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How to Come Up With the Perfect Lead Magnets for Your Book

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You've probably already heard that writing a book can build your business and even generate leads for your business.

But it's not really as simple as just writing a book and then waiting for the leads to start coming in. For your book to truly help generate leads, you need to come up with the right lead magnets for your book.

The problem with publishing is that, for the author, the book sale represents the end of the road unless the reader makes the choice to reach out.

Authors write the book, publish the book (or get it published through a publishing house), and market the book. Then readers go to the bookstore or go online and they buy the book.

And where does that customer data go?

The bookstore.

Sure, sometimes the bookstores will share or sell their customer data with other sources, like, say, the bestsellers lists or back to the publishing houses. But they never share the data with the author.

The author has no way of reaching back out to those readers to follow up, ask how they like things, or even request a review.

So, to get around this, authors started adding in little invitations and snippets to their books that would invite the reader to reach out to them.

If you pick up most any book published between 3 and 10 years ago, you'll find a tiny little request near the back of the book that says something like “if you enjoyed this book, please consider leaving a review” or you might see “you can join the author's newsletter by going to https://someauthorsite.com/newsletter” (yes, they actually type this link out like this for people to bring it over to a computer and try to type it in themselves).

The problem is that these calls to action rarely work.

As I was tracking the conversion rates for my clients, we found that these types of calls to action would work about 0.02% of the time. Less than half of a percent!

There are a lot of reasons for this:

  • Sometimes calls to action are at the very front of the book, before readers have had a chance to evaluate any of the information (think about the immediate popup that comes up on sites that you dismiss right away because why should you sign up for that newsletter when you haven't even been able to read the blog post yet?)
  • Sometimes calls to action are buried at the back of the book after the reader has already finished the book and moved on (In 2021, when I read The Introvert's Edge to Networking by Matthew Pollard, he had included a whole slew of bonuses and an invitation to join his community that I didn't even notice until a year later; this invitation was at the very back of the book after the acknowledgements section and after the index)
  • Most often, the call to action is not directly relevant to the book itself, it's just a vague call to find out what other offers are going to be available (contrary to popular believe, liking one book is not an automatic sign that a reader wants to know whenever you publish another book.

The calls to action inside your book are just as important and any other calls to action or lead magnet you might put together for your business—in some cases even more important.

So why do so many business owners seem to neglect these calls to action?

You're writing a book that is supposed to build your business… you can't do that if the only connection to your business is some vague newsletter or a hidden call to action to join some community thrown in as an afterthought.

Why It's Important to Choose the Right Lead Magnets For Your Book

Here's the thing: your book is more than just a compilation of words—it's a powerful tool to expand your business. And in many cases, it's going to be the very first introduction someone has to you and your brand.

When someone wants to learn a skill, or a they want to make their life better, or they want to discover something more about themselves, or they just want an escape, where do they turn to find these things? This seems like a trick question, but I promise it's not. They turn to Google, right? Or they turn to another search engine like YouTube or, you guessed it, Amazon.

I think sometimes people forget that Amazon is such a powerful search engine.

In fact, 57% of US shoppers start their search on Amazon. They may not even be searching specifically for books, they might just be searching for all departments. But when they do, if there is a book that matches their search, Amazon is going to serve it to them.

And, just to drive this point a little further, I believe it shows books near the top of that list. I have no stats to prove that outside of my own anecdotal observations that every time I go to Amazon to search for something in “All Departments”, books are nearly always at the top of the screen if not the very top. Of course, I also get a lot of books so that might just be a form of search-and-confirmation bias.

But my point still stands that Amazon is a powerful search engine; and because books have such a low price-point and such a high referrability rate, there's a really good chance that a lot of people will actually buy your book even if they've never heard of you.

And this is precisely where well-planned lead magnets come into play.

These lead magnets should be reflecting the rest of the customer journey you've built up—subtly yet effectively guiding your readers towards meaningful engagement with your brand. It's about creating a seamless journey from reading to interaction. But how do you make these lead magnets resonate with your audience?

First, relevance is key. Your lead magnets should be a natural extension of your book's content. They need to add value, offering insights or tools that complement what your readers have just learned. Imagine a book on productivity that offers a downloadable planner or a business strategy book that includes access to an exclusive webinar. These are not just incentives; they're enhancements to the reader's experience.

Secondly, visibility matters. Tucking away your lead magnet in the back of your book is like hiding a treasure map in a locked chest; it's valuable, but no one's going to find it. Instead, integrate your calls to action organically throughout the book. Place them at strategic points where the reader's engagement is at its peak, perhaps after a particularly insightful chapter or a compelling story.

By thoughtfully planning and placing your lead magnets, you transform your book into a dynamic bridge connecting you with your readers. This isn't just about building an email list; it's about forging lasting relationships with an audience that sees value in what you offer.

And that's how your book becomes a cornerstone of your business growth.

What is a Lead Magnet

You probably already know what a lead magnet is: lead magnet is an irresistible offer, a piece of value you provide in exchange for contact information. It's your first handshake with a potential client, a starting point of a relationship where both parties gain something valuable.

