This is the final part in my series on why email is the number 1 tool for authors to build their audiences.
In part 1, I established why email is so important, and in part 2 I covered which email software I recommend and how to setup a sign up form.
Today, we look at:
- Sending emails to your subscribers through your chosen email software
- 12 Ideas for what to write in your emails
- Keeping subscribers you’ve worked hard to collect
Sending emails to your subscribers
When it’s time to email to your subscribers you’ve got two options. Emails can go out automatically when you hit publish on a new post, or manually via a campaign in your email software.
Option 1: Automatic emails
Back in part 1 we looked at two common types of emails: newsletter and notification.
If you’ve decided to make your email notifications of your new posts, you could choose to send them automatically when you publish a new blog post.
Choosing the automatic option means less work. You just set and forget. Once you hit publish on your article, it automatically gets sent out to your email list. Your blog post’s title becomes the email’s subject.
When automatically notifying your subscribers, you can decide how much of the post the reader will receive in the email notification. They can receive the full article, or just an excerpt that links to your website for the full post.
How to automatically send emails to your subscribers when you publish a new post:
- If using MailPoet, watch their video
- If using MailChimp, here’s their page for creating and RSS campaign
Get in touch if you need help with either of the above.
Option 2: Manual Campaigns
If you’ve got the time, invest in preparing a customised email notification ‘campaign’. Manual campaigns summarise your article with the benefits of reading, and have a link to read the full post.
If you’ve chosen to make your email a collection of news like a typical newsletter, then you’ll be going for a manual campaign. This is how you craft an email containing snippets of your latest news.
How to create a manual email campaign when you publish a new post:
- If using MailPoet, watch their video
- If using MailChimp, here’s their page for creating emails using their Campaign Builder
Again, get in touch if you need help with either of the above.
What are you going to tell people every week or every month?
If you’re already running a blog, promote it to your list. If you don’t currently run a blog, what are you going to tell people every week or every month?
Most authors simply report speaking events or awards. But so much more can be done.
Here are 12 ideas that turn fans into loyal true fans:
- List some story ideas you hope to tackle in the future.
- Talk about tips, tricks, and tools that help keep your life organised (give people an idea what your life is like).
- Talk about your favourite TV shows and what you love about them. Demonstrate unique insights into character development and story arcs.
- Post excerpts from completed and published books.
- Post book blurbs from upcoming books.
- Interview your characters so that your fans get to know them better. Provide a dimension of your work that is only accessed from your website.
- Host an open discussion using comments about what a reader wants from an author, book and/or series.
- Post background info on your most popular characters or stories.
- Post and interview of some of your blog followers who comment the most (this will encourage them to talk about you to their friends and send them to the post).
- List websites/tools that will help you find your next book to read (encouraging fans to reader other people’s books is a good thing).
- Make a list of your favourite podcasts for readers (this will create back and forth discussions about in-depth topics).
- Run story ideas by your fans/readers and ask their opinions on them.
Need more ideas?
Here are a few author blogs that I enjoy, that are full of great content ideas, that go beyond just news and events.
Not only is Tristan Bancks an award winning children’s and teen author, he’s also runs an amazing blog. His book ‘Two Wolves’, recency picked up a YABBA award for ‘Fiction for Years 7-9’. Tristan has a great 4-part blog posts series on the writing of ‘Two Wolves’. It kicks off with, “5 things I Learned While Writing Two Wolves”.
Clare Atkins shares her latest news on her blog, but also posts her personal thoughts a range of topics from money & community to her writing process and background to her characters.
Also check out Meg McKinlay’s blog. Like Clare, Meg shares news, but also ponders on topics and what they mean for her work.
Want to see how publishes are doing their email newsletters to get some good ideas?
Adele Walsh at the State Library of Victoria, has collected a list of Australian publishers’ newsletters.
Keeping your subscribers
Don’t abuse the trust your subscribes have given you.
When email newsletters were born, all that was needed was a box in your sidebar that said, “Sign up for my newsletter”, and that would be enough to get subscribers.
Now, it’s a lot more difficult in a overcrowded digital landscape.
With the rise of spam, people are now protective of their email address. They don’t want a crowded inbox. But it’s not the medium that’s the problem. People still want good content.
Content marketing has taken off in a big way – everyone is blogging and valuable content is being drowned out by the noise.
As more people catch on to email marketing, email lists will be abused. Don’t become one of these abusers. Don’t send out low-quality email newsletters just for the sake of being consistent. If you wouldn’t send it to your friends and family, don’t send it to your subscribers.
How to make sure your readers are reading your emails and blog posts
When you notify your followers of a new post – are they actually reading?
Once you’ve got your list set up, and you’ve subscribed a few fans, it’s time to ‘optimise’ your emails.
When you run analytics, you can get statistics on which of your subscribers open and click your email notifications. This gives you valuable feedback on articles that interest your audience, and when your posts are less popular.
Not only can your email program track these stats, but if you’ve got Google Analytics installed you can track engagement once they’ve reached your article. You can see how long they spend on the page, and if they visit another page during the visit.
In a separate article, 7 ways to ensure your email subscribers read your blog posts, I cover:
- How to read your email analytics, and ‘open rate’ and ‘click rate’ mean
- Improving your call to action
- Tips for your email subject lines
- How to write your email notifications
Subscribing your readers and social media followers to an email list is about building long-term relationships. It’s not about blasting promotional messages every week or month.
Email gives you the opportunity to establish a direct connection with your readers in an intimate way, in a medium you own.
Need help in setting up your email capture form? Get in touch, or leave a comment below.
Read this next:
7 Ways to ensure your email subscribers read your blog posts
When you notify your followers of a new post – are they actually reading? Continue reading...