During week two of the Book Marketing Challenge I have researched and come up with some ‘incentives’ that I can offer my readers to get them to join (and then enjoy) being a part of my email list. I will list these here for anyone who is in need of ideas to kickstart their own email list.
Legitimate Email lists are a vital marketing tool in today’s world. They allow permission for you to directly contact your readers while increasing the effectiveness of your message. Every author (or anyone wanting to gain a following) should be working on building their email list, but how exactly do you go about doing that?
An important part of this is to include a link to your email sign up form or website at the back of your books. Readers who have just finished a book are more likely to sign up to hear about new releases. Also, place a link to your email sign up page in your twitter profile and FB pages – and anywhere else where you have a ‘presence’.
Exclusive or Advance information
Obviously I want to promote any new releases or events as much as possible, and where better to start than with a group of people specifically interested in what I’m up to? I let readers know that by providing their email address they’re signing up to a service that’ll remind them about a product they enjoy.
If you want to go one step further then consider a policy of providing your email list with that information first. Let your fans know that before it goes on Facebook or is mentioned on Twitter, you’ll personally contact them with key updates. They’ll be the first to know when your new book is coming out, the first to have access to the synopsis and cover designs, and if there’s a book trailer coming out then they get the link before anyone else. The further in advance you can offer information, the more desirable subscribing to your email list becomes.
Everybody loves something for nothing, and as a writer nothing advertises your work better than a sample. You can offer a preview of your novel to subscribers, with the dual benefits of building your email list and getting them hooked on the story. You could also offer short stories, poems or articles to email subscribers. This takes a little extra work, but it does allow you to use that ultimate buzz word: ‘free’. This exclusive content is exciting for readers at the same time as its advertising your work as an author.
Competitions allow you to attract a lot of subscribers. An offer of one (or a few) of your books with the only condition of entry being an email subscription, and you can attract hundreds of people. While you do need to offer something in exchange for reader’s email addresses people are generally quite free with them, so offering a reward as tangible as free stuff will really bring in the big numbers.
The size of your contest is up to you so you can get creative. This can be such things as book giveaways, a chance to name a character, name a place in a fantasy world, or even a chance to have the winner themselves featured as a supporting character in an upcoming book.
This is where email subscribers pose questions to authors either about their work or for advice on writing. From the question list you can then choose three questions a week (or however many you may want) and provide your readers with the benefit of your wisdom. This won’t just invite people to join your email list but will foster close links between you and your readers. Any reader who gets their question chosen will be thrilled, and budding writers who come to you for advice will be grateful for your time and insight.
Offer a weekly or monthly round-up of content you have enjoyed, whether it be books, movies, television, theatre, video games or some other art form (at the moment I’m doing book reviews). Your email subscribers will appreciate this as there are few people whose taste readers trust more than an author whose work they enjoy. This is a way that will make you friends among fans and other authors (if you recommend them).
NB: However you advertise, collect and use your email list, remember that the platform is a privilege. Be glad of the opportunity to address your readers directly and let it show. If subscribers feel like you’re genuinely talking to them, and not just advertising your latest novel, they’ll appreciate it and won’t unsubscribe from the service.
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