We’ve talked a lot about the importance of building your author platform before you launch a book, and you know by now that there are many elements that go into it. However, perhaps the most important part of your author platform is building an email list of people who are interested in what you have to say. Why? Not only is this an engaged audience that already loves you and is waiting to buy your book, but also because this is the only list you own.
If you have a large following on Facebook, or Twitter or some other social media site, that audience is gone if the platform goes away. You don’t have control over it, even if it feels like you do.
That’s why it’s important to convert those followers to subscribers on your author website.
How to Grow Your Email List: Lead Generation Strategies for Authors
So how do you get subscribers?
By giving them something they want in return for their email address.
It can be overwhelming, at first, to think about creating what’s called a lead generator, or sometimes an optin offer. But it’s not as hard as it sounds at first. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Think about your book, and what your readers might want to know more about. If you’re writing fiction, maybe they’ll want to know more about the characters. Or perhaps you write about writing, and you can share part of your process. Or maybe you’ve written a nonfiction book about a topic you’re an expert on. Is there anything you left out?
- Get into your target reader’s mind. What do they crave, desire, dream about? What problems do they have? What questions might you have answers to?
- Do some keyword research to see what kinds of things people might be searching for. There are loads of tools for this, but I like Google Adwords, Quora and Buzzsumo.
Here are some lead generation strategies our authors have used:
- A downloadable ebook with tips, tricks and/or how-tos, on a topic related to your book
- A short email course (maybe 4-5 emails with a 2-3 minute video in each) teaching them something as a follow-up (or a preparation) to your book
- A free book for the price of shipping (if you’re willing to stock and ship book yourself, or send them directly to the buyer from Amazon)
- A detailed backstory on the most popular character(s) in your book
- Offer a free workbook to go along with your self-help book
- A pre-made spreadsheet if that’s something you utilize in your book
Did you notice what’s not on the list?
A preview of your book.
Nobody wants to give you their email for a preview of your book because they can go to Amazon and get it for free. However, if you already have a platform before you publish a book, it could be a good idea to give them a sneak peak before your book is available to the world. Your email list loves to feel special, so things they can only get by being a subscriber will be much more appealing than something they can Google and find for free.
It’s important to remember that your work isn’t done once people subscribe to your list. Now, it’s up to you to continue to give them more valuable content. How do you do that?
Send an automated email series
You’ll want to automate a series of emails to be delivered to them over a period of 0-10 days from the date they signed up. This includes the introductory welcome email, with a link to download the freebie they requested. Then it’s a good idea to craft three to five more emails, designed to educate them on the topic (it should all be related to the lead generator) and inspire them to buy your book. Make sure to direct them to Amazon or wherever your book is available to purchase.
The point is to stay fresh in their inbox, provide more answers to their questions (i.e. valuable content) and make them like and trust you enough to want to read more from you (i.e. buy your book).
There are lots of tools you can use to automate your emails. A couple of my favorite are Mailchimp and Convertkit.
Now that you’re lead generator is created and your email series is automated, it’s time to market your offer!
How to market your offer
Once you’ve created a valuable offer you want to give to people in exchange for their email, you’ll want to get it into the inboxes of as many of your target readers as possible.
To do this, you’ll want to market it.
The best way to do so is to create a content strategy for your website and work the offer into each relevant post. For example, this very post has an offer to our ebook on book marketing because we assume if you’re an author interested in building an email list, you might also be interested in learning about our book marketing techniques.
Once you’ve implemented a successful content strategy, you’ll want to post the articles on social media. You might even pay to advertise one of them to get new followers.
As you have probably gathered by now, there’s no quick or simple solution to book marketing. In fact, the whole process can be daunting. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all that goes into it, we’re here to help.
Download our free ebook to learn how to run your book launch!