Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Building a Mailing List

with guest Tyora Moody.


I want to thank Tina Radcliffe for this opportunity! It’s great to be back on Seekerville.

So, why is it so important to build a mailing list? Email marketing is a valuable part of your book marketing plan. No matter how many social media fans or followers you have, you want the ability to reach out to them in a direct way outside of social media. Don’t get caught up in the idea that social media is the only way to market. With all the email a person receives in her or his inbox, when they give permission to add their email address to your list, that’s a great endorsement of trust in your author brand. 


They want to know more about your books! Woo-hoo!


Select a Mailing List Provider

 
The first step in this process involves selecting a mailing list provider. In order to not overwhelm yourself with capturing emails, it’s best to automate the process. A mailing list provider will provide tools to capture the information you need via a form. At a minimum, you want to capture the first and/or last name along with the email. The shorter the form, the more likely people will be willing to fill it out. People may become leery if you start asking for too much information, like a snail mail address.


The process should include a way for the subscriber to confirm their email address. Upon confirmation, the email address is stored in a database. This database can be split into various lists. For example, I write both fiction and nonfiction. In order to not send nonfiction book updates to my mystery and suspense readers who may not be interested, I have separate lists. 


Here is an example of my most recent Inside the Toolkit Newsletter.
http://theliteraryentrepreneur.com/inside-toolkit-winter-2017-edition/ 


You will notice on the right side of my website (http://theliteraryentrepreneur.com/)  I have a subscription box (see image).



Some popular mailing list platforms are:


•    Aweber -  http://www.aweber.com/ 


•    Constant Contact - http://www.constantcontact.com/


•    Mailchimp - http://mailchimp.com/  (I use this one)


•    Your Mailing List Provider - http://www.ymlp.com/

A Few Rules

 
Try not to get caught up in the “quantity” game.  It’s important that your mailing list have subscribers who really want to be on your list. It’s okay that the list is small. You always have room to grow. Here are a few rules.


1.    You want to make sure the email addresses you are capturing are via a double opt-in process that allows the subscriber to confirm their subscription via email.

2.    Never just add email addresses to your list without permission. You don’t want to be labeled a spammer.

Ways to Build Your List

 
1-Make it Easy

 
Subscription boxes are usually added in a highly visible place on your author website and blog. Most of the time these areas would be near the top or in a sidebar.  If you have a blog, you may want to consider adding a subscription box at the bottom of your blog posts. Wordpress has plugins that can do this automatically.


I believe an author website is the center of their online presence. It’s your official home on the internet. The website is where an author would update readers about their books, consider hosting a blog and most importantly,  a place to capture reader’s emails. 


I recently released the Step-by-Step Author Website Guide, which is available as an ebook and a planner size paperback.


2-Offer a FREE Incentive

 
If you offer some type of feature, like free chapters, video or audio, people are usually more willing to add their email to your list in exchange for a freebie. 


In fact, over the last few years a marketing strategy called “content upgrades” have become popular. You could write a blog post that includes a free offering like a checklist, cheat sheet or worksheet related to your blog post for readers to download in exchange for their email. It’s important that you’re offering something of value. You can view examples at:


  http://theliteraryentrepreneur.com/category/freebies/

If you don’t want to get into the techie part of where and how to offer a download, check out services like Selz.com or Gumroad.com. You can store your incentive and offer it for free versus placing a price on it. These services will keep a record of the emails.


3-Create a Contest

 
When hosting a contest, some authors may opt for the LIKE on their Facebook page or a follow on Twitter. A stronger option would be to have one of the requirements be to add subscribers to your mailing list. You should be very clear that entering the contest means you are subscribing to the newsletter. Using the double opt-in will help by having participants “confirm” their entry or email address.


4-Share the Sign-up Link

 
You can also include a sign-up link in your email (include in your signature) or post to social media to capture emails. Since social media offers options for visual content, you can create a nice graphic that encourages why a reader should consider subscribing to your list. Using a visual also is a great way to share any free incentives you may have like an exclusive chapter of your upcoming release or even a free short story.


5-Share Your Newsletter

 
I keep an archive of my newsletters on my website. A few days after I release a newsletter, I will add it my blog. It makes great blog content and also encourages more sign-ups via social media.


