Where you’re book fits in your lead funnel is an important consideration. Susan & Stuart discuss the benefits and challenges of leading readers toward the next step.
Transcript - Book More Show 004
Stuart: Hey, everyone. Welcome to another Book More Show. It's Stuart here with Susan Austin. Susan, how's it going?
Susan: Hi Stuart. Fabulous. Glad to be here.
Stuart: This time I think we're going to build on where we left off last time. In last week's show, we were talking about the importance of a book as a lead generation tool, rather than an authority piece or a product in its own right that we're going to sell. I think today we're going to dive in to a little more of the funnel on where the book is best positioned in a sales funnel.
Susan: Yeah. Last week, you were talking about how when you meet someone for the first time, you don't walk up to them and say, "Hey, I like you. You want to go back to my place?" That's just not how it's done. It's the same thing with sales, whereas some websites, Stuart, are set up to be just that way. They have a landing page, and then they go right into their pitch. What we're proposing here is that the 90-Minute Book is that phase where you stop and get their phone number and maybe get to know them a little bit. They get to know you a little bit, and then you ask them out on another date. You're not just going right for the sale, if you will.
Stuart: Right for the kill.
Susan: Right when they clicked on your website. We see a lot of websites that are set up that way. A book can actually interrupt that and actually be that nice introduction. Say more about that, Stuart. What does the book get ... not even a book, but just a lead generation book, what does that get them that will allow them to convert better on their websites?
Stuart: I think you hit the nail on the head. We're in a situation where a lot of people spend time and attention thinking about the copy on the sales page, and a lot of them will think about the call to action, but very often, you see that call to action is too close to the end product. It's too big a step. I guess it's worth caveating here with the age old adage of it depends on the circumstances, if you've got a very engaged audience. With the 90-Minute Book as an example, we do have sales funnels in place where it is literally just a few details on the page, and then there's the close, because we're marketing that to a known audience. This is ... we talked last week about invisible prospects and how a book is a great way of identifying those invisible prospects.
It may well be the case that if you're just dealing with a known audience, then the shortest path to a sale might be the one that works best. What we're talking about in terms of lead generation is much more about building that audience, starting a sense of reciprocity, helping someone to get to know you, and then eventually like and trust you in order to make a sale. Rather than having a direct response ad or an AdWords ad that leads to a sales page that is just a closing straightaway. Imagine the scenario where you are separating out those 2 stages, separating out the lead collection of people who are broadly engaged in what you're offering from those that are ready and willing to make a sale now.
Thinking of them making the decision, the ... we'll put it in the shows notes again, but the 8 profit activator's model talking about identifying a single target market so you know who you're talking to, allowing people a way to raise their hands, an easy noncommittal way of raising the hand as being interested and then going on to sift and sort those leads into people who might be willing to buy now by educating and motivating them towards that sale. The book is a great way of that first stage.
Like the example you said, going to a bar and it would be great if you had some x-ray specs where a red light would come on above the heads of everyone who might be interested in you and then you can discount everyone else and just focus your effort on those people who have expressed interest. A book's a good way of doing that first step.
Susan: It's an awesome way of doing that first step because it allows them ... and we'll talk about this on another show ... because these books are smaller in nature, they are very appealing and very attractive to these people. We're not handing them a 300-page manual on their subject. We're just handing them a very thin or downloading a very thin book that is very accessible that they can read quickly and say, "Oh, this is exactly what I was looking for. I'm going to call him up."
Can I give an example of someone? Let's talk about this in the real world. Mel Clemmons is one of authors and he wrote a book called Creating Millionaires, so Mel wrote a book. He helps insurance agents sell their insurance agency for maximum value when they're ready to retire and move on, and that's a pretty big step going from shaking someone's hand to, "Hey, I want to sell your insurance agency." That's a pretty big leap there, right? Sure, maybe he'll come across the 1 or 2 that happen to be ready, but for the most part, people think about this pretty far in advance and they may not be ready to sell this week, this year, this ... you know what I mean? Even this decade. By writing this book and telling them all the ways they need to prepare their practice, their agency to get ready to sell, they've now got a friend in Mel because he's giving them what they need to do, how they need to set their agency up for maximum value and all the steps they need to do.
