AA 027: The Importance of Setting Up Your Author Audience Funnel

Author audience funnel

In this episode I will talk about the importance of setting up your Author Audience Funnel.  Most authors don’t think about the big picture when they publish a book when it comes to marketing.  This training will help you think beyond just publishing a book and setting up an entire funnel of offers and products to bring long lasting success.

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Author audience funnelIn This Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • What an Author Audience Funnel is and why it’s important for authors.
  • What you might want to include in your funnel.
  • How this process can bring long lasting success and diversify your income.
  • And more!

Enjoy the podcast!  It’s my hope that these episodes are bringing you one step closer to reaching more people with your message.

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Godly Gain Segment:

Each week, I share a Godly Gain segment for entrepreneurs who want to keep Christ at the center of their business.

Today’s scripture: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Galatians 6:7-8 (NKJV)

Thanks for listening!

You ROCK!  I appreciate everyone of my podcast listeners.  If you have a specific question for me, submit it here:  www.shelleyhitz.com/ask

“Even the weakest light can hold back the darkness.” – Unknown

It’s time to let your light SHINE!

Can’t listen right now?  Read the transcript below:

Today I’m rolling out the red carpet and inviting you to join me as I share all about the importance of having an Author Audience Funnel. You may not know what an Author Audience Funnel is yet because I created it specifically for AuthorAudienceAcademy.com. Don’t worry, I’m going to share everything about it here soon.

First I wanted to share some feedback from one of my Academy Award winners, Lucille Zimmerman. She’s a member in Author Audience Academy, and she said, “I belong to a self-publishing group on Facebook, and found it to be overwhelming. I deleted myself from the group because I found Shelley’s program to be straightforward and easy to follow. I didn’t just learn the basics; I learned intricate details about how to market my e-book and make it stand out on Amazon.” Awesome, Lucille, so excited that you have joined us. I love helping my members get results and succeed.

I believe you have a God-given message to share with the world; the question is, are you ready to shine?

It’s time for this week’s Center-Stage Spotlight Training. This is where I share training and strategies to help you grow your business or ministry through writing and publishing books, marketing online, and creating products and services to sell on the back end. I’m not just about books, but so much more. I’m here to help you connect with your audience in the best way possible, whatever that may be. That’s why this episode, and this training, is so important, because it helps you develop a strategy, look at the big picture. This is episode 27 titled “The Importance of Setting Up your Author Audience Funnel.”

Most authors that I talk to don’t really tend to think in the big picture when they publish a book and in regards to marketing. If you’re an entrepreneur, you think in these terms, you know about sales funnels, and you know about the whole process of sales. What I tend to find is that most authors just want that quick fix; they want that easy answer, the easy way of being able to sell more books. I teach a comprehensive strategy that helps you get long-lasting success. I’m for those quick ones too, but to really have long term success with your books I really believe you need to think bigger, and that’s where the Author Audience Funnel comes in. I know this is going to bring you one step closer to getting your message to more people. So be prepared to shine.

The Author Audience Funnel is something that I created for AuthorAudienceAcademy.com. When you think about a typical sales funnel, think of the shape of a funnel when you’re using it for cooking or whatever you’re using it for, maybe changing the oil in your car or adding more oil to your vehicle. A funnel is bigger at the top and then smaller at the bottom. A typical sales funnel tends to start with your email list and a free offer that gets people on your email list. However, when I created the Author Audience Funnel, I was realizing that a lot of people were coming to me through my books. Because I have perma-free books on Amazon, because I’ve optimized for keywords, and because I was having promotions and selling books, a lot of people were actually finding me through my books first and then coming into my email list. Now, it could flip-flop, so it’s going to happen both ways. Some people, visitors, will find you on Amazon and search for you, and I teach that process in-depth on Author Audience Academy on how to optimize your categories, your book title, all of that, so that you can be found on Amazon. So some people will find you that way; some people will find you on social media, and other ways, and sign up for your email list.

