Do you want to know how to get paid to reach more people fast with your book?
Listen as Dr. Angela Lauria shares some of her marketing savvy you can use to get your book into the hands of people who need and value your content!
Do you want to know how to get paid to reach more people fast with your book?
Listen as Dr. Angela Lauria, founder of The Author Incubator, shares some of her marketing savvy you can use to get your book into the hands of people who need and value your content!
In this week's powerful episode "How to Get Paid to Reach a Lot More People Faster" you will discover...
Susan Friedmann: Welcome to Book Marketing Mentors, the weekly podcast where you learn proven strategies, tools, ideas, and tips from the masters. Every week, I introduce you to a marketing master who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books.
Today, my special guest is Dr. Angela Lauria, the founder of The Author Incubator, which has been named one of the best entrepreneurial companies in America by Entrepreneur360, and one of the fastest-growing private companies in America named by Inc. 500. She's also the creator of The Difference Process: Helping Authors Write a Book That Matters. She's been helping people free their inner author since 1994 and has helped over 100 authors in transformation to write, publish, and promote their books. Angela is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of five books, and naturally, she just loves talking about books.
So Angela, what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you to the show, and thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor.
Angela Lauria: Thanks for having me. This is one of my favorite topics.
Susan Friedmann: I knew that, and it's wonderful to have you here to talk about books. Let's focus on a part of the marketing process that I don't often talk about, and that's the book funnel and how we can use a book funnel to generate leads for our book. I know that's a subject you know a lot about, so let's start with that. Talk to us about what exactly a book funnel is.
Angela Lauria: Yeah. So I want to dive in by saying, many people really think the way to have a successful book is to write a great book. And unfortunately, a book alone, no matter how great it is, can't make the impact you want it to make if we don't get it into people's hands, and then the fact it's a good book is what's going to get it into their hearts. But Step 1, once you've got a good book, a well-written book, a great concept, we have to get it into people's hands. It just can't do it on its own. And I have found the most effective way to do this is with what we call book funnels. There are lots of different types of book funnels out there, but I'll talk about a few types and then I'll give you, if you want them, some numbers, conversion rates, and revenue numbers that we see from different types of funnels.
Susan Friedmann: That'll be great. Yeah, let's get on the same page and really have our listeners understand exactly what a book funnel is. I love the fact that you said it's not just about writing a book. It's much more than that. And I know that I come across this and you probably do too, is that many also think that once the book is actually published and they put it up on Amazon, that's all they have to do and somehow, sales come rolling in.
Angela Lauria: And you'll get more sales if it's a better book, which is such a fun fantasy to have, like "I'll just work harder and harder on my book, and then if it's better, sales will magically come." But I always say like, nothing magical happens when we post it on Amazon. There's not a tribe of millions of people waiting to see every book, reading them cover-to-cover, deciding, "This one is the best one and now we will magically promote it." You have to do the marketing. You have to have a marketing plan. And yeah, part of that plan is having a great book, but the book itself is 10% of the equation.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. So let's go down that funnel route. I'm excited about that.
Angela Lauria: Yeah, so a lot of authors will do lots of inexpensive marketing. They might go to book events or fairs. They might go to social media. They might try and build an email list. I like to throw money at the problem. And it's always a trade-off of time or money, same thing with your house, right? Like you want your room painted, you can either do it yourself, or you can hire someone. So funnels are the equivalent in many ways of throwing money at the problem of getting the word out about your book. We build a series of pages. I say "we", but we're not the only ones that do this. We have not invented book funnels. But we build a series of pages to either sell or give away a book, and those webpages and follow-up emails direct the reader not just to get your book, but to do the next activity.
The next activity might be apply to work with you, schedule a call with you, watch a webinar, go to a sales page. So we really plan a whole journey for somebody. And this is important because of the "throw money at the problem" factor, we need to be able to pay for advertising, to send people, we call those people often "traffic", to those pages that we've built, so we have traffic that comes from paid advertising that goes to a series of pages that walks the customer through a journey. The journey includes learning about your book and getting your book, and it concludes with a revenue event that pays for the advertising. Sometimes people will talk about, and this is a phrase, a little jargon here, "liquidating the advertising costs." What we want to do on the series of webpages we're going to build is get the money back.
Option number one is go to a bunch of book fairs and go to a bunch of independent bookstores and ask them to post your book and post things on social media and maybe spend a year or two running around, trying to get the word out about your book. Option number two is spend a bunch of money, like $10,000, #20,000, $30,000, but get that money paid back, liquidate that spend, that advertising spend, by selling something that costs more than your book. And that's the magic of a book funnel. You can reach lots more people a lot faster, and we can still do it for free, but you got to front the money, create a product and have a whole customer journey that includes you getting paid at the end.
