One of the “badges” that will be offered in a future WriteScouts class is Promotion and one of the topics I’ll cover is building your email list. One of the things I learned as I studied promoting was that building an email list – a list that you yourself own – is key. You don’t want to depend on followers on a platform you don’t own or don’t control. Why? I have one word for you. Myspace.
Okay, so, we’ve addressed the fact that you need an email list. How do you build a list? What is it? What do you need?
Software. First, you need email software. Two that you’ll hear about often are MailChimp and Aweber. Which you choose is up to you. I won’t go into the versus issues, because, frankly, all I have used is MailChimp, so that’s all I can speak to. There are great resources out there, though, like THIS ONE or THIS ONE. I chose MailChimp because it was cheap to start out with, particularly given the fact that I had such a small <cough> non-existent <cough> list.
Plugin. You need a way to capture email addresses. Do a little research on your website so you can create a pop-up. You know what these are – those little boxes that show up and say, hey, just type your email list in here and I’ll send you X! I have a website (psst . . . get your name as a domain as soon as you can), which is currently hosted on Fatcow, and I use WordPress to actually create the content of my website (including my blog — which you know I have because you’re reading it right now). To capture the emails of the people who visit your website, you need to use a Plugin (I use WP Popup). Check out this post for some background info.
Funnel. Every single thing you do should point people to your website. Your social media profiles should all contain a link to your website. Your email signature should have a link to your website. Your business card should include your website address. Think of a funnel that leads people to your website (and ultimately, your plugin to capture their email addresses).
Lead Magnet. People generally need a reason to give you their email address. You’re a writer – give them something they want. I use a free ebook, which is a collection of short stories. There are lots of ideas out there for lead magnets. Like THIS. Take your time with this. Create something that people will actually want.
Cross Promote. Get out there. Talk to people. Be social on social media. Guest post on other blogs. Invite other authors to post on your blog. (psst . . . I’ll include a special section on this in the WriteScouts course.)
Newsletters / Mailings. Email your subscribers on a regular basis, with content that is interesting. I sometimes include snippets from my books or deleted scenes. I’ve also included news, such as when one of my books is nominated for an award, or cover reveals. From the moment you start sending emails out, act as if you are writing to your Perfect Reader. Be personal. Have a conversation with that Perfect Reader. Invite him/her to respond to you. Include content that he/she wants to read. Build a relationship with him/her.
Have you built an email list? What have you found that works? What have you used as a lead magnet?
(Oh – and before I forget – Fatal Obsession has hit the shelves! If your local bookstore or library doesn’t have it, ask them to order it! And if you want the ebook, you can get any format HERE.)