6-Sign-up Sheet at Offline Events


I have collected many emails simply by placing a sign-up sheet on my book table. The most important part of this process is to clearly state to those who signed up that they are being added to a mailing list. This will be a manual task to add emails. You may want to still send a confirmation email. This may help avoid adding any bad emails. I can’t always read people’s handwriting. I can barely ready my own sometimes.  ;)

 What to Send Subscribers
 
Of course, after you build your list, you want to must plan to keep in touch with the subscribers.  That has been my struggle over the years because you don’t want to only show up in a subscriber’s inbox to sell them a book. Emails to subscribers could be:


1- Consistent Newsletter

 
Many authors do a monthly or quarterly newsletters. This is an opportunity to share a personal side with you as well as may direct readers back to your website for new information they missed.


2-Announcement Alert or Eblast

 
You may use this opportunity to share about your upcoming book release, a blog tour, an upcoming radio interview, a book festival, a book signing invite, etc


3-Blog Posts

 
If you blog, you may want subscribers to receive your new blog posts immediately upon publishing. This is probably the more automated way of utilizing an email list. WordPress.com/WordPress.org and Blogger.com offer ways for your blog readers to subscribe to your blog posts.


The key to building a list is so you can create a loyal group of readers interested in updates about your latest book release. This is pretty crucial to future sales.

Now, I'd like to hear your input on mailing lists.

If you are an author, what mailing list provider are you using? What are some ways you’re encouraging readers to sign-up for your mailing list?

If you’re a reader, please share what you enjoy about author newsletters. What do you want to see more of? What annoys you?

Tyora Moody is the author of Soul-Searching Suspense books which include the Reed Family Novellas, Eugeena Patterson Mysteries, Serena Manchester Series, and the Victory Gospel Series. As a literary-focused entrepreneur, she has assisted countless authors with developing an online presence via her design and marketing company, Tywebbin Creations LLC.  For more ways to attract readers to your book, visit The Literary Entrepreneur.



 


 
Giveaway!
 
In honor of Ty's visit today we're giving away the winner's choice of an e-copy of The Literary Entrepreneur’s Toolkit: Building and Managing an Online Presence for Authors or an e-copy of  Broken Heart: A Novella (The Reed Family Book 1) to two commenters. Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.

124 comments :

  1. Welcome back, Ty! This is so timely. Heather Duff and I have been having a conversation on the topic. I have a ton of questions for you. But first! Food. Raspberry Iced Tea and chunk chocolate chip cookies. Breakfast of Champions!

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    Replies
    1. I just ate a salad (yes, for breakfast), so that can justify me eating your Breakfast of Champions, Tina. ;) Right?

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    2. Well done. We make our salads separately because, yes, I like raisins in mine. So if I don't eat mine, I often eat it for breakfast. I'm with you, Jeanne. Hey did you see that link to the Women's Fiction Writers Association in the Weekend Ed? womensfictionwriters.org/

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    3. Ooooooh. Great topic...I look forward to reading (and learning from) the comments -- as usual, here on Seekerville)!

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    4. Thank you for inviting me back to Seekerville! I look forward to hanging out with everyone today and hope I can answer your questions.

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  2. I would love to win the book about building an email list. I've been revamping my website on Wordpress and am undecided on which plug-in to use for people to sign up for the newsletter. So I haven't even gotten to what provider to use to send a newsletter. Thanks for these great tips.

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    Replies
    1. Not a problem! Mailchimp is usually the most budget friendly provider. You can have up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month for free.

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  3. I think I need a whole closet of toolkits, but we can start with an ebook for sure. :)

    Hope everyone has a lovely day!

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  4. Okay, I've been patient! Question time.

    Any visual suggestions for a newsletter? Number of photos. Ideal size of photos.

    On another blog, the comments indicated readers don't care for sneak peeks and excerpts. They want the book or nothing.

    Do you think a newsletter should have a mission statement like a blog or website.

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    Replies
    1. Since everyone has different inboxes, I would keep graphics to a minimum. Some people keep graphics turned off in their emails for security purposes. I think a nice graphical header to brand your newsletter is a good idea.

      Yes, I think your newsletter should have a mission statement or a purpose. Like a blog you want subscribers to know what type of content to expect.

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    2. Interesting observation, Tina. I'm kind of the same way--the whole book or nothing. I hardly ever read sneak peeks, especially at the end of a novel I just finished. Why get hooked on a story that isn't already in my hands? (Of course, I guess that's a pre-Kindle attitude, since now you can practically get the next book instantly.)

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    3. I forgot that folks can turn off graphics. Good point!

