Look at any good sales funnel and invariably you'll find a strong lead magnet at the top.
For those new to sales funnels, a lead magnet is a free or nearly free offer designed to entice prospects to give you their name, email (or full mailing address) and permission to contact them.
This is how you build a list of targeted prospects you can sell to again and again.
Lead magnets can also be used to segment an existing list into specific areas of interest by getting some to raise their hand and say, "Yes, I'm interested in this, too."
Today I'll break down and analyze an interesting new twist on this second lead magnet approach currently being used by George Shepherd, Publisher of Survivalist Magazine.
He may - and probably should - be using this offer at the top of his sales funnel, too. However, I received it as a current member of his audience (for Survivalist Magazine / emails) so he may take a different approach with a cold audience.
The Free Kindle Book Lead Magnet Offer
There's no end of ideas for lead magnets other than your imagination. Digital Marketer shared 9 great lead magnet examples here.
What sets George's lead magnet apart is his use of Amazon.com's reputation and massive reach. While Google remains the #1 search engine on the web, Amazon.com is the world's leading search engine for buyers. That's an important distinction when you're trying to make money online.
If someone searches for George's book topic, peppermint essential oil, on the Kindle Store, his book currently shows up first. (Note: If you search ALL of Amazon.com for peppermint essential oil you're going to get a bunch of physical products listed as that's the most likely buying query for the entire site - but readers looking for books on the topic will narrow down to books or just the Kindle store.)
It's easy to self-publish a book for Kindle. And by enrolling your book in Amazon.com's KDP Select program, you can offer your book free for up to five days per 90-day period. There's also an unofficial hack that lets you list your book free permanently, which could be a good strategy when using your book as a lead magnet (or entry point to a book series).
Now, you don't get the names of people who buy your book through Amazon automatically. And just because you publish a book on Amazon doesn't mean you'll automatically get many sales or, in this case, downloads of free books. You'll need to invest some effort into promotion and collecting opt-ins yourself. That's what George did in the email I received this morning.
The Promo Email
Let's take a look at the email I received this morning promoting George's Peppermint Essential Oil book.
While the book is used as a lead magnet, George's clear initial goal is to move his reader to accept his tripwire offer of a free small bottle of peppermint essential oil. We'll talk about that more in a minute.
So what worked well with this email?
First of all, it got opened. When you get hundreds of emails daily like I do you only open a small fraction of them and thoroughly read even less.
The subject line worked. But just as important, the reputation of the sender to me was high enough to get me to open. That's why you must consistently deliver value to your audience or they'll ignore your emails - or unsubscribe altogether - regardless of how clever your subject lines are.
Once opened, the email starts with a personal tone. It fell flat through the book description but picked up the personal tone again at the bottom.
Guess what? I didn't read the email before clicking anyhow - and neither will many of your email subscribers. I read the opening paragraph, looked at the book cover and read its title, skimmed past all the book details and read the P.S. Just the parts I indicated with the red arrows. That's it, then click.
So while the email could be improved, it was good enough to get the job done. And you'll notice the parts that "got the job done" were only three sentences long plus a few identical links. That's it. Proof you don't need to write a book-length email to get a click!
I'll add that part of what grabbed my attention in this email was the "five days" deadline in the postscript. Besides creating time scarcity for the offer, those familiar with how Amazon's free Kindle days work also cue in on the likelihood it's an Amazon.com-related offer and not a PDF like most lead magnet offers. This intrigued me enough to click the link.
Since book sales and free book downloads on Amazon won't build your list or let you know who on your list bought or downloaded it, you could make the argument that the free Kindle book really isn't a lead magnet at all based on Digital Marketer's definition: "Lead Magnet – noun – an irresistible bribe offering a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information."
Simply following links to download a free Kindle book from Amazon.com will not get you a single name, email or mailing address.
However, George creates a nice hybrid offer of lead magnet plus tripwire together by offering a related physical product - a free sample of peppermint essential oil - as a free "bonus" (in quotes since it's only promoted as a free bonus gift - anyone can get it without buying or downloading the book). Since it requires a credit card to purchase (to cover shipping & handling) and a physical address, his bonus offer is the real entry point into his essential oils-related sales funnel.
And that's why instead of directing you to his book on Amazon.com, George's email links bring you to his landing page.
The Landing Page
Once the reader clicks the link, they are NOT taken to the Amazon.com book page. In fact, Amazon was never mentioned in the email.
Instead, the reader arrives on George's well-designed landing page which let's the reader know immediately he's at the right place with the same large book cover image seen in the email, the Download Now link and the Free Gift bonus offer all prominently displayed.
The "Free Gift Wednesday-Sunday Only!" text reminds the reader of time scarcity. So does the "This FREE Offer Will Be Over Soon..." text below the Download Now button.
