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FEBRUARY 2013 issue of
Rental Management

Kindle: Generating free business leads
02/01/2013

Imagine Amazon sending business leads to you regularly and even paying you to do so. Why would they do it?

Amazon is desperate for reading material and you can publish your content for free as Kindle books. The twist is to use them as a generation system for sales leads.

The potential audience is huge — Kindle is no longer just for people who purchase Kindle tablets. Amazon also has written Kindle Reader applications for every major smartphone, tablet, and computer including the Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7.

Businesses are using tablets and applications more than ever thanks to the availability of high speed internet and “on the go” habits of today’s business professional. The declining cost to produce computer hardware and build apps also is causing faster adoption to these technologies in the business world. As consumer behavior becomes more mobile, traditional computer manufacturers are catering to their needs with new tablet product lines in a variety of sizes. Apps are being produced to solve business problems or increase productivity as well as provide a seamless product experience for the end consumer.

Most businesses hesitate to use Kindle to generate sales leads because they think they need to write an actual book, but that’s not true. You can write and publish short reports — as long as the content is original, of high quality and does not violate its Terms of Service (TOS), Amazon will publish your material.

It is important for companies to develop a system for both creating their own content that is unique as well as curating other industry resources through effective linking and sharing. By becoming a source of timely problem solving information, companies are able to provide value instantly to potential prospects and current customers, which in turn establishes them as authoritative on the topic.

The key is to include a compelling free offer with a strong call to action and a link to a lead capture page — the page on your website where people can sign up for things like more information, special offers or your newsletter.

Amazon will even help market your book — for free. When a new Kindle book is approved and published, Amazon will:

  • Feature it in their new releases section.
  • Email its customer base announcing it to those who have previously purchased a Kindle book in that genre.
  • Offer the Kindle KDP Select Program for ongoing free promotion.
  • Allow customers to highlight, make notes and share your book’s content via Twitter and other social networks.

By enrolling in the free Kindle KDP Select Program, you give Amazon exclusivity on a renewable 90-day basis. This program allows their readers to borrow your book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and when they do, Amazon pays you a royalty, as well as for book sales. However, the real benefit is that Amazon provides five days per quarter to give your book away for free.

Why give your Kindle book away for free? Because, as a lead generation system, you want as many individuals as possible to download your Kindle book and visit your lead capture page. In addition, Amazon views each book download as a vote and rewards your book with a higher page ranking. The more downloads, the better the chance of an Amazon Page 1 placement.

To create your Kindle report:

  • Use Amazon to determine what current Kindle books or paperbacks are published about your topic.
  • Decide what information will be helpful to your potential customers. Make sure it is original and offers value. Avoid information that is easily found on the Internet.
  • Create your report in Microsoft Word and include images if appropriate.
  • Include your call to action — a message that prompts readers to visit your website — and link to your website’s lead capture page.
  • Create a cover graphic.
  • Publishing on Kindle also is designed to be fairly simple:
  • Go to kdp.amazon.com and sign up for a free Kindle account.
  • Watch the “How To” Kindle publishing video.
  • Fill out the Amazon Author Page to track your statistics.
  • Reference the book on your website and link to your Amazon book page.
  • Announce it on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter accounts.

The goal is not to sell books, but rather to generate leads from Amazon’s huge customer base. An additional benefit is that you will differentiate yourself from the competition by being a published author. If your content is excellent and helpful, you also will build trust, which will help to increase sales from these new leads.

John Rizzo and V. Michael Santoro are managing partners of Globe-On-Demand, an Internet technology company based in Charleston, S.C. For more information, visit globeondemand.com. The two also are co-authors of “Niche Dominance: Creating Order out of your Digital Marketing Chaos.” More information about the book is available at nichedominance.com.


 

The move to tablets and smartphones

If you decide to use the Kindle app, or any others, to market your business, you should know that your customers are already on mobile devices. As of September 2012, smartphone owners outnumbered owners of non-smartphones for the first time since their release, according to comScore, Reston, Va., a company that measures digital business analytics. Also, one in four smartphone owners also use a tablet and three out of five tablet owners read books on that tablet, comScore states.

For many rental stores, using smartphones and tablets to do business already is a way of life.

“I can do just about anything that I do on the desktop PC,” says Steve Kohn, president, Miller’s Rentals, Edison, N.J. “This includes client presentations, email, social networking, web searching, managing files, purchasing, using a teleprompter when giving speeches and face time. It’s much more efficient to use a tablet than to carry even an ultra-thin laptop at specific times. Tablets have come a long way and have proven themselves to be a valuable business tool.”

John Bibbo Jr., CERP, president, Event Source, Cleveland, Ohio, agrees. “I use the iPad for just about everything, but mainly email. It replaces my laptop for about 75 percent of my day. Especially with air print printer.”

Some have decided to utilize mobile devices as their only work computer. “Party Reflections utilizes iPads with a data plan as our tablet of choice,” says Douglas Crowe, CERP, director of sales, Party Reflections, Charlotte, N.C. “We purchased 10 iPads, which are currently in use by our management team and sales teams both in Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham. The mobility of the iPads enables us to access our inventory while meeting clients, but also provides the capabilities to physically show our clients our portfolio of events during a meeting. We are looking into iPad minis for the drivers and moving away from paperwork all together. We access the server at Party Reflections through a VPN [virtual private network], which allows us to have our computer system. Once we access the server from the tablet, it is the same as working at your desk with the convenience of being miles away.”

In addition to the Kindle app, there are several that can be used for business. SignEasy is one way to sign and return documents through an iPhone or iPad, Crowe says, adding that he’s also replaced his legal pads with the Easy Note app on the iPad. Kohn’s list of apps is extensive, but his top picks include DropBox and Skydrive, which help manage files. Both Bibbo and Kohn use the Remote Desktop – RDP app to access their VPNs. Bibbo’s list also includes Shoeboxed, which reads and tracks receipts and business cards.

“I think the smart move at this point is to make sure your website is smartphone and tablet compatible and that you have a social presence on sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin and Google+,” Kohn says. To learn more, attend The Rental Show seminar “Internet Marketing: Get Up to Speed” with David McBee and a rental industry panel, at 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at The Sands Expo and Convention Center. — Whitney Carnahan

 

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