This is the final post in a five-part blog series about how to create and manage a mailing list. Here are the links to the articles in the series:
- Mailing Lists 1 – Why Have One & Finding a Mailing List Service
- Mailing Lists 2 – Creating Your Newsletter
- Mailing Lists 3 – Creating a Plan
- Mailing Lists 4 – Growing Your List
- Mailing Lists 5 – Newsletters
One concern I've heard often is, “How often do I send a newsletter out?” If you implement a plan like I've outlined in this series – a drip campaign that feeds your readers regular freebies of your short stories and whatever else your talents will allow – that would be weekly. Which means…you're already sending out newsletters automatically, so don't stress! That's the beauty of the drip campaign and the plan I use.
The next question I usually hear is, “Well, if all the newsletters on my drip campaign are about my backlist, when do my readers get to hear about new releases or current events?”
That's what the occasional one-off message or manual campaign is about. In short, your entire Reader Club will consist of weekly messages that go out based on when someone signed up AND the manual messages you send to keep your readers up to date on what's happening with your new releases and general author happenings. As you'll see below, those manual messages will help keep your automated drip campaign from sounding…well…automated.
I'm going to give you a bunch of suggestions and examples of why you send out a manual message in addition to your already-running drip campaign. So relax! The pressure is off!
Once you've set up a drip campaign, the next part is easy and it addresses the main concern I've heard most authors express: “I wouldn't know what to write!”
Since your drip campaign is going out weekly, you only need to send out messages when you have updates. Write as little or as often as you like, but I would recommend at least one manual newsletter per quarter, so that would be once every three months.
However, the suggestions below should give you a ton of ideas of when to send out a manual newsletter:
- Online Events or Conventions – Are you on a podcast or appearing on a popular blog? Are you participating in a really big Facebook party? Are you going to a convention? Let your readers know and invite them to participate!
- Group Projects – Are you and a group of authors dropping the price of your books for a holiday sale? Are you participating in a boxed set? Wanna just keep in touch? Do a cross promotion and include free and 99¢ books your fellow authors have. (more below)
- Excerpts of WIPs – Readers love to know what you're working on. If you have a WIP (work in progress) and have a few paragraphs or a short scene you can share, polish that puppy up and put it in a newsletter. It's a great teaser for your next release!
- Holiday Greetings – Is there a holiday around the corner? What about daylight savings time? People always appreciate reminders when those clock-changing times roll around. These are all good excuses to reach out to your subscribers.
- New Releases – Did you just get your rights back from a publisher and you're re-releasing a title? Is your book now available in print or audio? Perhaps you have a completely new release. Your MAILING LIST is definitely the people with whom you want to share new releases and cover reveals. They've already shown an interest in your books by signing up for your newsletter. THEY would be interested in knowing when you have the next book coming out! And THIS is actually the point of building a mailing list and developing a strong fan base by feeding them your backlist – getting them lined up to buy the next book! And I HIGHLY recommend you read Tim Grahl's book Book Launch Blueprint to learn how to use your mailing list to have a successful book launch. MUST READ!!
As much as possible, try to tie in your books to any of the above occasions. Write about time travel? Daylight savings time are your days to have fun! Vamps, weres and witches? Halloween could be your playground. Have a winter holiday story that could use a boost? Send a message out in December with a holiday greeting and a teaser to the story.
Also, don't be afraid to encourage your subscribers to help you spread the word. If you have them tweet about a book, be sure to give them a hashtag to use or create a ClickToTweet.com link to make it even easier for them. Pre-publish a post on Facebook and then give them the permalink to the post and ask them to share.
Cross Promotion to Increase Engagement
As I mentioned above, you can cross promote for other authors. Here is an example of a newsletter where I featured eBooks from other authors.
I included a slew of book covers and all of those link to books that are 99 cents or FREE…and yes, I used my Amazon affiliate link. How did I get those with little-to-no work on my part? I went into my author networking groups on Facebook where I hang out with my Paranormal Romance author pals and created a post: “I'm sending out my newsletter TODAY. Who has a 99 cent or FREE eBook they want me to promote? Please leave your AMAZON link here!” My FB notifications went DING! DING! DING! DING! I posted it in two groups and had to finally say, “Whoa! Okay! I'm full!!!” LOL
Sooooo, I went over to Amazon and grabbed the “large” image HTML coding and pasted those into the newsletter. This video below is a great quick tutorial on how to use Amazon affiliate links. I personally use the method toward the middle-to-the-end of the video where she shows you how to go to the product page and grab the image-only code. The beginning also goes very rapidly over where to go to open your affiliate account (she gives the address).
So there you have it! I think that's the end of this series…unless you all have questions about some of the things I covered or if you think I missed something. If so, please leave comments below! And I do plan on doing my own video series of this and so much more. CLICK HERE to subscribe to my mailing list so you can be notified when those are available.
That's my two pence…