Email Marketing or Social Media? Writers Need Both

Email Marketing or Social Media? Authors Need Both
Social media workshops are all the rage at writers’ conferences but what about sessions on email marketing?

When was the last time you attended a writer’s conference that focused on email marketing: how to set it up, the benefits, what your giveaway should be, and how to use this tool to make the most of your book marketing efforts?

It seems like conference planners are more interesting in workshops on understanding Amazon, Facebook advertising, and social media marketing in general.

Don’t get me wrong. Those are all vital subjects for authors to master.

Yet, email marketing is also an important component of any indie author’s marketing strategy. In some ways, it’s more important than using social media.

Email marketing is a vehicle for book launches and a way to recruit street teams and mail advance review copies.

ARC readers can review your pre-published books to give you insights on editing, inconsistencies in your story, or input into technical aspects of your book.

According to thriller author Mark Dawson, if he’d had ARC readers when he started out he wouldn’t have made a mistake about a gun that a character used in one of his earlier books.

Whenever I do a social media audit I always include a review of an author’s website and one of the items I discuss is email marketing and whether there’s a lead magnet (also known as a giveaway) to entice website visitors to sign up for an author’s email list.

Consider These Email Marketing Statistics

Email MarketingCampaign Monitor offers this support of email marketing:

  • Email marketing generates $44 for every $1 spent. Think of Joel Friedlander. If you are on his email list, you receive his blog updates via email as well as his marketing emails, which pitch the many products he sells as part of his toolkits and templates. He’s an excellent example of what can be achieved with email marketing. Mark Dawson and Joanna Penn are excellent role models for fiction writers.
  • Email ties all of your marketing techniques together. You can use email marketing to send blog updates, encourage people to Like your Facebook page, and let your readers know about new releases. Email marketing is nimble.
  • Email connects with more consumers than social media. More people use email than social media.

OptinMonster also has data on email marketing. If we compare email marketing to social media and for that comparison specifically use Facebook in our examples, you’ll discover some interesting facts.

  • 58% of adults check email first thing in the morning vs. 11% for Facebook
  • 91% of adults use email daily vs. 57% for Facebook
  • 66% of adults make a purchase as a result of email marketing vs. 20% for Facebook

Collect Addresses for Your Email Marketing Program

What does this mean for you? I have a few tips for you.

  1. Sign up for an email marketing 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).
  2. Establish a newsletter schedule and stick to it. If you don’t want to send newsletters – and I don’t blame you for deciding this – then collect email addresses through your email subscription application. You can do this with MailChimp, AWeber or a number of other apps. The idea is to collect email addresses. Don’t use an RSS feed subscription program that doesn’t allow you to identify who’s subscribing to your blog because that would be pointless, and a huge waste of an opportunity.
  3. Use your email list to send quality content to your readers on a regular basis, as well as calls to action for books and contests. The content you select will depend on your genre and niche.
  4. Offer the best giveaway you can create. You’ll notice that on this website, anyone who signs up for my email-based social media course receives a 65-page ebook on Twitter.
  5. Don’t ask people for more than their first name and email address. The more information you request, the less likely they will leave an email address for you.
  6. Never use the word subscribe. You’ll notice that for my free email course my opt-in language is I Want In!!

Are you wondering now whether you should even bother to use social media?

Yes, use both.

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Not Using Email Marketing? Just Follow These Steps

Not Using Email Marketing? Just Follow These Steps

If you aren’t using email marketing, you may want to rethink your book marketing strategy.

We know that social media is all the rage – and rightly so – but email marketing, according to Kissmetrics“crushes” social media.

Here are their findings:

  1. There are nearly three times as many user accounts for email as there are on Facebook and Twitter combined.
  2. Email is more personal. You can reach people right in their email inboxes and craft messages just for your readers.
  3. Email gets more attention, and the messages are more targeted.
  4. You can use your email marketing messages to sell books, services, and other products.

If you’re considering going the traditional publishing route, your publisher will ask you about your email list numbers. If you’re happy as an indie author, you need an email marketing program to keep in touch with your readers, announce new books, and solicit advance reviews.

There are several email marketing programs available, but the two most popular ones are MailChimp and AWeber. The pricing plans are similar, however, with MailChimp, you can start with a free program.

Early on in my career, I selected MailChimp, so that’s the program I’m going to show you how to use today.

email marketing

How to Get Going with MailChimp

The user interface on MailChimp is clear and easy to use. Start by signing up at Decide if you want a paid account, which comes with email-based support, or if you want to figure things out on your own and save some money for now.

Your first step will be to create and name a list so that you can send letters to your readers. Start with one list. The name for the list will only be available to you so you can call it Newsletter for My Awesome Readers or Newsletter List #1. You decide.

