Books are, without doubt, one of the most efficient ways to learn for modern professionals.
They’re relatively cheap. Often distil years or decades of experience into an easily digestible format. And thanks to digital reading services, you’ll never struggle to find a copy of that book you want to read.
What I truly love about books from a marketing perspective is how they have a far higher perceived value than free content on websites.
In fact, I know plenty of people who simply repackage blog content into an “official book” to increase reach, impact, and reputation.
And sure, that’s great.
But there are a few very savvy marketers out there who use books to acquire new users and build trust for high-ticket offers.
One of the most prolific I’ve seen is The Agora. They seem to be publishing books every other week as part of their funnel.
But even they don’t have what I’d consider an incredible book acquisition system.
There’s a missing element that they never seem to leverage. One which helps your brand get discovered and establish a deep level of trust with your audience.
One of the best examples I’ve seen of using books as an acquisition channel is from Alex Hormozi.
Alex runs Acquisition.com – along with several other successful businesses.
But it’s his book – $100 Million Dollar Offers (a definite recommended read) – that I want to analyse today.
Alex has used this single asset to incredible effect. This one book has helped him…
- Increase his reach and reputation
- Leverage a very high traffic acquisition channel
- Build huge levels of trust with his ideal audience
- Add a lot of qualified leads to his owned channels and audiences
Let’s dive in to see how Alex is leveraging his book as an acquisition source for high-value leads.
Who is Alex Hormozi?
First up, let’s look at the man himself.
Alex Hormozi is the founder of Acquisition.com – he’s also the founder and CEO of a number of other businesses you can read about here.
Alex honed his craft helping gym owners scale their businesses. At first, he was doing this on a one-to-one basis.
As time passed, he saw the value in creating something that would allow him to work on a one-to-many basis.
This allowed him to build his brand out to overlapping markets and offers.
Now, Alex seems intent on setting his sights on helping other business owners create and scale wildly profitable offers for their business.
At the time of writing, a lot of his upcoming offers are “coming soon”. But Alex is doing a lot already to generate leads.
He’s creating a pre-sale list and building trust through free offers. So, when he finally launches these courses (which I assume are going to be paid offers), he’ll have a hungry audience that trusts him ready and waiting.
At the core of his marketing so far is a low priced book and free offer. And as far as I can tell, Amazon forms the central part of his marketing strategy.
Here’s what I think is truly impressive though.
Alex’s book has shot to the #1 spot in various different categories on Amazon.
It now has thousands of reviews, which when you consider that around 5-10% of people write product reviews, that means Alex has sold tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of copies of his book.
And all of that has been achieved despite the book only being published ~3 months ago in July.
In those 3 months Alex has sold thousands of books, generated a 5-star review of the book, and used it to basically seed a brand new business which I have no doubt will reach into the 8-figure revenue mark.
Here’s a look at how keywords have grown from July. He went from absolutely nothing to top of his category.
It’s impressive growth and a great result. So how has he done it?
Why leverage Amazon?
My default for quick growth is to invest in paid acquisition.
Thanks to detailed targeting, a good offer can generate a tonne of leads in a very short period of time.
However, whilst these leads cost, they’re often of questionable quality.
Unless you’re running Google Search Ads, the purchase intent of users acquired through ads is low.
And you have to build a detailed Yes Ladder to get them where they need to be.
A lot of the smartest marketers out there focus on BoFu search terms to attract users who are at or close to the point of purchase.
Now, that’s great for platforms where people search for a solution to a pressing problem. S you’re talking…
- Google / Bing search
- YouTube videos
- Amazon books
You can create an asset for these platforms that attracts people close to the point of purchase.
Which, in effect, shortens the payback period you need to cover costs and turn a profit.
Amazon has a couple of discoverability elements built-in that will allow you to get your book in front of potentially interested people.
First, you have the various book rankings by category.
These categories can become quite defined and – as a result – it can be relatively easy to rank #1 in a defined category.
Alex has managed to get to the #1 spot in some pretty challenging and high-traffic categories though.
Someone searching for help with advertising for example, might go to the top sellers page to find the best books. They’re greeted with a number of offers of Alex’s book.
The social proof really helps his book stand out and, as a result, probably helps him generate a decent amount of interest and traffic to his purchase page.
In addition, you have the ability to rank for BoFu searches on Amazon as well.
It’s hard to find the keywords and searches someone is ranking for on Amazon without the right tools. I recommend X and Y.
I used them to discover that Alex’s book is ranking for searches related to making money as an independent, small business owner.
