Sell more books via email marketing campaign

The key to selling books is to “make contact with” or reach potential readers of your titles. After all, if a reader doesn’t know about your book, she can’t purchase it. Among the best ways to reach readers is through email marketing.

Email marketing involves sending people emails that promote your book, such as speaking appearances. It might notify readers about an upcoming book release, about your upcoming blog tour, an award that your title just won, specials you’re running, and more.

At this point, you may be thinking “spam.” Some readers undoubtedly will think of your email as spam; they think that of any unsolicited offer arriving in the inbox. If done responsibly, however, your email marketing need not be spam to the majority of readers.

Email marketing starts with building an email list. There are a couple of ways this can be accomplished. First, you can create your own subscriber list. A subscriber is a reader who has agreed to be part of (or has “opted into”) your mailing list. Such readers can give you their emails at book readings, a sign-up form on your website, via a link at the back of your ebook, or in any of a number of other ways. Secondly, you could use other people’s lists. This typically occurs when you run promotions with specific companies. More readers are likely to consider emails sent from such services as spam than if they opt into a mailing list.

As your email list grows, you’ll quickly need the services of an email service provider, such as MailChimp. Most email providers limit the number of emails you can daily send from your address, so once a list reaches a few hundred people, an email service provider will help overcome this problem as well as provide you additional useful services, such as tracking clicks on your email and easily removing email addresses who want to opt out of the list. Many email service providers are free for the first couple of thousand emails, and should your list go beyond that number, the time savings alone likely will make it worth paying for.

Sometimes you will need to encourage readers to join your email list. The best way to do that is to give them a “gift” for doing so (and as doing so, mentioning that they always can opt out of your email list at anytime). Among the most popular gifts is offering a free chapter from an upcoming book or an unpublished short story. Another method is a giveaway, in which adding one’s email serves as entry into the contest. Usually one of your books is good enough to give away; besides being expensive, objects like Kindles and iPads tend to attract lower quality subscribers because they’re not really interested in your writings but in the free tech you’re offering. Posting a request on your social media sites for signing up also is useful, though you’ll probably net fewer subscribers than using the other two methods. The upside is your social media followers typically are very interested in your books (or they wouldn’t be following you, after all). Pinning an email signup link to the top of your Twitter and Facebook profiles works well.

The next step is to create an email campaign. We’ll cover topics for email marketing campaigns and the parts of such emails in upcoming entries.