Businesses have always needed to find innovative ways to generate leads and grow their customer base. Even if you don’t have a sales team looking for new clients, you need to be generating interest to grow your business. As an independent author, creator, or entrepreneur, you’ve likely discovered the meaning of lead generation and its importance in growing your own audience.
Whether you’ve already published a book or are still considering creating one, publishing is a potent lead-generation strategy and the best way to build credibility and authority. Books establish you as a subject matter expert and serve as an effective online lead magnet. In this blog post, I’ll look at five ways you can leverage your book to improve and expand your lead-generation efforts.
Five Ways To Use Your Book For Lead Generation
Here’s a quick rundown of the five ways books can help you reach new audiences and build a following.
- Build Credibility – Use your book to establish yourself among your peers, showing potential customers you’re a subject matter expert.
- Book Speaking Engagements – Your expertise will show event organizers you’re the right person to speak at their event.
- Offer Free Samples – Give away some or all of your book to entice new readers.
- Deliver New Content – Use your book to promote your other content (like podcasts or videos).
- Build Online Courses – Draw in new followers by creating a course to complement your book.
What Is Lead Generation In Digital Marketing?
Before we dig into each of these methods for growing your audience, let’s back up and clarify lead generation’s meaning.
Lead generation in digital marketing is a strategy for targeting potential customers and building or growing their interest in your products or services. The lead generation process aims to ‘convert’ potential clients who discover your lead into followers or customers.
Lead generation almost always involves giving something away (usually content to entertain or prove your value) in exchange for contact information. This is important; people aren’t going to share their personal information if you don’t offer them something worth it. Once you’ve got their contact details (namely, an email address), you start sharing your newsletters and updates. Eventually, the value you’re providing them leads these new followers to become loyal fans, eager to buy your products and services.
Build Credibility By Publishing
When you write and publish a book, you are demonstrating your skills, expertise, and commitment. This is true whether you write serial romance fiction or expert analysis of modern businesses. Or anything in between.
Just investing the time to write, edit, design, and publish a book helps establish your work ethic and knowledge. It may not be obvious at first, but developing your personal brand will be key to long-term success. In your first year or two as a creator or author, you’ll need to work hard to earn followers and build a fanbase.
Credibility will be key to convincing potential readers to give your content a chance. You’ll likely struggle to measure how much credibility benefits your brand. Don’t let that deter you though. Credibility and recognition in your genre or field or expertise will pay dividends over time.
How Your Book Can Make You A Public Speaker
When marketers talk about lead generation, you’ll hear buzzwords like acquisition costs and nurturing campaigns. Lead gen efforts center on email marketing goals and building landing pages that drive people to click the call to action.
No more buzzwords, I promise.
As a creator—whether that’s focused on writing or other kinds of content—lead generation is as much about building fans as it is about selling books. One important way to leverage your book to grow your audience is through public speaking.
Let’s say you love owls (who doesn’t?) and you know a LOT about the Northern Saw-whet Owl. So much so that you write a book about the cute little predators. And the book is good. Other owl aficionados take notice. And at the next year’s annual Owl-Palooza, you get asked to speak!
Yes, that’s a bit of an oversimplification, but the idea is true. If you (literally) write the book on a topic, others interested in that topic will take notice (this does require a little book marketing to get the word out).
Why Public Speaking Is Key For Authors And Creators
Let’s say you attend Owl-Palooza as a speaker. Fifty people come to your talk. You give your lecture, then have a lively round of Q&A. There’s a slide with a QR code so your listeners can sign up for your email newsletter.
After, as the room is being prepped for the next talk, a few audience members come up with follow-up questions or just to say hi.
You’ve just generated numerous leads. And, if your talk was well received, there’s a great chance you’ll be invited back next year.
By leaning on the credibility and expertise your book displayed, you can earn speaking engagements. Your book can help you land paid speaking engagements, which not only builds more credibility and clout for you but also earns you money. That kind of opportunity can lead to offering a new service (paid speaking gigs), which not only builds more credibility and clout for you but also earns you money.
Give Your Book Away for Free
One of the most common lead generation strategies for businesses is to create and give away reports, guides, research papers, or case studies. You’ll find their content on pages like this one.
The Tilt & HubSpot’s Business of Creators Report is a lead-generation opportunity
The landing page makes it clear they want you to download their report. You’ll find some broad information to help you decide if you really want the report. Once you click ‘Download Now’, you’ll fill out a short form with your name, email address, and some general information.
You are now a lead for both HubSpot and The Tilt.
You probably don’t have the time or resources to put together an in-depth report. And your audience probably doesn’t want one (from you). But what you can do is identify content you have created (or new content you can create) that gives a taste of your work.
That might be the first chapter of a book, a section from a guide, or a companion to the book you sell. Try different kinds of content to gauge interest. Once you’ve found a way to chop up or distill your book into something you’re willing to give away for free (like an ebook), you’ll have a powerful tool for capturing qualified leads.
Following this strategy helps you to grow your audience, collect contact information, and learn what your readers like (and don’t like) for future marketing efforts.
Use Your Book To Support A Podcast Or YouTube Channel
Maybe you’ve already published a few books and you’re engaged in content marketing efforts to keep your audience growing. As you use different lead generation tactics, you will naturally attract specific types of audiences. Using books as lead gen is great, but it means you’re only reaching people who consume books.
As your content business grows, you’ll naturally want to consider other media options. YouTube videos have long been a huge opportunity to meet a new audience. Podcasts are likewise popular and are a perfect fit for authors.
Use your book as an opportunity to promote your other content! If you’ve just started a podcast (because honestly, who hasn’t?), send an email to everyone who bought your book! You know they’re interested in your content, so give them a chance to get even more from you.
This cross-pollination goes both ways too. If you’ve already got a vibrant YouTube channel, use that platform to speak to your audience about your book!
There are numerous types of leads—use your existing audience to find new opportunities. You want to make sure your email subscribers, social media followers, and any other existing fans know about your book too. Not all of your YouTube fans will buy your book, but those who do are showing they enjoy both your videos and your writing.
Develop An Online Course Using Your Book
Alongside video and audio content, creating courses is a popular way to earn a profit from your knowledge. If you’re looking for another way to capture new leads and build interest, creating a course might be just what your audience wants!
Much like using your book to build credibility, you can make use of your book to establish your knowledge. Not only will you be a regular speaker on the owl conference circuit, but you can also teach new and novice owl enthusiasts. The credibility your book establishes for you will encourage people to register and once they’ve started the class, that book will add value to their experience.
Teaching is well-suited to authors. Your book will prove you know what you’re talking about. That will lead to an interest in the course you offer. Students who loved the course will want to buy your other books.
Plus, a course is an invitation to create a companion book, study guide, or even just a lined journal for taking notes.
Your Lead Generation Strategy
Publishing a book is a powerful lead-generation strategy that elevates your business and expands your reach. People love and respect books—showing potential customers that you’ve done the work to write and create a book instantly boosts your credibility.
As your fans read and talk about you and your book, new opportunities to reach a wider audience will present themselves. Be ready for that opportunity with a thoughtful lead generation strategy to grow your brand and your bank account.
Paul is the Content Marketing Manager at Lulu. When he's not entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person but considers himself cat tolerant.