On this blog, I write a lot about how to get your content onto some of the biggest content platforms in the world, growing your authority, influence and visibility, and attracting your marketplace to you.
Amazon is no exception. It’s one of the top ten most visited sites in the world according to Alexa.
Not only that, Google regards it as their biggest competitor:
Many people think out main competition is Bing or Yahoo. But, really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon.
Eric Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman, speaking in Berlin, 2014
If you believe visibility on Google is important, it makes no sense to completely ignore the vast potential Amazon offers for marketing your business.
Listing one or more Kindle books on Amazon can deliver thousands of targeted, interested visitors a month to your site.
And you’re simply reusing content you already have!
Remember, people wanting in-depth information will often seek out a suitable book on the topic. First stop, Amazon.
On top of that, in terms of building your authority and credibility, book authorship comes top of the pile, and can open many other doors.
… before my book launch [for Kindle], my business had turned a little quiet… Since my book launch, my turnover has tripled. I’m turning down inquiries daily because I’m fully booked.
Henneke Duistermaat, EnchantingMarketing.com
The good news is it’s relatively easy to build a presence on Amazon, tap into their huge marketplace of buyers, grow your authority and visibility, and attract leads for your business.
Simply repurpose content you already have on your blog – or elsewhere – so it’s suitable for the Kindle. Rinse, repeat.
This post shows you all you need to know to:
- Create, publish and market your Kindle book on Amazon effectively.
- Use it as a publishing platform to generate leads for your business.
You’ll also see prime examples of people doing just that.
First, let’s look at…
How to Use Kindle Books to Market Your Business
There are various ways you can use a listing of a book on Amazon to attract traffic to your website. And that includes people who never even buy your book.
Before They Even Buy…
Before someone even buys your book, you can refer to your brand, business and/or website on the cover of your book, in the description on Amazon, and within the Look Inside sample.
For example, this is how John Lincoln of Ignite Visibility does it with his Digital Influencer book.
While John mentions the name of his business here – a simple Google search away for interested viewers – it could just as easily be a straight domain name.
To encourage more visitors, you could also include a call to action within both:
- The Look inside content.
- The description of your book on Amazon (though note links won’t be active – see example below).
Your call to action could for example offer a free relevant resource together with the website address.
(For more on this, see the Attract Leads section below).
Generally speaking, you can expect around 20-30% of people previewing your book to click through. This can translate into thousands of visitors per month, depending on your niche.
When you’re a published author, it naturally gives you authority. This applies whether you’re self-published or not.
Here’s how it works for John Lincoln (see his book above) on his authority-laden Twitter profile. As well as clearly stating he’s an author, he builds further authority by referring to authoritative sites he writes for. (This is another advantage to using the Hub and Spoke approach to content).
It’s not just Twitter of course, it’s the same at LinkedIn and elsewhere.
You can also use your authorship status to help attract writing opportunities from authority sites (for example, Inc, Search Engine Land and Marketing Land in John’s example above, or whatever sites are relevant for your own niche).
If you’re an author, shout about it. It opens doors.
Below you’ll see an example of a business owner using a call to action from directly within the description for the book shown on Amazon.
Although the link isn’t active, this can still attract leads from targeted viewers, regardless of whether they buy the book or not.
The example in question is Ari Galper’s, Unlock the Sales Game, which I came across by clicking on an ad for it from within Amazon.
When your book is set up correctly, ads can be used on the platform to potentially attract some very cheap leads. More information about using Amazon ads is below.
The call to action is repeated within the Look Inside preview of the book:
While this is for a free audio seminar program, simpler lead magnets would work just as well if not better, such as:
- A worksheet, e.g. relevant to a specific chapter.
- A checklist.
- An additional bonus chapter.
- A video offering a visual tutorial on something, or other information.
The most effective approach for building leads and sales through your book is as follows:
- Use the book to build the authority and influence of the author, rather than for any specific product.
- Offer the reader something of value and interest to them in return for joining the author’s email list (see below).
- Once someone has raised their hand and joined the list, start building the relationship to lead to the eventual sale. For example, after joining the list, the subscriber can be offered the chance to join a webinar for some live training direct from the author. This builds the relationship further, adds more value for the reader, and provides an effective platform through which the author can sell their product or service.
As always, it simply all needs testing to discover what works for your market.
Some care is needed when trying to convert your Kindle readers into leads.
