“Sales Letter”, “Email Newsletter”, “Email Marketing”. The monosyllabic answer sprouted to so many authors when they ask what they are doing wrong. I want to scream!
You can’t “get”, “buy” or “build” one of these overnight and in and of themselves, they are not THE solution. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they can’t work. As part of a greater picture, they are a major key. But without the other keys, this too will fail you.
They work for one major reason: Each and every email you send out, lands in the mailbox of the person you sent it to. In this day and age of millions of voices screaming through social media every second, and algorithms that are not only totally out of our control but are designed to help the giants who own them and not us, that is no small feat!
Yes, a handful of the emails land in spam folders and many are ignored, but it remains the only way that we can communicate to our supporters, that actually gets to each and every one of them. Even if 80% make it to the eyes and brains of supporters, that is a huge number compared to all other forms of bulk communication.
On social media we can tag people, remind people, and we can have amazing announcements, but they will not consistently be placed in front of every single follower. In fact, they are unlikely to be seen by more than 20%, if we are super good at it, but less than 10% as a usual audience, no matter what we do.
It’s extremely frustrating, and time and again I see launch teams and author pages and twitter announcements that go nowhere. I am as active as one can get on social media and I follow people closely and yet I still miss most of what people put out there.
We can’t change this.
So what are the other keys in this puzzle?
- Community: Having a village and a tribe who back you all the way is vital to the success of any authorship. You hear me say time and time again, that having a few loyal members is WAY more effective than having ten times as many who could take or leave you! Love the six you’ve got instead of grasping for dozens more. Build up slow and strong.
- Trust: If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all. Spammy, constant emails become a little like “crying wolf”. The point is to put communications out there when they are important and not constantly filling their inbox with trivia. If you only have half a dozen people on your email list, and you only send out important things, they will soon learn that your emails won’t spam them and that when one does come in, it’s important, so they’ll read it.
- Divide and conquer: What are you sending out emails for? Asking for reviews, support, sales? I have realised that not all supporters are created equally. And that most supporters can’t do everything. This book launch I am dividing my followers into at least two camps. One for those who plan to review and another for those who have signed on the be my Brand Ambassadors. I need completely different things from each of them and especially for the reviewers, they often don’t want to have to wade through the hype to find review details! A third set will remain for those who have signed on to receive monthly general newsletters. In those emails, I can ask for more to join the other two mailing lists.
So if you want a successful book launch, then I highly recommend having an email list, but it is by no means a quick fix, something you can simply “get”, and it needs to be part of a congruent, healthy, community-based system.
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