You must build an email list to make more money when selling books. This is the biggest asset you have and you must figure out how to properly build and manage your list or lists in order to increase book sales exponentially.
This information not only applies to writers, it applies to every business out there. Once you have your customer's information in your mailing list, you can easily sell more products to them, especially if they liked the first one.
Building an email list, network, or fan base is not as hard as it sounds. It does take some time to develop a solid, well rounded list, but the time you spend developing your network of readers will give you unlimited future earning potential from every book you publish.
This page will walk you through the process of establishing everything you need to build an email list, including how to capture reader's information, how to build a relationship with them once they are in your list, and proper ways to keep them engaged and buying books from you.
An email list is a list of people who provide their information to you in exchange for something else. Their are several types of mailing lists you should manage to help grow your publisher business.
Writers should have at least one fan email list (for you as an author) and one book or topic email list for each book or topic you write about. If you write several books in one topic, it's okay to use the one list. If you have two topics that are totally different from one another, you should build an email list for each topic, this way you are not advertising to the wrong people.
There are 5 key steps to properly build an email list. No matter what type of email list you are building, they are essentially the same with exception of how you follow up with them.
1. The Autoresponder. An autoresponder makes your life as a writer and publisher very easy. It automates most of the process of following up with your subscribers, containing personalized emails in a follow up series designed to build a relationship, build trust, and dropping a sales email in every now and then. This is a must have tool and you will want to figure in an expense for this type of service.
Not all autoresponders are created equal. The best one I've found in my 14 years of online marketing is Aweber which has everything you need to build a great list. It has forms, fancy email templates, and can be used to manage multiple lists.
2. A Website. You need a website or two to host your capture forms for building a list. The purpose of your website is marketing, and the first part of marketing is to build an email list. So, besides some good contact that the search engines will send traffic to, you will be placing a subscribe form for your email list. It should be accompanied by a sales letter or some kind of offer to make the visitor sign up for your list.
3. The Free Offer. Most people won't just give their information away to you. An email list built specifically for a fan club may be a little different where you offer to keep them up to date on your latest works. But a book or topic oriented email list is a little different.
The best thing to do to build an email list is to give away something free to people who subscribe (I give you something, you give me your name and email address). A free report about your topic, a free book if you have many in the topic, the first in a series book for free... You must be creative when building your lists. People will sign up to it if it is worth their while.
4. Continuous Contact. Don't email your list every day. That would take too much time out of your day. But an email a week keeping people up to date on what you're doing, asking them questions, giving them teasers of the book you're writing... all of this can be very helpful in keeping people subscribed to your list. Your autoresponder helps with this, but a broadcast email every week describing current things going on is better.
5. List Maintenance. Every now and then you may have an email "bounce back at you". These are people who have bad emails, email addresses that are shut down, or are rejecting your emails automatically. A good autoresponder tells you which emails went through successfully and which ones bounce. This is known as database maintenance.
This is the real magic of how an email list works. When you build an email list, you are anticipating that these people will buy from you if they haven't already. In order for someone to buy from you, especially if you are sending them emails directing them to buy a book, it's best to have some kind of relationship with them. Your autoresponder helps with this, but you must build your relationship from the start before trying to sell any books to them.
Your first four emails in your autoresponder should be introductory, telling the subscriber a story about yourself, why you write, how you started writing, what lead to this topic, or any other interest attracting thing you can think of. Try to relate directly to the topic they are subscribing to so they will want to know more. After you get to the end of the first four emails, if you are leading up to your first book for sale, lead them into it. Get them to your sales page and ultimately buying your book.
This initial story helps build a relationship by letting people know something about you and why you wrote the book. This will foster more sales than just marketing your books outright.
It's very important that you remember you are building trust with your subscribers. At no time should you break that trust by selling your list to someone else to send emails to. Never!
If you want to make additional money with your list, you can charge other writers within your topic or area of interest a fee and you can send an email to your list recommending the book to them. But use this method sparingly as to not upset your subscribers.
Build an email list to succeed at selling books. This is the only way you can make real money with your writing. Sure, without a list you will make a few sales here and there, but you will make a whole lot more with control of an email list.
Start out with an autoresponder account from Aweber. Watch their training videos for some great information about utilizing your emails and forms to automate your book selling platform.
For more information or questions, please contact me and let me know what you need. This isn't always the easiest thing for writers to do because we aren't experts at marketing. But you don't have to be an expert to do it.