The searches for this are generally going to be entrepreneurs who want to scale to $1M on their own.
A perfect audience for Alex’s trainings.
And then the final element of discoverability comes from Google.
A lot of Amazon books show up for relevant Google searches as the top result. Especially for bottom of funnel searches.
Now, Alex’s book was only published in June so it’s not yet ranking for everything it will. But even so, it takes first position for a lot of BoFu searches.
All told, a single Amazon book when well marketed has the ability to passively acquire customers in 3 different ways.
- Amazon search
- Category recommendations
- Google BoFu searches
And the added kicker to all of this is the perceived value of a book over something like a blog article.
Content writers might boast about getting an article to the #1 spot on Google, but having a legitimate bestselling book can open tonnes of doors for you as the author.
We’re talking speaking gigs, consulting offers, an audience pre-sold on your paid products and so much more.
Books still hold a far higher value than other forms of writing. Even though you can completely self-publish with next to no quality checks or red tape.
Alex seems to understand this and has gone out of his way to seed his reputation in a new field by leveraging one of the highest impact deliverables.
Getting your book to rank on Amazon
This is not a piece specifically about Amazon SEO.
However, we really can’t analyse Alex’s success without looking into how he’s leveraged the Amazon Algo to get his book to the top of various competitive categories.
Years back i published a book myself on Amazon that went straight to the #1 spot for resume writing for about a week.
I’ve dug up my old research on how to achieve it and refreshed it with a lot of reading.
Below is what I’ve discovered makes the biggest difference when it comes to ranking on Amazon. If you’re at all familiar with Google ranking factors, this will be old news for you.
Amazon decides how to rank your product based on factors that fit into 2 distinct categories.
- Algorithm optimisation
- On-page use of keywords
- “Back-end” keywords (added when adding your product
- Latent semantic keywords (synonyms for your product
- Customer engagement
- # of sales (more sales = higher ranking)
- Customer reviews (more positive reviews = higher ranking)
- Stable sales (if sales are stable = higher ranking)
I’ll first look at what Alex has done in terms of SEO for the algorithm..
Amazon SEO – The Alex Hormozi way
So there are a few tools out there that will help you identify the best keywords to target on Amazon.
Much like on Google, you need simply…
- Identify keywords with high volume and low competition
- Build your key copy areas (headline, desc. Text etc) around those keywords
- Make it compelling and persuasive for the reader
Here’s my short list of recommended tools to help you do this.
- The cheap option – Keywords Everywhere
- The specific Amazon Kindle product – Publisher Rocket
- The tool for any Amazon product research – Helium10
In the below, I’m using Keywords Everywhere as the volumes come up in the search bar. However, for detailed analysis of the eBook world on Amazon, I’d recommend going with Publisher Rocket.
Step 1 – Know your audience and their pain points
This is always step 1.
Alex knows his audience is small business owners. And he knows our main goal is always to make more money.
And so, a lot of his approach is built around helping business owners make more moolah.
Step 2 – Find the things they’re searching for
You can easily do this with a little help from Keywords Explorer and Amazon’s auto-complete.
All you do is activate the extension and start typing relevant keywords in Amazon to see what it comes up with.
You want to start with the beginning of sentences that are closer to the bottom of the funnel.
So that means questions with “how to” rather than “what is”.
If I drop How to Make Into Amazon, I get the below.
I’ve highlighted 2 search terms that would be relevant for Alex and that also have high volume. The competition is a little high, but everything in the make money space does.
Repeat this process until you have a number of relevant keywords related to your ideal audience’s needs, and that have high search volume with reasonable competition.
Step 3 – Build those keywords into your product
The first thing to do is to pick 7 of the best keywords and use them as the “back-end” keywords on Amazon.
When you’re uploading your eBook you’ll be asked for 7 keywords that will help define what you show for.
Pick the 7 most relevant with the best competition<> volume ratio and bang them in here.
Make sure you don’t include words like “a” or “the”.
When it comes to the actual product, you want to make sure that you’re leveraging both the keywords you’ve identified, and any synonyms or similar terms.
Amazon uses these to help understand your product’s intent and who it helps. So, creating a well-written explanation will help you rank better.
Below is a breakdown of Alex’s page.
From a high-level you have the headline and subhead.
Below that, the descriptive text.
Reading through it looks like Alex has built this product description around 3 major keywords. Each is related to business growth, but combined they leave no room for error in understanding how the target market is – business owners.
