If you never listen to anything I say ever again, please just take this one piece of advice on board!
YOUR eMAILING LIST IS YOUR BIGGEST ASSET AS AN
Sound like an icky marketing term? I know, I know. That’s because it’s so often abused and has spammy connotations. We aren’t going to be sending out information on viagra or asking to be wired money to the Congo though are we now?Let’s say “email followers” instead. Better? :)
While you might feel that email marketing is an annoyance, if you do it right it is actually be a welcome presence in your “followers” lives. I’m sure you have some emails that arrive in your inbox that you look forward to, that you enjoy reading, that make you laugh or smile? Can’t wait to open…?
And then there are the other 90% that you NEVER open and should really unsubscribe to (but that would mean opening it… catch 22!)
The thing is, YOU choose the tone, content and delivery of your emails, so YOU decide what kind of emails you are going to send out. It doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) icky and annoying in the slightest.
You’re a writer! You can do this. You write a gazillion words and emails a day already. I’m sure that if you’re not funny, you’re poignant, sharp or have a way with words. I’m pretty sure you’ve got this covered.
Email is one of the most reliable, direct and FREE! ways of connecting with your readers. You can let them know about the small achievements in your life, ask them for their input on your current product, or ask them for a reply so you can really have a two way relationship with them. I do that with my own list sometimes and I love hearing from my “email followers”. It’s nice to know I’m not just writing to crickets!
Your mailing list is evergreen.
Blog readers, Twitters followers, Facebook fans and so on are all GREAT. But they will never replace your mailing list.
Social media will come and go. It’s hard to believe, but Facebook does have a shelf-life. We literally saw MySpace die over night!
Plus, if your Twitter or FB feed is anything like mine, messages get pushed to the bottom of a feed so quickly and are simply never seen by some followers. AND you’re competing with pictures of pets, babies, holiday snaps and funny images.
What are your emails competing with? Work? Sales pitches? Groupon? If you keep your mailing list entertaining you’ll be a VERY welcome distraction in comparison!
Email – when well-written – is the most personal way to your readers’ hearts!
Not only is a fantastic way to show your personality and entertain your fans directly in-between books, when book 2, 3, or 30 comes out you have a group of people happy to hear about your good news and go and buy it.
- Emailing lists are abused all the time, and it’s not cool. It is NOT okay to add people to your mailing list without them agreeing to it. Unless they have specifically signed up for regular content from you, do NOT add addresses to your list, not even friends and family without their permission.
- Give people an easy way to unsubscribe without having to awkwardly ask you to be removed. I recommend using a mailing list manager for this purpose – most of them offer a one-click unsubscribe option.
- Remember the golden rule – keep your content 80% valuable or entertaining, 20% promotional. No-one likes a show off and this is not a weekly or monthly brag.
- Try to stick to a consistent schedule. I send out my newsletter every Monday morning without fail. Whether you send out a message every week, month, or quarter, keep it up consistently.
Why not get started asap?
–> Embed an opt-in form on your site, and put it somewhere prominent – your homepage, sidebar, About page etc.
–> Think about how you can entice more people to join your list – giving away an “ethical bribe” such as a free chapter, deleted scene, advice on writing etc is a good way of encouraging people to sign up.
–> Think about the structure of your emails, what content you want to include, and how often you can send one out. I write one every Monday, you might prefer monthly, bi-monthly or even quarterly.
–> Whatever you decide, GO PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR for the next year! We all know time flies, but make this a non-negotiable appointment with yourself, and if you’re consistent, you will see your list grow as a result.
So tell me, what can you give away from your site in order to encourage people to leave their email address? How are you going to keep your emails entertaining each week? Leave a comment!
p.s. I’ll be sending out a PDF sometime in the very near future: 10 Proven Ways to Increase Your Mailing List & Engage Your Readers. Look out for that one!
Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!
Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.