What Authors need to know about Email Marketing – the Basics

In this post, we feature our email marketing for authors basics. Let’s get stuck in!

Logic dictates that if you want to sell your book then you need to build a following – a community of fans and readers – as these are the people that will hand over their cash in exchange for your book!

One of the best ways to do that is to collect email addresses via your author website. Email marketing is still one of the best and most reliable ways to communicate with fans and readers, and if you do it right, it will likely lead to book sales! You can check out the Mailchimp benchmark figures here on the effectiveness of email marketing.

Here are some handy hints and tips from us to you for when you’re ready to start building your email marketing list via your author website:

What’s your offer?

The first thing you need to do to start building your email list is to decide what your offer is. What will you give your target audience for free in return for their email address?

There are lots of options, and here are just some:

  • A PDF excerpt from your latest book (Remember: If you do this then don’t forget to add in hyperlinked “buy now” buttons)
  • A podcast or sound bite
  • A talking head video
  • Early access to excerpts from a forthcoming title
  • Invites to special events such as book tours or signings etc.

The key here is to make sure your offer – your giveaway – is irresistible to the reader. It has to feel valuable to your target audience. Don’t be stingy. We know that it might feel a little uncomfortable to you to give away something significant for just an email address, but remember that an email subscriber is for life, and not just for Christmas!

The science bit!

In order to start capturing email addresses on your site, you’ll need two things:

  1. An Email Service Provider: Essentially this is a service that allows you to gather email addresses and then send mass (sometimes called bulk) mailings to them. Our personal favourite at Publish Fox is MailChimp (it’s free up to 2,000 subscribers), but there are other good ones like Campaign Monitor and Constant Contact too.
  2. A form/tool/widget/pop-up for gathering email addresses: This is the bit that sits somewhere on your author website where you can tempt people can enter their email addresses. It automatically hooks up to your email service provider and adds new email addresses to your email list as they are submitted.

Once you’ve got these two bits nailed then you can get to work putting your email opt-in form on your website. Simples.

What goes where?

There are three general types of email opt-in forms:

  1. Time-delay: These forms automatically appear on your author website after a visitor has either been on the website for a certain period of time or has scrolled a certain amount around a specific page.
  2. Button activated: You can set up your website so that the opt-in form only appears when someone clicks on a button which prompted them to enter their email address.
    Embedded: These are forms that actually sit within the page content of your website.
  3. All of these options can work equally well, it’s all about personal preference here.

The next bit…?

The follow up is key!! Before you start collecting those valuable email addresses, you need to decide how you’re going to communicate with your subscribers once they join your email marketing list. What will you say to them, about what and when? This is your chance to introduce yourself to your fans, tell them about your work, share your books and help them to get to know you. There are lots of options but there are two main routes that most authors go down:

  1. Autoresponder: A steady drip-feed of emails that are automatically sent to your subscribers over a predetermined period of time.
  2. Scheduled newsletters. This is your opportunity to share your latest blog post, a great review or a media interview.

Over and above this, there are two things that we would always urge a client to think about:

  1. Use a subject line that motivates the reader to open the email
  2. Make sure you choose a frequency (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) that you can handle, and then stick to it. Like clockwork.

Whichever options you plump for you must ensure that your content is valuable so that your fans and readers keep opening—and reading—your emails.

We’re a dab hand with all things email marketing – check out the full range of marketing services that we offer – so if you want some help getting your email marketing set up properly then contact us today for a chat about how we could help you.