Recently, members of the American Christian Fiction Writers group held an email discussion focusing on the benefits of email newsletters. The main question posed was this: Are email newsletters as important of a promotional tool as some authors claim? In short, the answer was an overwhelming “YES!” Christian authors, Deb Brammer, Misty Beller, Valerie Comer, Randy Ingermanson and Catherine Castle weighed in to share their success stories, voice their concerns, and provide insight into just how helpful newsletters can be.
As an author, are you concerned about setting up a mailing list for your readers? Do you share a concern over any of the following perceived problems with mailing lists:
• Don’t they serve the same function as other promotional tools, such as Facebook?
• Will my readers be resistant if they have to sign-up for a newsletter in order to receive information, sneak peeks, and freebies?
• Do my readers really want to put their names on another mailing list?
These are all valid questions to consider when exploring marketing options, but when it comes down to it, the majority of authors agreed that newsletters are one of their most beneficial marketing tools. The reason for this is very simple: at the core of all newsletters is a mailing list of subscribing readers. If readers choose to subscribe to your mailing list, they are choosing to be loyal to you as an author. This loyal base of readers will pay off in the long run because these will be the people who buy one, two, three, or all of your books! Your email subscribers are readers who become brand ambassadors for you, recommending your book to their friends and family, buying your book to give as a gift, and creating hype about your book amongst their personal network.
Subscribing to a mailing list provides you, and your readers, with a more stable line of communication as opposed to relying on other outlets like Facebook or Twitter. Social media sites are their own entities, meaning their rules and guidelines can change without your input at any time. Therefore, the control you are allowed through mailing lists is one of the most attractive advantages.
The consistent and direct connection between you and your most loyal readers is not the only benefit newsletters can provide. Here are some tips and added benefits that make newsletters worth your while:
• If you use a communication provider (like Mailchimp), you get the ability to see how many people open each email AND how many people are clicking links within your emails
• Ensuring clarity for your subscribers will help make your mailing list successful. Be upfront with what kinds of emails they’ll be receiving and how often you’ll be in contact with them.
• Remember, your subscribers signed up for this! They’ll want to hear from you, especially if you’re offering freebies, giveaways, sale information, sneak peeks, inside information on upcoming releases, or special insight about your life as an author.
• You can control the news your readers hear! Don’t rely on outside sources to alert your fans of a sale, an upcoming release, or a new development. By using mailing lists, you establish a more personal connection with your readers because they’ll actually be hearing news from YOU and not from an impersonal source.
If you’re interested in obtaining subscribers and creating email lists, consider the following methods:
• Provide a link to sign up for your mailing list immediately following the last page of the story in your books. This method comes from author, Misty Beller, who used this method and gathered the highest click-thru-rate in her email list, as her readers have chosen to sign-up because they’re already a fan.
• Advertise a giveaway of one of your books. Once people sign-up to receive the giveaway, you can follow up with those readers, inquire about feedback on the book, and inform them of other books of yours they might like. This will allow you to reach a wide range of readers, and again, it will give you that personal connection with them that will ensure a long and loyal fan base.
Rochelle Carter is the Publisher at Ellechor Media & Associates, LLC (www.ellechormedia.com), an award-winning publishing company with rave reviews. She is also the award-winning author of The 7-Step Guide To Authorpreneurship (http://j.mp/PublishRight), an international bestseller that has been widely endorsed by other bestselling authors and industry professionals.
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