More than likely, they won't be able to do all those steps without Mel's help, so that book is that icebreaker where they see that he's the guy they need to speak to. He goes around to insurance conventions now with his book and either does a talk and that's in the back of the room or he'll set up a booth and talk to the agents one-on-one. It just all depends. I'd like to get Mel on a future show because he just is doing his first show next week, Stuart, so let's make note to get Mel on here.
Stuart: Yeah, that'd be great.
Susan: That's one way to use the book. You can see where it's like the book does a lot of the heavy lifting for Mel. He doesn't have to explain as much. It's like he can now just talk to them about their agency and dive into it with them, kind of like Dean. If you meet someone and they know about the 90-Minute Book, I assume he can say, "Well, what book are you interested in writing?" Rather than having Dean to sell them on the book, all of that gets pushed to side and they get right to the meat of the topic.
Stuart: It pre-qualifies people and that's this technique of revealing invisible prospects. The known audience that you've got, you can engage them in a separate way. You might have a different book specifically targeting that audience because by picking a single target market you know that the conversation with those guys is separate to the conversation with people who don't know you at all. That position is pitched to different types of people. That idea of creating something that gives value, of starting a relationship, I think it's a very old way of thinking, to think that the knowledge that you've got as the expert in the field is in any way proprietary or is the magic in its own right.
Now, that is a bit of a glib thing to say because certainly there are cases where companies have a strategic advantage through some proprietary thinking and model, but that really is the core. It's the center. It's the highest value piece. Stepping away from there, going down a level into the more basic questions or the more commonly known facts or the more starter questions. You as an industry expert, especially if you've been in business for any amount of time. You create a 90-Minute Book that was absolutely hit the mark for a single target audience by just trolling through, go to your service desk, and get them to pull the records on what have been the commonly asked, the FAQ, the commonly asked type questions to the service desk for the last year, bring all those together, categorize them, choose the most valuable target audience of which the answer to these questions are relevant, and then just record a book answering the top 5 of those questions.
You could imagine, then, your very specific audience have been desperately seeking this information because they've gone to the service desk to ask or the sales team. Ask the sales team what's the common questions that they get as they're approaching people. By recording a book, positioning yourself as the expert in the field and answering those questions, fantastic icebreaker. How much value would that provide to people without giving away the trade secrets. This information is just probably the intro level type question that people are asking.
Immediately, you're starting off the relationship with this new prospect by giving them something of value, something that's answering their questions. It's a noncommittal way of people raising their hand. It's not as if you're saying, "Come to our office for a meeting," and then they've got fears of the door slamming behind them and not being able to get out of the room until they've signed piece of paper.
As a mechanism for identifying invisible prospects and starting a conversation with them in the best possible way, there's no greater tool than the book because it carries some authority, some of the issues or some of the benefits, rather, we were talking about last week, but more than anything else, it delivers value.
I think if people can get past this fear that, "I don't want to give away all my secrets in the book." Equally, on the flip side, actually, I was having a conversation with someone a couple of weeks ago saying ... they were struggling to identify what the message could be. They were getting a little too technical, to be honest, so we were trying to pull it back a level, just make it a little bit more easier for people to access and the concern to them was it was too lightweight. There's not enough information on it. Again, we started to look into some of the facts from the questions that were being asked at the service desk or the sales team level. It's easy for people who are in the business to forget how valuable the basic questions are for someone that's just beginning to look at the service.
On both sides of the coin, don't be worried about giving too much away and don't be worried about it being too basic as long as you can clearly articulate that single target market and what the benefit of the information is that you're proving. 2 fantastic ways of seeing that at the beginning of a funnel.
Susan: It's funny because Dean talks a lot about the 80% rule which, of course, comes from Dan Sullivan where we talk about 80% effort is enough. In other words, don't spend that last ... you can go back and perfect things, but the reason I'm bringing this up is Dean likes to say that just having the book, literally, it's almost like you could put the cover on a bunch of blank pages and the value is still there. You've got the back cover, call to action, the front ... not everyone's going to read your book, even if they do raise their hand and say they're interested in it. The amount of books I could look around that I've either purchased or were given to me that I never have gotten around to reading them, but the value is in having the book. Your point about not worrying ... I like the books, Stuart, to be more why based rather than the how based because almost like why you should write a book, not so much the technical aspects of how to write a book. Does that make sense?