Effective lead magnets share a few common traits:

  1. Targeted and Relevant: They address a specific need or interest of your audience, making them feel that you truly understand their challenges.
  2. Easily Accessible: They are simple to obtain, usually just a click or a quick sign-up away.
  3. Immediately Useful: They provide instant gratification, offering a solution, insight, or tool that can be used right away—this is going to be a big one, so we'll come back to this one later.
  4. High Quality: They showcase your expertise and the quality of your work, leaving a positive and lasting impression.

Remember, your lead magnet isn't just about capturing an email address; it's about starting a meaningful conversation.

In the context of your book, you're starting a conversation with someone who doesn't know your name, doesn't know what you look like, probably has never heard of you, but Amazon showed them a book that it thought would answer their problem or solve their need.

They don't yet trust you, but they trusted Amazon's recommendation of you.

By offering something of genuine value, you're setting the stage for a relationship built on trust and mutual benefit. It's about showing your reader that, beyond the pages of your book, there's a world of knowledge and opportunity waiting for them with you.

Understanding Your Target Audience

Identify your ideal readers

A key step in crafting effective lead magnets for your book is understanding who you're writing for. This isn't just about demographics or market segments; it's about getting into the minds and hearts of your ideal readers. Who are they? What challenges do they face? What solutions are they desperately seeking?

You've probably already taken a lot of time and consideration in trying to define your ideal client, now it's time to take a step back and define your ideal reader. This process is more than just a marketing exercise; it's a foundation for everything you write. It helps you determine the relationship between the reader and the client:

  • Is your ideal reader just another copy of your ideal client but with a slightly different perspective?
  • Is your ideal reader someone who needs to transform in some way before they become your ideal client?
  • Does your ideal reader know as much as your ideal client? Less than?

Once you have a vivid picture of your ideal reader, your book and the included lead magnets can be tailored to their specific needs and interests.

Pro tip: the lead magnets you include throughout your book should feel like it's been created just for the reader.

For example, if your book is about entrepreneurial success and your target audience is aspiring small business owners, your lead magnet might be a step-by-step guide to developing a business plan or an exclusive video series on startup strategies. And it shouldn't be the same step-by-step guide that is available on your site or some YouTube video on your existing channel that already has thousands of views.

Remember, the more your lead magnet resonates with your target audience, the more effective it will be in turning readers into engaged followers and, eventually, into loyal customers. It's not just about getting their contact information; it's about beginning a conversation that could lead to a long-lasting relationship.

By thoroughly understanding your audience, you create lead magnets that are not just attractive but also deeply relevant and valuable. This relevance is what transforms a simple reader into an engaged member of your community, someone who sees you not just as an author, but as a trusted advisor and a valuable resource in their journey.

The Lead Magnets for Your Book Need to Be Immediately Useful

The beauty of content marketing, and social media marketing, is how easy it is to offer exactly what your client needs exactly when your client needs it.

People scroll through Facebook and they see your ad for how to get motivated to take on the new year, and they think “this is exactly what I need right now!” So they click and boom—conversation started.

This happens because of a carefully calculated marketing plan that you've put together that probably includes understanding what your ideal clients are looking for, what terms they are using as they search for them, what sites they are visiting, what groups they are hanging out in, and a whole list of other information.

But we tend to think of books as being very passive. We grab them in our spare time or when we're in bed… but not usually when we're in a place to take action.

Here's the thing about your book: if you want your book to grow your business, it's can't be passive, and it definitely can't be a shelf decoration.

And that means that your reader needs to be able to take action while they are reading your book. Which means your book needs to spur them into action.

There's a saying I'm sure you've heard before: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.

And it's true, right? In the end, you can give your clients all the tools they need, but you can't make them use them. You can teach your readers how to budget, but you can't make them set up a budget. You can teach your readers how to put together an email list, but you can't make them sign up for your email marketing software.

But you can also give the horse a salt lick, can't you?

I mean, why are we just leading horses that aren't thirsty to water? Is it just because we like leading horses that don't need the water over to the puddles? Do we like the view?

Or did we grab the wrong horse? Or did we not do enough to show the horse that they need the water?

You can see why this saying falls apart for me.

If you want your book to have the impact you're after, on the lives of your readers and on your business, then it has to supply the salt—it has to nudge those readers and get them out of passive, reading-in-bed mode and into taking action.

So, as you brainstorm lead magnets for your book, you want to keep these questions in mind:

  • Will it make it easier for your reader to start taking action even while they are still reading your book?
  • Will it make the information in your book stickier or more impactful?

Remember, Readers Buy More than One Book

This is a key point to understand: readers don't go to a book store (or head over to Amazon) to purchase just one book. They buy more than one book on any given subject. And they aren't ranking them or returning one when another one comes out—each book sits on a shelf or in a pile on the reader's desk. And as the reader consumes these books, they aren't filtering information and forgetting what other books have said. These books are in a relationship with each other, building upon each other within the mind of the reader.

That is, until the book that makes the impact clicks for the reader.

Which is another reason for including your lead magnets for your book throughout your book.

Having a great book is not enough—that great book has to make the right impact.

