Ever wanted to see the big picture? All the options laid out so you can make an informed decision?
As I was coaching an author the other day, I realized that I haven’t written a blog post that covers my full email list building strategy.
So today, we’re going to remedy that!
In any marketing efforts, you want to make sure you’re doing things to reach both your Existing Readers and New Readers. The good news is that if you’re growing your email list effectively, it will be a powerful tool to reach your existing readers, as well as introducing new readers to you and converting them to fans eager to purchase your next book.
Sound too good to be true? I won’t promise it’s easy or completely painless, but once you have your sign-up forms and your automated welcome sequence in place, most of the hard work is done.
People who sign up for your email list after reading a piece of your writing tend to be a high “quality” subscriber. Meaning they are likely to open the emails you send and click the links in the email. They are likely your target reader.
The two best methods to capture these readers on your email list are:
- Organic sign-ups: People who click the link in the back of your books, on your website, or on social media. To capture these readers, make sure you have a sign-up form on every page of your website, on your Facebook author page, and in any other social media bios. Also, make sure you have a link to sign-up for your email list in the back of your books. If you’re traditionally published, you can include it in your author bio or ask your publisher about how it can be included in the back matter.
- Give away a sample of your own writing: This is a step further than simply asking the reader to sign-up for new book updates. You’re offering them something exclusive as extra incentive to join your list. Here, I’m not talking about a free ebook necessarily (although that’s a possibility). Remember, these people have already read at least one of your books and (hopefully) enjoyed it. The incentive you give them to join could be:
- A prequel
- Short story between books
- Christmas story
- Behind the scenes look at your writing process.
- Character bios and inspiration photos
In my case, I give a short story that follows book five in my most popular series. It can stand alone as a short story, and I offer it at the end of all of my ebooks.
One of the fastest ways to meet new readers is by growing your email list. There are two things to focus on as you’re adding new readers to your list.
- Make sure they’re your target reader.
- Make sure you have an automated welcome email sequence in place that introduces them to your writing and to you as an author, and teaches them to purchase your other books. (If you want an example of an effective welcome sequence, with critique and pro tips, see my PDF mini-course here).
I can’t emphasize enough how important the above two points are! As long as those two factors are consistent, adding new readers to your email list will be a steady source of book sales for you.
So now, let’s talk through some effective ways to meet those new readers.
- Monthly drawing for a book in the same genre you write: Make sure the book is one your target reader will love, and let participants know that they’re signing up for your email list when they enter. You can host this giveaway yourself (on your website, Rafflecopter, etc.) and promote it on social media.
- Group giveaways: These have spread like wildfire over the last couple of years, because they’re effective. Basically, several authors join together for a joint promotion to give books away to readers in exchange for email list sign-ups. There are essentially two types:
1. Promos where one or two “Grand Prize” winners are chosen, and each contributing author gives a book only to those winners. Every reader who enters chooses which author in the promo they want to sign-up for. The authors are usually asked to send the giveaway contest to their own email list to help spread the word. Many of these promos give somewhere between 500 – 800 email subscribers, depending on who is running the promo and what authors are included.
This type of group giveaway is perfect for traditionally published authors (and indies, too), because the author only needs to give one or two copies of the book. Some great promos I’ve used have been run by Ryan Zee, Spirit Filled Ebooks, Celebrate Lit, and AuthorsXP.
2. Promos where each author gives a free book to every email subscriber. To use these, you’ll need to have a free book go giveaway (which is why these are usually best suited for indie authors). The authors are usually asked to send a link to the giveaway contest to their own email list to help spread the word. There are a number of these promos that take place onMy Book Cave, BookFunnel, and Instafreebie. Each of these websites allow you to sign up to hear about new promos, and you request to join those that reach your target reader.
Litring also has a number of regular promos to help authors grow their email lists. Some of these require a free book to give subscribers, but others don’t. Most of them don’t require authors to send to their own email list, but the price to join the promo is sometimes higher (to pay for advertising).
- Facebook ads for your free book or story: This requires giving a free ebook to each subscriber. Again, there are two types of FB ads you can use:
Option 1: Optimize for website clicks to a landing page (works like your standard FB sales ad, except you send readers to a landing page instead of the book Amazon page. I cover these in detail in this post.
Option 2: Lead Generation ads, allows mobile users to sign-up with only a couple taps on their phone (and without having to type in their email address). I prefer Lead Gen ads because you can run the ad at a lower spend per day, which helps when you’re still working to find the FB targeting to reach your audience. See lots more detail in this post.
One of the important things with FB ads is to keep fine-tuning the interest targeting until your cost-per-click comes in line and your relevance score is at least 7. I offer several other suggestions in this post.
- Ongoing Giveaway on Instafreebie: This is separate from group giveaways. Instafreebie has their own reader base who regularly look for new authors on the Instafreebie site. You can post a book that readers download in exchange for signing up for your email list.
Whew! Are you as worn out from all this info as my fingers are from typing it?
But all these options are great news! Once you have your email list and your autoresponder set up, most of the hard work is complete. Then, it’s time to start using some of these methods to grow your list. Check out each of the websites I listed for group giveaways and sign up for the email lists of those that are useful for you. Then, as the giveaways are announced, look out for those that will reach your target reader. You won’t be disappointed!
I feel like I’ve just skimmed the surface on these, so if you have questions don’t hesitate to ask in the comments!
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