Ask any of the most successful authors out there about author newsletter and all will say it’s an integral part of their business. Many will say it’s the biggest contributing factor to their success. So how do you get a list? What do you include in your newsletters and how on earth do you get people to give away their e-mail address?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I’ll give you a detailed overview in this article and point you in the right direction of some incredible resources. Your newsletter doesn’t have to be an afterthought but can be a key part of your author marketing strategy.
- How do I set up my author newsletter?
- Which provider should I use?
- What are the benefits of an author newsletter?
- What should I include in my e-mails?
- How often should I send out an author newsletter?
- Where can I find subscribers?
- How do I stop my e-mails falling into spam?
How do I set up my author newsletter?
It isn’t difficult to set up a newsletter. I can walk you through the steps pretty quickly and you’ll have a newsletter set up in no time at all. It would be great if you could just use your regular provider and just bash out an email to your list hit send to your followers. However, there are multiple benefits to using mailing list services that you can’t get through a regular email provider like gmail, which I’ll discuss later.
It’s as simple as choosing a provider, signing up for free, adding in details such as your website and email address and you’re away. The only complex part to this is verifying your website belongs to you. The steps to do this are dependent upon the provider you use but there are loads of YouTube videos to walk you through this process.
Plus if you get stuck here I’m only an email away, so don’t be discouraged.
Which provider should I use?
A lot of this is down to personal preference, dependent on your objectives and budget. Generally though the more subscribers you have the more money you’ll pay (but by the time you’re shelling out cash your list will pay for itself). The majority have a free option up to 1000 subscribers and then charge you a monthly fee upwards of 1000 subscribers.
My personal preference is Mailerlite, due to the huge amounts of features you can include in your newsletters and the aesthetic look you can achieve. Although, I also initially used Mailchimp and loved it. I decided to switch when I hit the 1000 subscribers mark as the costs went up dramatically.
Other people swear by Convertikit, Sendfox, Aweber and Mad Mimi. Do some research and work out which will best suit you. It’s not the end of the world if you get it wrong and want to switch at a later date.
What are the benefits of an author newsletter?
There are so many benefits I’m bound to miss some in this section but I’ll do my best to cover everything. I strongly believe that done correctly an author newsletter is the most powerful weapon in an authors marketing arsenal, so you’d be silly not to arm yourself with one.
Firstly though I want make the distinction between traffic you borrow and traffic you own. It’s all well and good having hundreds upon thousands of followers through your social media channels but what if Facebook, Instagram and Twitter went bust tomorrow (unlikely but possible). Or what if your account got blocked or hacked into. You’d lose everything and then where would you be?
By having people sign up to your mailing list it then becomes traffic you own. A lovely little list of fans you can nourish, connect with and develop special relationships with. These are people who have come to your party and want to have a good time and potentially buy your amazing books. Look after these people and they will become super fans for life. Just don’t upset them and make them unsubscribe.
So if I haven’t convinced you enough already of the power of newsletters here are some more benefits for you…
- Cost effective marketing.
- Establishes and increases credibility
- Builds brand recognition
- Educates prospects and clients.
- Connects with your target market.
All this without the noise of social media distracting from your message. If you think about it, when someone opens your email they are solely concentrated on your email. There are no adverts, no posts, no little pop ups getting in the way. It’s the most intimate way of marketing to an already engaged customer. They signed up so they already like what you do, right?
What should I include in my e-mails?
Although this is all down to personal preference; your newsletter is your world and should be unique to you. It should demonstrate your personality, be fun, engaging and provide value to your fans.
The way I like to write my letters is to my ideal customer. Give them a name, an age, interests and character traits. Construct an avatar as though they are a real person and make them real. You can even make an image of them.
Then when you write your newsletter, personalise it to your dream customer. This works as a self-fulfilling prophesy, so if you continue to write like this it’ll result in you having an engaged list of your ideal subscribers.
