Completing a book is an exciting moment for authors, but what comes next? You don’t want your labor of love to languish on a bookstore shelf or sit unnoticed on Amazon. Promotion gets your book out to the world and garners book sales. And there are many marketing campaign strategies available, one of which is email marketing for authors.
If you’ve never considered an email marketing campaign, it can be a great way to reach your target audience. Emails can be easily personalized. Plus, once you create a mailing list, you’ll have a core audience to follow along with your future work.
What is email marketing, exactly? It’s when you send emails to people who subscribe to your mailing list. Your emails guide readers to follow your content. Email marketing is a great tool because you own your mailing list outright, and you can target everyone in your most-interested audience all at once. Plus, it’s cost effective compared to other marketing strategies!
Anyone, from the bestselling author of all time to a successful indie author, can benefit from email marketing campaigns. Let’s look at some different campaign options.
There are many types of email marketing campaigns, including:
Each of these campaigns serve different purposes. For example, a welcome series hooks people who have just signed up to receive your email updates. Welcome emails greet the reader, explain why you’re messaging them, and give an introduction to your work. The welcome email can also have a call to action, like signing up for your newsletter or following your social media pages.
Email newsletters are simple to put together, and you can schedule them to go out on a regular basis (once a week, once a month, or whatever you prefer). You can let readers know what you’re up to, talk about your most recent books and appearances you’re making, give a link to your latest blog post…anything! Even if you don’t have a new book out yet, newsletters help keep your loyal readers engaged.
Lead-nurturing emails take your subscribers on a journey where they eventually convert into a buyer of your book. They hook your reader by letting them get to know you and describing your books to them until they eventually buy.
This is similar to promotional emails, but promotional emails are more straightforward. Their only goal is to hawk your books and get your audience to buy them. If you are releasing a new book, you can do a lead-up campaign in the months before your book launch. This will create buzz and anticipation, and your readers will want to buy right away.
Survey emails, simply put, contain a survey that asks your readers for feedback. They can be serious (helping you learn what people liked and didn’t like about your book) or lighthearted and fun (a question like “What is your favorite romance novel?” to drive engagement on your social media sites).
All of these email marketing campaigns can work well, depending on what your needs are. Basically, you want to pursue whichever strategy keeps your followers engaged with you for the longest period of time. In this respect, email newsletters tend to work well.
The great thing about email marketing is once you have a mailing list, you can target different campaigns to different subscribers. You can send blasts to your entire list to advertise when you’re releasing something new, or send surveys targeted specifically to people who already bought your book.
To make this easier, make sure you have an email service that offers marketing automation tools. This will help you home in on the groups of people you want to email. Automation tools can help you track important metrics, like how many people opened your messages, how many clicked on the links you sent, and more. Marketing automation tools can also filter out anyone who unsubscribes from your mailing list so that you can avoid spamming their inbox.
This may sound great, but if generating email content seems intimidating, there are lots of places you can turn for inspiration. If marketing isn’t your specialty, you still have the entire internet at your fingertips.
If you’re looking for inspiration, sometimes it’s best to start right where you are. Do you subscribe to any email lists or newsletters (writing related or otherwise)? Check them out. Do you enjoy informative emails or emails that direct you to a fun task on social media? Do they make you want to buy a certain product or not? If they don’t seem effective to you, what might you change?
A great idea is to look at authors you admire to try to find examples of effective marketing and interactive content. Do you follow any authors on social media? Are you currently subscribed to any of their newsletters? Visit some author websites and try subscribing to a few to get ideas and to see how your favorite writers use these marketing tools.
Many successful authors use email marketing to support their book sales and engage with fans. Just search your favorite writer’s name in Google, and see what comes up!
John Grisham’s landing page has a pop-up asking you to join his mailing list, plus a prominent banner prompting you to join. Stephen King also devotes a large section of his website to a form asking users to sign up for his newsletter.
