Marketing to your email list can be very effective for nonfiction authors–if done right. Here are some quick Dos and Don’ts.
Use an email tool such as MailerLite to manage your email lists and avoid any issues with spam.
Send a welcome email as soon as someone signs up for your list. Using an email tool you can automate this. I like to send an additional personal email as well.
Provide great content in your email. Share tips your readers will find valuable and that pique their interest in your books and services.
Share something personal and invite conversation. Your readers want to know about you and what you’re doing. End the email inviting your reader to reply with any comments or questions and assure them you will personally respond.
Don’t buy a list. You only want people on your list who actually want to hear from you—not some random stranger from a list you bought.
Don’t borrow some else’s list. The people on their list didn’t sign up to hear from you. However, you might be able to collaborate with another author. If the author agrees, and you’ve written complimentary books, you may each be able to share the other’s book information with your respective lists and thereby reach a wider audience.
Don’t add someone to your list without their explicit permission. No matter how interested you think they might be, if they didn’t say “Please add me to your email list” don’t do it.
If you’d like to receive my quarterly email with more book marketing information, sign up here:
We all subscribe to newsletters we mean to read and then don’t. And then we transfer that feeling to our readers and worry they’ve done the same thing. I combat that by regularly asking folks to unsubscribe. (And if I discover I’m not reading a newsletter, I unsub myself. There’s only so much time. We can’t do it all. What we cull is as important as what we keep.)
Telling them it’s okay to leave helps cull the folks who are staying because they’re too nice to unsubscribe.
Everyone is busy. I see the choices as (a) be easy to ignore, and become One of Those Newsletters, or (b) be so good they don’t want to ignore you.
Yeah, (b) is harder. It’s also the professional choice.
One of the biggest mistakes authors make is thinking their newsletter is about selling. Marketing, which is what your newsletter is part of, is about building relationships. When you have good relationships with people, they’ll buy without you “selling” at all.
When you imagine that one person you’re writing your newsletter for, also remember that you’re not dragging a friend down the alley to mug them (because it’s not about money.) Instead, you’re chatting with someone who asked you to talk to them. Would you really say “I’m sure you don’t really want to talk to me, so I’ll keep this brief and infrequent”?
My circle of author friends recently discussed how they were all pruning their email lists to remove the people who never opened them. I wailed loudly that this is an enormous mistake.
Pardon me while I get geeky for a moment.
Newsletter tools that report “opens” do not, in reality, know who opened your email (let alone who read it.) The only method possible right now to measure “opens” is to include a tiny invisible image in the email and hope that the recipient will enable their email program’s ability to include images. In Gmail, for instance, images will not be displayed unless you give permission. Many programs, like Microsoft’s ubiquitous Outlook, have a preview pane, allowing a recipient to read your entire email without ever actually opening it and activating the invisible image trigger that notifies the newsletter tool.