An email list for authors is the most powerful way authors can connect with readers. It promotes new ideas, products, services, and directs readers to a place where they can make more purchases.
As an author, you want to sell as many books as possible and, if done right, an email list is the most effective way to do this.
Profiting off your work is a key to becoming a successful offer. The more profit you make means the more interest readers have in you. The more interest readers have in you, the more profit you make as an author. It’s a marketing cycle that can make or break your career.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about email lists, why they’re important, and how to build one.
What Is an Email List?
The short answer is an email list is a collection of email addresses used by an author (or any organization) to send marketing material to multiple recipients. It’s essentially the total number of subscribers that have an interest in you and want to learn more about your work.
An email list is one of the best digital marketing methods you can use to grow your author brand. However, asking the question “what is an email list?” won’t get you very far. It’s important to understand how to build an email list and why it’s necessary for your success.
6 Steps to Building an Email List
The most important piece of advice for authors to ensure an effective and timely buildup is to start building your mailing list early on. It takes time to collect a solid list of subscribers, so you don’t want to wait too long. An early start allows your results to continuously increase while reducing the time you spend on email marketing efforts.
Use Existing Contacts
This step may not apply if you’re a new author, but it’s still good to understand. If you have a customer relations management (CRM) system, import all your contacts to get a jump on building up your list. If you don’t have a CRM system already, get one. HubSpot is by far the most popular CRM software any author can use to help grow their brand.
Offer Opt-In Incentives
The most common way to build your email list is to offer potential subscribers something in return for signing up. An incentive, or lead magnet, drives readers to engage with your brand and opens a channel for you to promote your books.
Some ideas for good lead magnets can include readers entering into a drawing to have early access to a new book release. Other popular lead magnets for authors to offer are free eBooks, short stories, or a chance to have their questions about the author or characters answered.
You can put opt-ins anywhere on your website, but it’s highly recommended to keep it front and center on your home page.
Having a give-and-take relationship with readers optimizes the chances that they’ll engage with you more. The more engagement happening on your website, the faster your audience will grow.
Optimize Your Website
Your author’s website is useless if people can’t find it and there’s no way readers can learn about you and your books let alone sign up for your email list. So, what’s the most popular way people find websites? Google Search. That’s why ranking on Google is so important for authors.
The process of making your website easy for people to find is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. More specifically, SEO keywords and phrases are the main aspects of what boost your online presence. When you’re optimizing your page to rank on Google, you normally start with what people are searching for (in this case book genres, specific authors, etc.), and then you create the page with content relevant to these searches.
Many writers try to optimize their pages for every topic they write about. You don’t want to do that. Your home page should reflect your brand name, i.e., your author name. It should be your priority when it comes to ranking- not book titles. You’re looking for new subscribers to build your email list, so chances are they don’t already know the title(s) of your book(s) but seeing your name at the top of their google search will ultimately lead them to your site and your products.
If you’re an SEO beginner, take a look at Google’s SEO Starter Guide to get a better understanding of what SEO is and how it works.
Take Advantage of Your Backmatter
It may be at the end of your book but believe it or not many readers look to your backmatter for more information about you after they’re done reading. If they enjoyed your work, they want to know more. It’s the simplest way to promote yourself and extremely cost-effective.
Whether it’s a heartfelt request for readers to sign up for your email list or the link to your website in bold print, be consistent. All your books should have clear directions pointing to your website.
Backmatter is a great opportunity to reach readers while they’re already engaged in your work. Chances are they reached the end of your book because they loved your work, so take advantage of that!
Engaging with readers builds a personal relationship and can scale interest in your author brand. Scaling interest means. An email list is a direct line between you and them where you have the power to market your author brand any way you want to, providing a more efficient strategy
Utilize Your Social Media
In addition to Google Search, people use social media to find what they’re looking for. Just about everyone is on social media these days and it’s become a great marketing channel for brands because it’s so easy to use.
Building a following on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram grows your potential email list. If readers are interested enough in following your pages, they become prime candidates for email subscribers.
Social media optimization (SMO) is just like the SEO you want to use for your website. It’s another effective digital marketing strategy to manage and grow your brand’s online presence, increase awareness of new and upcoming titles, and connect with readers.
Start Building Your Email List
Building an email list takes time but it’s well worth it. Having a list of your dedicated fans gives you the opportunity to promote yourself and sell more books.
Your email list strategy should constantly be evolving as you grow your author brand. Once someone joins your mailing list you want to keep them, and by consistently updating your send-out content and newsletters they’ll be more apt to stay.
Canceled subscriptions will happen, and that’s ok. It’s not worth stressing over. It doesn’t always mean they’ve lost interest in you personally, but it could mean they’re overwhelmed by all your emails. Be careful not to spend too much out too often as it will drive people away.
As long as you follow these steps and find the right balance of interesting content and frequency, you’ll be sure to build and grow a profitable email list.