This doesn’t only apply to famous authors with big-time publishing deals. Indie author Mark Dawson’s whole home page is a newsletter sign-up form. His email newsletters must really be working!
If email marketing still seems like too much, you can enlist professional help. Even if you don’t have a huge budget, there are plenty of websites that offer tips on email marketing. Your email provider may also have some tools available to use.
Website builders like Squarespace offer email templates you can customize to get a quick email out to your followers, and some sites offer subscriptions to full suites of email campaign tools.
You can also hire a marketing or publishing service agency to assist with your promotional campaigns. If you don’t have the resources to drive a full campaign on your own, this may be the way to go.
Once you’ve decided to leverage an email marketing campaign to promote your book, you need to get it off the ground. Just note, the process begins well before your book launch!
As you prepare to start promotional emails, the most important thing is to start book marketing right away. Yes, even if you haven’t quite finished writing the book yet! Think of the anticipation in the months before J. K. Rowling released new installments of the Harry Potter series. You want to constantly build anticipation with your audience!
You can reach out to people on your mailing list with a welcome email and then send follow-up messages each week. This starts your lead-nurturing campaign. Let your readers get to know you by linking to your author bio and to your other works.
In your emails, offer readers lots of value by giving them critical information or deals. Free giveaways never hurt! Make sure you direct them to your Facebook and Twitter feeds for the latest news.
After you’ve built up relationships with your subscribers and shown them the value you offer, you can kick-start the next part of your marketing strategy. This is likely a book promotion email campaign where you ask readers to take the next step and buy your book.
Of course, you may have promotional emails going out well in advance of your book release. If readers can preorder your book, this is a great tactic. But you want to prime your audience and get them to trust you before hitting the promotional emails too heavily.
There are many different ways to execute an email marketing campaign and many mistakes to avoid. The main thing is to get as many people as possible onto your mailing list.
Make sure to announce on your social media accounts that you have a mailing list and provide a link for your followers. Post a prominent sign-up form on your website so visitors can’t miss it. Also, make sure your agent or publisher knows about your mailing list so they can promote it too!
Once you have your mailing list, you need to keep subscribers on that list as long as possible. Loyal followers can equal future book sales! Reaching out to your subscriber list can be a lot of fun, so if you’re committed to your author newsletter, there are plenty of creative ways to engage.
If a newsletter subscriber feels like they have a relationship with you, they’ll want to find out what you’re up to. You can offer your followers special access to book promotion events, live web chats and video conferences, and Facebook Live meetups.
Engaging with readers on social media with polls and surveys can be fun while simultaneously giving you valuable information about your audience. Interactive content can definitely enhance your public profile.
A big reason that people sign up for newsletters or follow people they admire on social media is so they can feel like they’re “in the know.” Giving your subscribers perks, like early access to book signing events or exclusive interview recordings, will make them feel like they’re getting maximum value from your emails.
People also love getting deals and receiving gifts. You can offer your email subscribers special details on upcoming book sales or price reductions…or even host contests to give signed copies of your book away.
Email campaigns can also be tailored to send subscribers special messages on their birthdays or custom messages from you on holidays. The more personal you are, the better.
If you’re running a promotional campaign for an upcoming book release, a great way to keep your email subscribers engaged is to send free chapters of your book in your emails. If they can’t wait to read more, you’ve got them hooked, and they’ll be likely to buy the full book when it’s released.
If you blog, you can also send an email blast to your subscribers each time you write a new post. This way, your loyal readers won’t miss a single thing.
There are many benefits to email marketing for authors. To drive maximum book sales, email campaigns can reach a targeted audience and strategically prep them to purchase your book. Even better, if you keep your subscribers engaged, you’ll have a ready-made audience who can’t wait to buy your next book!
If you need some professional help to get your email campaign off the ground, Elite Authors can assist with all your book publishing needs. We can help you launch a marketing campaign and write great promotional content tailored to your audience. Getting a free quote is quick and easy; reach out today!