For a long time online businesses, marketers and entrepreneurs have understood the importance of building an email list for success. To this day, it’s still considered the backbone of any successful platform and will remain so, as our society and way of living increasingly incorporates online digital technologies.
As an author in today’s ever changing digital economy, it’s important to incorporate this asset into your platform, just as big name authors Andy Andrews, Tim Ferris and John Locke have done with great success.
What exactly is ‘list building’?
It’s when you offer your audience the opportunity to receive email updates or a newsletter from you, which can contain book news, free downloads, giveaways or tips that you send out. The email list is an additional way that people can enjoy your blog content or special subscriber only material.
Why should you build a list?
A subscriber on your list, is the next best thing to a book sale. Having a list means having a group of highly targeted people you can communicate with on a regular basis, who are happy to hear from you. It’s important to realise that people only buy from those they know and trust. Over time as your subscribers enjoy the value you provide, seeing you as a trusted source of content, they’ll become much more interested in picking up your book, knowing who is behind it.
It’s a crucial part of how authors and even businesses can launch books and other products and hit best selling lists. Amazon has millions of people on their list, who it can email with new book and product releases. Only a small percentage of those people are required to buy, in order to send a book up the charts. Very powerful.
This is why you need to be creating your own email list.
How does it work?
Once you have a subscriber, you want to build trust by giving great value. It starts with visitors coming to your author website. They start reading your content and get to KNOW and LIKE you. Then you want them to do one of two things, preferably both.
1. The person buys your book
2. The person subscribes to your newsletter
Your subscribers already know and like you, after all they subscribed to hear more from you. This breaks the barrier of obscrurity, the first obstacle you need to overcome and it’s especially important for first time authors.
You start by having an email signup box on your author website, much like the Book Cover Cafe box at the top right. The visitor subscribes by entering their name and email.
As part of subscribing, you should offer a free piece of content or product to the new subscriber in exchange for their name and email, to start building trust and offering great value.
Then the new subscriber receives a follow up email thanking them for subscribing, along with the free product.
What’s the right email list tool?
When planning to setup your list you want to use a powerful email list tool. This is not using the contacts list in your gmail or outlook program. Far from it. You want to use a dedicated email service geared specifically for email marketing and business.
This tool needs to be able to:
- manage all your subscribers in one spot
- has a follow up auto-responding feature for new subscribers
- allows you to send out individual emails and auto responders
- allows you the ability to have multiple lists using one account
- gives you statistic tracking.
There’s a number of tools available on the market to do this. The one I use and recommend is AWeber (a). This is considered by many to be a leading and reputable service that will allow you to do all this and more.
For less than the price of a cup of coffee a week, you’ll have a service that provides easy form creation, quick setup, has great support and scales only when your list reaches certain size milestones. This helps you scale at your own pace.
Important note: Something to keep in mind, is that if you use another email service and want to move to another service like AWeber, you’ll likely lose subscribers, due to them having to confirm ‘opt-in’ again. This is a legal requirement the email service provider such as Aweber, needs to adhere to.
So it’s best to select a service from the start, that’s going to do everything you want now and in the future, to avoid this.
What incentive can I offer?
As previously mentioned, this is where you offer great value to those who subscribe, in the form of a free eBook or other piece of content. It’s works as an incentive and a thanks of appreciation. You wouldn’t randomly give your phone number to a store clerk unless there was something in it for you, such as a discounted reincheck. It’s the same for those providing an email address online.
I have subscribed to countless websites, because I want to receive more great content and get the interesting eBook that’s offered to subscribers.
Make sure your giveaway is related. Here’s some suggestions you can use for free give-aways;
- A couple of free chapters of your book
- Free tip sheets with advice on your topic
- Free audio or video with related content and tips
- A couple of free chapters of your book
- A short story
So have a think about what value you can provide to your new subscribers.
When should you start an email list?
Yesterday! One thing I’ve learned myself and from successful online business colleagues and entrepreneurs, is that it’s never too early to start building your list. If you have an author website this is something you should begin right away.
Offer great value. Don’t be seen as a spammer, or talk only about yourself. Give great information, content and be entertaining. Provide value and people will be happy to buy your book when the time comes.
Implement what I’ve talked about here and your email list will be your first and most valuable source of interested readers, come time to release your next book.
…and launch with a BANG!
Platform building for the long term