For the sake of this training I’m going to say that you have the biggest group of visitors and people finding you on Amazon. If you don’t have a perma-free book on Amazon yet, definitely consider this strategy. My book Self-Publishing Books 101 is free all the time on Amazon. The way that you get this done is that you get it published through another platform—I use Smash Words—and then you publish it for free everywhere else—the iBook Store, Barnes and Noble—and then you let Amazon know it’s a lower price somewhere else. Amazon loves to be the lowest price; that is their goal. So when they find out that your book is a lower price somewhere else, many times they’ll price-match, which means they’ll price-match your book for free on Amazon. I get about a thousand new downloads every month to Self Publishing Books 101 on Amazon; it’s optimized for the keywords Self-Publishing Books, and I talk a lot more about this in a training on AuthorAudienceAcademy.com.

I want you to think about this as a way for people to find you on Amazon. When a book is free, it’s easy for them to download. For your book, as part of your Author Audience Funnel, you need to have a call to action in the beginning of your book, and at the end of your book, to sign up to your email list. This should be a related offer, something that adds to what you’ve taught them in that book, and then that gets them into your funnel. When they read your book, they download it; if it’s perma-free, they got it for free on Amazon—they probably got it by searching on Amazon, one of the largest search engines in the world—then they get on your email list, and that’s where the magic happens.

Sometimes your visitors, like I said, will find you through a Google search, they’ll find you on social media, they’ll find you through your speaking engagements and other things, and they’ll get on your email list first. That is fine! What I teach is to use Amazon to the best of your ability to drive as much traffic as you can to your email list. In fact, one of my Author Audience Academy members, Jennifer Waddle, said once she took my advice and added her free gift to her email list in the front of her book, her subscribers doubled. So this is powerful, and it’s a great way to build your list as an author and to continue to  funnel people into your business.

So once they have your book and once they sign up to your email list, then the next step is for them to make additional purchases from you. So that may be your other books, it could be other digital products that you sell from your site, it could be one-on-one coaching, it could be speaking, it could be mastermind groups, paid mastermind groups, it could be so many different things. What I want you to think about right now, do you have a book published? If not, then the first step is to decide what it is you’re going to publish your book about. Think about, what are people looking for, what problem can you solve, how can you help people in a way that they’ll be searching for those keywords, for that answer, on Amazon. Now, there are some times books that are just passion books, and I totally get that; I have books like that too.

If you’ve already written your book, I want to ask you, do you have a free gift that people can get when they sign up to your email list? I guess I should ask, do you have an email subscriber list? If not, don’t walk but run to get one of those set up. You can get started for free on MailChimp, but I really recommend starting with a service that you can have autoresponders. Currently Mail Chimp is only free when you send out broadcasts, so I recommend something like GetResponse, Aweber, and TrafficWave is actually a decent option—it allows both autoresponders and broadcasts, I do use that for some of my lists, and it’s one price. So I will provide all the links to these in the show notes.

So you have your book, you have your email subscriber list, you have a free gift that you’re giving away, and right now I have a lot of gifts that I’m giving away. One of my goals before the end of 2015 ended was to print out my list of offers, free offers that I have, that can get people onto my email list. Right now, for authors at ShelleyHitz.com, I have eleven different free gifts, eleven different free offers, and it continues to grow. Now, that doesn’t count every single episode; on my podcast I have a transcript you can download as a free gift. It doesn’t even count that; if it counted that it would be way higher, but eleven main different ways that people can get on my email list.

Now, don’t get overwhelmed and think you have to do eleven right away. I’ve been coaching authors since 2010, so over the last five years I’ve developed different things, and I will continue to develop new offers so that people can subscribe to my email list and get into my Author Audience Funnel.

