There are several email list enhancement services out there, many highly rated. But this blog post will focus on cheap and simple things an author who is just starting out can use right away. Book marketing need not be daunting, and initially need not be expensive, either. Listed below are some basic book marketing tips for setting up and enhancing email lists.
You wouldn’t think it, but time and again when talking with successful authors, their email list is a major driver of sales. Once developed, it’s a very powerful form of advertising.
It’s a numbers game. If an author has 10,000 subscribers, and 30 percent open her email, she is effectively promoting to 3,000 people. If ten percent who opened her email buy the book she pitches, she sells 300 copies with little effort and no additional ad purchase.
In this hypothetical situation, we see that even with as little as three percent of the total list buying her book, our author sells quite a few in one fell swoop. So if the list is large enough, she’s looking at decent sales from practically every email she sends out. And besides sales, she has the opportunity to interact with readers directly and keep them involved and interested in her work.
Email Marketing Services
You don’t want to send mail to your list using your own email address. You’ll want to use a professional email marketing service. They know how to avoid getting labeled as spam. If you send out tons of email from your own address, it will soon get blacklisted by major internet providers. So, stick with the pros to send out your newsletter.
The biggest and most popular email marketing service is Mailchimp. Some people hate the interface. Others don’t mind it so much. Either way, once you use it to send out a few newsletters, you get used to it.
Mailchimp is free for your first 2,000 subscribers. After that, it gets rather expensive. About that time, authors start looking for cheaper options. Many go to Mailerlite. A few go to Sendinblue. Both provide less expensive options for authors with large subscriber lists. Some people pony up the money to Mailchimp to avoid the hassle of moving their list.
Again, marketing is a numbers game, so in general, the more email addresses on your newsletter the better. However, you’ll spend more money on a bigger list. This often involves a monthly fee to your email marketing service based on the size of your list. So it may be prudent to prune names for inactivity after a while. Your provider will show who opens your mail and who clicks on the links. If you see someone who hasn’t opened your emails in months, maybe it’s time to take them off your list.
Developing an Email List
You can’t just send out a bunch of unsolicited emails saying “Buy my book.” That would be spam. But you can send your newsletter with news and information about your books to people who have opted in to receiving emails from you. So the question is, how do you get people to accept your newsletter in their inbox?
You should have a link to the opt in form on your website in every book. Many authors place the link in the front and back of their books. This will generate some addresses for you. You should also have the link in prominent places on your website. A pop-up form, with an offer for a free book or short story in exchange for visitors’ email addresses, is popular. Many email marketing services provide code you can add to your website that will send the info to your list as soon as someone fills it in on your site.
You can also use Instafreebie, and offer a book, short story, or sample of a book that is free to download. Readers give Instafreebie their address, Instafreebie emails them a copy of your work and then gives you the address. If you use Mailchimp, Instafreebie can send the addresses straight to that account.
Once your product is on Instafreebie, you need to get the word out to readers so they will know to download it. One of the best ways to do this is join a group giveaway.
Instafreebie Group Giveaway
Authors set up group giveaways all the time. Find somebody who is doing a giveaway in your genre, and ask to be included. Often, they will use a Google form where you enter the Instafreebie address and a brief description of your book. The host will take this info and add it to their giveaway page.
Instafreebie often features group giveaways on their home page. During the time it’s featured, participants agree to promote the giveaway on their social media, websites, and existing lists. People flock to the landing page, download the books they want, and everybody’s email lists grow accordingly.
One of the best places to network with authors hosting giveaways across multiple genres is the Facebook group Instafreebie Promos run by Dean Wilson. It’s a closed group and he has to invite you. But once there, you will find people running giveaways in a variety of genres. Find yours and jump in. Your list will grow dramatically.
There are other promotional services out there that will organize giveaways. Some of them involve participation fees that go toward rewarding readers with prizes or swag. Others promise to pitch your book to select groups who are very responsive to your genre. As you get comfortable in developing your list, these services are certainly worth investigating and can be very useful. But for just starting out, using Mailchimp, Instafreebie, and networking through Facebook should suffice.
I want to add a great post recently written by Brian Ference that expands on some of the things discussed here, and better than I put it. Click over to his Step by Step Guide to Starting An Author Platform Mailing List.