- How to make money (high volume 201,000 / month)
- Get more customers/ prospects (low volume – but high CPC meaning high purchase intent)
- Niche (high volume 673,000 / month)
Each one on their own might provide some results. However, when coupled they create something that ensures Amazon knows who this book is for.
Business people who want more customers and are struggling to find a profitable offer for their niche.
People searching for things related to this problem should be shown this book.
Here’s what I really love though.
This is a well-written description and headline. Alex obviously knows how to write compelling copy and has used multiple elements skilled copywriters use to hook and hold attention.
I’ve outlined the key ones below.
Alex uses a simple AIDA formula here to great effect. Here’s how the sections break down.
Alex leads by saying how he made more than the CEOs of major brands in the world. Enough to hook the attention of any small business owner.
Alex builds interest with a very brief herp’s journey.
He leads with a “I was just like you” opening before explaining the heights of his success (36:1 ROI), then solidifies that interest wit a mention that this isn’t a system like many of the others you know about.
Alex uses fascination bullets here to great effect.
In short, fascination bullets build fascination. They hint at the benefits the user will get if they sign up and what they’ll learn, but they don’t give anything actionable away.
They’re great for getting someone excited about the product.
Eddie Shleyner (who we did a great study on here) has a great piece on his site all about fascinations.
Nothing fancy here. Just a reminder of the value and a CTA to buy now.
All in all, a very strong on-page effort from Alex.
It not only plays to the keywords needed, but also is a very compelling product description.
Now let’s look at how Alex improves the “customer engagement” element of the Amazon algorithm.
Amazon customer engagement – the Alex Hormozi way
So on page optimisation is key to help Amazon understand what your product is.
But you need large levels of customer engagement to show Amazon that this is something they should promote.
After all, higher engagement means happier customers. And happy customers buy more without asking for refunds.
Social proof is one of those key signals of a happy customer.
It not only shows Amazon this book is being well received, but it works as a draw to other potential customers.
If you have 2 books to sell and they’re completely identical in every way except that one has 1000 reviews with a 5-star rating while the other has 5 reviews in total, which one will people buy?
The one with a lot of reviews, right?
Alex has built a social proof generating request into his book. In Chapter 7, at about the half-way point, he includes a short 3 page chapter.
Below is the bulk of that chapter.
Alex not only asks for a review, but he explains the easiest way for a customer to leave one in a step-by-step manner.
Leaving it to the halfway point is also a great idea in my opinion.
When talking about CTAs in the past, I’ve always recommended putting them at points I call the “Point of highest intent”.
In short, you ask a person to take an action when the intent to taker that action would be highest.
In blog posts with content upgrades, you drop the CTA at the point where the user needs help to action the advice.
In this example, the point of highest intent is about halfway through this short eBook.
People at this point are serious and like what Alex is saying as they haven’t quit on his teachings.
However, they’re also still fully invested in the book and Alex himself.
That interest wanes as soon as the book is finished. Their attention then will be on actioning Alex’s advice rather than learning more from him.
And so, he pops this simple request, very humbly worded, right when the interest and intent in helping him are highest.
Each new review will add another arrow in Alex’s social proof quiver. Not just for ranking on Amazon, but also for his own site and future marketing needs.
So, once someone is reading the book, Alex gets them to speed up his ranking by asking them for a review.
But you need those seed customers first, right?
How did Alex get the handful of first customers for his book?
It looks a lot like he used good old affiliate marketing and guest features to achieve this.
If you look around for reviews of $100MM offers, you’ll find a couple of different things.
First, you’ll note that some reviews go back to July – when the book was published.
Which means certain brands and people were very fast to review the book. I’d bet Alex hit up people with established audiences with pre-sales versions to generate initial reviews and partnerships.
Then, when you look at the written reviews of the books, you’ll find a couple o interesting things here.
Generally, the reviews tend to fall into one of two categories.
- Large book reviewers that have great DA, rewatch, and wide reaching trust
- Small brands and niche-specific sites that have smaller audiences, but are very much aligned with Alex’s core audience
The combination of the two means Alex is going to have that mass appeal and reach through being featured by high-traffic, generic book review sites.
But he’s also going to get exposed to a very targeted audience through niche-specific sites.
The two will work together very well to hit both quality and quantity audiences.
Obviously, a lot of the reviews and mentions of the book that came out around the time of publication are from the smaller, niche-focused sites.
I’m sure Alex hit up his contacts to help spread the word and generate that seed audience he needed for the reviews.
This method of getting interested people into your offer and then having them quickly leave a review is a great way to quickly grow its presence and impact.
