An Author’s Guide to Building a Successful Email List
One of the main questions that leave debuting authors tormented is: How to build an audience for my first book before it’s released? Authors are more or less aware that they should start building their author mailing list months in advance. But the roadblock they face is that they do not know-how. While it’s easier said than done, it’s not an impossible feat even if you’re working on your first book.
Today’s modern author needs an email list, and it doesn’t matter if you’re self-publishing or traditionally publishing a book. Unlike answers to most questions, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this. But there are some tips and tricks out there to help you develop your email list. So if you’re ready to embark on this journey, we will break it down for you, so you will get a clear and confident idea of how to build your email list.
What is an email list & Why is it Important for Authors
Despite various technological advancements, Email to-date remains one of the most effective ways to build a trusting and long-lasting relationship with readers. It will turn your avid fans into advocates. So what is an email list? An email list is a list of email addresses of people that have subscribed to your website, blog, or other channels. For instance, let’s say you place an order online from a new website you come across. During your checkout, you enter your email and other information needed.
Once you hit the submit button, you enter the online store’s email list, and from then on, you start to receive emails from the brand/company. Why are email lists important to authors? Unlike social media, where only a certain percentage of your fans and followers will notice your post or message, it reaches everyone with an email. Email lists give authors direct access to communicate with their fans, readers, and subscribers. It, in return, allows them to build a relationship of trust and value. Having direct communication with your fans is powerful. Besides building trust, you will also offer more products, services, and content that will keep your readers hooked.
Choose an Email Platform
What is an email platform? You might wonder. An email platform is a database that holds your email lists. It allows you to communicate with your readers and fans in mass. While we’re at it, you need to know that an email platform doesn’t include your Gmail, Yahoo, HotMail, or other email service providers you use to communicate with your friends and family or use when you’re doing personal tasks.
Think of an email platform like your lounge. Your website is your online house, and your email platform is the lounge where your readers/subscribers can join. It allows you to build a relationship and communicate with your avid fans.
1. Constant Contact
Constant Contact is one of the largest and fastest grown email platforms in the world. If you’re a beginner, this is the easiest and friendly email service to use. You can do much more than just creating your email lists.
SendinBlue is a complete SMS and email marketing platform for business. They are easy to use with impeccable tools that will help create beautiful and highly engaging emails. They have a simple drag and drop email editor that makes it easier for beginners.
It is one of the most popular email marketing platforms globally, mainly because they have a free email platform plan. Just like SendinBlue, MailChimp also comes with an easy drag and drop email builder. It also allows you to schedule the mail as per your reader’s timezone.
ConvertKit is a robust email platform, especially for bloggers and authors. It is effortless to use and powerful. One of the platform’s unique features is that it quickly offers content upgrade and incentives with email signup forms. It provides a 14-day free trial and a 30 refund policy.
If you’re looking for another best option, it would be MailerLite. They also offer a similar free plan. The first 1000 subscribers get it for free.
Add landing URL on your Website and Promote on Social Media.
Here’s the deal, nobody’s going to buy your book if they don’t know who you are. Yes, there is the potential that your cover, title, and book description can captivate a reader and encourage them to purchase your book. But that’s unlikely. And as we get closer to building your email list, it starts to get serious.
Earlier in the blog, we mentioned how your email platform is like a virtual lounge for your readers so you all can connect. In the same manner, you need to create a landing page that will be like a virtual invitation for your readers. You can host the landing page on your website with an email capture created by your choice of email platform and add or embed the URL on your website. This landing page will help your readers or fans subscribe to your email even if they haven’t subscribed to your book. ConvertKit’s landing page tool will allow you to create this page in less than 10 minutes.
The next best way to get more readers to subscribe to your email is by promoting it on social media. Whenever you get a chance to promote your book on social media, you can do the same to your email platform, especially on Facebook groups and Twitter chats. Another tip is to add your landing URL to your social media bio so that even when you get a new follower who clicks on your profile, they will notice the link and subscribe to your email from the landing page.
Decide on the Giveaway
When you’re in the early stages of building your author mailing list, it’s not always likely to give away your work. It might seem a little too self-promotional, and if the reader isn’t aware of you as an author, it is unlikely that they would be interested. So it’s best to decide on a giveaway that will attract the audience. Many benefits come with this.
The most obvious one is that you’re giving out prizes that are sought after and loved. It will help you generate a lot of traffic. Prizes related to your genre make it extra useful. You could giveaway memorabilia, tickets, pictures, posters, or anything that is generally suitable for your genre and would work in the future.
The next thing you need to see is finding a giveaway service provider. There are primarily three pieces of software that would suit this purpose. KingSumo, RaffleCopter, and Gleam. It would keep track of how many readers are clicking on your link and subscribing to your email list. Now that that’s done, the next step is to promote the giveaway and turn those giveaway subscribers into a loyal fan base. You can promote it on social media via posts. It will also increase your follower base on social media. You should make sure to keep in touch with these fans. Another way is to deliver the gift via email, making them subscribe to your email.
Write a Captivating Email Sequence
While building an email list might seem complicated once the initial steps are done, it’s a cakewalk. Once you’re done with the setup, it’s best to set up a welcome email sequence so new email subscribers can go through them. It is advised to send out one email every day for 5-7 days. What is an email sequence, you might wonder? Your email sequence introduces you to the reader. It’s an opportunity for you to leave your readers surprised with more resources, information, behind-the-scenes, and a coup d’œil into who you are as a person.
Below mentioned are steps on how you can create a captivating email sequence:
1. Introduce Yourself
Your introductory email is where you get to share more about you with your reader. You can also talk about what you stand for, how you can help them, and ask them the problem they are facing right now, especially if it’s in your genre to help them out.
2. Solve Their Issue
They might be new subscribers, but they will be facing an issue or two. It might be related to your giveaway, a link to your book, your landing page, or they might have an issue with an order placed from your site. In this email, you should include strategies that your subscriber can implement and solve the ongoing problem.
3. Surprise Them
You can activate this email sequence only for your new subscribers. You can share information related to your recent blogs, videos, etc., and keep them hooked.
4. The Next Step
The email sequence is what you send out to create a better relationship with your reader. It can be related to anything. Maybe a webinar your hosting, or where they can purchase your new book. It can also be a sneak peek into your next book that would get them excited and look forward to your emails, making them a raving fan of yours.
5. Conduct A Survey
While your introduction talks about yourself and gives out information about you, this survey will be all about your readers. It is to help you get to know them better. Creating a simple Google form is the best way to go with this. It’s best to ask no more than three questions and opt for multiple-choice boxes so your reader will not worry about wasting time.
Once you’ve written your email sequence, go ahead and add it to your email platform and schedule it accordingly.
Automate your Building Lists
The next best step to keep in touch with your fan base is by automating and scheduling posts on social media and emails. You can choose to use tools like BufferApp, HootSuite, CoSchedule, or MissingLettr that will allow you to schedule your posts on social media. Do not forget to add your landing page URL and links to the free giveaway in your posts as well. The more reach you get, the more subscribers you will have. Schedule your posts once a week to avoid having a lot on your plate.
The bottom line is that an email list is a valuable asset to your career as an author. Without an email list, you’ll find yourself having a hard time gaining the traction you need to develop a financially satisfying career as an author. As your community grows, your income also increases. But at the same time, don’t concentrate too much on watching your numbers grow. Instead of obsessing about how your list is multiplying, also pay close attention to your target with your outreach. Also, keep track of your engagement as much as your growth. Remember, you have to take control and start doing the most critical thing a writer can do in today’s competitive market.