According to Amazon’s Kindle Publishing Guidelines (see #7), including active links to web forms requesting customer information (including email addresses) are not permitted within Kindle books.
However, I’ve seen plenty of books on Amazon for the Kindle that certainly include links to squeeze pages within them. Many authors seem blissfully unaware of any restrictions.
So including such a link might cause problems at some point in future. But the rules aren’t entirely clear. Amazon’s main interest is a good experience for the reader.
If you’re offering a relevant bonus in your book that adds value, and linking to a squeeze page for readers to get it, Amazon may find it perfectly acceptable.
But if you don’t feel comfortable with that, here are some alternative (or simply additional) ways to attract leads from your book.
- Include a short url, but don’t make it an active link. In other words, a link someone can quickly type in via a web browser or mobile.
- Link to your blog (for example, a relevant post). Incorporate content upgrades and other opt-in mechanisms to convert the (very high quality) traffic you’ll attract into leads.
- Link to multimedia content on other sites (e.g. YouTube) where you promote one or more opt-in offers.
- Link to your website where you have one or more ways for visitors to join your list.
- Link to social media profile(s), from where you can encourage visitors to join your list, as well as drive lead conversions over time via the content you are sharing.
Finally, to maximize conversions on click-throughs from Kindle readers, it’s worth testing language on your opt-in pages that acknowledge where they came from. For example:
- Hey Kindle reader…
- Exclusive Kindle Bonus
The personalization helps readers feel valued and may boost opt-ins.
How to Create Your Kindle Book
Your Book Title
Take great care over the title of your book. It has the same importance for your book as a headline does for a sales letter: great copy is essential.
To help people find your book via Amazon’s search engine – remember it’s a top-ten site – use important keywords in your title.
Unfortunately there’s no tool available to check how many people are searching for particular keywords on Amazon. But you can do a couple of things as follows.
Firstly, use Google’s Keyword Planner to judge relative popularity of keyword terms (remember books on Amazon can of course appear in Google’s search results as well).
For example, imagine your niche was focused on goldfish.
Let’s say you have a number of posts on breeding them, and figure you could compile them together into a book with a provisional title of say How to Breed Goldfish.
However, some simple keyword research shows you breeding goldfish rather than breed goldfish is far more popular.
So a more suitable title might be: Breeding Goldfish: The Definitive How-To Guide.
(This title sounds more appealing too! If I were a goldfish breeding aficionado, that is…)
Secondly, you can check what market exists on Amazon for the type of book you intend by:
- Checking how many books already exist on the topic.
- Looking at the sales ranking for those books to tell you their relative popularity.
Finally, check what competition exists on Amazon for the keyword (as it turns out, for this example, very little):
Your Book Content
Now it’s time to create the actual content of the book.
The good news is you should already have much of the content you need.
Presuming you publish a regular blog – kind of essential nowadays – you simply look for a common theme in posts on your blog and ways to group different posts together.
The idea is that each post becomes a chapter, with the language adjusted appropriately and helping it fit into the overall flow of the book. The way content is written for a blog may be a little different to how it’s written within a book.
In addition, you’ll need an introduction to frame the book as a whole.
Generally speaking, aim for 10,000 words or more.
It helps when you create longer blog content in the first place (also giving you improved search visibility). For example, most posts on this blog are 2,000 to 5,000 words long, some even longer.
One way to approach it is to see the blog posts you create as future chapters of a Kindle book, planning them out accordingly.
It’s not just blog posts. Other content can be repurposed to.
For example, you may have webinar content, podcast content (perhaps interviews with people that can be compiled into book form), whitepapers, reports, and so on.
Formatting Your Kindle Book
To make your book suitable for Kindle it must be in a specific format.
A full guide on how to do this is available from Amazon here, with separate instructions available depending whether you use a Mac or PC:
The much abbreviated process runs a bit like this:
- Create your book in Microsoft Word.
- Save it as a webpage.
- Upload to Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) site.
- Preview the book via their Previewer tool.
- Determine rights and pricing information.
- Click Save & Publish. It will appear on Amazon within 1-2 days.
Some general tips and pointers are as follows.
Your Book Cover
The cover for your book should be at least 1,000 pixels on it’s longest side and have a height to width ratio of about 1.6. For example, the graphic might be 1,600 pixels high by 1,000 pixels wide.
