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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Conversion rate and funnels.

I came across this article in Reedsy and thought it was worth letting you know about it.

Hi, there 👋
I hope you enjoyed the new look of my Reedsy marketing newsletter last week! I got a lot of good feedback from some of you. As you know, I'm always keen on getting more, so don't hesitate to hit "reply" and let me know your thoughts.

Note: if you're new to Reedsy, this is our weekly book marketing newsletter, where I share one actionable marketing tip a week — i.e. something you can implement right away. You can unsubscribe from it at any point by updating your preferences. If you're staying with me, let’s begin 🙂

The sales formula

Last week, I explained how finding readers is actually all about making sure that readers find you. Or rather, find your book (read here). But that’s only part of the equation.

Once a reader lands on your book's Amazon page, or picks it up from the shelf in a physical bookstore, there's still a chance — a high chance, actually — that they'll put it back, or leave.

I've been running ads for several authors for a while now, and the highest conversion rates I've seen on Amazon book pages (for paid books) have been around 30-35%. This means that for every three readers who visit your book page, two will leave without buying. And this is for exceptional cases. The conversion rate of most books is actually more in the 0%-10% range.

So what do you need in order to sell books? Well, you need people to find your book (traffic), and then you need these people to buy it (conversion).

Which leads us to the famous e-commerce formula: traffic + conversion = sales.

Most authors, when thinking about book marketing, think only about traffic. So my goal in this email is to get you thinking about conversion.

The conversion funnel

Now, you'll probably have heard the term funnel before, but what is it exactly?

In a nutshell, a funnel encapsulates the steps that a consumer has to take before making a purchase. For instance, a car dealership’s funnel for Customer X could look something like:

X views TV ad about new car > X comes to shop to check out the new car > X does a test drive > X buys the car.

At every point in the funnel, the dealership is going to lose potential customers (which is why, you know, this is called a funnel):
  • I might view the ad but don't like it;
  • I might go to the shop and be disappointed by the look of the car; or
  • I might find it horrible to drive. 
In your case, what might this funnel look like?

X comes across your book on Amazon > X looks at the cover and title > X clicks on it > X reads your blurb > X checks out your reviews > X opens the look-inside to read the first few pages > X buys the ebook or paperback!

Not every reader will go through every step. But many will, so the easiest way for you to increase your sales right now is to do a thorough audit of your funnel. As you're doing so, try and identify the steps where you might be losing potential readers. I urge you to take a moment to look at all your books’ pages on e-retailers and see if there are any quick fixes you could make:
  • Is there a glaring typo in your blurb, or in the first few lines of your “look-inside”?
  • Are you using HTML to bold or highlight the first sentence of your blurb?
  • If you have editorial reviews, are you featuring them?
  • Is your author bio (in Amazon Author Central) up to date?
I'm serious about this. 90% of the time, when an author comes to me for marketing, there's something wrong with their funnel. Or at the very least, something that could be greatly improved. The first step in book marketing is not bringing traffic: it’s improving conversion.

Conversion > traffic

While traffic and conversion are both important when it comes to getting sales, I believe that conversion is not only overlooked by authors, it’s actually more important than traffic. A simple change in your blurb might get your Amazon book page to convert at 15% instead of 5%. And this will effectively (and instantly) triple your sales without any additional effort!

More importantly, Amazon rewards conversion. If Amazon detects that a book is suddenly converting well, it'll promote it more. Remember, Amazon's goal is to sell books. So if their system has to choose between two books for a feature in a promo email, which book do you think they'll choose? The highest-converting one.

Now, you can't know what your conversion is on Amazon, but there’s a way to estimate it. And that’s a topic for a future newsletter.

Sorry to leave you on a proverbial cliffhanger, but more on this next week,

Ricardo, Founder @ Reedsy