Before you work on the sign-up process, you should decide on and create a giveaway. It could be the first two chapters of your newest book or the first book in a series you’ve written. If you write nonfiction, it can be an ebook or a tips sheet. Again, you get to decide on what you think would most entice your readers to turn over their email addresses.

Once you know what your giveaway will be, turn it into a PDF and either create a landing page on your website for it or use a program such as DropBox or BookFunnel as your free file-sharing service.

Next, you’re ready to tackle the sign-up forms on MailChimp.

How to Set Up Your MailChimp Sign-up Forms

 To work on the sign-up forms, go to your list and on the far right, click the arrow, and click on Sign-up Forms in the drop-down menu.

email marketing

You’ll arrive at a page with various options. For this purpose, select General Forms and navigate to the page where you can edit the sign-up process for your list. These are some of the forms that we’ll focus on:

email marketing

To customize the sign-up form, click Edit. Below you can see my sign-up form.

email marketing

Next, you’ll want to customize a sign-up thank you email. See the language that I include in mine. Notice my message to readers who use Gmail.

email marketing

Next, you need to send an opt-in confirmation email. I also choose to customize this email with my logo.

email marketing

Next, I send a subscription confirmation email with the link to my freebie ebook in PDF format, Twitter Just for Writers.

email marketing

As a follow-up to the above email, I also send a confirmation email notice.

Now you’ll want to take the URL for signing up to your newsletter and give it to your webmaster so that she or he can create a widget on your website enticing your readers to sign up there.

This is what my widget looks like:

email marketing

Notice that instead of the word subscribe I use “I Want In!!” Also, I only ask for the email address. The less information you request, the more likely a reader will sign up for your list.

Send Your First Email Letter

Now that you have your list and your email sign-up sequence set up, it’s time to send your first email-marketing letter.

Go to campaigns and select Create Campaign. You’ll need to name your campaign and select your campaign type. Uaually, you’ll select Regular as your campaign type.

email marketing

You will automatically navigate to a page where you’ll select your list. The campaign name is for internal use only. The email subject line, which you’ll select next, is what your readers will see when they go to their inboxes.

You’ll have the option to auto-tweet the campaign or auto-post to Facebook. I discourage you from doing this. Auto-tweeting and auto-posting on Facebook will make those posts appear like spam, and it’s unlikely that your readers will engage with them.

Make sure the subject line entices your readers to open your email. Be sure to reach this post by HubSpotfor tips on how to write catchy email subject lines.

Once you decide on the email subject line, your next step will be to select a template. I use a simple text template because I want the newsletter to be readable in all formats. You can select a fancier template if you’d like.

The first time you create an email-marketing letter, you will arrive at your template, and it will have instructions from MailChimp. Erase the instructions and start your letter. Click on the headline or the email text so that you can click the pencil icon that will allow you to make edits and write your letter.

email marketing

Below you can see some similarities between MailChimp and your WordPress blog.

When you are ready to schedule or send the email, click confirm in the lower right, send a test email to yourself for editing, and then schedule the email for the date and time you prefer.  It’s best to send them at 6 am Eastern Time so that when people turn on their computers in the morning, your message will be there. Tuesdays through Thursdays are known as the best days to send your newsletter.

email marketing

If you’ve followed all of these steps, you’ve just successfully created and sent your very first email-marketing letter.

Social Media Just for Writers 2nd Edition

Whether you’re setting up your social media for the first time or wanting to take it to the next level, get the newest edition of Social Media Just for Writers.

This book is a very useful tool for writers looking to extend and reach their audiences. It has systematic detailed information about how to set up accounts and create a professional online profile and author branding. Recommended to anyone curious about why social media is still such a big thing for everyone, particularly for writers.


Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web



Indie Author Weekly Update – September 29, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update includes posts from Adam Connell, Joanna Penn,  Ali Luke, Buffer, and Writers in the Storm. I hope you enjoy the selections.

Well, we are firmly into fall, my favorite season. How does your writing change with the seasons? I’d love to know!

Indie Author Updates

How To Launch Your Own Facebook Group And Get Loyal Fans  from Adam Connell: “Facebook groups are powerful. They’re a perfect place to start real conversations about things that matter to you. And because your audience members are already on Facebook (Facebook addiction is a real thing, people), they are far more likely to engage with you and your brand in Facebook groups than they are on your blog. With Facebook Live, you can now do live training right inside of your group.”

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Want in on a secret? Email marketing rocks!

Rock your readers' world with email marketingWould you like to know a secret? One that social media managers might not freely reveal?

Here it is: Email marketing is in some ways more effective than social media.

Really? Let me backtrack a bit.

Admittedly, they are two different animals. If you send too many emails to your list or the information isn’t relevant to your audience, you’ll lose your subscribers fast.

But, if you send promos, freebies, and relevant information, they will love every email you send.

