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.

[Read more…]

Authors: Use New Pew Center Results to Better Reach Your Readers

Authors Use New Pew Center Results to Better Reach Your Readers by Frances Caballo

Earlier in my career I gave writers some bad advice. (There, I admitted it.)

I advised authors to do what everyone else was telling people to do: Be everywhere. I’m sure at some point someone told you the same thing.

I changed course several years ago and when I saw the newest study from Pew Research, I felt so relieved and substantiated.

You see, the latest study from Pew Research Center’s Internet, Science & Tech Division on mobile messaging and social media use confirmed the new mantra I’ve adopted: market your books where your readers hang out online.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? And this strategy will save you time.

Do Authors Need to Be Everyone Online?

You see, I’m a huge proponent of a certain social media strategy: You don’t need to be everywhere; you need to be where your readers are.

No one has the time to be everywhere. Well, let me qualify that. If you have a personal assistant, virtual assistant and housekeeper, and possibly a home chef, you have the time to be everywhere online.

But most indie authors do everything themselves, including their book covers, marketing, and publicity.

If this sounds like you, then you don’t have time to be everywhere and do a decent job. What you need to do instead is make time to be on the primary social media networks that your readers like to use.

That is how you can best reach your readers online.

Let me give you an example. My colleague Arlene Miller, aka @TheGrammarDiva, spends most of her time on Facebook, LinkedIn, and numerous LinkedIn groups. She ignores Twitter.

Well, she released a new grammar book in the summer of 2015, and you know what? Her sales rocked! And I mean rocked. (She won’t let me release her numbers.)

Suffice it to say she exceeded the sales numbers of many traditionally published authors and is living off her book sales. How many indie authors can do that?

She’s successful because she spends time on the social media networks that bring her comments, shares, engagement, and sales. In short, she’s where her readers are.

LinkedIn is a perfect social media network for this nonfiction, indie author and all that time she puts into those LinkedIn groups has a huge payoff in book sales.

In my case, Twitter is the No. 1 source of traffic to my website. Twitter is where I meet and interact with influencers in my field.

Twitter is where I build a following that buys my books and shares my posts.

And Twitter is where I receive the most impressions, shares and replies (referred to as comments on other social media networks).

When I look at my situation from this perspective, it makes sense that I spend more time on Twitter than other social media networks.

Twitter is awesome for my career as an indie author and a social media strategist for writers.

Where do your readers hang out? Let’s look at the Pew Research Center’s newest study results to help you figure that out.

Of course, first you need to be clear on your reader demographics. Are they mostly female or male? Are they teens, Millenials, Gen X members, or Boomers? Once you have the key demographic data, just apply them to the findings below. (You can find this data by looking at your Google Analytics or Facebook Insights.)

New Research Social Media Data Will Help You Reach Your Readers

Here are some key findings:

  • The number of adults who use Pinterest and Instagram has doubled since Pew Research Center started tracking those social media platforms adoption in 2012.
  • Some 31% of online adults use Pinterest (up from 15% in 2012) while 28% use Instagram (up from 13% in 2012).
  • The number of people who use Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn daily has increased significantly since 2014. Fully 59% of Instagram users, 27% of Pinterest users and 22% of LinkedIn users visit these platforms daily.
  • Facebook remains the most popular social media site – 72% of online adults are Facebook users, amounting to 62% of all American adults. Seventy percent of users say they log on daily.
  • Young adults are particularly likely to use both Tumblr and discussion forums.

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Now let’s take a look at some demographics.


Facebook - Frances Caballo

Clearly more women than men use Facebook, and although the numbers trend to the younger demographic in terms of users, older users are the fastest growing group of users.

And anecdotally, at least on the West Coast, the younger set is moving away from Facebook and gravitating to Snapchat and Instagram.

When I taught at the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference in August, I asked members in my session to describe their social media use in one to three words. The youngest person in the group – she was in her early 30’s – described her social media use as “so over Facebook.”

I think that describes a lot of people in that age demographic.


Frances Caballo

There’s no surprise here. Women reign on Pinterest, especially among the 18- to 50-year-old set.


Instagram Demographics

If you want to reach readers who are Hispanic or Black, you’ll find them on Instagram.

Presently, this application is most popular with people between the ages of 18 and 49 but that could change. Instagram is now the fastest growing popular so we’ll have to stay tuned.

A reason for every author to use Instagram is that the social web is increasingly visual. Use Instagram to show another side of your author profile and to share inspirational text images your readers will enjoy.


LinkedIn Demographics

The demographics are fairly evenly distributed among gender and age.

This is a great site for college graduates, job seekers, and professionals either wanting to share their expertise or learn more in their field. It can also be a great online venue for nonfiction authors.


Twitter Demographics
As you can see, just a quarter of Internet users also use Twitter, and there are more people of color who sign up to use this network.

An interesting factor is that Twitter attracts primarily urban users from higher income brackets.


The data is self-explanatory. Instagram is primarily popular with non-whites and young adults.

If you write Young Adult and New Adult fiction, this would be a great application for you to use especially if you can consistently come up with great visuals or text-based images.

If you’re confused about your reader demographics, go to your Facebook author page and check Insights, Facebook’s free analytics program once you read 35 page Likes. There, you’ll find gender and age demographics that will help you to apply The new Pew Center’s results to your social media marketing.

