5 Ideas for Fiction Lead Magnets
If you’re a new self-published author, it could take you quite a while to build up an email list of followers. Online readers have a short attention span, and you will have to entice them by using innovative marketing tools.
Your best option is to reach out to your potential audience by offering them freebies and giveaways. Lead magnet creation can help you grow your audience and sell more fiction over the long term.
What Is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet can help you convert potential customers into subscribers and then paying customers. You offer your readers a gift in exchange for their email details. It also shows people that you’re serious about communicating with them.
The challenge is to create the best lead magnet, which should be content that people actually want, to entice them to join your author community/email list. A great lead magnet can boost your online success and help you sell more fiction.
Good Lead Magnets for Authors
As a newbie author, you may wonder if you really need a lead magnet. The answer is “yes” if you want to do the following:
- Establish your brand as an author and build your email list.
- Do research about your current audience and grow your customer base.
- Convert your readers into subscribers and increase your conversion rates.
- Help new subscribers to find you.
To create a successful lead magnet, you need to know why your subscribers are signing up and what they’re expecting.
Good lead magnets will:
- Solve a need, e.g., the need for entertainment, if you send your potential readers a free short story.
- Create a desire to buy your book. If they enjoyed the free short story you provided, they will want to buy your book.
- Sell your product. They will buy your book if they enjoyed the freebie you provided.
It’s also a good idea to follow up with an email inviting your potential subscribers to take the next step.
Lead Magnet Ideas for Fiction Authors
If you write fiction, the ideal thing to do is to use a complete story as your lead magnet. If you’re a newbie novelist, this can be hard to do. Writers who have published a series can give away their first book to get readers onto their mailing list.
If you don’t have a complete book, you could always give away a preview, such as the first chapters of the novel. It must be easy and quick to read the lead magnet, so an ebook should preferably not be longer than 20 pages.
You can use your fiction writing talents in other innovative ways to create the perfect lead magnet. Consider writing a hidden chapter that forms part of the story but is not part of the book that you're selling. You could also have different alternate endings from the viewpoints of different characters.
Consider writing a new short story or even a prequel novella that you can use as a lead magnet. This story should be set in the same fictional universe as your novel. Readers must be left feeling excited and as if they will be getting value for their money.
Another exciting idea is to make different versions of your lead magnet, such as audio and video versions of your ebook. Make sure that your giveaway ebook or short story looks professional; otherwise, potential readers will be less likely to want to pay for a copy of your novel.
- Your lead magnet should be relevant to your specific audience, e.g., if you’re a fantasy writer, don’t experiment with the romance genre while creating your lead magnet. However, you could use an out-of-the-box idea/topic that still forms part of your fictional world, e.g., if one of your characters enjoys cooking, share their favorite recipe as your lead magnet.
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Delivering Your Lead Magnets
When you have the perfect lead magnet, you still need to find a user-friendly way to deliver it to your subscribers. People may lose interest in your lead magnet if they have to struggle to download it.
There are various email services you can use to deliver your lead magnet, and then there’s Book Funnel.
Book Funnel has landing pages that are easy to set up and allow you to control who receives your lead magnet. You can set a download limit or an end date, and downloads will be cut off when it’s met.
Book Funnel has various payment plans you can choose from. You can also build your mailing list by limiting downloads. If you sign up for at least the mid-list plan, you can ask readers to provide their email addresses before sending them your book.
You can deliver your lead magnet via email services such as MailChimp and Mailerlite. These services are usually free for the first 1,000 subscribers, and they often have templates you can use.
It shouldn’t take too much time to set up your lead magnet.
Why You Need to Create a Mailing List
Publishing and the self-publishing industry are becoming increasingly competitive and it’s difficult, for new authors especially, to reach their readers. It’s becoming more important than ever to build your online presence. Even if you have a blog and social media, it’s still vital to create a mailing list.
If you haven’t won a book deal, you might feel that you don’t have that much to share. However, you don’t only have to share things about your writing. The main aim of the email list is to build a relationship with your potential readers, so you can share anything that you think will be interesting to them.
How to Create an Effective List Quickly
You can use an easy mailing list service like Mailchimp. Mailchimp handles the technical side like confirming users, storing your subscriber list, and providing newsletter templates that are easy to use. The service is free for up to 2,000 subscribers, but after that, you’ll need to use one of the paid plans.
- If you can do the technical side yourself, you can use open-source software like PHPlist by installing it on your web server. You’ll need a MySQL database, but once it’s installed, you’ll see it’s just as easy to use as the paid services. The advantage of PHP is that it’s free and much more flexible. You don’t have to provide a physical address or unsubscribe link with every message you send.
Have Realistic Expectations of How Many People Will Join Your Mailing List
Even if you’re supplying a fabulous lead magnet, you need to have realistic expectations about how many people will join your mailing list. There are plenty of mailing lists out there, and most people already receive way too many emails.
If your list grows slowly, keep working on it. Even a short mailing list can have a positive impact on your future book sales. Keep pushing and think of it as a real achievement if you can add even 10 people per month to your mailing list.
How Many Emails Should You Send?
Send followup emails with more lead magnets, even if they’re only short ones, reminding people to join your list. These lead magnets should be exclusive and add extra value to your email list, such as content only shared with subscribers.
Don’t send emails more than once a week, as you then risk annoying busy people who will unsubscribe. Sending a message only once every few months is also not great for building a relationship. Your subscribers will then not take notice when you start bombarding them with emails about your coming book release.
One or two emails per month should be enough. You must also expect to get unsubscribers, no matter what you do.
As a new writer, there are many options available to you to get the attention of your audience and grow your readership base. You will initially have to do a lot of work, and you will need patience and perseverance to reach your goal.
It will all be worth it at the end when you see your readership and subscribers increase in the long run. You could even be the next great success story in self-publishing