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  5. As I was walking toward my computer this morning, I was thinking about the need to start a newsletter! And voila! Your post appeared on my monitor!!!

    Confirmation!!!

    Thanks for the great info. Now to get coffee. I'll return with questions a bit later. So glad you're with us today.

    Hugs!

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    1. I'm SHOCKED that Debby Giusti doesn't have a newsletter. You have a stunningly busy and interesting life. I'd like to hear about it and see pictures. I'll be standing in line to sign up.

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    2. I would immediately sign up for a Debby Guisti newsletter!! Just sayin'

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    3. You're putting pressure on me, Ladies. :)

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  6. Welcome to Seekerville, Tyora! I was part of a blog hop and got my first list of readers wanting to receive newsletters from me. I was both excited and panicked. I didn't know what to put in the newsletter. In the end I kept it simple and short and let them know how much I appreciated them.

    Thanks for sharing so many great tips today, and I'd love to be in the drawing. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by Jackie. Simple is good! The newsletter won't be overwhelming for you or the subscriber.

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  7. Tyora, This is such a great post. I have been considering starting a newsletter for . . . um, well for a long time now. But, I keep getting worried that I (as a pre-pubbed writer) won't have good content to send. I am gradually working up my courage to begin a newsletter. I so appreciate your tips for creating an email list. It's so helpful!

    What I'd love to know is what other writers are including in their newsletters. I'm trying to get some ideas . . . :)

    Loved this post!

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    1. PS—Please do add me to the drawing. :)

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    2. Thanks, Jeanne! People love valuable information that they can use. Definitely think about a topic that you're passionate about and survey people around you to see if they would be interested in knowing more.

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  8. I finally got a clue and put in the time to do a newsletter list last year... and Ryan Zee promotions were/was a big help in getting the numbers up... and being in the Christian Scavenger Hunts.

    So that's helpful, and I have a love/hate thing with author newsletters. Some I love (and they're SIMPLE, just the book and tour schedule)... and some are adorable (with pics and recipes, etc.... ) but then some readers love one and hate the other...

    Do you think it's better to aim it one way or try to draw everyone?

    My theory is I'll just be me and they either click through... or DELETE!!! :)

    And if they're going to delete me, they'll probably do that in any case. (that is what I tell myself!!!!)

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    1. Ryan Zee, that's the guy that garnered me over a thousand new subscribers. And that put me into the next higher category on my newsletter, and they doubled the cost of it.

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    2. I got about 800 with my Ryan Zee promo. Several have already unsubscribed. A testament to the fact that we want subscribers who actually are interested in US and our books.

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  9. Well that brings up an interesting topic. What's a good open rate and click rate. Any insider clues on how to increase either? Dare them? hahahaha

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    1. The subject line should read,

      17 pictures Angelina Jolie wishes would vanish from the internet. (#9 with make your jaw drop)

      As for the content of your newsletter, good luck.

      Delete
    2. Yeah. Fake news. Another place you can get it. TERRIFIC!!!

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    3. LOL! Yeah the clickbait headlines are not cool.

      Tina, not sure what is a good open rate or click rate. I can see who are my loyal subscribers. There are subscribers that open every single newsletter. I study what subscribers click and use that as a guide for the next newsletter. Like your Facebook group or page, you're going to have a loyal group for your newsletter too.

      A/B test your newsletters. Try different subjects, a different day or time of day to see what happens.

      For awhile I tried Fridays to see how many people open emails on the weekend. This time around when I launched my newsletter, I decided to try Wednesdays.

      Delete
  10. I've been meaning to look up a term. So maybe you can explain autoresponders.

    Okay, and while we're at it. A few more. Should your subscribers only get content not available elsewhere?

    I've been collecting newsletters. Seriously. I subscribe to about 50. Looking for trends and things I like and what I don't like.

    Generally, I like in and out and no one gets hurt. A fast read but entertaining. I often click on sales in newsletters, but at the same time I had having it shoved down my throat.

    One author resends me her newsletter if I don't open it. Interesting tactic.

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    Replies
    1. hate not had. I hate having it shoved...

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    2. Seriously, Tina? She resends the newsletter? Crazy.

      I'm doing the same thing--checking out several author newsletters and seeing what appeals to me and what doesn't.

      Of course, that doesn't answer the question of what is working for THEM.

      Delete
    3. Wow! Resending the newsletter is bit much.

      For my newsletters I do post the archives a few days later on the website. My goal is to attract new subscribers.