Social media can refer traffic – it certainly sends traffic to my website. But what social media is best at is engagement. By its very nature social media is social so if you’re not making time in your day to socialize with your readers, well, you’ll losing out on a huge benefit of the social platforms.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Social media is best at engagement – email marketing at traffic referral” quote=”Social media is best at engagement – email marketing at traffic referral”]

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Are Press Releases Dead? Is Email Marketing Important?

Press Releases - Email Marketing - Frances Caballo

Summer is here and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Get outside. Observe. Take in the fresh air and let it all feed your creative side and breathe new life into your writing. Most of all, relax and have some fun. You’re doing what you love, right? Writing books, selling books, and living the life you’ve dreamed of. So go for it. Feel the sand on your feet, touch a tree, and dance in the sunlight. I recently took my dog to Carmel Beach at 7 am and it was beautiful, serene. Sure, there were dogs off the leash and that was the part of the fun. To let my Dixie run into the water, play with other dogs, and enjoy the energy surrounding her was thrilling to watch. What are you doing this summer? I’d love to know!

This week’s roundup is again filled with an array of wonderful information touching on press releases, email marketing, the problems inherent to being one expert, and more. I hope you enjoy the selection.

Brexit: Twilight of the Experts? by Joel Friedlander: “There’s a specific problem that subject-matter experts run into when they attempt to interact with newcomers. As you gain expertise, you naturally evolve away from the open-minded inquiry that typifies most newcomers. When you don’t know much, you’re open to just about anything. As you get more educated, the options narrow, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s part of the process of becoming more experienced yourself.”

Note: This post by Joel Friedlander is an excellent reminder to nonfiction bloggers If your information is too advanced, or you forget to cover the basics, you’ll lose readers who can benefit from your expertise.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t forget to cover the basics for readers new to your field of expertise ” quote=”Don’t forget to cover the basics for readers new to your field of expertise”]

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Email Marketing, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Changes & SEO for Writers

social media

Each of the posts included in this roundup contains information to help author entrepreneurs succeed in their writing careers. If you haven’t started an email newsletter, start one soon and read the post listed below for some great tips. Even though I seem to include a post on SEO each week, I’ve included another because it’s important to learn as much as we can about this topic so that we can rise from obscurity and become more discoverable. There’s also a post on Twitter’s new analytics feature and information about Facebook’s recent change, which downgrades calls to action that include “please Like” and “please share.” Keep reading for further details on each of these great topics.

5 Quick Tips on How to Email Market like a Rock Star from Social Media Today: Email marketing has grown progressively more popular as a powerful tool for businesses around the globe, and it is being talked about everywhere – from across the internet to corporate boardrooms and from company meetings to marketing strategy seminars and conferences. While you may have heard about email marketing almost constantly, you may not necessarily know how to do email marketing. Here then, are five effective and successful tips on how to email market:

Classic SEO is Like Counterfeiting Money from Business to Community: esterday, Expedia felt the full wrath of Google’s power: Google punished Expedia for trying to manipulate its search results through questionable SEO tactics. Expedia’s visibility in search results fell 25% and, as a result, their stock took a 5% hit (a value of about $450M). SEO has always been highly sought after and an extremely lucrative business, because appearing high in Google searches is obviously extremely important, as Expedia found out yesterday. After all, a new DeepField study just released shows that Google now receives more traffic than Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix COMBINED. But the problem with SEO as a business it’s that it’s a lot like counterfeiting money.

Twitter Launches Card Analytics To Let Publishers Monitor Impressions, Clicks And More from TechCrunch: In a move that could give brands and publishers more insight into what to tweet, today Twitter is rolling out Analytics For Twitter Cards. The dashboard shows impressions, URL clicks, and app installs of a publisher’s tweets and mentions by other users, as well as easy ways to measure favorites, retweets, and follows. If Twitter can teach publishers how to create better content, the service as a whole will become more informative, engaging, and monetizable.

Should I Use Google Authorship? from Business to Community: Google Authorship is a solution that Google came up with to connect a piece of content with the Google Plus profile of its author and help eliminate duplicate content, reduce spam and increase quality content. By linking the content to the actual author, it helps strengthen search results instead of relying on bots to make their rankings. Everyone screams “Content is King!” Well, targeted content is king, so Google came up with this solution to help authors get their content found more easily.

How To Be a Successful Self-Publishing Author in 2014 from Mike Fook: Becoming a successful author of fiction ebooks in 2014 does not have much to do with anything extra you do besides publishing your schlock and waiting for the money to roll in. If you can write well, and a large group of people agree with you, and can find you, you’ll do well enough as you begin. You’ll be KILLING IT later on if you make a lifelong effort of it.


socialmediaforwritersAbout the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web


photo credit: mkhmarketing via photopin cc