Unit 4: Reader Acquisition
Part 5: Email Marketing
Getting a Handle on This Email Marketing Thing Once and For All
A main part of an authorpreneur’s overall marketing campaign should be the creation of a mailing list. While there is no one-fits-all formula for a mailing list there are several ways you can build a solid list, and keep your fans subscribed to this list. We have combined some tips and tools on how to build your list and provide quality content on a consistent basis.
As with any marketing campaign, you will need to define your target market. You can’t just assume that “everyone” will want to read your emails, as this will often result in missing those who are actually interested and targeting those who won’t even open your email. Get to know your target market by finding out what they want to hear, and what they would like to see more of. If your readers look forward to receiving news from you they are all the more likely to share what they read with friends.
Observe where your readers like to hang out and share information. Are they mainly active online, and if so on what platform, or do they prefer in-person get-togethers? Or do they prefer to receive content via regular mail? This will help you develop your delivery technique. It’s no good sending out an email newsletter to people who don’t spend that much time online, but at the same time, you don’t want to send printed materials out to eco-conscious fans either. It also helps to find out how your target market likes to consume information. Are they more interested in reading content, or would they rather watch a video? Do they like to interact with their favorite authors or are they more interested in reading blog posts?
You want to think about how you will be drawing people’s attention to your mailing list, as well as the kind of content you want to send out to people. Remember that email is a personal tool, so your created content should have a personal feel to it too – your audience needs to think that you are talking to them exclusively!
Authors may find that using lead magnets, opt-in incentives, are a great way to draw people in to signing up for a mailing list. Incentives such as a free eBook download or an entrance into a fun giveaway are two of several ways you can attract potential new readers. Another great way to encourage sign-up is at in-person book signings and meet and greets. Always remember to have a sign-up sheet in a visible location in these instances! On January 17th, I will be participating in a Teleseminar for the Nonfiction Authors Association on this topic.
Finally, while some authors do well with sending content as and when they feel like it, the best option is to be able to send content out on a consistent and regular basis. Keep this in mind when you are curating your first campaign, as you want to make sure you are able to create the same type of quality content every week, or every other week.
It really is important to spend some quality time creating your list, keeping in mind that your goal is for your list to grow, by engaging more people. There are several tools that you can use to your advantage and others than we would advise against.
First of all, don’t buy lists. Your list may get an initial boost in numbers but you will most likely find that these people won’t even bother to open your emails, which defeats the object of having them on your list! Another area to avoid is downloading all of your email contacts (on LinkedIn for example) and then spamming them all with your emails. Use these contacts wisely – your email client will allow you to create different groups and different campaigns for these groups. Some contacts may benefit from a personal introduction email only, while others may appreciate regular updates: it’s up to you to curate your lists in a smart way that allows for growth.
Email providers such as MailChimp or Constant Contact can help you build your list and create enticing campaigns through a guided, step-by-step approach. You can also use tools such as pop-ups on your website that direct readers towards a sign-up form, Facebook Ads that draw attention to your list, and activities such as group giveaways or co-registration campaigns with other businesses. It’s important to see your mailing list as an ongoing marketing campaign and to keep your eyes out for new ways to keep it growing.
Email providers will give you access to all types of metrics so that you can track users and see what kind of content works and what doesn’t. You will be able to see who opens your emails, who clicks through, who subscribes, and who unsubscribes. Keeping an eye on these metrics will ensure you are targeting the right people and giving them the content that they want to see. There are also several types of email campaigns that you can use at any given time:
- Segmented lists that allow for more personal content;
- Triggered email campaigns that can provide specific information at specific times (a reminder that someone hasn’t finished their shopping journey for example);
- Content campaigns that provide readers with information on blog posts or new reading content for example;
- Promotional campaigns, which are a great way to raise awareness on an impending release or rerelease.
As you can see, your mailing list is a highly valuable marketing tool and something that shouldn’t be an afterthought in your overall campaign. Your aim will be to continue to build your list by consistently creating compelling content, and keeping your readers not only engaged but also excited by your work.
Happy List Building,
Growth Hacking Tip: Engage in communities
Photo of the Week: To the top floor of One World Trade Center. Wow, what a view! 🏙️
Meal of the Week: After seeing One World Trade Center last Friday, I was called to my son’s school because he was sick; complaining of pain in his side and stomach. We spent the weekend managing his pain. On Monday morning last week we went to walk-in hours at the pediatrician and was told to go to the ER. Turns out he has acute Hepatitis, even though he has been vaccinated.
After spending the entire day in the ER and receiving fluids for dehydration, the kiddo was feeling better. We ate bagels at one of our fave spots. He had barely been able to keep food down, so the fact that he ate a (plain) bagel was a triumph. I hadn’t eaten all day so by the time we were discharged at 4pm I had this HUGE monster bagel with lox, tomato, cucumber and cream cheese.