Stuart: Yeah, definitely. We were talking today about the funnel overall. It's easy to get stuck in that very top section, but when you look at the funnel overall. Just outside the very top of the funnel, you've got everyone who ... the rest of the planet. Everyone who's not interested in what you're talking about. At the very, very top of the funnel, you've got those group of people who are, in the broader sense, interested in what you're doing. As you work your way down the funnel, the questions get more specific. The technical level of detail will get greater as everyone's understanding increases.
At the same time, hopefully, the relationship equity builds because you've been delivering value to these people all before that stage. The top of the funnel elements, which is what, really, we're talking about, particularly today if not in the books in general is these are people at the top of the funnel. One stage before that, you've got the rest of the planet that doesn't care. The thing that gets people engaged in the first place is the promise of a better outcome. I was just listening to one of the I Love Marketing podcast before and Joe was talking again about the marketing definition that Dan Sullivan come up with.
Dan, for people who don't recognize the name, started Strategic Coach one of the world's biggest coaching organizations for entrepreneurs. We've got a habit of saying people's names assuming everyone knows who we're talking about, but I guess it's good to put some context.
Susan: That's Joe Polish that you were just mentioning. Go ahead.
Stuart: Right. True. The definition there with marketing was getting someone ... I'm going to butcher this slightly, but it was getting someone emotionally engaged in a outcome that's going to benefit them at a later date. When we think of the top of the funnel engagement, it is just talking about getting someone emotionally engaged in a beneficial outcome somewhere further down the track. The somewhere further down the track is towards the bottom of the funnel. The proof and the benefit for that to them is as you move down the funnel, but that top piece, the top of the section, the way to get people to raise their hands as broadly interested to reveal themselves as making the invisible prospects visible is just by talking about an emotional outcome that will give them benefit further down the track.
That's definitely a lot more about the story rather than the technicalities. I guess it's worth just a quick caveat then of saying, "Okay, well it may well be the case that you want to write a 90-minute book, a short, concise book dealing with a specific point that is further down the funnel." You could have a book that was engaging people much more, much closer to the sale at the bottom, so the technical language, the types of questions they might be asking then may well be more technical, but that's ... the context is different.
What's the job of work of the book? The job of work of that later book is to maybe push someone over the edge on a conversion. It's not lead generation; it's not to identify invisible prospects. The job of work of it is slightly different, therefore the whole context is slightly different. Again, what we're talking about is the best lead generation tool and that lead generation piece is best suited, not always, but often at the very top of the funnel, and the top of the funnel is more about stories and the promise of a better outcome rather than technicalities or formulas.
Susan: Very well said. Let's go back to Mel's book again, Creating Millionaires. I would imagine that ... I don't even know if Mel understands the power of the book that he has in his hand yet. In other words, because he's, I think, ordering the physical copies of book, let's switch gears and talk about the electronic version. I'm pretty sure that if ... because we give out as part of the process, a landing page for their potential readers to download a copy of the book from. If Mel was to start using that book ... he hands the book at someone that he meets at a show, they may or may not ever reach out and Mel never has a way of reaching out to them, but how powerful would it be to Mel's business if, over the next 3 to 5 years, he is able to get this landing page, get traffic to it by doing some small ads on Facebook or some other search engine optimization type leads and get 2,500 people, let's just say, that have downloaded his book and raised their hand.
Some of those people may actually be not just interested in selling their business right now, but maybe they're interested in buying some businesses, and so how important it could be and how cool it could be. Now, he's got this database where the real value is in being able to reach these people after they've downloaded the book and continue the conversation. Let's say he did have a particular agency coming up for sale and he could post that and advertise it to the list and maybe someone wants to expand their business, and he becomes that go-to guy for both finding buyers and finding sellers as opposed to just someone that only can list the sale. I already have the buyers or I have a database of 10,000 potential buyers. That's pretty powerful.
Stuart: That's competitive advantage of information ... like you say, it's immeasurable on what the potential of that is. There's a couple of examples that spring to mind and it's ... sometimes, recording the show, it feels a bit like a Quentin Tarantino movie because in our minds, all of the plot is before us and all of the connecting parts make sense, but as you're watching the film reveal itself, there's a series of random scenes that hopefully, at some point, will join together, so it's very difficult trying to keep on one subject because all of the subjects overlap. Hopefully, as people are listening to the show, then more of these individual scenes are coming together and helping create a bigger picture.
