Book Funnels: What They Are, and How to Use Them to Build Your Brand

Never heard of a book funnel? No worries, most people haven’t. A “Funnel” is a marketing term that describes the customer journey; from not knowing who you are to signing on to your $10k coaching program. A book funnel is when an author uses their book strategically to grow their business. And they’re remarkably effective when done correctly. 

But don’t take my word for it, some of your favorite nonfiction health authors are using book funnels right now to grow their businesses:

  • Dr. David Perlmutter is a neurologist and author of several books. He’s used getting published to establish his authority in neurology and gut health. His books lead readers to his online courses and supplements. 
  • Dr. Mark Hyman is a functional medicine expert, and his books (“Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?” and “The Blood Sugar Solution”) have been instrumental in building his brand. His book funnels attract readers to his coaching programs and health products.
  • Dr. Atul Gawande is a renowned surgeon and author. His books have sparked important discussions on healthcare and patient care. His book funnels connect him with healthcare professionals and organizations for speaking engagements and consultations. 
  • Dr. Deepak Chopra is a pioneer in mind-body medicine. He’s authored numerous books on holistic health and well-being, and his books drive readers to his wellness programs and workshops. 

Once you know about book funnels, you’ll probably start seeing them everywhere. Some of the biggest names in every industry have used a book to get themselves there. And notice how varied the end results are for each person on this list. Whether you want to elevate your consulting, speaking, coaching, or patient-facing business, a book can give you a big leg-up. 

But without a book funnel in place, those readers will move along. They might remember your book, but they won’t take any action from it. They’ll likely remember your name in an “oh yeah, I think I read their book” way, but not in the “oh yeah, I love their work!” kind of way. A book funnel helps you capture people while they’re interested in your work, so they can stay engaged with you.

Understanding what book funnels are, and how one can work for you, will help you attract more readers and buyers. As a concierge ghostwriter for clinicians, I help my clients build book funnels that convert strangers into patients, community members, and more. So first off, let’s get clear on how book funnels work. 
Psst. . . still not sure what I mean by “funnels”? Here’s a breakdown of marketing funnels for clinicians

How Book Funnels Work

Book funnels use books as their lead-generation magnet. This means that the people that read an author’s books are at the top of their funnel, and we use their book to reach more people. Building people’s awareness with a book helps them attach authority to your name early on; after all, not everyone can put “published author” behind their names. 

The next step in a book funnel is a low-risk offer, like signing up for a free guide, or joining a mailing list or community. You should mention this offer throughout the book and include it in your Call to Action at the end. The point of this offer is to pull them into a stream of contact, so they can learn more about your ongoing work. 

This consideration phase is when your readers are learning more about what it’s like to work with you. Because of your book, they already know your philosophies and your story. They’re interested in what you do, because otherwise they wouldn’t have read a whole book about it. Now you just have to show them that there’s more value they can get from you. 

Once they join your next offer, you’ve narrowed your pool down to your most interested people. If you’ve got them on your email list, you’ll keep them interested with insightful stories and engaging ideas. If they downloaded your free guide, you’ll over-deliver on value to show them that you’re worth even more of their time. This is the conversion phase, when people decide to work with you. 

After they choose to work with you on a more intimate level, they really know you. Once you’ve proven to someone that you’re trustworthy, they’re loyal to you. They’ll keep coming back to see you as a patient, they’ll refer you to their friends, they’ll buy your higher-ticket offers. 

Book funnels can be expensive to set up because professional books aren’t cheap. But they’ve got big benefits if you’re willing to invest some time and energy. Let’s quickly talk about the benefits of book funnels compared to other marketing strategies

  • Target a Specific Audience: books allow you to engage with readers who are genuinely interested in your expertise, ensuring your message resonates with the right audience. 
  • Building Thought Leadership: a book positions you as a leading authority in your specialty, empowering you to influence the conversation in your industry. 
  • Cultivate Connections: reading your book is a more high-contact engagement method than following you on social media. A book can help you nurture relationships with potential clients, patients, or collaborators, and create more potential for long-term partnerships. 
  • Build Authority for High-Ticket Offers: if you’re a consultant or speaker, how can you prove to people that you know what you’re talking about? A book is a physical manifestation of your expertise that shows the depth of your knowledge and authority. 

