publishes an up-to-date list of UK agents, along with the types of book they are interested in.)

But be prepared for a long slow struggle.

However, there is nothing to stop you from writing and publishing your own book (no proposals needed!) and then use this within your own marketing strategy to target your specific audience. You can set up special lead pages that offer your book and direct traffic to those lead pages with print ads and other marketing tactics.

You can also sell your book on sites like Amazon.com and direct customers or clients to buy your book from there (although there is one big drawback using this strategy, and I will explain that in another blog post) as well as other large internet based book selling companies.

Here are 3 ways of using your book for lead generation – just remember whichever way you choose (and you could come up with a strategy of your own) make sure the process is simple. Explain why the prospect needs to read your book, and ensure the follow up sequence naturally leads the reader to the next step.

Here are the 3 possible strategies:

  1. Free download of book (provided as a PDF) – with an opportunity to get the physical book for free (just pay for P&P)
  2. Free download of the first 2 chapters (provided as a PDF) – with an opportunity to get the rest of the physical book for full price (or a special offer)
  3. Free download of the contents (like the ‘look inside’ feature on Amazon.com) – with an opportunity to get the full PDF download for a set price.

I have had clients that have used all three strategies and each of them work very well so give them a try.

The Three Critical Questions You Need to Ask Before You Start Writing Your Book
Before you start writing your book, or rather before you start planning your book, you need to ask yourself these three simple questions.

If you don’t, then the book might not do what you want it too (produce a response) and your writing effort could result in little or no response and be a waste of money and time. So don’t skip this step. Don’t be afraid to go out into the market place to find out the answers, you’ll be in a much better position if you do, as you will be starting the project with a knowledge that the book is wanted, will be read, and hopefully, produce the desired response.

The Three Critical Questions:
1. Is your book relevant? (To what you do and what you stand for)
2. Do people want to know what it is you’re writing about?
3. What is your call to action – desired response?

1. Is your book relevant?
It seems obvious, but the question still needs to be asked. What is it that you stand for? What is it that you are wanting people to know and are you the one who can provide the solution? If your answer is, “well I stand for a lot of things. I am a business consultant and marketer” then you need to distil your message into one clear distinct thing.

The books that work best (for lead gen) are the ones that are niched, books that offer a solution to one particular challenge. And it’s your job as an author to be clear in what that challenge is.

So if you are a business owner who provides general business advice then becoming an expert in one particular area could be of great leverage. A great way of explaining your differentiation is writing a book. So think about that question. What is it that you stand for? What area of your business arena can you niche into, and does your book fit in with that niche?

2. Do People want to know what you’re writing about?
Again another seemingly obvious question, but one that many writers of books for lead generation purposes, overlook with rather disastrous results! I mentioned above about being niched but remember, you need to be niched in an area of interest. It is important to stand for something but does that then lend to writing a book about it?

If the answer is an obvious YES! (and you can hop over to www.amazon.co.uk) to see what other books are out there already, which can give you a great indication of the need about the subject. If that is the case, then great get your book plan started.

If however, the answer is “not sure” then why not ask the audience? You could do any of the following:

  • Run a survey with your list of clients.
  • Ask your clients what their most burning questions/biggest challenges are.
  • Read relevant business publications and see what the common issue/problem is.
  • Join specific business forums and listen to what they are having issues with.

Whichever you choose, just remember do your research.

Finding out what the audience wants to read, is the first step to producing a highly desired publication. The only step an amateur forgets to take.

3. What is your call to action/desired response?
Writing your book to gain notoriety is of course one of the main results of becoming a published author. As I’ve stated before, nothing like a book propels you into the ‘expert’ status quicker and faster. However, there is also one more essential ingredient your book must contain, in order for it be a successful and profitable lead generator.

This ingredient is: Your Call to Action.

It’s all very well writing over 64 pages, explaining a problem and how you are the ‘go to’ person to fix this problem, but if you don’t give a strong, easy to follow call to action – what you want the person to do, once they have read the book – then you’ve missed a great opportunity.

Don’t assume that just because you’ve outlined the solution to the reader’s biggest challenge, they will then pick up the phone, or find you on the internet. You have to tell them.

Tell them clearly and tell them more than once.

What do you want to readers to do once they read the book?

Do you want them to:

  • Call you
  • Visit your website
  • Visit a specific website – like a lead page
  • Get them into a sales funnel… if so, how?
  • Up-sell to another product
  • Any other call to action

If you don’t know what you want your readers to do, then how on earth are they going to know? So think about your call to action and this can be any number of things, depending on the complexity of your services, but make it clear. And state it several times.

Just remember; your call to action must be clear and easy. You can also have several other smaller call to actions throughout your book, perhaps offering further information (by visiting your website) or free downloads that your readers will find valuable. But don’t offer too many. Give too many choices and people won’t take any action at all!

So I hope I’ve given you a quick overview of how to use your book as a lead generation tool. Remember to have a clear plan, do your research before you start, and to have a clear and strong call to action, so that your book will help prospective clients and customers perceive you as the ‘expert’ and then enquire or buy from your follow on services (or products).

Planning your book for lead generation is simple when you know how. If you would like to become a published author in 2012, but feel you need some extra help, then get in touch. I can help you with your book, from the planning stage, to writing it and getting it published. Simply email me at alexa@thebookrefinery.com and let me know a bit about your idea. Then we can have a quick consultation and get your project started. Or simply fill out an enquiry form here and one of my team will be in touch.

  • Ethelle Lord

    Thank you for posting this interesting article. I am just starting to write a book for my new business: remembering4you.com as there is a need all over the globe for information on caregiving and Alzheimer’s. I do believe I could use your help too. I can be contacted at info@remembering4you.com but will also attempt to email you.

    Dr. Ethelle Lord
    http://rememering4you.com
    Pioneers in Alzheimer’s Coaching
    “You can put a new show on the road, even after caregiving.”

  • Alexa_Whitten

    Thank you Ethelle, I will get in touch with you and see if I can help you further.

    Glad you liked the article!

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