      Now for my content upgrades or free downloads those are exclusive to subscribers. If I do any extras or updates those only go to subscribers.

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    4. Posting the archives is a good idea. Very good.

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    5. You. Are. Kidding. Someone resends her newsletter if you don't open?????

      THAT would be an auto-unsubscribe for me. Also, someone signing me up to their e-mail list? THAT is against CAN SPAM law and get you in trouble big time.

      Delete
  11. Hi Tyora. Welcome to Seekerville and thank you for being here today. Really interesting post. I think this is a keeper. Hoping to need a mailing list someday. My question has to do with something I dont know much about so I'm not sure I'll ask it right, however, I have heard that some provider programs can provide information as to how many of the recipients actually open an email - and if they don't open it, will send another. Is this a good thing? As a recipient I don't like the idea that someone knows if I open their email. Maybe I'm extra busy or delete it by accident or some other thing. Its not an automatic "I don't like your emails" kind of thing." Just wondering if anybody has this and how it works.

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    1. Cindy I don't know about a second newsletter being sent if the first isn't opened...so that's for someone else? :)
      But I do get an 'open rate' email.


      Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. There's something else.

      Like ... Open Rate and Click Rate...maybe that's the term I'm looking for.

      I guess that means the percentage that opens it, that makes sense...and you're right, how do they know you opened the email??

      And maybe the other number catches anyone who clicks on ... any link? Or is it about buy links.

      I sure don't know much for a woman who is doing this!!!

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    2. I checked. It's Open Rate and Click Rate. The best I ever did was slightly over 50% and that was for a Christmas Newsletter. The Long Time Gone announcement newsletter has a 41% open rate and a 17% click rate.

      It also tells me WHAT they clicked.

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    3. Thanks for this info Mary. Is it a useful tool for you? Sure would like to understand this better.

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    4. I wouldn't want to send the newsletter again. I do check to see who opens and the what links were clicked the most. It helps guide me on what worked or didn't work. I also know that I have a core group of subscribers who will always open emails and I just have to figure out better ways to get the rest of the group to open or click. :)

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    5. I don't subscribe to a lot of author newsletters, but sometimes I'm too busy to open them so I put them in a file labeled "author newsletters", and get back to them when I can. Didn't realize that the author can see who opens and who doesn't. I only subscribe when I know the author (or anybody else) has something wonderful to offer me. What I love are the writing tips, personal testimonies, family pictures, etc.. It makes my connection to the author more personal...like a friend.

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    6. Tyora, do they tell you WHO opened it? I get info on a percentage but not actual names.

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  12. Thanks for sharing with us, Tyora.
    I have been working on building my email list, but it is growing very slowly and doesn't gain a lot of interaction, so I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

    I offer a free prequel to my series when folks sign up. I also like to offer a giveaway quarterly for subscribers, but the last one only had one entry out of over 50 subscribers. The opens are low too, no matter how hard I try to come up with a good title.
    Any suggestions?

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    1. What are some ways you're promoting the mailing list? How often do you change your free giveaway?

      For me a few months before a book release, I post sign-ups for the free excerpt. I keep this out available after the book releases. I'm working on my 9th book now. All of the other 8 books still attract subscribers who are interested in the free excerpt. I use social media to keep driving traffic to my website.

      What's your genre? A lot of authors work solo, but it doesn't hurt to collaborate with other authors. Try to do a larger giveaway with a group of authors. This exposes everyone to a larger group of readers with the potential to grow each other's list.

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    2. I've been keeping the prequel as the sign up incentive the same, but my quarterly giveaway changes each time. Sometimes it's a gift card, or a souvenir I picked in travel.

      I have a pop up on my website, list it at the end of my bio, back of my books, email sig, etc. I also try to promote it some on FB etc, but I don't have a lot of time to tinker with that.

      I write historical.

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  13. Great info. :) Been working on this one too...slowly but surely.

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  14. Hi Tyora. I've got Constant Contact and here's my current problem.
    It's expensive.
    It is a set amount every month and I just do some contest thing that bounced my email up about 1000 people and that put me over their smallest rated package and it doubled.
    I have considered changing. I can export subscriber lists right? So I could take all my subscribers and go elsewhere? The subscribers would probably never notice.
    Or should I try and find out who's not opening the emails and cut them off?

    I really don't like paying this much, but shrinking the list size seems like the exact opposite of what I want to do.

