E-mail, in technology years, is ancient. The first e-mails were sent in 1993, that makes email a whole 21 years old. We tend to think that newer is always better and that older is always worse. This would make one think that newsletter marketing via e-mail is not such a good idea.
The reality however is different as evident from several research reports. McKinsey & Co. found in a recent survey that emails are 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter together. Even we, here at InstaScribe, read that twice.
We bet that you are immediately planning how to leverage your mailing list. A great advantage of compiling a mailing list is that the recipients are already interested in you and your books. That’s why they subscribed, isn’t it?
E-mail lists are most effective for authors who are planning to write multiple books, or even better, a series. For publishers it is obviously very effective because they will have multiple books to publish.
What are the practical things you need to know when it comes to using e-mail marketing?
Newsletter Managament Tools
There are a whole bunch of tools to choose from.
MailChimp offers you nearly anything you can think of when it comes to email marketing. It has a large number of design templates to choose from and a GUI that allows you to create your own templates easily. It offers a bunch of analytical tools and a free plan that allows you to maintain a list of up to 2000 subscribers.
Aweber is another well-known and trusted email marketing service. It has superior autoresponder capabilities and streamlined integration options with Facebook etc. However, there is no free plan available.
Campaign Monitor is another full house email marketing service, which is easy to use and has great template design tool, but no free version.
Google Groups is one of the many services Google offers. This is the most scaled down variation of an email marketing service. It is free for unlimited number of members. As such, it is created to allow members of groups to interact with each other. But you can use it as a newsletter, if you choose the setting to let only group-owner post. Given that it is not meant to be a newsletter tool, unless free part is important to you, you may find that it lacks the analytics and other tools a newsletter owner would appreciate.
The InstaScribe recommends MailChimp, not just because of the free plan, but also because of its ease of use and design functions.
How to Grow Your Mailing List
MailChimp might offer you 2000 free subscriers, but where do you get those subscribers from? There must be a way to grow the number of recipients in your list. Take courage! There is!
- Include the signup link in all your books. Give the link at end with the promise of freebies, more content or even prizes. Ideally have some content on offer as soon as someone signs up. Possibly a short story, or an extension to your current book.
- Display the signup link prominently on your author website and Facebook page. Couple this with an announcement of the benefits from signing up.
- Add signup links to your e-mail signature and forum posts.
- Always carry business cards with you. Exchange them with interested individuals and ask for permission to add them to your mailing list
- If readers, who are not a part of your mailing list, contact you elsewhere, request them to join the mailing list while responding to them.
- Give tools to the subscribers to refer their friends and others to the mailing list.
Mailing List Etiquette
One sure way of losing members is to misuse your mailing list. Here are some pointers on how to do it right.
- Don’t be like Uncle Jim who only knows you when he wants something from you! In other words, don’t just send “buy my book” e-mails every once in a while.
- Show your appreciation by offering
- early review copies of your upcoming books
- promotional prices before releasing the book to general public
- Keep your readers informed about promotional offers on ongoing basis.
- Be polite! Speak when you are spoken to! Answer questions readers may have.
- Send a digest of interesting blog posts, Twitter or Facebook conversations once in a while.
- Don’t overdo mailing. If in doubt, keep mailing to a minimum, only announcing new books and promotional offers.
- Keep it relevant. If you are an author or publisher that publishes in multiple genres, have separate mailing lists for them. Romance readers might not be interested in your YA novels and vice versa.
You are ready to start building and using your mailing list. If you have any questions, or any interesting experiences to share, please do leave a comment.
Happy writing, happy publishing and happy selling!