You hit the nail on the head. The book as a lead generation tool, the job of work of that tool is to collect leads. It's not to sift and sort. It's not to make a sale. It's not to give authority or credibility, although to a certain degree, it does all of those things. The job is to collect leads. Secondary to that, you've got the opportunity to sift and sort and categorize and do the market making piece that you talked about. A couple of examples that spring to mind are one that use the value of the data as a whole. There's a guy who ... and this is going back 30, 35 years ... a guy who wrote a newsletter. Some of the details are going to get lost, but broadly speaking, guy writes a newsletter about ... I think it was Porsches, classic Porsches.
He was going around to a number of different shows, was able to write a newsletter every month just talking about what was happening at the shows, what was being bought, what was being sold. Eventually, creates a subscriber list for this. The value of the subscriber list builds over time, which in and of itself is good. He was able to charge more and more for subscriptions because he became more and more the authority. One of the side elements of it that I think, perhaps, wasn't thought about to begin with, is that over time, his list of people and all of the cars that they owned and what was being bought and what was being sold, he was able to catalog that data into the most definitive source of Porsche engine parts that were bought and sold across the whole of Europe.
The side benefit of data gathering, especially once you've been in the game long enough, so you've got a significant source of data, that is a very big competitor advantage compared with someone else. Another example of that is the ... I forget the name of the guys ... Dean's talked about it before where we use it as an example in one of the other Mastermind groups, but I think they were a direct marketing company and they'd compiled a list of people within a particular area. I think the story's related to Mormons. There was the register of marriages and deaths within the Mormon church was collated by these guys to pull together a demographic element they couldn't get from anywhere else.
It took them a long time. I think a lot of it was manually coded. They employed people to go through these registers and catalog the details, but eventually, that business was sold to Ancestry, the genealogy website, because there was a huge data set that no one else had access to that became hugely valuable in a way that perhaps wasn't expected to begin with. Not to say that you would go into it for that purpose, but sticking with Mel's example. His volume of business is relatively low, but high value clients, so the number of people that he's looking to convey are pretty low, but you can imagine writing the book that talks about selling your agency for a substantial profit. The people are going to request that book are the people who are in that world. It's 100% of the targeted community.
Now, not 100% of them are ever going to do business with him. Not 100% of them are going to be interested in the service that he provides, but 100% of the people that do convert would be interested in that subject whether they came from that source or not. It's really this concept of ... the job of work of a lead generation book is to generate leads. It's not to sift and sort or categorize, but the benefit of collecting those leads in some sort of system, and the best way of doing that is to offer them a digital version of the book rather than a physical version of the book, follow up with them after the fact in a way to elicit more details from them. Ask them more questions. Provide more value.
That secondary benefit of having this substantial database potentially allows you to become a market maker, so you identify both the sellers and the buyers of businesses. It's a substantial difference compared with just trying to offer something and make a sale or offer something and go to ... offer something physical and not go to the effort of collecting leads.
One show that we will do in the not too distant future is how people can use physical books, in a ‘real worls context’, because there is a job to be done by physical books as well.
Susan: Absolutely. Let me ask you this, Stuart do you think it would be possible for those that don't know what the potential sales funnel would like for both the digital and physical copies of the book, any chance we can have you whip up an infographic that diagrams this for them? I know I'm putting you on the spot, but I think that would be cool because I think the books are so powerful both in the physical copy and in the ... I think, a lot of times, authors are going one way or the other. I've had some authors say, "I never need a physical copy of this book. I just want the digital," and some that just say, "Why would I need a digital? I want the hard copy." It's interesting.
Stuart: I think it depends to a certain degree. The real answer to that is it depends on the job of work, so if someone actually sits down and thinks about, "What am I trying to achieve with this?" Then, one answer versus the other might be the better way of going. I think all too often, though, people just default to what their natural preference is or they just go down one route without necessarily thinking about how it fits into a bigger picture.
