As a blogger or business owner, are you using Amazon to generate new leads and reach more potential customers?
If not, I think you’re missing out.
Amazon is the 4th most popular site in the country (according to Alexa), which means there are probably a metric ton of potential customers searching there for what you know about.
In this post, I’ll outline how:
During my member survey, an interesting stat caught my eye: a non-zero sum of email subscribers said they first discovered my work at Side Hustle Nation through Amazon.
I have several books on Amazon so that wasn’t entirely surprising, but the interesting thing is I tend to think of self-publishing like this:
But what I’ve found often ends up happening is the opposite:
In my latest experiment, I set out to see how I could:
I’ve been giving away a book on Amazon since early 2015 called The Side Hustle Path. I had it set up as permafree after talking to Nick Stephenson, who used this strategy to generate thousands of email subscribers for his fiction writing.
Inside the book, I offered the second book in The Side Hustle Path series free in exchange for an email. It worked, and generated thousands of new readers and subscribers over the years, and collected 200 (mostly) positive reviews.
Here’s a bit more on the permafree strategy, how to set it up, and my initial results.
A common question I get is why give the book away for free?
People will say, “You’re either leaving author royalties on the table, or worse, just attracting freebie-seekers.”
I look at it a little differently.
I want to reduce as much friction as I can. If someone is searching for my topic in Amazon, they’re already a qualified lead or audience member in my mind.
If they’re comparing several different books on the topic that appear to be of similar quality and content, I’d like to capture as much market share as I can.
And the truth is, author royalties are great, but a potential follower/listener/fan/customer is worth far more than the $2-6 I might earn for selling the book.
Even though the book was still generating downloads, I felt it wasn’t a great representation or introduction to my brand.
Everything from the content to the cover to the title felt dated.
I knew I could do better!
I set out initially to update the content in the old book, and perhaps add in some new case studies from the last few years on the podcast.
I ended up doing almost a wholesale re-write. That made the project take a lot longer than I anticipated, but I think the end result is much more valuable for readers.
For the updated version, I ended up ditching the 10 case study structure, and instead based the book on the “Big 3” business models I see both in side hustles and in larger companies:
I kept some of the introductory material, and incorporated some existing content from the blog, but added and updated a ton of stuff.
In the old book, the call to action was pretty straightforward: give me your email and I’ll send you another 10 case studies.
It was direct, but was it effective? Probably not as effective as it could have been.
In the updated version, I took a softer approach. I really wanted to lead with the content, impress people there, and invite them to learn more about everything Side Hustle Nation and The Side Hustle Show has.
I included a page at the beginning and end of the book called 3 Free Ways to Join Side Hustle Nation:
The other thing that’s new is I included relevant affiliate links throughout the book, or more accurately, usually links to more content that lead to an affiliate offer.
For example, in the Audience business section, I mention my free course on how to start a blog, which has hosting affiliate links in it.
In the realm of lists of ways to make money, 10 ideas is admittedly really weak. I think that contributed to less-than-optimum results for the old book.
So I updated the title to drop the “Path” and changed the subtitle to How to Turn Your Spare Time into $1000 a Month or More.
I updated the cover to more closely align with other recent titles in my portfolio:
With the first edition of The Side Hustle Path, I was surprised that people bought the paperback version even though the Kindle version was free.
It didn’t make a ton of royalties, but it taught me that some people will just always prefer a hard copy.
I’d only added it to make my book listing look more legit!
So I was sure to add in the KDP print version of The Side Hustle as well. It’s actually earned $122 so far — I’ll take it!
And since the audiobook version of Buy Buttons performed pretty well, I decided to narrate The Side Hustle too to round out the listing page.
This just went live so I don’t have any sales data on it yet.
Before anyone joins your list or becomes your customer, they have to find you.
For me, Amazon represents another search engine in which to be discovered.
When someone types in my primary keyword, side hustle, I want them to find my work. For a couple years, I held down the #1 spot for that keyword, but lately it’s been taken over by this Chris Guillebeau character:
Still, to rank #3 for your primary keyword on the 4th most popular site in the country, it generates a lot of views.
Before the updates, this book was getting downloaded around 10 times a day:
After the update, it’s averaging 41 downloads per day — a 4x increase!
Now search is probably the biggest avenue of discovery on Amazon, but the other place that might be worth paying attention to is your category ranking.
For example, someone might be browsing Entrepreneurship books, and notice there’s a little toggle to switch the list to the Top 100 Free books. And there they’ll find me:
Unfortunately I can’t directly track the number of new subscribers or incremental affiliate revenue coming from The Side Hustle. (Well, I probably could, but it would involve setting up new landing pages, forms, and tracking links–and even then wouldn’t be perfect data.)
And of course not everyone who downloads the book will ever read it!
But given the healthy traction, I’m confident the book is doing its job welcoming new readers and listeners to Side Hustle Nation.
And doing it much better than the old version!
Of course I invite you do download The Side Hustle yourself!
If you prefer listening, you can also get it free with a trial membership of Audible. Check out this bonus episode of The Side Hustle Show for an extended sample of what’s inside:
Subscribe to The Side Hustle Show on iTunes!
Subscribe to The Side Hustle Show on Android!
Subscribe to The Side Hustle Show via RSS!
Or use the player app above to listen right in your browser.
Have you tried the permafree book strategy to generate more leads from Amazon?
Were you happy with the results?
Or do you think it’s time to give it a try? Let me know in the comments below.
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