Once they’re on your email list, they sign up; either they find you through your book and they signed up through the call to action you have in the front or the back of your book, or they sign up some other way, a friend recommended you, they found you on social media, or through an event or something like that. Now they are on your email list; now it is time to nurture that relationship. I recommend having at least seven autoresponder emails set up. You don’t have to have this set up, but autoresponder emails are where you do the work one time and then it continues to work for you twenty-four/seven automatically, or like I like to say, automagically. It sends out these emails whether or not you are sending any broadcasts; if you get sick or something happens, any new person who signs up to your list will continue to get these emails.

There are a ton of different ways for you to do this, and I share in detail step-by-step how I recommend that you do this, along with some swipe files of emails I’ve used in AuthorAudienceAcademy.com, but I want you to think about it, setting aside a couple of days to write out these emails. Once you have them scheduled in your email provider, it will go out automatically. I recommend not just having offers in places, emails about “buy my stuff,” but build a relationship. Tell a story that is motivational, or inspirational, related to them. In one of my emails, I’ve told the story of when I was young and I dropped my baton, and that was the time the newspaper took my picture for the whole town to see, the only time I dropped my baton. I talked about how it drove me to be so driven to succeed, to not let anyone see my flaws, and yet that’s not realistic this side of heaven. So I talked about that, I talked about how that relates to us as authors, and it was just an inspirational, motivational-type email, really no pitch or offer. So think about how you can add maybe an inspirational or motivational email.

Then, think about a resource. People should think about you when they want resources on your topic, so send them a resource email. One that I send out is “40+ Tools That I Use Almost Every Day,” and it’s a list of tools that I actually use in my business, and then I send out an email with 100-plus places to advertise Christian books. Since my audience is primarily Christian, whether it’s authors, speakers, entrepreneurs, pastors, ministry leaders, that will really resonate with some of my audience, and then they’ll see me as a resource for that type of information. So you can send out different types of emails, but make sure, within those first seven emails, that you also send out an email about your next product, your next offer; what is the next step they can take with you? If they have purchased your book, or if they have come onto your email list and got your free offer, what is a logical next step?

I recommend having a small product, and this month’s Take Action Workshop on AuthorAudienceAcademy.com is all about taking you through the steps of having a small digital product, something that you can sell for $7, $10, $17, $27, probably up to $50, $47, whatever you want to charge for that. Have some sort of small product that is the next step for them to go with you. That is key, because when you are able to have other offers, then you’re able to increase your income, but you’re also able to add more value to your subscribers, you have more to offer them. Now, don’t feel overwhelmed, this takes time to set up your Author Audience Funnel, but if you have a strategy, if you have some ideas of what you want to start including in your funnel, then you can just keep adding them one by one, by one, by one. If you’re ready to create a small product and add that to your funnel, join us at AuthorAudienceAcademy.com, because I will be going through the process step-by-step of how to do this in our Take Action Workshop for January.

It’s time for our Take Action Tip. This week I went into depth about the Author Audience Funnel, and I want you to write out what could be your process so you have visitors and where would those visitors be coming from. You have your book where they can find you on Amazon, you have your free gift where they’re signing up to your email subscriber list, and then you have other products. So write out the process of how that might look for you in your business, and I look forward to hearing what you do and what you come up with. If you have any questions on this or want to share what you came up with for your funnel, just go to AuthorAudience.com/27 and leave me a comment there. I’d love to hear from you, and I know that the process is sometimes hard to wrap your mind around, but I am positive once you really get this solidified into your mind that you will see success.

I remember Wayne Davies, one of my Author Audience Academy members; he was saying, “Oh, I get it! So the goal is not necessarily to just sell books on Amazon, but it’s also to drive traffic and to get people to sign up for my email list!” He started a perma-free book, he published a perma-free book on Amazon, and his email list has grown. It was so neat to see that light bulb go off in his mind, because I see so many authors getting stuck in thinking that the only way they can benefit from their books is by selling them. But you can also drive people from Amazon, from a perma-free book, to your email list, and then offer them other products. That’s what I want to teach in this month’s Take Action Workshop.