Book funnels are powerful tools for business owners that want to bring their career to the next level. Now that you know the basic building blocks and benefits of a book funnel, let’s get more specific on how you can build a book funnel system to bring in readers to each of your offers. 

How to Build Your Book Funnel Piece-By-Piece

To get started on building your book funnel, you’ll first need to think about your goals and who you need to reach with your book. So let’s talk about identifying your audience. 

Identifying Target Audiences Based On Your Goals

“Where do you want to be in five years?” is what I ask nearly every client on our discovery calls. And depending on their answer, we’ll choose a target audience to write their book towards. Check out these examples of clinician goals and their audience:

  • If you want more patients via referral, you’ll want to target other physicians who also see your subset of patients. For example, if you’re a TMS therapy provider, you might want to write a book targeting psychiatrists who often see patients with treatment-resistant depression. 
  • If you want to take on more professional speaking engagements, your book should have a thought-leadership element that speaks to industry peers and leaders. For example, if you’re a pain-management specialist, your book might talk about the trends you’ve noticed in the last decade of the opioid empidemic. 
  • If you’re looking for more consulting contracts, your book should speak to the leaders in your industry who run large corporations. For example, if you’re a nurse staffing expert developing a new formula for informatics, your book should speak to nurse managers and c-suite executives who need your insights. 

Once you understand who your book funnel should target, now you can start thinking about where they are and how you can speak to them with your book. But once they’ve read the book, how can you make sure they don’t leak out of your funnel? Let’s talk about examples of targeted book funnels. 

Examples of Targeted Book Funnels

I build book funnels to target the specific audiences my clients speak to. The key to a good funnel is to build it out with offers for people at every stage of the getting-to-know-you process. Very few people want to go from reading your book to enrolling in your $20k coaching program. But if you come in with more in-between offers, you can still sell that program while making more income from smallers sells. 

This is best illustrated with real examples, so let’s build some simple funnels based on different audience profiles:

Target Audience: Patients

Top of the Funnel: a medical book that offers step-by-step instructions for accomplishing a health goal

Call-to-Action: join a $20 remote bootcamp with scheduled recorded webinars and community support, this will get them on your email list for newsletters  

Next Offer: A $300 one-on-one call with you

Highest Offer: A subscription to your concierge medicine group, at $300 per month with a one-year commitment

Target Audience: Industry Leaders

Top of the Funnel: a speaker series you offer at a conference, which gives them a discount code so they can buy your book at reduced price

Next Step: They read your book, which focuses on thought leadership and builds your industry influence as a forward-thinking entrepreneur in your niche. 

Call-To-Action: At the end of the book, you point them toward a high-value information piece like a white paper or research report. In exchange for that, you’ll get their email address so you can keep sending them think pieces every week or two. 

Next Offer: Through your newsletter, leaders know you as a reputable innovator in your industry, and you offer them a slot in your high-value webinar for $300.

Highest Offer: you use your leverage as a published thought leader to gain more speaking engagements in front of those leaders.

Target Audience: Consulting Clients

Top of the Funnel: a results-oriented leadership book that includes case studies and success stories, and demonstrates the tangible impact of your insights and solutions

Next Step: you offer a discounted consulting package to readers of your book, which helps readers explore the value of your consulting services without taking a huge investment risk

Call-To-Action: After the discounted rate ends, you offer a scaled-up monthly service at your full rate. 

Highest Offer: You boost your retainer consulting rates to $50,000 per contract, and because your book is bringing in so many new leads, you create a waiting list of executive clients. 

What you might notice about all of these funnels is how much heavy lifting your book does for you as far as building your authority and amplifying your voice. A book is a massive benefit if you’re wanting to expand your reach and build on your professional reputation. 

These simplified book funnels give you an idea of what your funnel might look like. But there are infinite ways to set up and run a funnel, and most successful businesses have several of these systems running at once. So let’s get into real-world examples of successful book funnels by clinicians and what we can learn from them. 

