If you’re a self-published author and your main goal is to earn an income from your writing, the thought of giving your hard work away can seem down right frightening. However, when it comes to marketing and promotion, sometimes giving something away actually turns out to be one of the best investments you could ever make.
As a writer, content is your currency and it typically comes in the form of your author blog and, of course, your books.
It may come as a surprise, but taking the time to create an awesome piece of work to then turning around and giving it away can give you incredible marketing leverage and lead to more book sales than you ever thought possible.
Freebie Marketing Benefits
Freebie marketing has been around for a long time. And that makes perfect sense when you consider how effective it is and the fact that it works whether you are trying to promote products or services.
Think about all the times you’ve received free samples of a product. If you loved it, chances are you turned right around and bought the full-size container.
Remember that free trial software you were able to use to your hearts content for up to 30 days before you had to commit to an ongoing monthly subscription? Even something as simple as the trailers you watch at the theater before the feature film starts is an example of freebie marketing.
It’s all about giving your prospects a taste of what they can expect if they make the decision to jump on board and become a paying customer.
Why a Free Book?
As a self-publisher, you can begin the process of warming up your prospects by giving them a constant supply of valuable content through your blog, social media channels and email list, but at the end of the day the proof is in the pudding.
You’re a writer, so your target audience is interested in reading a good book that provides them with the information or entertainment they want.
This is where you free offer comes in.
If you present your prospects with a unique book that offers them the content they’re looking for at no greater cost than the time it takes them to download and read it, you can hook a loyal customer for life.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to spend the next year of your life writing a New York Times best seller just to turn around and give it away. On the contrary, a good freebie can be a simple book that appeals to your target audience and gives them something that whets their appetite for either information, instruction or entertainment.
Here are two examples….
- A non-fiction writer who writes books about travel and adventure for millennials could put together a book of information about 20 of the hottest international outdoor electronic music concerts.
- A fiction writer who writes fantasy novels for steampunk fans could write the first of a series of novels that tell a story of a hero who gets sucked into a time warp and finds themselves lost in an alternate universe.
The options are endless, but the main goal is to put together something your target audience will find hard to resist.
Keep in mind that although you aren’t charging your prospects for your freebie, you should use the opportunity as a chance to get something of value in return. Namely, their email address.
Experienced online marketers routinely use this technique to encourage prospects to join their email list so that they can keep in regular contact and eventually convert them into paying customers.
Before we move on, there’s an important caveat. Sometimes, when you’ve created a valuable free book some people will use a dummy email address to download it with no intention of ever buying one of your books.
If this ever happens to you, don’t let it stop you from continuing to give away your freebie. If you focus on overdelivering value to your prospects at every step of the way, these types of freeloaders will be few and far between.
How to Approach Free Book Marketing
If you’re ready to try using a free book to entice members of your target audience to find out more about your brand and your books, here are some important things to remember.
Focus on overdelivering value with your free offer – The key to making a free offer work for getting the attention of your prospects and turn them into paying customers is providing unbeatable value.
So, if you’re tempted to slap some questionable content together in a hurry just to get “something” out there, and think your audience should appreciate it just because it’s free, stop and take a moment to think it through.
In order for your freebie to be successful you must take the time to create something special that your audience will actually appreciate, love and want more of.
Back your freebie up with valuable content – While a free book offer is a great start, your marketing efforts can’t begin and end there.
Always remember that your long-term goal is to create a large web of influence, or in other words, cast a wide net with your content so that you can entice a significant portion of your target audience and turn them into loyal fans.
This means that along with providing a free offer, you should also maintain an author blog, post updates on relevant social media platforms and also keep in touch with your list subscribers by sending new content out to them on a regular and consistent basis.
Link to your author blog and social media channels in your free book – Another great way to leverage your free book is to use it as an opportunity to link to all the rest of your online properties.
Let’s say for example that someone manages to get a hold of your free book without ever having signed up for your list. If you include several links back to your author blog, email list signup pages and social media channels, your book can continue to get discovered and generate new leads even if it is passed around by a handful of people that downloaded it directly.
When you provide valuable content and include links back to your author site it’s only natural that curious readers will visit your blog and a number of them will sign up to receive more information about you and your paid book offers.
Use your free book as a bridge to paid offers.
A great way to leverage your free book offer is to view it as an introduction to another offer. In other words, instead of “giving away the farm”, you use your book as a bridge to a secondary paid offer. Keyword…paid.
Bear in mind that you want to make your free book as complete and valuable as possible as a standalone offer. However, at the same time, you want to create a need or desire for your next book offer that is available for purchase.
The best scenario is one in which the information in the paid book serves to significantly enhance information already received from the first book.
Going back to the two examples given earlier….
- A secondary book that provides information on how to spend a week in each of the 20 destinations listed in the first book while spending less than fifty dollars a day would be of great interest to a budget conscious millennial.
- The fantasy writer could end their free book with an awesome cliffhanger that leaves the reader yearning to find out what happens next.
There is power significant power in giving away valuable content for free. Try it today and see for yourself how much marketing leverage you can receive from publishing a single book.
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