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    1. I switched from Constant Contact to Mail Chimp. I like it much better. My wallet does too. You don't pay until you hit 2K and I keep floating just below that by a enough to not pay.

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    2. Mary, I started using MailerLite after taking a newsletter course online awhile back. It's free up to 1K subscribers, then $10/month up to 2.5K. Easy to use, and they even have autoresponders.

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    3. And yes, you can download your database of subscribers and upload it at a different provider. You just have to match up the fields.

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    4. I agree with Tina. Mailchimp may be a better option. I do pay for Mailchimp because I use the autoresponder for my giveaways. As long as you keep your newsletter fairly simple, you can stick with Mailchimp.

      About two years ago after not sending newsletters for well over a year, I did clean-up my mailing list. I try not to get caught up in numbers. If you really have people who NEVER open an email, then it may help to remove them.

      I also section off my lists. Those who read my cozy mysteries may get a different type of newsletter than the subscribers who read my romantic suspense. So I'm really particular about defining the audience so I don't have one huge list, I have several lists.

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    5. I'm going to look into Mail Chimp and MailerLite. Thanks.

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    6. Mary, I use MailChimp and love it. A word about your open stats. Those can be misleading. Sometimes, they may open in a different format or from a save somewhere else and you may not even be aware. I have "unsubscribed" folks from my newsletter family, but rarely.

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    7. How do you clean up your list?

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    8. I first check to see who's never opened an email. Most mailing list providers provide some analytics so you can dig down into your list for who's opening emails.

      One time when I moved a list I sent out a couple of emails to ask for those who were still interested to subscribe again at the new URL.

      Delete
  15. I also don't like that I have to include my hometown at the end of every newsletter.
    I'm from a really SMALL town. and I've never had one speck of trouble with 'being found'. But I'm a little uncomfortable with sharing that.
    I usually say I'm from Omaha, which is the nearest big down to me. But this won't allow that. They want a real address. :(

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    Replies
    1. I got a post office box for that. You might do that Mary. In the next town. I'm always shocked when author newsletters have their real address on the newsletter. GET A PO BOX!!! It's tax deductible and all your fans in prison can send you mail there.

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    2. YES!!!! I have a PO Box in a different town from where I live. Costs me $60 or so a YEAR. Worth the peace of mind.

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    3. FYI, I always use my PO box for my return address when I send out book giveaways to people I don't know personally. And sometimes I get really sweet handwritten thank-you notes in my PO box! :)

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    4. Really, I have a private mail box and its 60 bucks a quarter. But the US Post office mail boxes are annoying. With the private one I can use it for me, my husband and Seekerville and get no hand slaps.

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    5. I commute to my day job in a larger city so I have an UPS box that I use from the city versus my town.

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    6. All the surrounding towns are small, too.
      I've toyed with this, getting a PO Box at some distance, but I've never done it. Then I have to go there to physically pick up my mail with that address?
      Although seriously, how many personal letters do I get. And the ones I do get are 99% people I know, like my publisher for example.

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    7. I only get mail in my PO Box when I send out a big book mailing. I get thank you notes as Myra said.

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    8. Yes, yes, yes, yes, to this entire thread. I have a PO Box. It's for my newsletter list only and for the return address when I mail things out.

      I check it about 4 times a year, when I remember.

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    9. Actually the only other mail I get in my PO box is stuff for the previous owner (3-4 years ago!!!!) plus a new Bed, Bath & Beyond flyer & coupon just about every week.

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  16. Welcome Tyora! Thank you for the excellent information and gentle push to get an email list. I don't do a newsletter. Always feel I have nothing of interest to offer. Not a good mindset. Perhaps I need therapy. LOL

    Janet

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    Replies
    1. If you DO get therapy, Janet, maybe you could report how that was going in the newsletter?????????

      :)

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    2. Mary! I'm sitting in the carpool lane and you just made me chortle out loud. ;)

      Delete
  17. FYI, TY, if you need to reach me today, email me at tina at tinaradcliffe dot com. For some reason Outlook and the Seeker email is frozen. Hopefully it will fix itself.

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  18. Welcome, Tyora! I'm really trying to figure out this newsletter stuff and improve what I'm doing. I've had my eye on Tina's newsletter recently and really like her visuals and crisp format.

    My question involves the giveaway incentives, which I've noticed Tina does a lot of, choosing random names from her subscriber base as winners. I've tried something similar in my last two newsletters, but so far no one has claimed their gift. Which tells me they either didn't open the email, or else didn't read far enough to see their names. Or maybe they just aren't interested in the offerings (just book copies so far).

