I originally wrote this post on email marketing for authors for The Future of Ink blog earlier in the year. I am reprinting it here with updated information. (Nothing stays the same on the Internet for long.)
Remember when email marketing was big? Guess what? It still is.
While business pages focus on social media trends, and blogs and workshops on the Internet abound with how-to information on nearly every social media network, email has been trucking along.
Savvy marketers have been doing all they can to collect their web visitors’ emails and grow their lists for years.
You’re probably asking yourself, “What about social media?” Well, social media is a powerful tool to nurture relationships with your readers.
Email marketing enables you to communicate directly with each of your subscribers – your readers.
Pew Research Documents the Importance of Email Marketing
In a recent study, Pew Research discovered that 94% of employed adults use the Internet for work. This number is no surprise when you consider the widespread use of technology across industries.
Here’s the kicker: It turns out that email is considered the most important business tool by 61% of those polled. In comparison, just 4% consider social media networks as important.
Email Signup Case Studies
There aren’t any columns with distracting information, and there’s not a single social media icon on that page. He wants your email address.
On his home page, there are two signup forms — one is a huge blue box that you can’t miss. Here are his calls to action:
- Get Free Updates
- Get with the free program, will ya?
- Free Updates
Let’s look at Yaro Starak’s home page. He’s now pushing his podcast. The first call to action is this one: This is his email sign-up form on every single page of his website:
Once you click that image, the next call to action appears:
Pretty powerful, right? And there’s no mention of the word subscribe anywhere.
Marketer and New York Times best-selling author Chris Brogan uses a popup for his home page to entice web visitors to turn over their emails.
There can be some bias against marketers in some writing communities, but, hey, these people really know how to use persuasive language.
Tips on Email Marketing for Authors
What does this mean for authors? I have a few suggestions.
- Sign up for an email application such as MailChimp (that’s what I use), Constant Contact (I don’t like it, but plenty of people do), or AWeber (many people love this application).
- Offer a premium for signing up for your newsletter or blog. I offer a free eBook (Twitter Just for Writers) on my website . People these days are more willing to turn over an email address if they receive an item – a book, a list of best practices, a template, etc. – of value in return. Some marketers offer a 30-day free email course. (How’s that for communicating regularly with your readers?)
- Use your email list to send quality content to your readers on a regular basis and include one call to action per newsletter. The content you select will depend on your genre and niche. Make sure that your call to action has a focused objective and the link should lead to a landing page where there won’t be any distractions. The thrust of the page will be to entice your web visitor to take action, such as purchase your newest book.
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Don’t think that just because you invest in email marketing that you’ll be able to dispense with social media. Keep it up.
Through email marketing, you can communicate with your current website visitors. Through social media you can ask questions, better acquaint yourself with your readers, have discussions in real time, and find prospective readers.
Email Marketing Best Practices
The folks at Hubspot recommend these three parameters before venturing into email marketing.
- Create and use a simple template. You want to focus on your content, not the form.
- Keep your template within 600 pixels. This way your recipients, if they use Outlook, can see your content in the vertical preview pane
- Don’t neglect to follow CAN-SPAM rules. All of your marketing emails, including your series of gratitude emails, must contain the word “unsubscribe.” In addition to providing an unsubscribe option in every email, you must also include your company name and address.
Here are some more tips I like:
- Write compelling email subject lines. What would entice you to open an email? Try to replicate that.
- Use actionable language in the present tense.
- Personalize your introduction.
- Edit your content carefully. People don’t like to read long emails so make your content concise, meaningful, and useful.
- Create a visually appealing newsletter and use images.
- Use the most impactful images you can find.
- Use clear calls to action, and just use one per newsletter.
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About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. You can receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers by signing up for her newsletter. Connect with Frances on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. Be sure to check out my Social Media for Authors Podcast.