Email Marketing For Authors – A Powerful Tool

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Remember when email marketing was big? Guess what? It still is.

Email Marketing For Authors - A Powerful Tool

While business pages focus on social media trends, and blogs and workshops on the Internet abound with how-to information on nearly every social media network, email has been trucking along.

Savvy marketers have been doing all they can to collect their web visitors’ emails and grow their lists for years.

You’re probably asking yourself, “What about social media?” Well, social media is a powerful tool to nurture relationships with your readers.

Email marketing enables you to communicate directly with each of your subscribers – your readers.

In a recent study, Pew Research discovered that 94% of employed adults use the Internet for work. This number is no surprise when you consider the widespread use of technology across industries.

Here’s the kicker: It turns out that email is considered the most important business tool by 61% of those polled. In comparison, just 4% consider social media networks as important.

Email Signup Case Studies

Take Derek Halpern’s About page on his Social Triggers website for example. He’s positioned three newsletter sign-up forms throughout the page.

There aren’t any columns with distracting information, and there’s not a single social media icon on that page. He wants your email address – desperately it seems.

On his home page, there are three signup forms and a floating box requesting your email that floats with you to the top or bottom of the page. Here are his calls to action:

  1. Get Free Updates
  2. Don’t miss out on these free updates! He includes an image (see below) and a quote from powerhouse marketer Chris Brogan.
  3. get updates (it’s free)

Caballo - email 2

Plus one of his page tabs is titled Free Updates. That landing page is almost austere in design with the only color on the page coming from the email sign-up box.

Let’s look at Yaro Starak’s home page. This is his email sign-up form on every single page of his website:

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Pretty powerful, right?

Marketer and New York Times best-selling author Chris Brogan uses a popup for his home page to entice web visitors to turn over their emails.

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On his home page, he uses this very personalized appeal to scoop up emails.

Caballo - email Brogan

There can be some bias against marketers in some writing communities, but, hey, these people really know how to use persuasive language.

Authors and Email Marketing

What does this mean for authors? I have a few suggestions:

  1. Sign up for an email application such as MailChimp (that’s what I use), Constant Contact (I don’t like it, but plenty of people do), or AWeber (many people love this application).
  2. Offer a premium for signing up for your newsletter or blog. I offer a free eBook (Twitter Just for Writers) on my website. People these days are more willing to turn over an email address if they receive an item – a book, a list of best practices, a template, etc. – of value in return. Some marketers offer a 30-day free email course. (How’s that for communicating regularly with your readers?)
  3. Use your email list to send quality content to your readers on a regular basis and include one call to action per newsletter. The content you select will depend on your genre and niche. Make sure that your call to action has a focused objective and the link should lead to a landing page where there won’t be any distractions. The thrust of the page will be to entice your web visitor to take action, such as purchase your newest book.

Don’t think that just because you invest in email marketing that you’ll be able to dispense with social media. Keep it up.

Through email marketing, you can communicate with your current website visitors. Through social media you can ask questions, better acquaint yourself with your readers, have discussions in real time, and find prospective readers.

 Email Marketing Best Practices

The folks at Hubspot recommend these three parameters before venturing into email marketing.

  • Create and use a simple template. You want to focus on your content, not the form.
  • Keep your template within 600 pixels. This way your recipients, if they use Outlook, can see your content in the vertical preview pane
  • Don’t neglect to follow CAN-SPAM rules. All of your marketing emails, including your series of gratitude emails, must contain the word “unsubscribe.” In addition to providing an unsubscribe option in every email, you must also include your company name and address.

I will add one more parameter: Always include social share icons in your newsletter so your readers can share your content wherever they like to hang out online.

Here are some more tips I like:

  • Write compelling email subject lines. What would entice you to open an email? Try to replicate that.
  • Use actionable language in the present tense.
  • Personalize your introduction.
  • Edit your content carefully. People don’t like to read long emails so make your content concise, meaningful, and useful.
  • Create a visually appealing newsletter and use images.
  • Use the most impactful images you can find.
  • Use clear calls to action, and just use one per newsletter.

To learn more, check out Chris Brogan’s book, Trust Agents or The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing by DJ Waldow and Jason Falls.

Frances Caballo

Frances Caballo

Social Media Strategist and Manager at Social Media Just For Writers
Find Frances Caballo on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. She is the author of Social Media Just for Writers and Twitter Just for Writers, which is available for free on her website.
Frances Caballo
Frances Caballo