At the very moment this post is published, I am attending the InD'Scribe Con & Book Festival and in about 30 minutes, I'll be teaching a workshop called ENDLESS Ideas for Newsletter Content. This class will show authors where they can get ENDLESS content for their newsletters, which is the #1 complaint I hear from authors when managing a mailing list: I have nothing to say in my newsletters!! This article is a reference for those who took the workshop in lieu of me handing out paper materials. All the links and resources I mentioned in the presentation are here for those who attended. Thank you in advance for taking the workshop!
SIDE NOTE: DON'T let lack of content stop you from building a mailing list! The mailing list is THE BEST marketing tool you can have in your toolbox. If you frequent my blog, you know I'm a HUGE advocate of building a mailing list and the biggest reason why is YOU CONTROL IT.
Remember back in the day when MySpace was da shit? And then Facebook was born and MySpace users left in droves! When the mass exodus happened, all the people who had built their businesses and success through MySpace LOST all of their customers and fan base…because they had no way of finding all those people on Facebook.
MANY people are frustrated with Facebook today and they are looking for the next best thing to replace it. When that happens – and it will – there will be another mass exodus. DO NOT get caught with your pants down and lose the fan base you worked so hard to build. START BUILDING A MAILING LIST NOW. Then, when the switch does happen, you can reach out to your mailing list and tell them, “Hey, I'm over here at [new social media platform]. Come on and find me!” See how effective that can be?
Endless Ideas Newsletter Content – Notes
HOMEWORK: Learn Automation
One of the first things I encouraged attendees to do at the workshop was learn about automation, how to do it, or what it was all about. I gave a very brief description of automation (aka drip campaigns): A series of pre-composed newsletters that are automatically delivered to your mailing list based on some kind of trigger (e.g., joining your mailing list, clicking on a particular link, etc.). The messages go out an intervals that you can set. For example: My VIP Club for my readers goes out weekly and it is initially triggered when someone joins my mailing list.
If one has a tight budget, here are the mailing list services I recommend to authors often:
- MailChimp – Their automation is decent, so I'm only recommending them because they have a FREE account for up to 2000 subscribers. However, they get a bit pricey for what they offer once you get 2001 subscribers: $30/month for up to 2500 subscribers. If you're going to be spending that kind of money, I would recommend ActiveCampaign instead. They have a MUCH better mailing list service for the same money: $29/mo for up to 2500 subscribers. I use this account for the leads I gather through InstaFreebie, but I'm considering moving to MailerLite due to their new automation.
- MailerLite – This is GREAT for those with a very tiny budget: $10/mo for up to 2500 subscribers. ML has a brand new automation system that is almost on par with ActiveCampaign, which allows you to create conditions to the workflow. For example: If your send a message, you can split the workflow based on how your subscribers respond. If they open the message, you can send another message. If they don't open the message after a certain period of time, you can send a different one with completely different content.
- Mad Mimi – These guys are not too bad in price and usage: $16/mo for up to 2500 subscribers. Their automation is similar to MailChimp in that it is very linear. You don't get the flexibility that MailerLite gives you, but they have a few other bells and whistles and you might like their interface a little better.
- ActiveCampaign – THIS is the system I moved to from MailChimp and I LOVE ActiveCampaign!! Check out my review of their services if you'd like to know more about AC. I cannot speak highly enough of their system and customer service. Though they are equal in pricing to MailChimp, they are FAR superior and you get a bigger bang for your buck. This service is ideal for those who want to take their automated marketing to a whole new sophisticated level! I hope to be providing classes in the future about how fiction authors can take advantage of their tools.
And as for information about how to learn about automation and about email marketing:
- MailChimp – What is Automation & Why You Need It?
- HubSpot – 13 Email Workflows You Should Be Using in Your Marketing Automation
- Convince & Convert – 15 Email Statistics that are Shaping the Future
- ActiveCampaign – Highlights of their Features, which gives you an idea of what you can do with automation.
If you already have a mailing list service, visit their Help or Support pages to learn how to use automation or drip campaigns. You can also do a search on YouTube for “automated email marketing“. You can learn a slew of stuff and get ideas on YouTube! This information above is only a start. Do your homework! But you can also ask questions in the comments below.
I don't want to give away the farm here, so I won't go into detail about what I discussed in my workshop. I will be providing classes through Udemy in the future about this very class. Be sure to get on my mailing list so you know when I launch those classes. And for those who attended this workshop in person, you'll have access to this particular class for FREE. You should have signed up for my mailing list and I have you on a special list to receive the FREE coupon once the class is published.
However, for those who attended, I did promise I would give you the links of the resources I mentioned in the class…
- Canva – FREE graphic editing website to create your marketing materials and some freebies.
- DepositPhotos – My stock image website of choice. Keep on the lookout for their 100 image pack deals!
- MightyDeals – Subscribe to their newsletter so you can be notified when DepositPhotos uses them for the 100 & 200 image pack deals.
- Arial's Author Toolbox – This article gives a TON of useful books I recommend, to help you give laser focus to your marketing efforts.
- Mailing Lists – How to Create a Reader Club – Read this series of articles to learn how to create your own reader club using automation and it mentions all those marketing tips I shared (Hint: STRONG CTAs or Calls to Action).
- Sample Automation Newsletter – As promised, here's the sample newsletter I shared in the class. Remember, use your own! This is only an example. You want YOUR personality to shine, not mine!
- Fiction Friday Writing Prompts – Here's a link to all the Fiction Friday posts I've published on this site.
- Lisa Kessler's 52 Stories in 52 Weeks – This link will discuss the whole program and I HIGHLY recommend it!! Tell her Arial sent you!
- Character Interview Suggestion – This article discusses the method I use to conduct character interviews and CLICK HERE to read an interview my readers LOVE, with my main character Broderick MacDougal, HOT Scottish Vampire from the 15th Century.
- Recipes – If you're not good at creating your own recipes or don't really have any to share, try some of these recipe websites for ideas. If you use a recipe on the internet, be sure to link to the article where you found it to give that person credit. These are just a FEW resources, so search for recipes in your favorite search engine to find more.
That should be everything I mentioned in the class, so enjoy exploring those resources and I look forward to seeing you at the next class, online OR at my Udemy classes when I get them online.
If you're reading this article and you were NOT present for the workshop, be sure to signup to my mailing list so you can be informed of upcoming classes and workshop appearances.
That's my two pence…