Before we end, I want to give you a backstage pass in this week’s Godly Gains Segment, which is all about keeping Christ at the center of all we do. In the end I truly believe it’s not about me, but it’s about him and bringing glory to him. The scripture that I chose today comes from Galatians 6:7-8. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. He who sows to his flesh, of the flesh will reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit, of the Spirit will reap everlasting life.” This is the whole concept of whatever a man sows he will also reap. You hear this talked about a lot in our culture, you reap what you sow, and I think about that in our Author Audience Funnel, in our business, in our publishing of books.

Many times we’re not willing to put in the hard work of sowing so that we can reap more sales, more income, more impact, getting our message to more people. I’m not going to lie: it’s hard work setting up an Author Audience Funnel, it’s hard work setting up the entire process, but it is worth it. It is worth it because you will reap from what you sow, from those actions, from those things that you put in place. Now, you may have to change it, you may have to adapt it if you find after several months it’s not working, and that’s where I would love to help you. I do coaching daily in the forums at AuthorAudienceAcademy.com, and we can brainstorm and talk about what’s not working and how to change it or how to try something different.

I recently changed one of my offers, and I talked about it on a recent Periscope training—you can catch my replays at katch.me/shelleyhitz—but I talked about not being afraid to change something that’s not working. I changed an offer; it went from converting at less than half a percent, if that, to converting at over 4 percent, awesome. You know, numbers don’t lie. It does take work, it does take effort, and it does take being willing to adapt and change over time, but I’m excited to see what you do as you really take hold of this idea of building your Author Audience Funnel.

It’s my hope and my goal that these episodes are bringing you one step closer to being able to shine and reach more people with your message. We are more than overcomers, and I’m excited to see the results that you get as you implement this strategy of having an Author Audience Funnel. If you’ve been getting value from this podcast and would be willing to just take thirty seconds, I would just so appreciate you leaving a review on iTunes. It helps to get the message to more people, it helps with rankings and visibility, and really it’s just a matter of reciprocation; you have gotten from me and you can give back to me by simply posting a review; it literally takes just thirty seconds. I just did this for four or five of my favorite podcasts; I realized I had never left them a review, and just like authors love reviews on Amazon—they are like gold to us authors—it is so important too for us podcasters to have those reviews as well. So I’d appreciate if you’d take that thirty seconds and post that review. Also, if you send me a screenshot of your review, I’ll give you my $47 course Procrastination to Publication for free. Simply send me an email at contact@shelleyhitz.com and I’ll send you this gift.

Thank you so much for joining me in this episode and spending this time with me. I hope that you got tons of value from this episode, and I’ll see you next time.

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10 thoughts on “AA 027: The Importance of Setting Up Your Author Audience Funnel

  1. Thanks so much, Shelley ! This teaching on Building A Sales Funnel is exactly what I needed right now. My website is so close to being finished but , this information, which you have so graciously supplied, is bringing me much closer to having my website ,not only finished with the autoresponder messages in place, but, also finally having a website that converts to sales and building an e-mail list.

  2. I listened out of order, but WOW! To think once I get started with my 3 Book Writing Formula that I can actually have people reading and interacting with my books!

  3. Shelley, Thanks so much for this article and podcast… WOW! it is loaded… i thought of some ideas while listening and reading as you spoke.
    I would love to leave a review but do not know how to do so for the iTunes. Can you walk me through it? never have done that before
    Thanks for all you do! it IS working…reaching people…me and making a difference… thanks so much 🙂 Jennifer

  4. Shelley … Albert Einstein once said: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” I would add to his point: “If you don’t understand it well enough, you SHOULD NOT try to teach it!” I appreciate the fact that you get Einstein’s point! Thank you for LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND in your training … particularly in the critically important Publish, Platform and Products Modules! Shalom!