How do you market your writing?
Social media? Blog posts? Emails?
Building an email list is the most direct way to market a book or other product.
Having thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook likes is wonderful, but it doesn’t have the direct marketing strength that email marketing provides.
With emails, you connect directly to readers and provide sales content in a form that people actually desire.
93% of people online prefer brand interaction through email (60 Second Marketer) not social media. Yup, most people would rather be sold something through email than Facebook or Twitter. It makes sense too, considering most people typically share fun stuff like photos, quotes and articles via social media.
Wonderful. But how do you turn that email list from zero subscribers to hundreds or thousands?
An email is personal information, so you cannot expect people to fork over that information without providing something of value. What is the easiest way to acquire an email from someone? By offering FREE, exclusive content in exchange for their email.
There are several pieces of content that work great for writers looking to accumulate more emails, and in turn, create loyal followers who might buy something from you in the future.
A short manifesto
I provide this to my subscribers. Since I decided to give out this manifesto, my email list has increased by over 1000 subscribers in just under three months.
Choose a topic you are passionate about and share your opinion on it. Regardless of whether people agree with you or not, it will spark conversation. There are two really cool things about a manifesto – it shouldn’t take long to write and it provides value to readers, while remaining artistic.
I also share my video series on email marketing for writers when people sign up for my list. Another great example of a free video series can be found at socialmediaexaminer.com, where they offer a social marketing video tutorial. As a writer, think about doing an interview, creating a tutorial on something you are knowledgeable in or even an exclusive book trailer. One author once asked me how she could create a video if she wrote children’s arts and crafts books.
I told her to pick one of her favorite crafts and film a step-by-step tutorial. If you are a fiction writer, film an inspirational talk on how you went through your publishing journey or an interview on how you came to write your book. However, the strongest videos always help out the reader. It may not relate directly to your book, but provide a video that highlights some techniques you used to become more successful. Think about your reader first, not just marketing your writing all the time.
I would typically recommend this as a additional piece, included with another giveaway for beginner authors who don’t currently have a following. Provide a preview of something you plan on selling in the future. If you have a compilation of short stories, poems, a novel or novelette, give people a taste of your writing prowess with a few free chapters.
An email course
One of my favorite email courses for writers can be found for free at Make A Living Writing. Carol has an autoresponder setup through Mailchimp, where once someone signs up for her email list, it will then send out 20 email lessons on weekly intervals.
With writers, there are a wide range of options for setting up an email course, such as a fiction series that sends out every week (similar to a TV sitcom) or a course on your own niche that people might find valuable. The best thing about an autoresponder is that you set it up once and the emails send on their own.
The fourth and final giveaway that should always be passed on to subscribers is valuable emails. Newsletters with fun facts, freebies, giveaways and advice are always helpful. You can also send out blog updates whenever you publish something new to your site.
So how do you send out an automated email that sends your subscribers a free giveaway?
Disclaimer: There are several options that you can use to set up a sign-up form and email list. I recommend Mailchimp and do all my tutorials with Mailchimp for several reasons. You can checkout those reasons here, but in short, Mailchimp offers superior customization and it is free until you reach 2000 subscribers, which is nice for writers just getting started.
In order to setup your Mailchimp account, create a form for your blog and manage your list you can view my free video series on email marketing for writers. Once you have that all setup you can move on to the following steps to automate a free giveaway that sends out whenever someone subscribes.
Create something of value
Spend a few days making something that you can give out to other people. Like I covered earlier think about your reader and put together an informational eBook, a preview to your novel or an autoresponder email course. To start out, let’s say you want to include a link to a video, PDF preview, full eBook or manifesto.
Upload your content
Navigate to the backend of your website. For WordPress users this is going to look like this: myexamplewebsite.com/wp-admin. When you get logged into your dashboard, click on the media tab on the left. If you still need to setup your own WordPress blog, checkout how to do so in 10 minutes.
At the top, click “Add New”
You can then click “Select Files” in order to find the file you have already created on your computer.
Navigate to your file and double-click to upload it onto your website.
Once the file is uploaded you can click on “Edit”
On this detailed file page you should highlight the “File URL” and then copy the URL. This URL is where your file is now located. In order to share your file with everyone it must be hosted somewhere online, so people can redirect to it. In short, people cannot see something that is just sitting on your desktop.
Create your automated email
After that, we are done working in WordPress. You can now navigate to Mailchimp and login to your account.
Click “Lists” on the top of your Mailchimp dashboard.
On the left-hand side, click on the “Design Signup Forms” button and select the list you would like to give something to.
On the left side of the page there is a “Forms & Response Emails” drop down field.
Select the “Confirmation Thank You Page” option.
In order to design all these emails you can checkout my email design video here, but right now we just want to get a link in the email that leads your subscribers to the free content.
The “Confirmation Thank You Page” email is the second to last email that your subscriber will receive. It confirms that they are successfully enrolled and thanks them for enrolling. However, we can change this default text to include a link to your eBook or other giveaway.
Scroll over the body text area in the email and click on the “Edit” button in the upper right hand corner.
You can then type in whatever welcome text you want to provide. (Feel free to use my text above as a starter.)
In order to link your giveaway. Type in your desired text. For example, I have “Click Here To Get Your Free Copy Of The Landlocked Traveling Writer”.
Highlight whatever text you want people to click on.
Click on the “Link” button at the top of your email editor.
Then paste in the link that we copied from your WordPress dashboard before. You might have to go back and copy it again if it was overridden.
Click Insert and now you will be able to see a link that will leads to your giveaway. After this, click “Save Now” and “Save and Exit” on the upper right hand side of your Mailchimp screen. Now whoever subscribes to your email list will receive your free giveaway!
Some extra tips
- You might have noticed that I also include a free video series in my welcome email. Feel free to link as much content as you want. I would try not to go overboard, but if you have an extra video, eBook or old blog post that you want to get more exposure, link them up!
- If you have a video on Youtube, Vimeo or some other video website, it is already hosted online somewhere, so you can skip over the “Upload your content” section and put a link to the YouTube or Vimeo page.
- Autoresponders for email courses or a series of automated emails require a paid Mailchimp account and require a little more customization not covered in this tutorial.
Do you have any experience giving out freebies to your subscribers? If not, do you have any questions on why giving out your content can be helpful for selling your work in the future?