The seed audience and review farming are great ways to quickly shoot up the Amazon rankings and improve exposure.
Here’s how the two look together.
Here’s the thing though, we’re not in the business of generating Amazon reviews. So how does Alex turn this into real business goals.
Turning Amazon success into business goals
So up to this point we’ve analysed how Alex managed to rank a book in the #1 spot for various categories on Amazon.
Thing is, unless Amazon is the only source of income you want, this doesn’t a business make.
Turning the interest and reach from Amazon into real business goals is what we’re aiming for.
So how do you turn a successful book into a real acquisition channel for your brand?
The answer is something I’ve already mentioned here.
Every marketer knows about content upgrades and how they’re the most effective method at generating leads.
You build trust with free content, and then hit the reader with something that will help them action it or elevate them to the next step.
Of course, that next step deliverable is often gated so you generate leads.
Alex uses the same concept in his book.
At the end of each chapter, you’ll find a short piece of copy like the below.
It’s a CTA to get more detailed training AND some free templates Alex has put together.
For people looking to grow their business, this is a no brainer.
When you head to the training page, you’ll note it looks very much like something you’d find in a course platform.
The videos on the page are mostly free information.
However, the way Alex presents the information is a subtle sell of his skills at growing a company’s revenue and profit.
Which means when he says something like “this is the method we use with our portfolio companies / clients”, you wonder how you can become one.
Thankfully, there are 3 clear CTAs on the page – all of which lead through to the same page that allows you to book a consultation with them.
This is awfully reminiscent, once again, of the free video training to course consultation funnel.
You build trust and value through a free training, then get the user on a consultation call which is (not so) secretly a sales call.
We’ve seen this with both…
However, Alex has also embodied the “give it away for free” that we saw with Bryan Harris and Growth Tools.
And, much like Bryan’s free tools, Alex’s free trainings are the most visited pages on the Acquisition.com site.
If we assume a very conservative conversion rate on these training pages of 1% (and that SemRush’s stats are accurate), then Alex is generating 500+ consultations every single month.
Again, if only 1% of those convert, then he’ll add 5 new companies every single month to his portfolio companies.
It might not seem a lot, but when he’s advising companies in the 7-8-figure range, this could be a very profitable approach for him.
And it all begins with a cheap eBook on Amazon.
The $100M Offers Growth Model
Once again we see the phone consultation method come into effect.
However, Alex isn’t relying on paid ads to generate leads and traffic. He’s using a course that is 100% free to generate interest and build trust.
And he’s promoting that course through a single cheap eBook.
I love the approach as it hinges on offering huge value at a very very low cost or completely free.
Alex has also implemented a couple of smart systems to “game” the algorithm. Here’s how the whole thing looks when put together.
- Alex drives traffic through 4 different channels.
- Through JV partnership promotions where he can control the quality <> quantity ratio of the leads to hit specific goals (early stage = quality, latter stage = quantity)
- Through Amazon search
- Amazon search improvements lead to him featuring on Amazon best seller pages
- Between better Amazon rankings and JV promos, he drives a lot of interest from BoFu searches on Google
2. These all direct to his highly optimised sales page
3. Those who purchase the book are encouraged to take 2 steps within the copy
- To add a review of the book (which then helps Alex rank higher in Amazon bringing in more leads)
- To go to his website for content upgrades
4. The content upgrade is a full free course. No opt-in or sale required. This is a huge trust builder
5. Within the videos, he talks about the success he’s helped others achieve, and he places many CTAs to talk to his team on the page
6. These CTAs lead to a page where you can book a free consultation – which I’m sure is half consultation half sales call.
The more of these Growth Studies I do, the more patterns I see emerging.
Int he last few weeks alone I’ve noticed two defining trends of brands that have managed to stand out from the competition.
The first is offering something for free.
Bryan Harris did it with his Growth Tools.
Alex Hormozi does it with a full, free training program.
These are both great ways to drive repeat traffic and instil huge amounts of trust with your audience.
The second is the lack of automated sales systems.
A lot of brands with high ticket offers know that a single email or even a sequence isn;t the optimal way to get someone to fork over 4 to 5-figures.
The best way is to get the prospect on the phone with a skilled sales professional.
And so you see a lot of these free consultation calls going on.
What’s most interesting to me is the different models you’ll find out there built on the same frameworks.
Free offers to consultation calls seem to be big. But the three whom fall into this archetype all do it slightly differently which helps them stand out from one another.
Let me know your thoughts on this.