As an author, you'll probably hear a lot about email marketing. Like social media, it's seen as one of the essential marketing tools for promoting your current books, your future works, and building your personal brand and author platform.
In fact, email marketing is arguably more effective than any string of Tweets or Facebook updates you post, no matter how clever. Email newsletters are less likely to be missed and are a more dependable way for you to engage your readers and get them to take action.
Chances are you've received dozens of marketing emails before, if not from your favorite authors then from your favorite restaurants, department stores, or maybe even your car dealership. What you'll notice if you look closely at these messages is that in every case the sender is using email marketing to achieve multiple goals:
What service should you use?
There are a lot of options out there: MailChimp, Emma, Delivra, Constant Contact, and others are all just a web search away. Look them over and pick a mail delivery system that makes email marketing easy for you. Many offer free trails for new or small accounts, so you can give the system a test drive before you spend any money.
Who should you send the emails to?
Only send emails to people who request to be put on your list. Spamming people's inboxes isn't going to win you any hearts. And it's illegal. (Make sure you read up on the CAN-SPAM Act if you're not familiar.
How can you build your list?
What should you write about?
The content for most newsletters fits into one of two categories: news and information or promotional content. To determine what you'll write about for each installment, set up an editorial calendar. (You're only wasting time if your Memorial Day promotion arrives in inboxes the second week of June, right?)
No matter what you put in your newsletter, make it interesting. Here are a few content ideas if need some inspiration:
Newsletters don't have to be long. In fact, one main feature and a couple of announcements might be all you need to keep your fans engaged. So don't let the time commitment of launching an email marketing campaign intimidate you.
How often should you send them?
Once a month is very common, but there are no hard and fast rules. You could send them once a week, every other week, quarterly, or just when you've got something new to announce. The only wrong answer here is to send them so frequently that you irritate your readers and trigger mass unsubscribing.
Do you already utilize email marketing as an author? Please share a link to your most recent issue in the comments!
Photo credit: hoefi