I’d love to hear the conclusions you draw.

Spend less time figuring out how to use Goodreads. Get the guide that explains it all.

The Author's Guide to Goodreads by Frances Caballo


Sell More Books with These Tips by Frances Caballo

About the Author: Frances 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 She’s written several books including The Author’s Guide to Goodreads, Avoid Social Media Time Suck, and Twitter Just for Writers, which is available for free here. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writer conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Ask Frances to prepare a social media audit for you.


Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web


Advanced Twitter Tips for Authors

Search & Listen on Twitter by Frances Caballo

Pew Internet Research Project Results & How to Search and Listen on Twitter

If you use Twitter – and I certainly hope you do – then you’re going to be interested in the Pew Research Center’s newest demographic results from Twitter users.

We know that 23 percent of online adults living in the United States are active on Twitter. This figure represents a 5 percent increase over the previous year’s numbers.

And thanks to Pew Internet Research Project, we know more about these users. According to this study: [Read more…]

How to Target Your Readership

10-13-14 Main 625

In last week’s post, How to Stop Wasting Time,  I discussed the importance of focusing your energy and time only on those social media networks where you’ll find your audience.

For example, it doesn’t make sense to invest your time in Tumblr if you’re not writing YA or New Adult novels. If you write Romance novels, you need to have a presence on Facebook and Pinterest.

Today I’m going to share with you data from the Pew Research Internet Project that further supports my argument.

Study Audience Metrics to Target Your Readership

As of January of this year, Pew Research determined that 75% of adults who engage in online activities use social media.

Women hold an edge over men in social media and younger generations, especially Millennials, dominate. And it seems as though users with the lowest income and those who make more than $75,000/annually, are more active.

10-13-14 Pew 1Of those adults who use social media, 19% of those adults use Twitter. What’s interesting about this chart is that the income level starts at 79% for those making less than $30,000/year but climbs back to 78% for those earning $75,000/annually or more.

As a client who works with chief technology officers told me, she couldn’t connect with that demographic on LinkedIn but she could find them on Twitter.

10-13-14 Pew 2

Among those adults engaged in online activities:

  • 71% of online adults use Facebook
  • 21% use Pinterest
  • 22% use LinkedIn
  • 17% use Instagram

While Facebook remains the shopping mall that everyone likes to visit,  Instagram is considered the fastest growing social media network.

In the graph below you can see social media’s tremendous of late. Again, the 18-29-year-old users lead the pack by older adults, including those 50 years old and above, are making great gains.

10-13-14 Pew 3Are You Ready for Mobile Networking?

If you’re buying Facebook ads that appear on the right column of the news feeds, it’s time to change that habit. Increasingly, the social platform is becoming mobile and everything you do – from your website to your blog to your social alertness – needs to accommodate that transition.

This is what the Pew Research Internet Project says in its Social Networking Fact Sheet:

“The growing ubiquity of cell phones, especially the rise of smartphones, has made social networking just a finger tap away. Fully 40% of cell phone owners use a social networking site on their phone, and 28% do so on a typical day.  Young people, blacks, Hispanics, the highly educated and those with a higher annual household income are more likely to use SNS on their phones than other groups.”

Learn how to save time on social media:
Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write – Now Just $2.99 on Kindle

Why Do People Use Social Media?

Our primary use of social media is to keep up with friends and family members. At least that’s what two-thirds of online adults told Pew Research.

About 14%, mostly middle-aged and older adults, said they use it to connect around shared hobbies or interests.

So what are we as authors doing on social media? It has to be more than just hawking our books.

The reason social media use is climbing isn’t because we rush to Facebook or Twitter to see what Mercedes, Coca-Cola or United Airlines is selling. We go to social media to connect with other people.

Those companies who are successful at social media marketing, such as shoe retailer, TOMS, excels at social media because they connect with people.

For every pair of shoes that a customer purchases, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child in a Third World country. Their mission is clear, and their fans are fanatical about them.

TOMS, Mercedes and Coca-Cola may be brands, but they humanize their social media outreach and client experience. They don’t simply preach their mantra to audiences everywhere. Instead, they target their audience using metrics and experiment with messaging that encourages more sales.

Authors need to follow their lead.

If you write a nonfiction book, your audience should be easily and clearly defined. But what if you write literary fiction, romance, sci-fi or other types of fiction? Find out who your audience is and then meet them on the social media platforms where you will find them.

Once you’re there, experiment with your messaging. Here’s what Stephanie Chandler has to say on this topic in her book, Own Your Niche. Wherever she says business, substitute the word with author.

“Everything about marketing comes down to the audience—your target audience. And the audience is different for every business. Once you identify your audience, every marketing decision you make becomes easier ….”

Look at who attends your readings, follows you on Twitter or joins your LinkedIn groups. Review studies that track social media affinities by age and other demographics and then focus your time on those networks.

For social media not to be time-consuming, it must be targeted.

Also see:

Marketing Advice from Jane Friedman

Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write

7 Reasons Why Writers Need to Use Social Media

56 Social Media Terms Writers Need to Know


Frances Candid Shot 12-5-13About 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 Clicking Here. Connect with Frances on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+.

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web