Real-World Clinician Book Funnels

Check out these successful book funnels that have helped these clinicians grow their patients, their consulting or speaking business, and their brands. I’ve highlighted the touchstones that move people from one phase of the funnel to the next. 

Example 1: Dr. David Perlmutter

Dr. Perlmutter is a neurologist who has published 8 books, including ‘Drop Acid’, ‘Brain Wash’, ‘The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan’, and more. From his books and online blogs, readers are prompted to join his mailing list. Some of his books have specific free content available for readers, like access to Dr. Perlmutter’s TV specials or webinars. In addition, he has a free 30-day program that readers can access by handing over their email addresses. 

Once on his email list, readers get consistent messages on blog updates, supplement offers, and other promotions. One of Dr. Perlmutter’s highest-ticket offers from his books is a $8500 retreat for readers. Because of his books and articles, he’s grown a following that has helped him guest on programs like CNN, The Today Show, Oprah, and CBS This Morning. His speaking fees today range from $30,000-50,000. 

Example 2: Dr. Mark Hyman

Dr. Hyman is a functional medicine physician focused on gut health and integrative treatments for disease. has published several books, including this year’s ‘Young Forever’, his 2021 book ‘The Pegan Diet’, and 2019’s ‘Food’. His books lead readers to his email list, where they get updates on his favorite supplements, books, podcasts, and new research. Subscribers can also get weekly updates from him via text. 

Dr. Hyman’s paid subscriber program, Hyman+, includes access to his monthly AMAs, guest lectures, ad-free podcasts, and past docuseries. Through his private practice, The Ultrewellness Center, he’s trained functional medicine practitioners to coach and treat patients. Dr. Hyman’s impressive platform has gotten him appearances on CBS, Good Morning America, The View, CNN, and more. His live speaking fees range from $50,000 to $100,000.

Example 3: Dr. Daniel Amen

Dr. Amen is a psychiatrist and medical director of Amen clinics, with offices in California, Washington, Virginia, Georgia, and more. He’s published more than a dozen books, including ‘Change Your Brain, Every Day’ this year, ‘You, Happier’ in 2022, and ‘Your Brain is Always Listening’ in 2021. In addition, he has several free ebooks on his site. Readers can subscribe to his newsletter to learn more about his methods and research. 

In addition to patient resources, Dr. Amen has specific content for other providers who may want to refer patients to him. His professional newsletter, brochures, research overviews, and case studies build his trust and authority with peers. Patients and providers can sign up for a free call with one of Dr. Amen’s clinic experts to determine next steps. 

He’s been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journey, and contributes to Men’s Health Magazine. He’s also appeared on the Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and more. Dr. Amen’s in-person speaking fees are between $50,000 and $100,000. 

These real-life examples show how physician-authors strategically designed their book funnels to educate, influence, and connect with diverse audiences. What I notice about the most successful physician authors is that they don’t just use one book to promote their brand. They build an audience with a combination of publishing books, consistent video content, weekly articles, and direct newsletters. A book is only a piece of the puzzle. 

Book Funnels 101: Key Takeaways

Book funnels have proven to be powerful tools for clinician entrepreneurs looking to make a significant impact in their industries. By understanding the stages of a book funnel – from awareness to loyalty – clinician entrepreneurs can strategically nurture their target audience, building trust and credibility along the way. Whether your goals are focused on patients, speaking gigs, or something else, a book might be the next step to get you there. 

If you’re thinking about building a book funnel, ask yourself this first:

  • What are my big-picture goals?
  • Who do I want to speak to?
  • Where does my audience hang out?
  • Why would someone work with me rather than a competitor?
  • How can I deliver value at each stage of my funnel?

Once you start thinking about book funnels, you’ll probably start seeing them everywhere. As a concierge ghostwriter, I’ve witnessed how book funnels transform branding books into influential assets that open doors to new opportunities. With a personalized approach, tailored to the goals and audience of each clinician entrepreneur, these book funnels empower professionals to make a lasting impact and achieve a higher level of recognition.

Ready to start building your book funnel – but you don’t want to write it yourself? Book a call with me to get clarity on your book goals and learn why my clients love working with me. 

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