Along with the title of your book, your cover is one of the main factors determining the number of people your book will end up reaching. So unless you have a particular talent with graphic design, it’s best to leave it to a professional.
There are some great gigs on Fiverr for just this purpose, or use a site like Freelancer or Upwork to find someone suitable.
You can of course include images within your Kindle book.
To make sure they appear correctly on a Kindle, don’t paste in the image when you create the book in Word. Instead, use Word’s Insert facility to select the image from your hard drive.
Remember too that whether images display in full colour depends on the device used. They will show in gray scale on e-ink Kindles.
- Use Heading 1 within Word for chapter titles, and headings 2 to 6 for other emphasized text. Don’t otherwise change font sizes for emphasis or other purposes, or you risk problems. Kindle users determine the font size they need.
- Don’t use headers and footers, they won’t display properly on the Kindle.
- If using footnotes in Word, they will be automatically converted to endnotes for you.
Pricing Your Kindle Book
Deciding how to price your book on Amazon is one of the more difficult decisions.
It can be tempting to want to price it at zero, in the belief you’ll attract more downloads and potentially more leads for your website.
However, there are potential drawbacks.
Firstly, you may only attract freebie seekers and non-buyers. In other words, the quality of the leads you attract could be very low. Likewise, you might simply put off the leads you do want.
Secondly, if someone pays some money for a book, even a small amount, they are likely to be far more engaged in the content. In other words, someone who has paid money for a book are far more likely to actually read it and click through on some of the links.
Thirdly, you can only price your book at zero via a weird workaround, not directly. You’ve got to show it’s available for free somewhere else, and then ask Amazon to price-match it. However, once price-matched, you won’t be able to then start charging for the content in future. The zero price is permanent.
The price you charge needs testing for your own market, but there can be more advantages for business purposes when people need to pay at least some money for it:
- It adds value to the information you provide. Quality leads are rarely price-led. Instead they’re looking for the most authoritative content on a topic so they avoid wasting (far more valuable) time on sub-value content. Price adds authority to your content.
- It helps you market your book. When launching on Amazon, you can make the book free for a temporary period only. This helps attract initial reviews for the book that give it longer term visibility and credibility (see below on how to do this).
- It’s likely to increase lead acquisition. As stated above, if they’ve paid for it, they’re more likely to engage with your content, click through to your site, and request other information from you by filling in opt-in forms.
Test different price points for different books over time and measure the results to find what works best for you.
Assuming you will actually charge for your book, most charge upwards of $0.99.
When you’re essentially selling content that’s already freely available on your blog, then somewhere between $0.99 and $2.99 generally works well. While there are differences in royalty levels in terms of what Amazon will pay you on your sales, the real value comes from lead generation.
I recommend publishing all small eBooks for 99 cents, to try and get as many people as possible to buy them. While you’d make 6x more money per sale pricing it at $2.99 ($2.99-$9.99 pays a 70% royalty rather than 35%), you’ll make far more money from all of the extra leads.
James McAllister, Help Start My Site
In addition, many appear to sell at odd price points, which again may be worth testing for your market. Will more people buy at the unusual price point of say $1.27 than the more familiar $0.99?
Marketing Your Kindle Book
Optimizing for Amazon Search
Optimizing for Amazon’s internal search engine is not the same as optimizing for Google. Karon Thackston wrote an excellent article on how it does work:
According to Karon, the most important factors are:
- Keywords in the book’s title.
- Keywords in the Search Term fields when you publish your book.
In addition, the more strongly your book sells, the more visible it will tend to be.
Attracting reviews for your Kindle book is fairly critical to the success and reach of the book. Having zero reviews can mean:
- Your book won’t rank well.
- Your book will be disregarded and largely ignored.
So how do you get reviews?
One thing you cannot do is pay (or provide any other kind of compensation) for customer reviews.
However, as you can see from Amazon’s text above, the one thing you can do is attract reviews by offering a free copy of the book.
To take advantage of this, here are some things you can try.
Email and Social
Offer free copies of your book via your email list and social media channels.
This can be more effective when you are only giving making your book available for free for a limited time, as you create a sense of urgency.
You can do this directly through Amazon when you publish your book by enrolling it in KDP Select. This comes with the ability to run both:
- Countdown deals where your book has a discount for a limited time only, including the display of a countdown clock.