Susan Friedmann: So in an ideal world, that sounds wonderful. Let's talk about this advertising and where you would do this, and I know you have a specific model, but if authors were to do this by themselves, what could they do if it was the DIY process?
Angela Lauria: Well, first you want to decide what kind of funnel you want to build. And just like you wouldn't build... you probably wouldn't even build a chicken coop. If you were going to raise chickens in your backyard, you would probably have some sort of blueprint or drawing. Certainly if you were going to build a house, you would have a blueprint or a drawing. And so when you're building a book funnel, it's the same thing. You want to draw out what it's going to look like. And there are a couple main types of funnels. The first is where the book is paid for. You've probably seen these, the big guys do it, Tony Robbins or [inaudible 00:08:09] or Russell Brunson, you'll see them do a print book funnel, and it sounds something like this, "Free, you just pay for shipping." And the shipping will be like $5, $6, $7. Does that sound familiar? Have you seen stuff like that?
Susan Friedmann: Very. I've actually done that several times because it's so, sort of, I don't know, you just want to do it. It's very attractive.
Angela Lauria: Yeah. A lot of the copy'll get stuck in your head. It's like, "I'll pay for everything. All I ask is that you cover the cost of shipping. And why am I doing this? Because I want to get the message out there." And a lot of times, I really like messaging like this. People say, "I know if a hundred people get my book, one person in there is going to want to work with me as their marketing consultant, as their whatever franchise consultant, so I'm happy to give my book away. All I ask is that you pay for shipping. And then if you end up wanting to work with me after that, fantastic, this is a great way for me to get the word out and I'm happy to split the costs with you."
That messaging, people get it. And people like transparent marketing. People don't like being tricked. So if you actually just tell them why you're doing it, people'll be like, "Okay, that's reasonable. Let me give it a shot. I'll pay 5 bucks instead of 20 bucks, I'll get this book in my hand." Sometimes you can add a bonus, like you could add signing the book, you could add a mini course, you could add a workbook.
That "free with shipping" offer is one type of book funnel, and then you would follow up with those people and a few of them might become coaching or consulting clients. Now, pros and cons with this funnel is there are a lot of logistics. If you're DIYing this, you're going to be stuffing books into envelopes and sending them off, or you can have Amazon send them directly, but you're going to pay a lot more. There are also great fulfillment companies like Disk.com that will do this, but then you really need to have a minimum, like 1,000. There are some hard costs and logistics.
I'm going to give you option number two for you to go build your funnel. It's still paid. It's still around the same amount, $5, $6, $7. But it's a digital book instead. So you're just sending the PDF instead of having to stuff a paperback book into an envelope. You're going to still charge $5 or $6. You'll build up the value. You can add some of those same bonuses, like you can add a mini course or a workbook, and you'll run an ad that says, "Get my book for just $5. This book is selling for $20 on Amazon, I'll sell you a digital copy, you can get started right away and I'll even throw in a workbook or a video class or something like that." Again, you'll follow up with them and the goal is to someday turn them into clients to pay for the advertising.
Susan Friedmann: Now what about actually throughout the book, putting in like a QR code or...
Angela Lauria: Yeah. Now, with a book funnel, you don't need to do that because you already got their email address. The purpose of having lead magnets inside your book is to collect people's email address. So if you're selling your book on Amazon, you'll never know who bought it. So throughout your book, you want to have those same lead magnets to a free class or to a workbook or something like that, because then people are going to opt in for those, you'll get their email and you could follow up and ask them to buy something. But when you're doing a book funnel, it doesn't matter. You already got their email address.
Funnel number one, free with shipping, you send the actual printed copy of the book. Funnel number two, it's around the same amount, but you're just going to send the digital book. Both of those will convert clients. I have found the print books convert about 3% will become leads, will inquire about working with you. With the paid ebook, digital book, I found around 5% to 7% of people who pay will inquire about working with you.
But here's the big breakthrough that we do with our clients. It's going to sound crazy, but we just give it away. Print book, e-book, digital copies, companion workbooks, companion mini courses. We will do a book funnel. We will pay between $5 and $10 for advertising, we will give our books away completely for free, and we find 16% of people will then ask for a sales call and inquire about working more. And then depends on what your sales close rates are, most of our clients have about a 25% close rate. What that means is if you give away a hundred books, you'll get 16 sales calls and 4 clients, and most of our authors are making $250,000 a year following this exact process.
They give away a hundred books a month, digitally, for free, and 16 of those have sales calls, 4 become clients, and our authors have packages that start around $2,000, their front-end sales alone are about $100,000 a month, and then we have a second follow-up sale which we call a back-end sale. So if you want to have a $100,000 author business, I have found the best way to do that is to build a book funnel and give away, strategically, a hundred books a month.