    Tina, maybe you could tell us what your response has been.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do random giveaways ..yes. Of the 10 or so I get 3 ish claims. And I am not hunting them down. I just move the giveaways to the next month. The best response was when I said last month to post on my FB page if the mug interested anyone. LOTS OF RESPONSES. So may do that more.

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    2. I don't do too many random giveaways. I mainly use my author newsletter to announce upcoming books, free excerpts and offline events. Last summer, I did a combination of a newsletter and giveaway with my Facebook group.

      I set a date and promoted in my newsletter for anyone interested in my Summer Reading Giveaways to join my Facebook group. I received a lot of response from that event where I mainly introduced readers to all by book series and gave away books from each series. That was a once a year event that I may do again this summer.

      Delete
  19. Good morning, Ty! So terrific to have you here! Like so many other commenters, I've just started collecting emails but haven't sent out the first newsletter yet. I have so few subscribers, it doesn't seem worth it. But I know it takes time to grow. Since I have so few, I'm doing a huge giveaway with my first newsletter, the one that will reveal my next cover. I hope it generates some interest. Thanks for all your tips, Ty, and thanks, everyone, for great questions and comments!

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    1. That sounds like an awesome plan! Remember no matter how small the list, these are readers who are interested in your books. Don't let them forget about why they subscribed. Getting into the habit while the list is small helps you later as the list grows.

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  20. Welcome, Ty! You’ve shared some great tips and resources here today. I’ve been rethinking my newsletter (and other marketing), so this was helpful. Thank you!
    I use MailChimp too. Love the price (free!) and it’s easy to use.
    It seems with newsletters (and all marketing) there is a learning curve. It’s hard to be sure what resonates with a specific audience. That’s something you learn through consistent engagement over time (and testing). Unless you’re lucky enough to stumble upon something golden! I wish I could say I’ve been consistent with my newsletter. Too often it gets pushed to the bottom of my to-do list. Yet I KNOW it’s important, because my readers are important. I need to do better here.
    Again, thanks for sharing with us today! I'm headed to your website now...

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    1. Heather, my newsletters seem to get pushed down my list as well.

      Delete
  21. Awesome information, Tyora, and I will file it when I'm ready to announce to the world that I'm an author. Hopefully, some of it will still be current!

    So, I've now decided that I will open all my newsletters, even if I don't read them, before I file them away to read later.

    Oh, if only there could be a 25th hour in the day!

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    Replies
    1. Marcia, now THAT would be some clickbait...

      "Sign up for my newsletter for a chance to win an additional hour in your day every day forever... as long as you never unsubscribe." lol

      Delete
  22. Super tips! Thanks!

    As a reader, I don't have time for a lot of social media and websites, so writers' newsletters are my primary way of keeping up with a writer's releases (the other being word of mouth). I especially appreciate when there are links to more than one source to order the book. I also appreciate when the newsletter uses images sparingly, not to just fill the newsletter. Nothing wrong with a short newsletter :-)

    Nancy C

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  23. Hey, Ty! I'm still overwhelmed with the whole newsletter/email thing. I used Wix Shoutout a couple of times, but I want to set up something through MailChimp. Also, I am looking for a web host with a free mailbox. Hopefully, I will get it together soon!

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    Replies
    1. Welcome to Seekerville, Michelle. I use Wix and with my 14.99 a month get a free mailbox.

      Delete
    2. Hey Michelle! Its all about doing what you can. I tried weekly, monthly and now I at quarterly which feels much more doable. ;)

      I never use the mailboxes at my hosting. I stick with gmail and then setup forwards to that. It's easier. You can still use an official email like yourname@yourwebsite.com and just forward it to a free account like gmail or yahoo.

      Delete
  24. You used that word again.

    Autoresponder.

    What does it mean?

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    Replies
    1. Tina, I have an autoresponder set up for when I get a new subscriber. It's like a canned thank-you message. Mine also provides a link to a password-protected short story on my website as a thank-you gift for signing up.

      You can set up special mailings to be triggered by various subscriber actions. The only one I have used so far is for new subscribers.

      Delete
    2. Just remembered another example. You can also set up automated emails to go out to new subscribers at regular intervals, with something a little different each time to pique their interest.

      My issue with this, however, is not wanting to turn people off by flooding their inboxes. The content would have to be very carefully thought out.