It’s also essential you give more than you receive. Don’t be that person who is shouting buy my book, buy my book, buy my book on every email. Send extracts of your book, links to your new blog, get them involved in choosing a cover design, highlight a recent interview you’ve done and ask their opinion on new ideas you have.
It’s a big thing to give away your email address so ensure you’re making it worth their while before you ask them to buy your hot new release.
One thing you should always include in every single newsletter is a call to action or CTA. Ask a question, get an opinion on something, click on a link or just ask for a reply. Not only does this help you engage with your fans but also helps your emails arrive in inboxes and not junk mail.
How often should I send out an author newsletter?
Although sending out newsletters is a no brainer when it comes to your marketing needs the frequency of these is pretty much down to you. But I’d highly suggest you send at least one a month if not two if possible.
This keeps you at the forefront of your audiences mind and ensures you don’t get forgotten about. There’s a school of thought that says you should send them out monthly or even daily, however I’m a realist and know time as an author is a precious commodity.
What I would do is set expectations for your subscribers. Tell them you’ll be sending out one a month and stick to it. Let them know when you’re going to be sending them out and they’ll be much more likely to check their inbox and open your emails.
Where to find subscribers and how to attract them?
There are loads of ways to find subscribers many of which are really simple.
- Add a link in the back of your book.
- Add links to all your social media platforms.
- Have a sign up form on your website.
- Run a giveaway or competition.
- Use Facebook advertising.
- Mailing list swaps.
- Book funnel.
- Story Origin.
So there’s all these methods and more but what incentive have people got to sign up for your author newsletter?
Here is where you need to use that wonderful creative brain of yours to create what’s known as a lead magnet. This is a wonderful freebie to entice your dream customers into your lovely little world.
Many authors use a free book, a novella or a few chapters of the book to reel people in. If you’re just starting out this isn’t always possible so you could throw together character profiles or a back story to your books.
As a children’s author I use a free kids activity pack for mine. Well actually I use two as I’ve got two books. This is great for the kids and gives parents a bit of peace, a win win scenario.
Invest lots of time in your lead magnet. If you get it right you’ll have a large influx of subscribers.
How do I stop my e-mails falling into spam?
You’ve invested all this time into building an awesome newsletter but yet all that’s happening is it’s falling into people’s junk mail. Your open rates are on the decline and you just want to give it al up. Don’t panic, where there’s a will there’s a way!
Make sure you use a verified e-mail address. hotmail, gmail won’t cut it. I use email@example.com. Hit the link and you can send me an email.
Get your subscribers to white list your address. This is basically adding you to their trusted list of senders or contacts. When I get people to sign up I give them a reminder to do this. They don’t always do it but a percentage will and this makes sure my emails end up in their inbox.
Improve your subject line. No one wants to open an email if it isn’t enticing, see my Instagram post below.
Pop a post on your social media to let your subscribers know there is a newsletter ready and waiting for them. You’ll be surprised how much difference this can make.
Also, make sure you enable ‘double-opt in.’ All this means is when people sign up for your newsletter they will automatically be sent an email saying are you sure you want to join this list. They click on the link and they’re signed up fully. This helps to stop people signing up who are never going to open your emails.
Finally, clean up your list. Twice a year do a check up on subscriber open rates. Find those subscribers who aren’t opening your emails (how rude!) send them an email asking if they want to continue getting your newsletter. If not then it’s time to say bye bye. Harsh but what’s the point in them being there if they aren’t engaging with you and thereby killing your open rates.
I hope you’ve found a lot of value in this article, if you have any questions please feel free to ask me. There is a little chat icon over on the left where you can contact me directly. And also have a look at other great blog posts I’ve written – Author websites, Author SEO.
It would be great if you could share this post with any author friends you think could benefit from it too.
Oh and you didn’t think I’d do an blog post on newsletters without giving you the opportunity to join mine right? Just add your email below and you’ll get added to my monthly newsletter, enjoy!