How to Create Your Marketing Funnel the Right Way


If you’ve been involved with publishing very long, you know (even if you have a physical book printed by one of the prominent, mainstream publishers) you are responsible for promoting it if you want to see any real sales.

Likewise, if you’ve been in marketing very long, you’re familiar with the term “marketing funnel.” It’s a long-standing phrase that explains the progression a lead takes to becoming a customer. The funnel has a beginning and an end… and therein lies the (major) problem.

A traditional marketing funnel looks something like this:

marketing funnel

 People enter the funnel (in this case via a press release promoting your book), then they click over to your blog and read a post that gives more information about the book, and then they purchase and leave the site. Sounds great, right? Except for one little thing… there is one beginning and one ending and that can kill your sales.

Round and Round We Go

Instead of creating multiple funnels that run from point A to point B, then stop, smart book marketers create marketing circles.

The beauty of circles is that they have no confined beginning or end. People can jump into your marketing circle from a practically unlimited number of sources and stay in touch with you for an undefined period of time… or until they opt out.  This gives you far more opportunities to:

  • Build a community of followers
  • Establish rapport
  • Communicate about the current book and future books
  • Promote sales
  • Establish a list that you control
  • Improve your social standing
  • Increase search engine rankings
  • And much more
Examples of Effective Marketing Circles

One of the best examples of a powerful marketing circle I’ve seen in recent years is from Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate. (Excellent book, by the way!)

If memory serves, I found out about Sally originally on Facebook. She was running an ad (based on her then-new book) that offered a free assessment to find out what your fascinating trigger was. I’m all over assessments (from DiSC to Myers-Briggs, etc.), so I clicked the Facebook ad, which took me to her Facebook page.

There I was instructed to like the page and was also given a link to Sally’s site where I could take the assessment. I got the quick result on her site, but, of course, I needed to provide my email address so she could send me a full report and some other goodies.

Included on the site and in the report was a mention of her book along with a brief description. Yep! I bought it from Amazon.

Now, I get regular updates from Sally on Facebook and also emails (about once a month) with other offers that keep me engaged with her book and introduce me to other material she has available. When I see something else I like, I buy that and… round and round we go!

I also continue to see her Facebook ads in my newsfeed and sidebar.

Do you see all the ways I’m able to stay in contact with Sally? Even if I unsubscribed from her list, I’d still be connected via Facebook. If I unliked her (for some unknown reason), I’d still have her books popping up on Amazon when I searched for products within her genre.

Marketing circles are a beautiful, wonderful, amazingly-simple-to-set-up entity that can provide never-ending exposure to your target customers.

 Create Circles for Long-Term Promotion

Let’s break down what Sally did:

marketing circle

NOTE THIS:  Circles work because each link provides another touch point. With everything you add to your marketing circle, ask yourself, “Where else can I send them? What else can I provide for them?” If you create an element within your circle that does not point your readers someplace else, you’ve just killed the flow: you’ve thrown up a giant stop sign.

“What Can I Include in My Circle?”

Oh boy! Get ready to make some notes. You can add practically anything, and you can even have more than one circle. You can create dozens that work independently or cooperatively. Remember, the key is that every link in the circle leads to someplace else.

Here are just a few:

  • Your website (preferably optimized for the search engines)
  • Your existing list
  • MP3 previews (iTunes)
  • MP4 previews (YouTube or Vimeo)
  • Contest for free books ( is great for this and builds your social following, too.)
  • Social media blast
  • Host Google hangouts to discuss the book
  • Press releases
  • Interviews/guest blog posts
  • PPC ads (AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Giveaways for cheat sheets, assessments or other tools
  • Videos
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Broadcast (radio, TV, Internet radio)
Why Isn’t Amazon Included?

Amazon is a desert. As an author, you don’t get customer contact information and, even if you did, Amazon’s terms of service prohibit you from contacting customers to sell them anything.

You also cannot list any outside URLs in your book description (you can put this info in your author profile). There is no chance of directly sending those who purchase your book to your website for freebies, bonuses, etc.

What you can do is promote the book on Amazon to your existing list and request that buyers email you after they purchase to receive goodies. So, while you can use Amazon inside your circle, it’s not a good starting point because of the limitations.

You can also use Amazon as a circle of its own. If you have multiple books or a series of books (paper or Kindle), Amazon will put those in the “Customers who bought this also bought…” section, so they’ll be seen by shoppers.

Create your marketing plan with a diligent eye toward the next touch point. It takes a little practice, but I’m confident you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

The next time you feel as if book marketing has you going around in circles, congratulate yourself! You must be doing something right.

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Karon Thackston
Karon Thackston helps business owners convert better, rank higher and make more sales including Gorton's Seafood, American Boating Association and As President of Marketing Words, Karon also trains entrepreneurs and professional writers to create persuasive copy through her self-paced Step-by-Step Copywriting Course and marketing consulting services. Karon is a regular conference speaker and author of over a dozen copywriting books/courses.
Karon Thackston
Karon Thackston


  1. Hi,
    Thank you for your lesson, I have a long way to go and wonder at the age of 80 should I even try. No wonder my book has not taken off. Thank you.

  2. Understanding how you need to guide your VIPs (Very Interested Prospects) through your offers and products is critical. So many people think that people buy after seeing your offer once – that is so not true!

    • Exactly, Tai! I’ve checked my stats and on some of my products, the number of returns before they buy is 6 or 7. Not everyone has the same communication styles or buying processes and some take way longer than others to make decisions.

  3. This makes absolute sense! The whole idea of a marketing funnel has always been difficult to wrap my head around because there are so many places a person can enter and exit the funnel. The number of funnels to describe my freelance writing and coaching business can literally be endless! Thanks for this easier way of thinking about sales funnels.