Indie authors are in manic mode to gather subscribers and generate newsletters…
IMO, that is not a bad thing. From the moment we step into the indie author arena we are told to have a newsletter. Marketing experts and gurus insist that for success a newsletter is the single top-ranked item one needs in an indie marketing toolbox. I’m convinced. But here is what the experts don’t tell you:
- Divide your subscribers into two or more audiences. The value of this explained below.
- Stagger your newsletter delivery by time and days to discover the best window of acceptance and open rates.
- Critical! Every mention of a title and every cover must be live-linked to a buy page.
- Review the Performance of every live-link in the newsletter for unique clicks. Unique clicks tell you destination hits and number of
- Cleanse your subscriber lists at least twice a year. Decide parameters i.e. Move subscribers who have not opened perhaps 3 of the last 5 newsletters into a separate Outlier audience. Design or edit a cloned/copy newsletter for this group. If two or more newsletters go unopened, drop the subscriber.
- Third party generated newsletters must abide by Gmail’s DMARC. Now also extended to Yahoo and AOL. You don’t have to understand DMARC. You just have to abide by the rule. Mad Mimi and MailChimp are third party. I used GoDaddy for my domain name and email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tell your subscribers in the first module/paragraph about how often to expect your newsletter.
- Insert the Unsubscribe link in the first module/paragraph to avoid having your newsletter ticked as Spam.
- If you have something really hot or a special event to promote between scheduled newsletters, label it: Special Edition.
- Do This: Once emailed to your subscribers, grab the newsletter share link/url, tweet it, post it on Facebook and Google+ so non-subscribers can read it online. I sometimes have a secret Rafflecopter for my subscribers in my newsletter. I delete that from the clone that I share publicly.
Are you with me so far? Okay. Why divide your subscribers into two or more audiences? I do it because I want to stagger book buys and downloads to generate a slow climb up the the Amazon bestseller stats in my genre or work towards landing a book in TOP 100 FREE. I’m using my newsletter to bracket promotions on other sales venues such as Bookbub, eBookDaily, ENT, eBook Betty, Digital Book Today or booktastik. By scheduling the newsletter on successive days at different times, I can evaluate acceptance, open, viewed and unique click performance. I’ve discovered Saturday evening delivery is less than stellar. Open and click through rates sink to China. Not doing that time frame again. Sunday evening is only a little less awful.
Mad Mimi shows performance for every live link in a newsletter including the percentage and actual number of unique clicks on book covers, book titles, plus words and phrases such as: On Amazon, Amazon Exclusive and 99c for a limited time. From my very first newsletter issued January 2014, I’ve promoted my colleague’s books across most genres when FREE or discounted. I ask around who has a new release or a book on sale for the dates I’ve scheduled Accent on Romance. I share with my subscribers Rafflecopters and Giveaways. My newsletter is workplace and family friendly. I don’t promote erotica. All of my newsletters are readercentric, offering value to the subscriber. Not saying it’s perfect, but I try.
Sharing this: Over the past few months I’ve subscribed to dozens of author newsletters. A very few are dead on. Some are epic fails. No live links on covers or book titles. Or no links to a book buy page at all. A few feature the same 500 word author bio that reads like a jobs resume in every newsletter. A few are filled with badly formatted book excerpts in desperate need of editorial input and proofreading. Many are rife with misspelled words and book descriptions that read like a sixth grade book report. Telling you this: You might consider your newsletter subscribers as guests in your home. You’re inviting them, you neaten your house, you say welcome at the front door, you offer refreshment. If you want them to return, you must nurture the relationship. Get this: Many newsletters do not even introduce the author. Nope. Unless I look at the name on the book cover, I don’t have a clue about whose newsletter I’m reading. Your newsletter is introducing your craft, talent and product to readers–many for the first time. It is not a grocery list.
You get one chance to lose a subscriber and zero chances to recapture the subscriber once lost.
Here is another way to look at it: How utterly arrogant is it of us to present a flawed and sloppy newsletter to a prospective book buyer and expect that reader to snap up our books FREE or Paid? Or to follow us on Twitter? Like us on Facebook? Enter our Giveaways? To see an example of a recent issue of Accent on Romance Newsletter click HERE. It is a work in progress, but all together the three audience editions moved above 1000 books, FREE/Paid/Borrowed. The same number + of subscribers entered the Rafflecopter. No fewer than 40 subscribers visited eNovel Author pages.
I’m just about done. Asking you: This blog is full of live links that will give you more information and data you can use–if you will. Do you click on the links? Smart you if you do.
I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Our members have astonishing talents inside and out of indie authorship. They’ve produced not less than 500 well-written books to entertain you across many genres. Check ’em out. @JackieWeger 2016. Comments always welcome. Add to the discussion.