Nine out of 10 authors I work with aren’t collecting email addresses at their websites, mailing regularly and selling more books as a result.
That breaks my heart. 🙁 Email marketing is the Number One strategy to sell more books. Period. Even for fiction authors.
It takes time. It takes patience to learn the technology. And it takes a lot of courage, especially when you know some people will unsubscribe from your email list. Some might send you nasty replies. A few might even report you as a spammer.
I repeat: It’s worth it! But only if you do it right. That means abiding by the CAN SPAM Act of 2003, sending top-quality content and following the 80-20 rule of marketing: 80 percent content and 20 percent promotions.
I shared tips galore on how to use email to sell more books when I was a guest on book shepherd Judith Briles’ one-hour radio show yesterday.
Why Email Crushes All Other Strategies
Here are the seven best reasons why the smartest authors are emailing their readers no less than every other week:
- Readers who join your email list and confirm their subscriptions (known as double opt-in) have raised their hands and said, “Yes, I want to hear from you. Bring it on!” 😛
- If you mail regularly, at the same time and on the same day, you train them to look forward to hearing from you. Consultant Vickie Sullivan, who teaches speakers and consultants how to raise their fees and attract more clients, mails every Tuesday morning, right about the time I’m finishing up my own email tips that go out mid-day. Her content is so compelling that I usually drop what I’m doing and open her emails. If I don’t do it, I’ll forget.
- When they join your email list, you can follow up with them through a series of autoresponder messages that go out X number of days after they subscribe. Your welcome email, for example, can go out on Day 0. You welcome them and ask them a question like, “Is there a topic you’d like to know more about?” or “What problem are you struggling with that I can help you solve?” Pay attention to their answers.
- It’s inexpensive. A heck of a lot cheaper than direct mail. Or Facebook ads.
- You can personalize each message. A good email program will let you personalize things like your subject line and the salutation.
- If your content is valuable, you’ll get far more comments from readers who reply to your email that you’ll get from comments at your blog, retweets, Likes, etc.
- Email is immediate. If there’s breaking news that ties into your book, you can create and send an email in less than half an hour.
Email Builds Valuable Relationships with Readers
But the very best reason is that email can form the relationship with readers better than any other marketing tool. Relationships first, sales second.
During yesterday’s interview with Judith, she shared a killer tip near the end that I’m going to use when I mail my publicity tips on Saturday. It’s on how to newsjack within the next week: take a huge breaking news event and tie it into the topic of your book, or your expertise. Fiction authors, you can do this too!
And if you don’t receive my twice-a-week publicity tips, subscribe here.
Questions about email marketing? Ask in the comments and I’ll answer.