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  25. Welcome back to Seekerville, Tyora. :) This is good stuff!

    One thing that jumped out at me was sharing blog posts (your point labeled 3-Blog Posts) with subscribers. Is this the same as the button Seekerville has here our homepage that says "Subscribe to this blog" or something else entirely?

    For instance, when I read that, I realized that there would be some of my Seekerville and Heroes, Heroines, and History (HHH) blog posts that my readers would be interested in, but of course I wouldn't want to send them something every day as both of these blogs do blog daily.

    Can you explain what you mean about sharing blog posts if it's different to someone choosing to sign up to receive all blogs in their inbox?

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    1. Yes, it can be the same as the button here on Seekerville. When a person subscribe they would receive any published blog posts.

      You can do something similar with Mailchimp or other mailing list providers when you provide your blog feed. The same thing happens, the subscriber will receive any published blog posts.

      I only blog twice a month so that wouldn't be a bad deal. I choose to do a newsletter instead because I like to include other bloggers in my newsletter. So if anyone writes about book marketing, I will be happy to share your links in my Inside the Toolkit Newsletter. :)

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  26. Tina, it's my understanding that open rates of 20% and higher are about the norm. Mine hover around 45-50% so I'm tickled with that.

    I always send my newsletters within the first three days of the new month. I never send on weekends because open rates tend to be lower then.

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  27. Tyora, LOVE your thoughts. Absolutely, a newsletter is a great way to build our e-mail lists. They're work, but after almost two years, I've developed a rhythm and a routine.

    As various mediums continue to limit our exposure, blogs AND newsletters are OURS. We control the content and how often and when. I blogged about this for ACFW some time ago (http://www.acfw.com/blog/does-a-newsletter-scare-you-five-ways-to-rock-it/).

    I use MailChimp and I send my newsletters monthly. Mine are lengthly, but my subscribers seems to enjoy the content. I approach readers from a different perspective. My newsletters are very encouragement focused with a down-home feel.

    Yes, I use graphics. Subscribers seem to love them.

    It's important for pre-pubbed authors to start building their e-mails lists early. Newsletters are a great way to do this.

    Here are some things worth noting, and many you've mentioned:

    *I NEVER subscribe anyone to my newsletters. CAN SPAM laws strictly prohibit this. I use a two-step opt-in within the confirmation process.

    *I encourage others to connect and share, but not in a way that feels spammy or overwhelming. I NEVER resend a newsletter if someone doesn't open.

    * I stay focused with my content and I stay on brand with similar colors, header, and format. I've created my own newsletter template and I reuse that every month with new content and photos I can easily plug in.

    * When I include my address, I use my business addy, which is a PO Box in a different town from the one I live in.

    THANKS so much for sharing today, Tyora. It's a subject I feel quite passionate about it. Lol :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing Cynthia! I like that your newsletters are encouragement focused.

      Delete
  28. Great post, Tyora! I use Mailchimp for a quarterly newsletter and special announcements. One thing I've noticed about my opens is that if the email isn't opened in the first 24 hours, chances are slim that it will be. My opens generally run 50+%, but I have a small list right now. I'm doing the Ryan Zee promotion next week, so we'll see how that affects things.

    As for the P. O. box ... I've had one since the beginning, but it expires this month. To me, it seems a waste of money since I never get mail there and anyone can find me online in a matter of minutes if they know how to use Google. :)

    I also would like to know about the autoresponder. Is that something for the paid lists?

    And, readers, why do you sign up for a particular author's newsletter? What do you like to see other than news about new releases and sales?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, usually autoresponders required upgrading to a paid plan. I use autoresponders for my free giveaways. It's how I'm able to send the subscriber the download. I also use the autoresponders for email courses.

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  29. Hi Tyora! Thanks for the great post. I've been contemplating trying to increase my newsletter subscribers (or maybe actually DOING a newsletter) and you gave some great insight and tips. Thank you!!!

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  30. OH, another thing--you can use the FREE version of MailChimp for up to 2,000 subscribers. There are also a ton of behind-the-scene analytics I utilize to tell me about my subscribers. It's how I know what is resonating, as well as some other important stats.

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  31. Welcome back to Seekerville, Tyora! Lots of good information in your post - - thank you. :)
    I have a blog but haven't started a newsletter yet---hoping to very soon, so I need to organize all my email contacts.
    By the way, when you visited us before I won The Literary Entrepreneurs Toolkit and it's AWESOME!! :)
    Blessings from *stormy* Georgia, Patti Jo

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    1. Patti Jo, I hope it settles there soon! It's still pretty bad up my way. Lots of thunder rattling the windows right now.