Susan Friedmann: You've talked about many different things here, so one of the things that sort of hit me was that 3% respond to a physical book where 5% to 7% respond to a digital book. Did I hear that correctly?
Angela Lauria: Yeah. So it goes 3% for the print book, and here's why that number is so low. What we find is there's lots of mailing problems. Mailing, logistics, people don't get it, there's lots of customer service. We just find that you have a very low percentage. In fact, you might, maybe, by giving away 100 print books with shipping, you might get one client, but usually you get one client for every 200 books you give away. You're giving away with you're having them pay for shipping.
Susan Friedmann: Okay. Do you find that they sell the physical book as well as giving away the ebook?
Angela Lauria: No, it's really hard. So if you do the "free with shipping" offer, "My book is totally free. I'm going to mail you a print copy. It's going to cost $6." It costs us in advertising $20 to $40. So we pay $20 to $40 to get someone to give us 6 bucks so that we can then mail them the book. It's going to cost me probably $6 to $9 to send them the book, plus $20 to $25 for the advertising. I spend $40 to give a print book away, and it's really hard to get people to do. That's why it's so expensive.
Susan Friedmann: It just doesn't make sense.
Angela Lauria: The numbers are really hard to work with print books, and it's a big pain in the neck with fulfillment. Now, we love the guys at Disk.com and we get our fulfillment done really well by them, but we still have more customer service when we do a "free with shipping" offer than if we make it totally free. There are still people who don't get it, but they complain a lot less because it was totally free. When you pay $6, it's like people are righteous. You know, they're going to get their money's worth. They paid $6 for shipping. They want their damn book.
Susan Friedmann: That's so funny.
Angela Lauria: That's why it's so much harder to manage, and same thing with the digital, when you have people pay for a digital book. We have a couple of millionaires, I think we have six millionaires that we have created. We've created 24 millionaires, all women, and six of them do a paid digital strategy. You do get that higher percentage, 5% to 7%, but it's still more expensive. You're looking at about $10 to $15 to get someone to pay for a digital book, assuming you do lots and lots of bonuses. So you want to give them multiple books, you want to give them a free class, but if you do it digital and it's instant, they're going to get it right away. You can get that lower, but it still doesn't convert as well.
Susan Friedmann: You're relying a lot on advertising. Is that correct?
Angela Lauria: In this conversation we're having today, Susan, I want to talk about advertising because it's the fast solution. I call it throwing money at the problem. If we can spend 30 grand, we can get you making $300,000 within a few months of the launch of your book.
Susan Friedmann: Where do you find that the best place is to advertise? I mean, I know there's the Facebook ads and the Google ads and the Amazon, which ones do you find are best, especially for non-fiction books?
Angela Lauria: Our authors are all non-fiction authors and I would say 80% is Facebook advertising. We have some books that do well on Google PPC. Most of our books that were doing well on Google PPC in the last year, those campaigns have stopped working because of some changes that Google made. A lot of our medical books did really well on Google and they're not performing anymore. So I would say mostly Facebook, we have some Instagram campaigns. One of our millionaires did all of her advertising on Instagram, she sells her products to a lot of young Instagram influencers, early 30-somethings, late 20s, early 30s. And so her space really ended up being Instagram. One of our authors has succeeded with TikTok marketing. We've got, I would say, maybe a half-dozen of our authors, maybe a little more, maybe a dozen, that are using LinkedIn marketing, but I would say 80% are Facebook advertising.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. I mean, you have to go where your target audience is so yeah, I mean, obviously if it's a younger audience, it would appeal to TikTok or maybe even Instagram, but if it's more business-related, then you've got your LinkedIn and possibly Facebook, as you said. Our authors love to hear about mistakes, Angela. What are some of the common mistakes that you find authors make when it comes to this type of marketing?
Angela Lauria: I mean, the biggest thing is people are afraid to spend money, honestly. That's really it. And if you believe in your book, you believe in your message and you are 100% committed. What a lot of people think is, "Once I'm successful, I'm making lots of money and I have clients, then I'll spend money on advertising", which just always cracks me up. I'm like, "What do you think advertising is there for?" Our most successful authors are spending five grand a month, 10 grand a month. I have an author that's spending $100,000 a month in advertising, but she's also making $200,000 a month, maybe even more now. The key is not being afraid to spend, and the key not being afraid to spend is having a tested strategic plan for what you're going to sell and how you're going to get that return on ad spend.