There's zero question left in the landing page visitor's mind what to do next. "Simply Click The Button Below to Claim Your Free Copy." with red arrows stating "Get FREE Access Now!" pointing towards a BIG button saying "Download Now!" makes it idiot proof for getting the next click.
Here's the beautiful thing. Both the large book cover image and the Download Now! button links to the Amazon.com book page through a local redirect page. That let's George easily track how many click-thrus he's getting to the book through his local analytics (I assume he's tracking this). And... he's linking to the Amazon.com book page via his affiliate link so even if someone comes by later and buys the book after the free offer is over, he's going to earn a commission on the book sale.
Again, George makes good use of scarcity for the bonus offer - the essential oil tripwire - right under the Download Now! button to remind the visitor to grab their free bottle while there's still time. And, wisely, the links to the free book download open in a new tab so visitors can easily come back to grab the tripwire offer. (And likewise with the tripwire link so they won't get frustrated finding the free book offer itself again.)
Since the book is on Amazon, George points out that's where you're getting it from. Good move since that builds more credibility than simply dropping a PDF in your lap if you don't know George well already. He also builds credibility - and potentially gets some sales - by pointing to other Kindle books he's published at the bottom of the page.
Finally, I thought it was a nice touch to include a video demonstrating how to install the Kindle Reader on your computer. I completely missed that the first time I looked at the page because I'm a regular Kindle reader. But those who may be hesitant because they don't own a Kindle are reminded that, "You DO NOT need a Kindle to View this book. You can read on your PC, MAC, Mobile or Tablet."
However, "Show Me The Video" doesn't clearly indicate what the video is about - you have to click the button to discover it's about how to install the Kindle Reader app. Some additional descriptive text near the video button may be useful. Or, simply renaming the button to "Show Me How" would tie it more closely with the text above it.
The Amazon.com Book Sales Page & Kindle Book
Once you click the book cover image or the Download Now! button, you arrive at the Amazon.com page for George's Peppermint Essential Oil book. Here, George uses the Book Description to effectively promote his tripwire offer through his book right on Amazon's page.
It only takes a brief mention at the top and bottom of the Book Description to give readers a reason to get the book - or at least "Look Inside the Cover."
When I first downloaded the book I was surprised that, although the Bonus Offer was prominently presented at the beginning and end of the book, the opening offer was directly after the cover but before the Introduction. Which means when you first download the book to Kindle, it opens PAST the bonus offer so you don't see it unless you remember to scroll back or run into it again when the offer is repeated at the end of the book.
I was sure this was a mistake at first, but I discovered there's an advantage, too. When you "Look Inside" the book by clicking the book cover image in the top left of the book's sales page, the tripwire offer appears directly after the cover - even on the opening view on vertical monitors (as used to grab this screenshot):
Scroll down just the tiniest bit and you have a live link to accept the bonus offer right from the book preview - without ever buying the book! If the primary goal is to get readers into George's funnel, we don't care nearly as much about them buying the book as getting the tripwire offer. Well done!
If I were to change one thing here it would be to simplify the offer. Many potential readers will not be in George's prepper audience. I'd suggest not muddying the waters by mixing in a preparedness-related webinar with the essential oil trial offer. Those who come across this book organically rather than through George's preparedness-based mailing list may be confused or even turned off by the connection. Why risk it?
For that matter, the few mentions of survival and prepping in the book could probably be safely removed and just mention those relevant aspects in promotional pages directed at preppers. The rest of the material is suitable for a general audience of those interested in essential oils for health - preppers or otherwise. Since this funnel is primarily about essential oils, not preparedness, it would be wiser to maintain a clear focus on the primary niche first, then cross-promote where it makes sense.
Bottom line: A singular focus on the main bonus offer, in this case the free essential oil trial-size bottle, will almost certainly increase CTR from the book's bonus offer. Besides, the free webinar is already presented on that tripwire offer page. So let's look at that now.
The Tripwire Sales Page
After clicking the button to accept a free gift from either the original landing page or the book itself, the reader lands on George's money page.
As readers turn into buyers by accepting the trial offer and paying for a shipping & handling on the bottle, George builds his list of those who have raised their hands to express enough interest in essential oils to pay something for them. Like I previously discussed in my blog post, Why Free Offers Aren't Free, there's a huge difference between free opt-ins and paid opt-ins on your list.
Here's the tripwire sales page as it looked this morning...
Did you see a few "Oops" in there? Yep, George has been busy following this wash-rinse-repeat cycle of using free Kindle book offers for his lead magnets, but someone failed to update all the mentions of the previous essential oil promoted from a couple weeks ago (based on the publication dates of his Lemon Essential Oil and Peppermint Essential Oil books, he's obviously cranking these out quickly).