Brainstorming Unique Ideas to Use as Lead Magnets

When it comes to creating lead magnets for your book, forget about the mundane and predictable options that have saturated the market. There's a good chance that your reader has been searching for this and other answers for a long time, and likely has already seen everything that's already out there. So you want to offer something different.

Additionally, I recommend several lead magnets, not just one.

This is because any reader might decide to skip over that first one, especially if they think they've probably seen something like that before. But they might not skip over all of them. So, every lead magnet you include in your book presents another chance for your reader to say yes and start that conversation with you.

When I wrote my book Write Out Loud, I created 16 different lead magnets to include inside that book, including 1 “Companion Workbook” that contained the rest of them all together. Some of these lead magnets are repurposed from things I had released before, but others were brand new that I had never shared with anyone other than a client before. I had 235 pre-orders of my book, and on release day, I was able to add 131 new emails to my list just from people choosing one of these lead magnets (of whom, about 50 chose to download the companion workbook, the rest were interested mostly in the other smaller lead magnets).

Worksheets and Trackers

The easiest lead magnets to include in your book are worksheets and trackers that they can use to implement the content from your book right away. If your book is telling your reader to track something, you should be including a tracker. If your book is telling your reader to brainstorm something, you should be including a guided worksheet or a brainstorming worksheet so they can actually get it right away.

Quizzes and Assessments

Next on the list are quizzes and assessments.

If your book is explaining part of a spectrum within your industry, you should have a quiz or an assessment where you reader can figure out which size of that spectrum they fit into.

If your book is telling your reader to analyze something, then you should have some sort of a self-assessment rubric or worksheet that the reader can use to start that analysis.

Unconventional lead magnets

And you don't have to be locked into traditional lead magnets, either.

If your book is more mindset and less hands-on tactical strategies, you might want to include links to private podcast episodes, musical playlists, or other ways you can help immerse the reader into your world.

The other day, I was reading Unfiltered by Rachel Pedersen (great book, by the way) and I also happened to be playing the soundtrack for the movie The Tomorrow War in my headphones… and the soundtrack made everything Rachel was saying sound that much more epic.

I can only imagine what it would have been like if I had been listening to a soundtrack that she put together for her book herself.

Make Your Lead Magnets Easy to Access

I mean these lead magnets should be the easiest lead magnets to get hold of, accessed immediately, and put into use right away.

Remember, your reader is going to be in a place, at least at first, of passivity. They aren't going to be sitting at their computer with a browser open ready to type in some website.

They will be sitting with an ereader, like a Kindle, or with a paperback book in bed.

In most cases, they will also probably have a phone on or near them.

So that means these are the only tools they'll have—if you put together a lead magnet that requires more than what they have, there is a good chance that they will think “okay, I will do this later” and then put the book down and never come back to it.

It would need to be pretty darn compelling to get them to get out of bed, haul themselves all the way down the stairs to their computer to open up a browser, just to type in some URL into the address bar and fill out a form to get onto your list and grab that tracker.

Think about the average conversion rate of your best lead magnet landing page… now what would happen if you added in all those other hoops in front of it?

Make your lead magnets easy to access:

  • No fancy landing pages, just a fast form with instant access
  • Hyperlinked inside ebooks
  • QR codes inside print books.

So far, the absolute easiest service that I have found for this is ShareDocView. You just upload your lead magnet straight to ShareDocView, configure your settings (ie, require an email address to view the content, allow downloads, etc) and that's it. No putting together fancy landing pages, plus it integrates right in with your email marketing software provider (and if yours isn't on the list, it integrates with Zapier).

Super Easy.

You can then create hyperlinks inside your digital books so that readers can tap on the links right there inside your eBook and then immediately have access to your lead magnet.

For print books, I really like using QR codes, because again, people have their phones on them. All the have to do is whip out their phone and use the camera app to scan the code and get instant access to the same lead magnet without jumping through a bunch of hoops. Honestly, it's the next best thing to having pages that we can tap with our fingers and open a web browser on our computers.

When you're choosing a QR Code generator for this, I recommend you use one that allows you to easily track and edit your QR codes later. I use QR.io for mine and for my clients and the dashboard is pretty nice, I like the analytics, and I like that I can go in and make changes to the link later if I need to.

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Right Lead Magnets for Your Book

Rise Above the Competition and Captivate Your Readers!

Your book is more than just a collection of words on pages—it's a powerful tool for business growth and reader engagement. By strategically incorporating lead magnets, you're not just sharing an idea, you're opening a channel of continuous interaction and value exchange with your readers.

Remember, the goal is to turn casual readers into active participants in your business narrative. Lead magnets like worksheets, quizzes, and even more creative options like custom playlists or visual artworks, are not just add-ons—they're essential components that enrich the reader's experience and deepen their connection with your content.

In fact, with the right lead magnets, each book becomes a bridge, leading the reader from a single interaction to a lasting relationship with your brand. This is where trust is built, where value is exchanged, and where readers become not just followers but advocates and clients.

So, as you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, remember that your book is a canvas for not just your ideas, but for building relationships, driving engagement, and growing your business. Let your lead magnets be the catalysts that transform your readers into your community, and your words into actions.

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