Funnels, funnels, funnels.
The notion on a sales funnel can be known to cause dread among an entrepreneur, especially those more creatively-minded like fiction authors. But, this top is actually something I OBSESS over!
Okay Brit, but what the heck is a sales funnel and how can it help me - a fiction author?
Let's have a talk about funnels for fiction authors...
Have you ever wanted to know the secret to attracting more readers, building your email list, and selling more of your books? Have you ever wondered how other authors seem to do all of that AND not be constantly marketing/working (meaning they've got more time on their hands for writing and personal time)?
That's all attainable by setting up a sales funnel! I love watching funnels come together (like pieces of a puzzle coming together). If the term "sales funnel" sounds a little scary, think of it like this -
A sales funnel is the journey you are bringing your readers on.
It's simply the process of leading your reader from the first visit of your website to selling them your book. When set up correctly, it allows you to make sales on autopilot - freeing up a lot of your time and energy.
Below you'll find a graphic that I use to explain what a sales funnel should look like for a fiction author:
Now I'm going to break down this journey a bit.
1) Author platform
The top cloud is filled with all of your awareness tactics. This cloud is the widest opening where you'll see your author website, social media accounts, content, ads, guest posts, interviews, opt-ins, and other marketing efforts pouring in. At the top of this funnel, you’re talking to a lot of different people at once: you’re introducing yourself to new visitors and engaging long-time fans and customers simultaneously.
2) interests / leads
When those visitors start to listen and engage with the content you’re sharing, they officially enter the sales funnel. They’re interested has been piqued or they are maybe just curious about your writing. They lean in; they want to know more. At best, these leads are your ideal reader.
You are starting to establish trust and you've got their attention. They make a confirmed interest in wanting your books. They are making a decision to buy!
4) The sale
You convert your first sale! Yes! As you can see, a funnel had a broad, wide-open start, but now we’re talking about a single transaction. A new reader has entered the customer pool.
5) The Follow-up
This is an essential piece of the puzzle! Because you never want to treat a new reader as a one-off sale. The after-sale is your opportunity to build a relationship, and all good businesses are built on good relationships. This is where you focus on nurturing your readers so that they purchase a second, third, and more books from you and they convert into fans.
Fans write shining reviews that attract new readers who begin to trickle into your author platform cloud and the process begins again.
Wow! sounds awesome, Brit! how can i get started putting together a sales funnel of my own?
Here are the first steps in setting up an author sales funnel:
- Become crystal clear on your ideal reader. One of my favorite sayings is - "If you are trying to sell to everyone, you are selling to no one." It's so true. So know exactly who your books are for and fine-tune your messaging and marketing to attract those people.
- Create a newsletter and an exciting opt-in in order to entice them to sign up. The thing about a sales funnel is that it can't work unless you've got them on your list.
- Craft your welcome sequence! This is a super important piece to the puzzle. When a lead signs up to your list, the last thing you want to do is say "Thanks!" and then never speak to them again until you are trying to pitch them your next book! No, no. When done correctly, the welcome sequence will warm this person up to you, introduce them to your work, build a connection with them, grab their attention, and shift them down to the bottom of your sales funnel.