In this podcast episode, James welcomes Chris Benetti from smartauthormedia.com as his guest.
Chris came to James’s attention as a member of James’s community. Discovering Chris’s success in helping authors promote their books through a book campaign, lead generation, and increased sales, James enlisted his help to reach a wider audience with his own book, Work Less Make More.
In this chat they discuss the strategies implemented in Chris’s book campaign for James.
They talk about the factors that impact the success of a book marketing campaign.
And they touch on good reasons to write a book, among them establishing authority and as a tool to promote brand awareness.
Table of contents:
1. How Chris changed James’s book marketing
2. Chris’s journey to where he’s at
3. Why grow your book?
4. There will always be trolls…
5. Does your title match what you want to sell?
6. What’s your process for converting?
7. The platforms our guest favors
8. What campaigns does Chris run?
9. The campaigns that have done well
10. Options and payoffs for writing a book
How Chris changed James’s book marketing
James has run book campaigns by himself, and talks about the challenges – from creating ad creatives and writing copy, to setting up landing pages, tracking, and navigating the online ad platforms.
Chris’s approach simplified the entire process. He requested access to James’s ad account and web-building platform, and with the help of James’s team, he was able to streamline the tasks.
One of the critical parts of Chris’s process was a questionnaire, which he sent to James. This questionnaire, mainly asking questions about the book itself, was crucial for creating marketing assets.
The responses provided Chris with the necessary details to create landing page assets, ad copy, and even the creatives for the ads. This was a more straightforward and efficient means of producing assets for the campaign.
Reflecting on this process, James says it allowed him to revisit his book’s content and reconnect with its purpose. He found value in Chris’s approach and appreciated that he could step back and let Chris manage everything, including the use of his not-well-known web-building platform, Kleq.
Despite it being Chris’s team’s first time using Kleq, they quickly learned the platform and successfully improved the aesthetic of the book campaign, streamlined the funnel process, and enhanced the sales copy, resulting in a successful marketing campaign.
Chris’s journey to where he’s at
Born and raised in Port Hedland, West Australia, Chris Benetti started his career in the local mining industry, as was typical for most young men in his area. After years of working as a mechanical fitter, the fly-in, fly-out lifestyle began to take a toll on his personal life, making him reassess his career path.
Despite the attractive income he was receiving, Chris yearned for a job he felt passionate about and that wouldn’t keep him away from home for weeks at a time.
Driven by his interest in property investing, Chris discovered Rich Dad Poor Dad, which led him to other influential books like The 4-Hour Workweek. These resources sparked an interest in internet marketing and digital entrepreneurship, leading him to the likes of Russell Brunson.
After losing his job in the mines, Chris took the opportunity to pivot his career, interning for Kim Barrett’s local marketing agency in Perth. This experience allowed him to work with big names in internet marketing and master the art of building and designing sales funnels.
Chris’s talent and hard work led him to work with smarter people and bigger names, till he met Charley Valher, who helped him found Smart Author Media. This business venture, which focuses on helping authors with their marketing needs, particularly in Amazon ads, has proven to be Chris’s most successful venture to date.
James comments on how Chris’s background in mechanical fitting, and the problem-solving skills he developed in that field, have served him well in his new career, likening the building and maintenance of websites to a virtual form of puzzle-solving.
Chris was able to transfer useful skills from one industry to another, with the result that he is now able to work from home with his family.
Why grow your book?
Chris believes that books are an excellent way to attract potential customers, build brand authority, and nurture a long-term customer relationship. He emphasizes that the value of a book for businesses extends beyond immediate profit, contrary to some claims.
Successful clients understand that their book isn’t about making money upfront. Instead, it serves as a tool to cultivate potential customers and create back-end business opportunities. If a book provides value, readers are more likely to be interested in the author’s other offerings, such as memberships, consulting services, and additional products or services.
The strategy for converting readers into customers can take different forms. Some authors might present an offer immediately after the book purchase or download, while others might opt for follow-up emails or advertisements.
In some cases, sales calls or other direct interactions might be used. Regardless of the method, the main goal is to create substantial upfront value, often through the book itself, to build rapport with readers and stimulate their interest in further engagement.
There will always be trolls…
It fascinates James that even when offering something valuable for free, such as his book, on social media platforms like Facebook, there are always people making caustic comments on his ads.
Chris agrees it’s a common experience when running paid campaigns, as some individuals may resent having their typical content consumption interrupted. And while such behavior is frustrating and somewhat baffling, he and James understand it’s a part of dealing with the public on social media.
Their approach to negative comments ranges from simply deleting the really bad and irrelevant ones, to crafting a witty response. Sometimes, fans and followers might step in to counter the negative remarks.
They stress that it’s important to not let trolls discourage you, and to remember that not everyone will appreciate the value you’re offering, even when it’s free.
Does your title match what you want to sell?
James touches on the alignment of a book’s title with the product or service being sold. Ideally, the book should be as relevant and segmented as possible to match the back-end product or service.
A good example is given of James’s book, Work Less, Make More, which does not directly relate to his membership program. Only a percentage of book readers are ready for his online business, hence not all book readers are potential members of his community.
A second point concerns time taken for investment return. James and Chris agree that upfront investment is needed, usually with a considerable time delay before results are seen.