And you can test that to a free audience. All of our authors know that their advertising is going to work before they start spending money, because we use some of those free strategies, free list-building strategies, going to those book fairs and things like that, to get leads. We'll test the whole funnel for free to a warm audience before we start running ads to it, so we know it's going to convert, we know what that return on ad spend is going to be, and then you're spending money before you make it, which for a lot of people, they just don't have that entrepreneurial willingness to spend money before they make it.
Susan Friedmann: Well. It's nice to know that you've tested it beforehand so that you know that it's going to work. Let's talk about those events or what's going to get them the return on the investment. I mean, is it coaching? Is it a training program? What kinds of opportunities are your clients offering that they can make that return on the investment?
Angela Lauria: Well, we spend a lot of time on business model because if you have the wrong model, it doesn't matter how good the advertising is, it can never work, and I used as an example, a hotdog cart. If you have a hotdog cart and you are selling in a city at lunchtime near office buildings, and you sell your hotdogs from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, so let's say for 3 hours, and in those 3 hours, you can serve 60 people. And so now in 3 hours you can serve 180 people. And let's say you were making $10 per order. Now out of that $10, you have to go pay for food, you have to pay your employees, you have to pay for your food cart, you have to pay for your parking pass. Most food businesses have about a 10% profit margin, and you can just look that up with the profit margin on a food truck, it's going to be around 10% to 20%.
Let's say you make $2 on every order and you are slammed. Your hotdog cart is rocking for 3 hours, there's a non-stop line and you serve 180 people a day. You're still only making, at the end of the day, like $350 bucks, which, let's just say, you're going to have your hotdog cart out 15 days, because of holidays and your travel, 15 days of the month, there's 12 months in the year, that's 180 days you're going to be out there making 300 bucks. You got a $50,000, $60,000 business model. You could get probably a job for $50,000 or $60,000. This hotdog truck, not a good plan. Now 10 hotdog trucks might be a good plan, but one hotdog cart, not a great plan.
So you want to have the right model, and what that means for most authors is an entry-level product, a bottom or a floor or a lowest you'll go of $2,000. Now, why $2,000? The answer is because I've run the numbers and I know what makes sense for you to do this full-time and reasonably, you can work 30 hours a week, make $250,000 dollars a year, but you need to have something that you can deliver in three months or less, that you can fairly charge $2,000 for.
So if you just think about 12 appointments over... let's say they're consulting or coaching appointments, 12 appointments over 3 months, that's $160, $170 an appointment, which is a pretty reasonable coaching package. It's less than a lawyer would charge. It's less than most therapists. It's less than most specialists, doctors that don't take insurance. You can go up from there, but you need to work with people who will only... like the floor is that $2,000 commitment and we help people craft those programs and offerings. For some people, it's just one speech that they might charge $5,000 to give that speech to an organization, but you can't have an initial offer of less than $2,000 and have a business model that works.
Susan Friedmann: Yeah. Excellent. Well, I'm sure our listeners are wanting to know exactly how they can get in touch with you and some of the services that you offer. Take it away. Let us hear.
Angela Lauria: Yeah. What we do is we have a business fundamentals class for authors, so if you already have a book and you want to build a business, we have our, we call it "biz fun", but we have our coaching academy where we teach you how to build a $250,000 business working 30 hours a week. And then we also build people's book funnels for them, so if you want us to build a book funnel for you or help you with the marketing in any way, you can find us at theauthorincubator.com, don't forget the T-H-E. theauthorincubator.com, and you could find a way to apply there, just go to the contact link and we'll reach back out and let you know if we think we're fit to work with you.
Susan Friedmann: Fantastic. I love the way how you've dropped a lot of those, what we call soundbites into everything that we've talked about and the work that you do. That's fantastic. We always end off, Angela, with a golden nugget. If you were to leave our listeners with those words of wisdom, what would they be?
Angela Lauria: My greatest words of wisdom to every author, and I think authors are amazing people who have so much to share. If you've taken the time to write a book or you're working on a book and you've got a message coming through, that message is coming through you because you are supposed to share that message. Then I watch authors do way too much and they do so many ineffective things. They're doing advertising on Amazon and they're trying to learn Instagram and they're killing themselves to figure out Mailchimp and they're trying to build their own websites and they're doing their own travel schedules and they're trying to write a book a year and they're just doing so much and not getting their message out, which is the main thing when you have a book is to get it into people's hands. My biggest word of wisdom is "Do less better."
Susan Friedmann: Oh, that is dynamite. I love the fact that you're talking about, "it's all about the message, it's not about the book and the book is the vehicle for that message." Angela, your wisdom has been fabulous. I know our listeners are going to love listening to this and they'll probably listen to it several times, because you said so much, we need to take in everything that you said. Thank you. And thank you all so much for taking time out of your day to listen to this interview, and I sincerely hope that it sparked some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book marketing and author marketing success.