Authors: How to Get Your Emails Opened and Read

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Authors: How to Get Your Emails Opened and Read by Frances Caballo

You’re reading the text version of the Social Media for Authors Podcast, Episode 31 published and copyrighted by Frances Caballo every week.

As usual, this week’s episode includes summaries of four blog posts with awesome email marketing tips and, of course, I have your tip of the week. Enjoy!

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Introduction to This Week’s Episode

This week’s tip isn’t a tip, really. It’s an introduction to the rest of the episode. Okay, I’m cheating, just a little.

You may be wondering why I’m even talking about email marketing? Did you think it was dead?

No way.

Agents like to tell authors that publishers will ask about a writer’s email list and want to know about his or her number of subscribers.

Sure, that’s important but what if you always plan to self-publish?

In that case, email marketing is even more important.

You see, what would happen if Facebook were to crash, Twitter were to disappear, and Instagram were to fall apart? You’d lose your online connections to all of your friends, fans, and followers.

If you have an email list, you’ll never lose touch with your readers. In fact, you can talk to them directly absent a third-party platform. That’s the beauty of having an email list.

There are other benefits too, such as letting them know about a new book. From your email list, you’ll find a beta list and people willing to jump on Amazon the first day your book comes out and write a hundred or more reviews.

[clickToTweet tweet=”With an email list, you never lose touch with your readers via @CaballoFrances” quote=”With an email list, you never lose touch with your readers via @CaballoFrances”]

You see, you need an email list. So let’s hear the experts’ opinions on email marketing now.

Get Your Emails Opened and Read – Tips from the Experts

All of the links to the posts that I mention here will be available in my show notes, which I publish on my blog at every Friday morning.

First up is a post from ProBlogger titled 9 World-class Bloggers Share Their #1 Email List Building Tip.

Here are some of the tips mentioned in this post:

  1. Prominently ask people to subscribe – then provide amazing value
  2. Use post-specific bonus content
  3. Use multiple signup forms
  4. Provide deep research that solves problems – a great suggestion for nonfiction authors
  5. Place a giant lead magnet on your blog homepage – Derek Halpern of Social Triggers makes his home page one huge newsletter opt-in. It’s big, brassy, and it works for him.


[clickToTweet tweet=”Prominently ask people to subscribe & offer a premium via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Prominently ask people to subscribe & offer a premium via @CaballoFrances”]

Let’s talk about the post-specific bonus content – and these are my ideas, not ProBlogger’s. If you have a staff or at least an assistant, you can do this. But if you’re a typical Indie author like myself, what I suggest you do is provide the best free content you can create as your free download.

I also like to mix it up. For a while, the incentive to sign up for my email list was my eBook, Pinterest Just for Writers. Now it’s Twitter Just for Writers. However, my blog subscribers receive my free Social Media Cheat Sheet. So mix it up.

Next up is a post by Jason Kong, written for The Book Designer, titled 7 Email Marketing Secrets Every Fiction Writer Should Know.

Jason says that building an email list is optional – unless you’re a fiction author. Now, I don’t agree with that assessment but I still love this post.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Building an email list is optional – unless you’re a fiction author ” quote=”Building an email list is optional – unless you’re a fiction author “]

What he discusses in this post is now to improve your email marketing. Here are some of his suggestions:

  1. Attract your most loyal readers.
  2. The best email sign-up incentives are free stories.
  3. Dedicate a landing page on your website for your newsletter subscription.
  4. Jason says that on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. Ouch, right? So work on your email headlines because as Jason says, “If it doesn’t get read, then your message can’t make an impact.”
  5. If you’re not making your email fun – and I would add, informative – then you’re wasting your time.

Be sure to read the rest of Jason’s blog post because he has more suggestions and more details in his post.

Next, let’s discuss Email Marketing 101 for Authors by Tim Grahl.

This is how Tim opens this post:

There is no better way to build long-lasting connections with readers, which is the definition of marketing. It easily trumps social media, for building a long-term author platform and for sheer book-selling power.

Wow! Right?

In this post, Tim discusses:

  1. How to select an email provider. He’s a fan of MailChimp, and so am I.
  2. How to decide on your purpose, reminding readers that WIIFM, or What’s In It for Me, is what your reader will be thinking each time one of your emails lands in his or her inbox.
  3. Writing your first three emails. Here, Tim lets you download the text for the first three.
  4. How to create your sign-up forms.
  5. How to attract 100 subscribers during your first week. His suggestions include: ask your followers and connections on social media to download your freebie, add a call to action in your email signature, ask new subscribers to share your subscription link, ask people reading your books to sign up (again, you won’t ask readers to sign up, you’ll ask them if they want the freebie story or document), make your opt-in obvious on your website. Tim recommends using SumoMe so you can add a pop-up or slide-in sign-up form on your website, but I don’t pop-ups.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Best email sign-up premium for fiction authors are free stories ” quote=”Best email sign-up premium for fiction authors are free stories “]

Next is a post by HubSpot titled Want More Blog Traffic? Focus on Growing Subscribers.

HubSpot has documented the fact that more subscribers leads to more blog traffic. It makes sense. The more people subscribed to your blog, the more people you’ll have visiting your blog.

And the people who love your blog, your subscribers, are probably more likely to be the readers who share your posts on social media, leading to increased traffic and more subscriptions.

As HubSpot says,

The more subscribers you have, the greater your reach, and the more potential you have for generating more traffic from new visitors.

Finally, here’s one of my posts, Email Marketing for Authors.

In this post, I discuss results from a Pew Research study that discovered that email is considered the most important business tool by 61% of those polled.

Then I review the opt-ins of a variety of high-profile social media types including Derek Halpern. Derek dedicates his home page to a huge opt-in form and language, as well as Chris Brogan’s long and narrow opt-in form.

Then I share three tips:

  1. Sign up for MailChimp, my favorite email marketing service.
  2. Offer a premium – a freebie – that your readers will value.
  3. Send quality content to your readers.

I also include a list of email marketing best practices.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Email quality content to your readers via @CaballoFrances” quote=”Email quality content to your readers via @CaballoFrances”]

If you want to supercharge your social media marketing and know when are the best times to post your social media updates, download my free Social Media Cheat Sheet. This cheat sheet will take the guessing out of when to post what you write.

Free Social Media Cheat Sheet


Keep reading!

How to Stop Wasting Time and Focus Your Book Marketing

Book Marketing Tips for Indie Authors


Sell More Books with These Tips by Frances CaballoYou’re reading the text version of the Social Media for Authors Podcast, written and copyrighted by Frances Caballo. Loved this episode? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!

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