Introducing lead generation is one of a nonfiction authors most efficient and powerful marketing tools. You can use lead generators to build a constantly growing email list of individuals interested in topics related to your book. Once set up, lead generators work on their own, building your list while you concentrate on writing and other tasks.
Your email list is secure. For example, your ability to keep in touch with readers and prospects via email cannot be taken away by sudden, unwanted changes in a social media provider’s costs and terms.
Why do authors need lead generators?
Lead generation helps nonfiction authors choose book titles, chapter titles, and topics for newsletters and social media marketing. Lead generations offers you an efficient way to reward readers of your current book and choose topics for future books. Lead generators help you maintain your visibility. Frequent communication increases familiarity which builds trust and paves the way referrals. Keeping in touch also increases the success of future books and profitable podcasts, workbooks, videos, and e-courses. It also increases paves the way for coaching, consulting, and specialty services.
In addition, lead generation helps you identify the search engine words and phrases readers and website visitors are most likely to respond to. Choosing marketing topics and messages is often based on guesswork or personal preferences. Lead generation, however, permits testing before investing time or budgets in marketing which doesn’t pay off. Testing replaces guesswork with results that reflect your market’s preference. This helps you identify the topics and words most likely to increase positive responses in the future.
What are the elements of a lead generation program?
Lead generation programs can be as simple or as sophisticated as desired. When starting out, be sure to test only one text or graphic element at a time. The three basic elements consist of:
- Invitation. The typical invitation is a sign-up coupon inviting prospects to indicate their interest in learning more about the topic of your book by submitting their name (often, just the first name) and email address. These coupons should be as simple and non-threatening as possible. Asking for too much information reduces response. The best coupons consist of a headline, graphic, one-sentence description of the incentive, a call-to-action, and a text box for recipients to enter their email address. Sign-up can also be a text link.
Those who fill out the coupon links to a landing page which provides more information plus a link to download the incentive or access a promised audio or video file. Different versions of the sign-up coupon are linked to different landing pages.
- Landing page. The landing page describes the incentive in greater detail, emphasizes the benefits recipients will receive, and contains a download link. More important, each landing page incorporates the title, wording, or call-to-action being tested in the invitation. This permits you to compare the traffic created by different topics, appeals, and wording. To accurately compare traffic, it’s important that visitors cannot directly access your landing pages.
- Incentive. A successful lead generation program is build around information-filled incentives. Information can be formatted and delivered as documents like tip sheets, white papers, or worksheets sent as Adobe PDF files. Incentives can also include URLs or password access to audio podcasts, videos, or e-course lessons. In each case, the incentive describes how to solve a frequently-encountered challenge, problem, or goal.
Incentives are usually immediately sent via an auto-responder. This permits immediate response and frees authors from emailing recipients the desired information.
Where do lead generation invitations appear?
Invitations often appear only on the home page of an author’s website. Many authors, however, add sign-up forms to each page, located in the footer of each page. You can also insert coupons in articles, blog posts, guest posts or newsletters. When you are writing a book, be sure you include a sign-up form in it. (Be sure to check with your publisher.) When speaking at a popular event in your field or being interviewed, include your sign-up coupon in the handouts. (After checking in with the host.)
Additional sign-up options include guest posts on other websites, invitations to special events, and (when permitted) text or graphic inserts in your social media profiles and posts.
You can also use specialized auto-responders for hands-off sign-up forms. You can use Exit coupons to direct visitors to your landing pages when are about to leave a website. You can also add Entry coupons delivered when visitors arrive at certain pages of your website.
When testing response, be sure to test only one topic, title, call-to-action or graphic element at a time.
As you become more comfortable with lead generation, you can explore options like cost-per-click search engine marketing. Your invitation can appear in the search engine pages displaying the results when individuals are searching for specific words and phrases. Charges depend on the popularity of the term. You’re only charged up to the limit you’ve contracted for.
Content Ideas for Incentives
For a long time, marketing incentives for authors were limited to sample chapters from their latest book. However, today, this is just the tip of the iceberg of incentive options. As a nonfiction author, you can also choose options like:
- Worksheets or workbooks to help readers implement the advice contained in your book
- Recommendations for additional resources to consult
- Excerpts from your earlier books (check with your publisher)
- Expanded glossary of terms used in your book
- Compilations of your most popular blog posts, audios, and videos
- URLs for influencers in your field
What’s the first step in creating a lead generation program?
The starting point is to identify the sign-up benefit, text, or graphic element you want to test. This involves knowing the concerns of your market—i.e., your current clients and prospects. Start by asking questions and analyzing the conversations you’ve had with clients and prospects in the past. What are their concerns? What are the questions they frequently ask you? You can also monitor the questions addressed in the leading blogs and white papers published by influencers in your field and by topics addressed by speakers at upcoming conventions.
The next step is to create an incentive that addresses your market’s concerns. Although the incentive appeared last in the three steps summarized above, your lead generation success depends on the appropriateness of your incentive.
A well-targeted incentive, such as a concise, helpful, and relevant white paper, podcast, or video, rewards you with higher responses and a longer shelf-life. You may only need to create four incentives a year. And, after a short time, you can compile your incentives into your next book!
Why one lead generator is not enough
Lead generation marketing, like most marketing activities, is a process not an event. Success requires repetition and refinement. Once mastered, however, you’ll find the time required to test other combinations of words and graphics becomes more and more efficient. You’ll find selecting the right topics, appeals, and book titles, subtitles, chapter titles, becomes an efficient, routine task.
Unlike writing a book, which only you can do, you can easily delegate lead generation.
By helping you choose the appeals, words, and phrases that your market has helped you choose, lead generation paves the way for improved results and increased profits. Most important, you can apply the same techniques to other aspects of your nonfiction writing career.
Do you use lead generators? Share your comments, ideas, questions, and experiences!
Roger C. Parker is a book coach who helps clients profit from the experiences he’s gained while planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from over 30 books. He’s also a content strategist and copywriter who has helped clients become millionaires. Email Roger for a copy of his 99 Questions to Ask Before You Start to Write or Self-publish a Brand Building Book.
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