- The promotion of your book for free. You can make it free for up to 5 days out of each 90 day period the book is enrolled.
By making your book free for a limited time, it can help build a stronger relationship with your audience, and create loyalty by rewarding them for being in your circle.
Let them know you welcome their honest feedback, encouraging them to leave a Customer Review. Just don’t offer anything else in return for them doing so.
The bigger your audience, the more effective this approach will be. It’s one more reason why building your authority, influence and audience across multiple sites and channels helps amplify your content and brand web-wide.
Contact Serial Reviewers
Some people on Amazon are serial reviewers, leaving multiple reviews. They may be perfectly willing to leave a review for your book also in return for a free copy. Again, be sure not to offer anything else.
To find suitable reviewers, do the following:
- Locate similar books on Amazon.
- For each book, book through the reviews, focusing only on the positive ones (you don’t want anyone prone to leave negative ones). So four or five star reviews only.
- For each review, click on the reviewer’s name to view the profile (it’s quicker going through the list all at once, opening all potential profiles into new tabs, and then going through each one).
- Check the following:
- Whether there’s any means of contact. For example, some reviewers will provide a link to a website or a social profile through which you’ll be able to contact them. If you can’t contact them, ignore and move to the next reviewer.
- Whether they have reviewed anything recently. If it’s been a couple years since they reviewed anything, it’s unlikely they’ll be responsive to your request. You’re looking for active reviewers.
- For all those you find suitable, add their details to a spreadsheet.
Then reach out to them asking if they’d be happy providing an honest review of your book.
The above is based on Dave Chesson’s excellent post over at Kindlepreneur.com which you can read for more information on all the above, particularly the part about reaching out.
Dave recommends contacting a hundred or so potential reviewers with the idea that about 20-30% of them will respond, and you’ll ultimately end up with 10-20 reviews.
Keep the spreadsheet you created handy for next time you create a Kindle book!
While you can’t pay for customer reviews, you can basically do what you like to get editorial reviews.
These won’t show as star ratings next to your book, so won’t help you with rankings, but will help with authority and credibility levels, and therefore boost both downloads of your book and click-throughs to your site.
Editorial reviews show in your description for your book on Amazon. For example, here are a couple showing for Perry Marshall’s 80/20 Sales and Marketing book:
They help build the authority of the book (and you as the author), and will boost both sales of the book, and traffic and leads for your site.
As well as attracting reviews for your book, you can also potentially leave reviews on other books within your niche, adding a link to your own book within the review.
Here’s an example of someone doing just this, albeit under a seemingly separate identity:
This approach won’t suit everyone.
You can advertise your book on Amazon, and remarkably cheaply with bids starting at just $0.02 per click (though more likely anything up to $1) . Here’s the ad for Ari Galper’s book I discussed above.
To take advantage, your book needs to be enrolled in Amazon’s KDP Select program.
Ads can appear on both Amazon’s site and on Kindle devices.
If you were using this and profiting from the book alone, you’d be unlikely to have a positive ROI on the ads. But because you’re using the ads to drive traffic and leads to your website, via your book, there’s a lot of potential here for some very cheap and highly targeted leads.
For example, let’s say you get 10% of people who look at your book’s page becoming leads. If you drive 100 people to your page at $0.50 a click, that would cost you $50. With 10% of these becoming leads, you’re paying $5 a lead, offset by royalties from book sales.
That makes it a lot cheaper than the cost of quality leads from other ad platforms.
If you’re using ads like this, it can also make sense to experiment with pricing your book at a higher price point to further offset the ad cost, boost the perceived authority of your content and potentially attract higher quality leads into your sales funnel, depending on niche.
Dave Chesson has another excellent article on using Amazon’s ad platform, which is well worth a read before you start to use it.
Publishing content for the Kindle has got to be one of the most underused methods for marketing and attracting traffic and quality leads to a business.
As I’ve shown, you can also scale it up through ad campaigns, targeted for specific keywords people are searching for on Amazon. Presuming your book is designed for lead generation (using the tips above), it could be one of the most cost-effective ways to generate highly targeted, quality leads for your business.
Creating your own Kindle book is also far easier than you may have imagined, especially when much of the content you need is already available on your blog or from other sources.
All in all, it’s another powerful way to repurpose content and get your business in front of whole new audiences you wouldn’t otherwise reach.
Finally, don’t forget to get the checklist you need to get leads from Amazon.