In the last email, I shared ideas on systematizing your marketing. The function of how you get readers to know, like, and trust you.
In the end, you need your intellectual property to become a money-generating asset.
People are scrambling right now to buy cash-producing assets to fight inflation. It makes sense if you’re not a creator that can pull cash-producing assets out of thin air.
For creators, it isn’t having assets. It is getting them to produce cash.
You need sales, or maybe you’re looking for more sales coming from your assets.
There are only three ways to increase the top line of a business.
- Sell to more people.
- Sell more things to the same people.
- Sell more expensive stuff to those people.
As an intellectual property owner, you sort of have a fourth way, reselling the story in different formats. It’s like selling to more people and a little like selling more items, but it’s different in that a single IP can be exploited in so many ways.
Most businesses focus on the first.
I just want all the customers I don’t have.
The justification for spending more marketing dollars than you can make on a book is that a customer won is worth more because of the value of a full read-through.
Read-through is an author’s way of talking about lifetime value or selling the same customer more stuff.
Can I acquire a customer, then extract value from them by selling them more or higher priced things?
This is a useful way of looking at a business.
What amount of funds can I expend to acquire a fan that will then produce more funds?
Let’s see how this aligns with the idea of customer delight.
If customer delight is our primary focus, wouldn’t the entire journey be important?
Not just initial sales, but future sales, the ease of backlist navigation, working to keep the fan in the trance they desire, and moving them from book to book. Wouldn’t all of this be important?
Of course, and this aligns with read-through.
Now, most ads people use read-through to justify the higher cost per click we’re experiencing.
I’ll leave that be and just get to my point.
Flip the script and focus on throughput rather than winning new readers.
Designing an incredible story-based customer experience that guides the reader through your inventory is the essence of Disney World.
At Disney World you’re a hostage—a well-treated hostage, but a hostage just the same. You’re trying to get the most out of the time and experience you can, and they are trying to squeeze out the most dollars while you’re in captivity.
If they do it right, you’ll be back for more…
So what happens when I go to your amusement park?
Is it amusing?
Is it well-themed and customer-focused?
Does it do its best to make me want to give you money?(Not just willingly, but me wanting to give it)
Do I leave with relationships and experiences, or do I feel like I’m trying to get out of a time-share presentation?
Is your reader’s journey more like a shifty carnival with dodgy rides and those games designed to take all my money?
This can be painful and expensive. Some I’ve worked with recognized that earlier books in the series needed serious work. I know how hard it can be to have to go back to older works to fix them.
These read-through bottlenecks are costing you money. They are stopping you from selling more. Furthermore, with the process tuned up, the read-through will be higher. When you do advertise, you’ll achieve a better return.
Keep these points in mind when addressing the read-through process or any customer experience you look to optimize.
- View it from the customer’s perspective.
- Is there continuity to the rest of your brand and story world?
- It’s about the reader, not you!
- Reread #3
- Does it keep them reading, provide experience or connection with your community?
Getting back to the vital few, you likely have one series that drives most of your revenue. Tuning it up from the first to the last book is a good use of your time.
Or you could be like most authors, repeating these same money-destroying mistakes.
Mistake #1 Looking at the read-through as a justification for ad spend.
Most of the talk is about read-through as the indicator to evaluate your ad spend. Without a series and some readers going on to read multiple books, your chances of successfully advertising are dismal. The problem is the revenue on a single book is so low, and the cost per click could exceed the total margin.
The real reason to understand read-through is it’s the clearest indication you have to your customers being satisfied with the journey you’ve put them on. Use read-through as an indicator of customer joy, not good ad returns.
Even if you write stand-alone books, do you see the audience moving from book to book?
Mistake #2 Not optimizing read-through
It may not be a surprise that the first few books of a series aren’t the best. This is another example that time benefits your business. The more you write, the better you get.
Maybe this is your most successful series, but it doesn’t scale up to where you think it should be. Would $1000 of ads or editing get you better results in read-through?
Get this right, and your reader retention will soar. The more reliably you deliver on your brand promise, the more substantial reader bias will be in your favor.
Mistake #3 Advertising before optimizing read-through.
Optimize read-through before you spend a penny on ads.
Like I shared in the last email, by having a process designed to deliver a better customer experience you will see higher conversions (there, I said the C-word).
Let me share an example.
With my presale pages and an autoresponder series, I convert one of three visitors. I can spend over a dollar per click and see a return. The only reason is because of the months of work done to optimize the presale process.
Too often, time is spent at the top of the funnel and not getting the experience optimized.
Get it, so you know that you see 75% or higher read-through from book one to book two and then ninety percent read-through through the rest of the series. If you have that in place, you’re ready to advertise to bring more of the right readers into your world.
What if you took half the time you spent on ads and focused it on the sequences supporting read-through in your most profitable series?
Do you have an email sequence that coaches the reader through your series?
Having a story wrapped around the story keeps the experience going as the reader transitions from book to book is, in my view, vital. Getting to curate this experience, setting expectations, open loops, and coaxing a reader through the series gets you more revenue.
Every ad dollar spent will be maximized if you were to do more work on throughput.
I’ve come to believe that far more time should be put into autoresponder sequences that align with where readers are in your series, rather than on a weekly newsletter to keep them warm.
The system will scale without effort. The sequences meet customers where they are and make them feel special.
If done well with compelling sub-stories that make them curious about what happens next, you will always have them in a reader’s trance state. This is where you influence readers the most, associating your characters with their memories and past associations. Your readers will anticipate your emails, and you’ll be awarded attention and identity association.
Is your primary money-making series a vital few?
Should you take the next few weeks and allow put of your marketing time to get your autoresponder set up with a two to three email sequence between books?
Do that and in a matter of weeks you’ll be seeing your page reads and book sales climb.
Get the throughput improved on your existing assets. Get them to improve in cash flow. Once that’s optimized, you can focus on new customers. You know you’ll sell every new customer more because your read-through is optimized.
If you’re looking for help, you can sign up for Autoresponder Advantage and go right to the section on Readthrough Rehab. The material outlines how to get your autoresponder to support your series and coach a reader through a series.
P.S. If you haven’t heard yet, I’ve created a free membership area called Autoresponder Advantage. It is where you can learn how to use your email autoresponder to nurture a reader systematically. If you’re interested, sign up here.