Self-liquidating offers are rare, with Scott Desgrosseilliers from Wicked Reports suggesting an average breakeven time of 60 days across $1.5 billion worth of ad spend. In James’ case, the return on investment takes longer, sometimes more than a year, due to his other engagements like podcasting and upcoming books.
So relevance, and staying the course, are important if one expects results.
For those who have a very tight offer connection to their book, like The Tech Tribe’s Nigel Moore, the results can be quite direct. Nigel’s book is closely related to his singular offer, and he has managed to scale simplicity to an impressive level, making his offer very attractive to his niche.
Within the first four months, giving away over 1000 copies of Nigel’s book led to $15,000 in recurring revenue, which is about five times the Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).
It’s important to consider all costs, including campaign management fees and ad costs, when calculating the return on investment. And ROI isn’t instantaneous. For one thing, getting new people to know about your work takes time.
For example, James mentions having distributed around 6000 more copies of his book since working with Chris. He notices that these new audience members are less responsive than his usual followers, indicating a need for patience and continual engagement before seeing returns.
What’s your process for converting?
The conversion process can significantly influence the speed and success of a sales strategy. Sales calls, or having setters and closers as part of the sales team, can boost conversion rates, potentially to above 80%.
Simpler offers without a sales process might result in lower conversion rates, especially when relying solely on webpages or email follow-ups.
James encapsulates the key points covered so far: ensure your book is relevant to the backend offer, be patient for the funnel to work its course, and use higher-level conversion strategies to increase returns or decrease the time taken to make a sale. Chris affirms these points align with his experience and advice.
The platforms our guest favors
There are advantages and disadvantages to using different platforms to promote and distribute books. Chris favors Facebook for direct lead generation, while considering Amazon an effective platform if the goal is to boost book circulation, despite Amazon’s lack of customer data provision.
James agrees, and stresses the importance of including calls to action in the book to direct readers to an email list or website.
He and Chris explore the potential of Amazon’s algorithm, discussing how associating one’s book with others via shared audience patterns can improve visibility and increase sales.
They also discuss the benefits of audio book versions. James recalls narrating his own book. He knows current AI tools like ElevenLabs can mimic authors’ voices, although these tools, according to Chris, may not handle accents well just yet.
What campaigns does Chris run?
James asks Chris about the types of ad campaigns he typically runs.
Chris says he usually sets up two levels of campaigns – cold and warm. Cold campaigns target a broad range of audiences, including lookalike audiences that resemble current subscribers or past customers, detailed targeting based on interests, or broad targeting without specific details.
Each approach, says Chris, works in different ways, and often requires testing to see which is better. The campaigns can be structured around specific goals, such as generating leads if the book is being offered for free, or sales campaigns if the book is being sold.
Chris also explains his approach to ad testing, emphasizing that they usually run one ad per ad set to accurately gauge the effectiveness of their targeting options, in conjunction with specific ad copy and creative elements.
By limiting it to one ad per ad set, they give each ad a fair chance to prove or disprove its effectiveness in reaching and converting the target audience.
The campaigns that have done well
What about the performance of various types of campaigns?
Taking James’s campaign as an example, Chris explains that James’ current cost per lead is relatively low, about $2, likely due to his decade-long efforts in consistently providing value and building a strong brand reputation.
If they’re giving away James’s book, costs can be expected to be around $25 or less over time with thousands of leads. When selling the book, the cost range widens from $10 to $60 per lead, varying based on the industry.
James recognizes the value of attracting purchasers, emphasizing that they are essentially buying a list of buyers at $60 per lead. It seems pricey, but Chris says that the value lies in the downstream conversion potential. If a certain percentage of these book buyers subsequently book a sales call, with an 80% close rate, they are likely to see significant returns.
High-ticket clients are often willing to pay this rate, as they understand the value of these more qualified leads.
Chris notes that managing expectations can be a challenge when clients are not ready to make the necessary investment, often leading to unrealistic expectations about returns.
Both James and Chris agree that setting minimum starting points and working with clients who understand the process and the value of the results makes their work easier and more rewarding. They stress, too, the importance of continuously testing and improving campaigns to optimize results.
Options and payoffs for writing a book
Does Chris have a book?
Not yet, but he is working on a 100-page volume, which could serve as a quick and direct resource for clients. He anticipates the book will take approximately three months to complete and cost around $1,500 for design, publishing, and editorial services.
James agrees with the value of having a book, emphasizing its use in enhancing one’s reputation, gaining appearances on podcasts, and attracting new potential clients.
They repeat the importance of one, aligning the content of one’s book with the backend of their business; two, the process of converting readers into clients; and three, ensuring robust tracking of outcomes.
James suggests investing in quality campaign advice and ensuring clear targeting based on the problem the book seeks to solve and the audience it is intended for. James also acknowledges that putting out a book is a bit of a mental hurdle, knowing it is a significant commitment of resources and that its success hinges on the possibility of generating a larger profit.
In closing, Chris advises those wanting to write a book to consider it a tool for building one’s brand and creating value, with less focus on direct monetary return on investment. The expectation should be to provide valuable knowledge and solutions, which, in turn, can attract a targeted audience.
If you’d like help marketing your own book, you’ll find Chris and his services at smartauthormedia.com.
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