Yeah, in terms of putting some stuff on the podcast sites in the show notes for this episode which is ... what's this? 003. We'll put some notes in the show notes because I know myself, I'm just going to draw that on a piece of paper and scan it so that there's definitely something there and at some point we might replace it with something a little bit better looking and we'll probably put that on the main website as well, the 90-Minute Book's website, but we'll definitely get something to give it some visual contact for people.
Susan: Very good. I believe we'll be bringing in authors that will have, maybe, their own approach to how they're using the book that will shed some lights because some these guys may be doing things with the book that we're not even aware of, so that'll be exciting, too.
Stuart: Yeah, definitely. I think that's ... the real life examples, I think, always give it a little bit more ... A, they're more interesting than the hypothetical ones, but as you say, it reveals some nuances and differences to the campaigns that don't necessarily come about when you're just talking about it.
Another good example of anyone out there, once you've got a lead generation tool, a book created, it's then far more straightforward to test various campaigns. Today, we're talking about where a book fits in the funnel, so we've identified already that it sits in this context. It sits at the top of the funnel. It help us identify invisible prospects by allowing someone to request a book that's interesting. It's valuable for the thing that they're looking for, but the funnel below that then has a number of different stages and there could be a number of different ways people get into the funnel at the top. It might be one book, but you might have 3 or 4 different ways that you can position that book to be of value to someone.
By testing the ways that people go through the funnel and then what the next step is, 1 tool, 1 book, 1 cookie to get someone to raise their hand can be used in multiple different funnels, especially when we're talking the digital ones rather than the physical ones because the cost of delivery is low, so therefore, you can really tailor an individual campaign for an individual message. I think that should be something that people shouldn't be afraid of doing either. We quite often talk to people about, "Okay, you've got your book now. Here's one example of how you can use it." We'll write some copy for one example, but it's very easy to put a second example up and start split testing which one is the more popular based on that 1 cookie that people have created.
Susan: You can go to 90minutebook.com and see how Dean set up his landing page for the 90-Minute Book. Thousands of people have raised their hand and said they're interested in writing the book. Now, of course, thousands haven't written their book yet, but that database of people that Dean's collecting is extremely valuable and, as you said, grows over time, and he can communicate with them. He can invite them ... As a matter of fact, if I'm not mistaken, that's who's going to ... we're sending this podcast list to. Am I wrong?
Stuart: No, exactly. We're taking that list of people who have expressed an interest in writing a lead generation book and now we're sending them a podcast that talks about how to get better results from that book they've written. In terms of a target audience and leveraging a list that's been built by allowing people to raise their hand because they're broadly interested in the subject. Now, we don't know what the numbers are. They might 90% of people might listen to the podcast, 10% of people might listen to the podcast, but the 10% that listen ... we've put no additional effort into collecting the other 90%, and that remaining 90% might be interested in something else some more information later on.
Again, it goes back to this point that we were talking about before. Think of the funnel as various separate stages. The book at the top of the funnel, its job of work is to collect leads. Its job isn't to sift and sort. It isn't to motivate or compel people to do something outside of the context of the next step, the call to action, but the main job of work is to collect those leads. Once you've got the leads collected, then you can start communicating with them, elicit more information from people to categorize and sift and sort people.
We've got a few of the Mastermind groups going on. One I think we were talking to a couple of weeks ago, I was talking to one chap who is a ... I don't want to say motivational speaker, but he works a lot with other business coaches and physical coaches to how to better improve their business, and on the same call was a real estate agent. I was talking to both of them about segmenting their existing lists. They've got lists that have come in from various different places, but for each of them, they've got limited segmentation to determine what people are specifically interested in but they've got ways of asking them questions to get more information out of them, so it was very much a case of collect the leads on the one hand and then sift and sort them in the next stage.
Now, it's always better to do stage 1 knowing what stage 2 is. I can remember, there was a South Park cartoon from years ago where underpants keep getting stolen from the boys' bedroom, so the underpants gnomes are stealing the underpants, so they go down into the secret hideout and up on the wall, it's got stage 1: steal underpants. Stage 3: profit, and then there's a big question mark on what stage 2 is, which is kind of the situation we see with people. It’s almost, "Build it and they will come," type thing. Steal underpants and they will get profit but no one knows how.