That's one of the dangers to watch out for when repeating an offer cycle by copying and pasting your page info. Be sure to get some extra eyeballs on your page to thoroughly double-check it before going live. This mismatch between the offer at the top and bottom of this page may hurt his conversion rate until he gets it fixed. At least on the web - and even inside Kindle books - this is an easy and inexpensive fix compared to in-the-post-office-box direct mail.
Otherwise, George did a good job here again by focusing right at the top of the page on repeating the offer with the same familiar graphic and using trust symbols, customer reviews and a money back guarantee to build trust and credibility in his offer. As mentioned before, the webinar is already being promoted here as a bonus to the bonus offer, so no need to push that and confuse the original offer within the book.
Yes, I'm already on George's Survivalist magazine list. But when I grab his essential oil bonus offer for $2.95 S&H, I raise my hand and definitively indicate I have an interest in essential oils. More importantly, because I just whipped out my credit card to pay for it and entered my name, phone, email and physical mailing address to get it, I've now moved from a "browser" to a "buyer" in George's essential oils sales funnel / list segment.
And now, I'm ready for the big sale...
Tripwire Upsell (Webinar Bonus) = Core Product Offer
Finally, after completing the tripwire order form, you're brought immediately to the free webinar bonus registration page.
Like many webinars, it's a pre-recorded video hosted on a private YouTube link and presented through third-party software at a specific time (tomorrow at 8:00pm) or, interestingly in this case, "Watch yesterday's replay now" option which I selected to view the video immediately.
This webinar is where George provides value AND upsells his audience - at exactly the right time. There's no better time to ask for a bigger sale than when your customer's wallet is already out of his or her pocket. That's the point of an upsell. In this case, what appears to be George's Core Offer, presented at the end of the webinar replay.
George's free webinar bonus illustrates well how to use a free bonus to sell more.
As expected, the core offer is completely in line with the lead magnet (free Kindle book on peppermint essential oil) and the tripwire offer (free trial bottle of essential oil). Which means the person who just bought or downloaded the book, paid for shipping to get a trial offer, then sat through a nearly hour-long webinar before seeing the offer is clearly a prime candidate interested in the type of offer about to be made.
And here it is...
Again, George uses scarcity (offer expires Saturday at Midnight - though notice no date means he's likely re-using this again & again) showing a dramatic discount off the list price given. Again, multiple guarantee and privacy protection seals are present to reassure the buyer.
It's a somewhat significant outlay for many, but $275 is a price point many who are sold on the value based on George's book and the webinar itself will find acceptable. I didn't invest in the core offer and clicked the X to exit the page. This is where you get to see another wise move on George's part... a rescue downsell.
The Rescue Downsell
When leaving the core offer sales page following the webinar without buying, a popup appears (sorry, forgot to screen grab that!) allowing you to stick around a bit longer for a different offer.
A rescue page like this can capture a sale at a lower value than the core offer... but any additional sale is better than none! And this one, at $150, is still a decent sale if you can capture it. Since it's a physical product, and in this case sold as a distributor, the margins are lower. But I'm fairly confident the price point is high enough that any investment in getting the lead and sale in the first place should be covered even with this lower-cost downsell.
Again, make sure you have additional eyes on all your sales funnel pages before going live. This page has the video off-center with half not visible when played.
And finally, if you choose to close this page, you'll get one last rescue page with a low price point offer of $29.95 for an Introductory Kit.
I didn't grab a screen shot as it's similar to the earlier sales pages already shown... but it shows a lot of thought was put into this sales funnel giving every possible opportunity for the initial buyer / reader of the free Kindle book a chance to buy into a tripwire and core product offer.
I'm sure anyone like me who fails to purchase from the funnel following acceptance of the tripwire offer will hear from George again as he continues his attempts to build a relationship with his audience through email and possibly postal mail, too. Often it's just a matter of timing or relationship building. Keep in touch and you can always make the sale later.
Key Takeaways for Creating Free Kindle Book Lead Magnets
If you'd like to build your own sales funnel using a free Kindle book offer for your lead magnet, here are some key steps you'll want to include:
- Write a quality Kindle book that speaks to your targeted audience
- Include the bonus offer at the beginning and end of your book
- Mention the free bonus in the Amazon.com Book Description
- Promote your book and prominently mention the bonus in your promos
- Ensure your bonus is valuable enough to at least get a name & email for
- Create a low-cost tripwire offer to turn your reader into a buyer (this may or may not be the initial bonus)
- Create a more comprehensive core product offer to turn a profit
- Include rescue downsells when possible - a small sale is better than no sale!
- Create autoresponder series to build your relationship with prospects (lead magnet acceptance only) and buyers at various stages in your funnel
- Get second and third set of eyes to double check all of your funnel pages, emails, etc before going live
- Use the KDP Select program to offer your book free every 90 days for a heavy 5-day promo period
- Repeat steps 1-11 for additional funnel entry points and profit even more!
Good luck and have fun!