      Delete
    2. Glad you have been enjoying the Toolkit. I'm currently working on the 2nd edition and will have a workbook stye book too. It's just starting to storm here in South Carolina.

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  32. Tyora, we're so glad to have you today! I've been building my list for several years now (since before I sold my first book), and I'm so glad I did. My biggest problem is sending out newsletters regularly. I plan to do it quarterly but don't always get one out. I'll sometimes wait for a holiday and just send an email greeting rather than a full newsletter.

    I use Vertical Response since I only mail quarterly.

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    Replies
    1. I should clarify. I use VR because they have a pay as you go method rather than a monthly subscription. That's much less expensive for me.

      Delete
    2. I have done the same, Missy. Sometimes it was best to wait until the holidays to send one. Now I have a more focused newsletter with The Literary Entrepreneur so that one is quarterly. My author newsletters tend to be focused on my new releases or an upcoming event so those may be 2-3 times a year.

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    3. I'm glad to hear you do something similar, Tyora!

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  33. Just throwing this out there. If you're looking for a FREE (up to 1K subscribers) and EASY-TO-USE email server that INCLUDES autoresponders for free, check out MailerLite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that tip! First time hearing about MailerLite. I will check them out.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I think I first heard about it during an RWA class. Isn't that where you heard of it, Myra? I think we had that class together.

      Delete
  34. This post is just what I needed because I've been thinking about setting up a mailing list. I actually have several thousand addresses, but haven't ever compiled them into a list to mail out a newsletter. So thank you for posting this today. And welcome to Seekerville. I hope you are having fun. You certainly look busy today. smile. We always enjoy our guests. Blessings

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  35. I don't have an email list, yet, but I have been considering creating one. Sometime... when I have time. Haha- like that will ever happen.

    Thanks for all the great advice.

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  36. I've had my computer turned off during the nasty storms we've been getting in GA. Tyora, you mentioned they're hitting your area now. Stay safe! We were hunkered down in our basement earlier with sirens going off, which is not fun! Thankfully, that band of storms passed...two other bands have as well, although we're expecting more into the evening.

    Just caught up on all the comments. So much great info!

    I've collected names and emails over the past few years. Now I'm wondering if I can still use those emails/names or, due to the time lapse, will I be considered a spammer? Could I explain in my first newsletter that they've left their email at some time in the past and that they can opt out if they so choose?

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  37. I liked the mention of starting small. :)

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  38. Hey, TYORA, welcome back to Seekerville!!

    This is excellent info, my friend, so THANK YOU for great tips. Some I knew, some I didn't, so this has been very helpful.

    You asked: If you are an author, what mailing list provider are you using? What are some ways you’re encouraging readers to sign-up for your mailing list?

    I used Mail Chimp for years, then went with Vertical Response, and then back to Mail Chimp. I must confess that I don't send out many newsletters -- one a year with maybe one or two general e-blasts, which I know is not good.

    I have a signup on my website, and also encourage readers who contact me to sign up for my newsletter as well.

    Great info!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  39. I've been considering ways to get my books more out there, and your post was very informative. Thank you.

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  40. Welcome, Tyora! Thanks for all of the great tips. I've entertained the idea of doing a newsletter, but Mail Chimp intimidated me. I like to use my blog for making announcements, etc. I love the interaction with the commenters. I've met so many great people. Thanks for visiting!

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  41. Tyora,
    The rewards of reading later are the great extra tidbits you added in your responses to people's comments.

    What a helpful post for those of us confused about what to do first! I am a beginner at marketing! I tried a WordPress blog which I found to be a weight, not inspired to write for it. Next step: create my website?!

    I'd love a copy of your biz book,

    Laura

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  42. Hi Tyora! Thank you for such an interesting post. I don't have a newsletter or email list yet, but I know I will need to do that eventually. I'm bookmarking this! Thanks again.

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  43. Tyora! Thanks so much for spending the day with us!

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  44. Wow! Lots of great info. I never realized how many steps were involved when I asked to receive an author's newsletter. I would love to be entered for your novella.
    Thank you and Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  45. Thank you for this post, Tyora. Great info! I enjoy subscribing to newsletters that contain brief, useful information...and a touch of friendly personality, too. I want mine to be as well received. I printed this out for future use! Blessings to you.

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