Again, we've talked a little bit about collecting leads and then doing something with them. It's always nice if you've got stage 2 in mind. Worst case scenario, think of the job of work of your book is collecting leads off people who are broadly interested in what you're selling, what your service is, and then worst case scenario, you can fill in stage 2 afterwards because you've collected those details. The job of the work of the book is to be as engaging as possible, help invisible prospects raise their hands, and then the funnel after you've collected those leads, then you can start sifting and sorting, categorizing them, making offers in different ways and really adding value.
I think the time's getting on.
Susan: Yep, yep. Let's make a note, Stuart, that we'll want to do a call at some future point about sifting and sorting because I think we need to be more explicit about that. Go ahead. What were you going to say?
Stuart: I was just going to say that we were talking about the funnel. We've spent quite a lot of time establishing why the top of the funnel is so important, but just quickly before we finish, talk about the next couple of stages, and really the next couple of stages are going to vary for everyone. We talked in an earlier show about this minimum viable commitment idea of just taking someone one step at a time from the next level to the next level, and then ask people who are identifying themselves as interested, then you're slowly identifying a hotter prospect and you could have this system set up whereby the first 3 or 4 things that you offer someone are entirely automatic and then you only get an alert when they request the full thing because that way, you know you're only putting some manual effort into dealing with hotter prospects.
To tap back into the book, we often get people who will record and write a target concise book that's to identify an audience, and then they want to take it and add in a whole load of extra additional information. Instead of doing that, taking the additional information and putting it in as steps in the funnel. Let's say you've got ... you speak from stage about a particular subject. You identify the subset of those people you want to write a book to, your targets, but then you attempted to add in all of the additional information to bolster the book up.
Rather than doing that, and we'll talk about the benefits of a shorter versus a longer book in a later episode, but as far as the funnel goes, rather than dumping it all in the book, why not have an autoresponder to include those 6 things that you wanted to include, have 6 e-mails that go out to people over the next 2 weeks, so separate them out every couple of days. Then, you've got someone to raise their hand because they're interested in the subject, so you've given them the first thing. Then, you've got the opportunity of giving them 6 further increasingly valuable pieces of information rather than just having 1 shot of appreciation, you've now got 7 shots of appreciation. At the close of each of those 6 e-mails, you've got the opportunity to include a message in there, a sales message or a call to take the next step. That's 7 opportunities to compel someone to take the next step rather than just 1 opportunity.
At the end of the 7th piece of information, so the book and the 6 follow-ups, that person is now being received from you, 7 things that are entirely valuable and useful to the subject that they were interested in. Just minimum viable commitment step, not overdoing it all at once. The fact that each time you communicate with someone, it's almost like the Trojan horse of delivering something valuable, something interesting, but then concealed within that is the message that you want to convey. I think that funnel based approach ... so job 1, collect the leads. Job 2, then take them through a funnel and we can elaborate on sifting and sorting in a future episode as well, but that is much more valuable than delivering too much your first book, as long as it's compelling enough to support the original premise.
The original premise is, "Here's a book on creating millionaires. How to sell your agency for..."
Susan: Maximum value.
Stuart: Right, maximum value. Yes, thank you. That sounds much better. As long as the content within the book is enough to support that premise, it's not the case that we need over-deliver absolutely everything, but stage it through a funnel and have a little bit more of a bigger picture, bigger strategic approach to communicate with those guys, the potential customers, as far as a funnel goes. Where a book sits in a funnel, I think that just closes that loop a little bit and demonstrates the slightly bigger picture rather than just trying to put everything in a book and then just sending them a sales e-mail.
Susan: Yeah, let's do this, Stuart. Let's sign off here, but let's make a point to do a future show about the size of the book, too, because we're saying size does matter but the other way. Smaller's better, so let's make that a topic for a future show.
Susan: Well, we'll have to discuss that on the next podcast.
All right. Thank you, Stuart. I hope we've made the point that a lead generation book can complement what you're already doing, but it also can be its own sales funnel in its own right and you should give it some thought as to how you're going to use both the hard copy of the physical copy of the book, if you will, and the electronic version. Thank you for this.
Stuart: Definitely. No problem at all. We've got the live Q and A call coming up in a week or 2, so if people want to send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, we'll definitely address those and we'll push out some details of the call when it gets a little bit closer.
Susan: All right. Thank you, Stuart.