Email marketing for authors – it doesn’t have to be overwhelming!

When it comes to email marketing for authors, it can feel overwhelming to know where to begin. But, as last week’s Instagram glitch showed us, it’s more important than ever to have it in place.

So, in this post, I share some simple ways to get your email marketing game on, helping you sell more books and reach more people!

Why should authors bother with email marketing? 

You may have heard the phrase, ‘email is king’ – or perhaps, as I like to think of it, queen. Either way, it’s royalty when marketing and communicating with your audience.

Why? 

Because, and at the risk of sounding a little Tina Turner, it’s simply the best way to reach a group of people who actively want to hear from you. And, as a networking tool, it outnumbers all social media platforms combined. You can talk directly to your reader – no middleman decides who sees your book posts and who doesn’t. No algorithm changes swoop in and scupper your plans. It’s just you and your reader. 

Emails are hands down, the most effective tool for book marketing. 

Here are a few stats to drive the point home:

  • 4 billion people use email every day

  • 306 billion emails are sent/received per day

  • 81% of B2B marketers say their most used form of content marketing is email newsletters

  • 84.3% of consumers check their email at least once a day – some up to 20 times. 

  • 41% of email views come from mobile devices

  • Email ROI is an impressive $36 for every $1 spent

So you’re communicating with people who are actively opening their inboxes daily, and you can reach them while they’re on the go, just like those pesky social media apps.

What’s the simplest way for authors to start with email marketing?

Now you know the facts, it’s time to get to the logistics. You may be using email marketing in other areas of your business (if you’re not, well…) but let’s focus on how you can use it to promote and sell your books. 

Here’s the simplest way to start:

Join a good email marketing service provider – the most popular are MailerLite, Mailchimp, Convert Kit and AWeber. But new ones come out of the woodwork all the time, so browse and make a choice that feels right for you. 

You can’t simply BCC people using your Outlook or Gmail account – you’ll get into all sorts of trouble for doing this, and your emails will likely be sent straight to spam anyway.

Create a sign-up form – you need permission to email people; otherwise, you’ll have a legal situation on your hands. Many email marketing companies have templates you can use to create and host a sign-up form on their sites or can provide you with an embed code to host your form on your website. 

Make it as simple for people to sign up as possible. Avoid giving them too many options – as they’ll suffer analysis paralysis. You only need their first name and email address, not their bra size or favourite Netflix show. 

Offer an incentive – people won’t part with their email address unless it’s worth their while. We’ve all been there, getting numerous daily emails, so we’re particularly protective of our inboxes. So give your readers a reason to part with their information – and sadly, unless you’re a big name, your name simply isn’t enough. 

Stuck with what freebie to offer? Here are some ideas to help you:

  • A chapter from your book

  • An audio version of said chapter

  • A video to go with the chapter

  • A bonus chapter – only available to people on your list

  • A mini-course 

You can offer more than a freebie further down the line, but starting with something simple means you’re more likely to put the wheels in motion and get your email marketing off the ground.

And then what?

Okay, so you’ve got people on your list, but then what? 

The simplest way to keep in contact with the people on your email list is via an email newsletter. After all, if they’ve signed up, they want to hear from you. 

Before you panic, you don’t need to send emails every day. Let that stay within a sales email sequence. An email newsletter is something you send once per week or fortnight. Avoid anything less than monthly; otherwise, they’ll forget who you are.

Your newsletter can be full of tips and advice that continues to offer value to your readers – it might be behind-the-scenes info about work you’re doing or other information your readers would find interesting. 

In my email newsletter, ‘The Write Stuff’, I share tips and news from the world of writing and publishing that I think my readers will find helpful. I also share my blog posts so they can have free access to support and advice from me too. Value, value, value. 

Occasionally, I’ll announce opportunities to work with me or workshops I’m running, but generally, newsletter emails aren’t sales pitches, so try not to overload them with requests for money. Instead, think to give, give, give, rather than take, take, take. 

You want people to look forward to your emails because they educate, entertain and inspire them. 

Here are some of my favourite newsletters:

  • The Switch from Helen Perry – tips for marketing yourself on the internet.

  • 3-2-1 Thursday Newsletter from James Clear – each newsletter includes 3 short ideas from James, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question for you to ponder.

  • Mel Robbins Newsletter – every issue is packed with the tools and inspiration you need to create a better life.

  • The Scoop from Sara Dalrymple – practical tips you can use straight away to turn your audience into buyers without selling your soul.

Is it time for you to get your email marketing up and running?

Email marketing really is the answer to improving your sales in the long run. When you have a new book or offer, you have people who want to know about it! When you need reviews to boost your sales ranking on Amazon, you’ll have people ready and willing to write them. 

Imagine a room full of your most enthusiastic readers, eager to hear about your book and your work. That’s your email list. Unfortunately, social media is rented land. You’re at the mercy of the people who own the platforms. Instead of a room, you’re in a football stadium, trying to be heard without a microphone. 

Your email list is yours and no one else’s. If Facebook or Instagram disappeared overnight, and you’re relying solely on those to sell and market your books, you’ll be up a certain creek without a paddle. But with a healthy email list, you can build great relationships on your terms. 

So if you haven’t got your author email marketing up and running yet, it’s time to start!

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