People like free stuff! When those things have real value, they like it even more. Done well, giving your book away increases your book sales and drives traffic to your business. To maximize impact, decide on the desired outcome for your book promotion and then create a plan to drive the outcome on the front and back ends of the giveaway. You want to generate interest, connect with a pain point, and create desire when you offer it and drive a specific action once the giveaway is in their hands. Failing to consider both sides is a missed opportunity for your business. Here are some ways to use a book giveaway effectively.

Lead generator

As hard as you work on your social media to build an impressive following, you don’t own or control your list. If the platform goes belly up, so do your contacts. It is important to consistently build your email list to get better access to your fan base and more control over your destiny. You can choose to offer your physical book or ebook free for a limited time or as part of a promotion or use it as a staple giveaway. Don’t be afraid to experiment to see which path leads to the best results.

On Your Website

Free ebook giveaways are often found on a website sidebar, in a pop-up window or on a “free” page on your website. Collect just enough information from your prospective client to get started (email only or name and email). You can always ask for more info in a subsequent email, if needed. Link the form with your email client (like Constant Contact or MailChimp) to seamlessly send your ebook and add the future customer to your email list.

At Trade shows

With the noise and competition at a trade show, there is pressure to leave potential customers with something lasting and valuable. Chocolate gets eaten, pens get stuck in a drawer, but a book never gets thrown out. If the value of the book is in generating more business, get it into as many hands as possible, even if it is in the form of an ebook. Employ the same strategy by collecting email addresses to send a follow-up email after the tradeshow with additional information about your product or services. If you are giving away a physical book in person, take a picture with the recipient and post it on your social media pages for even more impact.

At Networking Events

Use your book as a big business card. While someone’s first impression of you is your physical presence, your book provides the credibility and expertise behind it all. You may choose to send an ebook or give away books at the event if you have a prospect that is already leaning in. Give away a book as a door prize with a gift certificate or as a stand-alone offering. Door prizes do two things – generate desire and increase awareness about your book and your business.

To get reviews and create a buzz to fuel future book sales

Readers make purchasing decisions based on the popularity of a book even when all of the reviews are not stellar. Generating reviews is a crucial piece of the sales puzzle. Use of the free book model is especially effective as a pre-launch strategy. Building a swell of support early pays big dividends at your book launch and beyond.

Give to Bloggers

Give your book to bloggers, industry influencers and review sites. Encourage them to review it on their site or give an additional copy to their followers as a contest prize.

Host a Contest

Give a copy or several copies away in a contest, in a Goodreads Giveaway or Kindle Free Promotion. Encourage recipients to post their winnings and reviews on social media. Give an additional incentive by giving away a checklist, planner or free webinar for telling their friends about the book. When you mail a physical copy of a book (as you would for the Goodreads Giveaway and perhaps your own contest) include a letter or promotional piece to lead them to the next step. That might be to write a review, sign up for your email list, buy a product or enlist your services.

To sweeten the pot

Include your book as a value-added proposition. If you buy this, you also get the book. Include it in workshop or conference packages or with another product or service purchase. The cost is small compared to the value (or perceived value) it carries.

As a thank you

Give your book to valued customers as a way of thanking them for their purchase. If you offer a variety of products or services, it is a creative way to cross sell. Giving away something of value, like a book, goes above expectations. It is a way to turn customers into evangelists. Nothing is more valuable than hearing a recommendation from a trusted friend. Seal the deal by over-delivering on value.

As more people have your book in their hands, the impact is greater on your book sales and business profits. Used well, your book can be one of the most valuable tools in your marketing toolbox.

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Have you used giveaways as your book or business promotion? What works for you?

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