A Guide: Understand and Use Email Marketing for Authors
You are bursting with excitement and need to tell your fans! Your book has been written, and you cannot wait for readers to turn the pages. Maybe you have a new website, or you will be hosting a meet-and-greet with readers. All of this enthusiasm is great, but you have to spread it to your current and potential customers.
This is where marketing comes in—it informs potential readers about your latest book and any other news. There are many ways to do this, but email marketing for authors is a trusty option that continuously brings success.
Why Email Marketing Is Important for Authors
Email remains a popular form of communication and a link to customers.
When you visit a website with unique offerings or want to set up a social media account, you have to enter an email address for access. As an author, you also provide products, so you should be using email to connect with your customers.
Email marketing is a personal way to reach out to readers and it has many benefits:
Finding customers to read your first book can be a challenge—you have to use some type of marketing. You could have a website or advertise on social media, and people will take notice. With email marketing, you can get these interested individuals to sign up for email communication about current and future releases.
Keep up frequent communication with your customers, and marketing subsequent books becomes a breeze.
Most people do not like uncertainty; they prefer knowing what is going to happen, especially with their favorite authors. Don’t make the wait for a new book as suspenseful as a thriller; instead, give your readers an idea about what is happening that becomes as predictable as a romance novel.
Use your emails to tell fans about the latest news and give them an idea about the timeline for the next book’s release. This creates anticipation and readers start talking about an upcoming manuscript before they even know what it is about.
Sell More Merchandise
Email marketing is an amazing way to sell more merchandise. As an author, you will become known for a specific genre or set of books, and you can turn this into a brand over time.
Use your author brand to inspire more merchandise (not just books) that customers may want, like illustrations, apparel, and memorabilia. Tell your fans about your products when you send emails so that more people visit your website to fill up their carts.
Connects to Social Media
Social media and email have a direct link: every person with a social media account has to connect it to an email address. Just imagine the millions of people that could be reading your books!
Email marketing enables you to get more social media followers. Add a link to each of your social media profiles in your emails, and ask readers to join the community. Once they follow you on social media, you can engage with them to share your book’s information with their friends, and this grows your followers even more.
Email marketing provides you with metrics that tell you whether readers are engaging with the content. This data is available on your website hosting platform or from the dashboard provided by your email service provider.
You can see how many people received and opened your email and the number of people who ask to be unsubscribed from the list.
Most importantly, you will be including links to other places within your website, and the data will show if the reader clicked on any of these links. Use all of these metrics to make future decisions about your email marketing.
Market Your Books by Email
Email marketing campaigns require a few things to be successful. It is about more than just producing and sending content; you have to abide by some basic ideas that make the process easier.
Email Service Providers
An email service provider is a service run by technology companies. They provide you with the necessary tools and technologies to create an email list and to send emails to subscribers at different times.
Some website creation and hosting platforms will include a basic email service with their packages, but it is worth it to look at specialized solutions for your needs. The email service providers will assist you in setting up a mailbox and plan that works for you, and some packages are free.
Get Email Subscribers
Your email service is up and running, so the next step is to get people to subscribe for emails.
As a starting point, jot down a quick list of where you can find your readers and then figure out how you can get them to sign up. Social media platforms, book stores, and advertising on websites are some of the ways you can attract subscribers.
Make it easy for customers to sign up by including a pop-up email box on every page or offering a freebie like a short story in return for signing up.
Don’t Spam Readers
If there is one thing that kills an email campaign, it is spam. Customers want to hear from you frequently, but they don’t want to be bombarded with so many emails that they unsubscribe from your email list.
Plan on sending two or three emails per month. There will be times when a subscriber is irritated and they could press the “Report Spam” button on their email. Do not let this get the best of you, especially if you haven’t been sending emails excessively. But you can avoid this by not overpopulating your fans’ inboxes.
Creating Email Content
Your email list is set up and you are ready to send out your first email!
Wait for one minute—what are you going to say in this email? You don’t want to send something a customer doesn’t want to read, so take some time to plan your email campaigns.
Create an Email Schedule
An email schedule is your plan for what you will be sharing in your emails and when you will share it. Once you have decided on how many emails you will send a month, identify the dates to send those emails. If you are sending emails twice a month, then one could be updates about your latest or upcoming book, and another email markets your line of merchandise.
It really is up to you, but think carefully about when the email will reach the reader—you don’t want it lost between the chaos of a Monday morning, but you also don’t want it forgotten on a Saturday night. Find a midweek slot during the early morning or late afternoon when your reader is most likely to check their emails.
The first email a new subscriber should receive is one to welcome them. You can set up a standard email through your email service provider that will be sent to the subscriber as soon as the email address has been submitted to the list.
Thank the subscriber for joining and offer them a complimentary gift for this action. It could be an ebook, unique notes, or the opportunity to join you for a webinar.
Send Engaging Content
Emails should be about information that customers (aka your readers) want to read. Start off by coming up with an email subject line that captures their attention: refer to a character in your book or ask a question. You want your email to jump out from the rest, but stay away from all caps, because readers don’t like that at all.
The email could take the form of a newsletter with some beautiful graphics or contain a few paragraphs about what readers can expect in the future. Readers prefer images and short blocks of text, so keep that in mind.
You could discuss a character’s background, give a few self-help tips, or promote another author’s works. Before you include anything in your email, ask yourself whether your readers would find the information interesting.
All of your emails should link back to other content within your brand. Emails are a communication tool, and they form part of a bigger marketing strategy. When you market your books by email, you have an opportunity to tell your readers about other ways they can get in touch with you.
Include links in the email to your social media platforms and to an online store or another place where they can purchase your book.
You could include short snippets from your blog into the email and let customers click on it to read the full article. Blog articles could also inspire your email content and create another place for customers to sign up for your emails. There are links within your entire marketing plan, so use them in the best ways possible.
Communication via email has been in existence for many years. It is a fool-proof way to stay in touch with your customers and promote your products.
Email marketing for authors is a valuable tool because you can maintain a captive audience that already loves your books.
What are you waiting for? Go level up your email marketing campaign!