Over 20 years ago, I promoted The New York Times best-seller, Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty. The author, an envelope printing company entrepreneur by the name of Harvey Mackay, believed that to succeed in business you need to plan ahead and anticipate your needs – rather than play catch-up from behind when a need or problem arises. This principle should be applied to authors.
All authors have an arsenal of possible means to promote and market, including social media, traditional media, speaking, advertising, and book fairs. But what authors really need to do first and always is to build a mailing list.
Your mailing list will include everyone you know, divided up by your relationship to each person. You may have lists for people you know as a result of:
· Family and friends
· Newsletter subscribers
· Purchasers of your book
You will repeatedly ask your list for favors:
· Post a book review on amazon or BN.com
· Share a social media post about your book
· Tell their connections about your book
· Introduce you to someone who can help you in some capacity
· Buy your book and get additional copies as gifts to others
So how do you craft such a list?
Just start making one. Use excel or Mail Chimp or some database software that helps you organize and update the list. You need at least a first name and email. Hopefully you have a last name, too. Include a mailing address and phone number, too. Put in their social media links and if needed, have a notes column to remind you of how you know them or to recall anything useful about them. If you have a spouse or children, encourage them to have their lists together too. You might need them to call upon their peeps for a favor.
One way to build a list is to locate directories of people you are affiliated with. For instance, let’s say you are in a bowling league. Empty out membership information in to a file. Maybe you belong to a church or temple. Download their membership directory. Are you an alumni of a college? Are you in a PTA? Do you belong to a lodge, sorority, or a support group? Think of every group you associate with and see each member as a valuable contact.
Building a list with a giveaway
A great way to build a list is to capture the emails of people who are interested in downloading some freebie or subscribing to something like your blog, newsletter, a webinar, or podcast. The hope is that you can convert subscribers into consumers. In time, you can commoditize and upsell these people.
First, think of what you will give away. Maybe you offer, for free:
· Digital guide or resource list
· Audio version of your book
· Secret insider information
· Access to videos and images of exclusive content
· White apers or research reports helpful worksheets
· Access to a webinar
· Entry into a contest
· A training
· VIP membership with rewards
· A discount on your book
· Copy of an older book
You can also offer freebies from other people. You may ask why, and I will tell you. A friend may have an inviting freebie that she gives to you to serve an email-snatching incentive. Helps you. Your friend benefits because the freebie may send traffic/customers to her site. She wins. Consumers get content they perceive as useful. They win.
Rotate, vary, and publicize the sign-up incentive.
Every few months you should rotate, or add to, the free offering. The more incentives to snag an email, the better. Tweet out your freebie offer to your social media connections. Mention it at the end of every blog post. Feature it at the bottom of your email signature. Prominently display is on your web site.
Remember to automatically email people a “thank you” when they sign up for your freebie and confirm their subscription. Create a welcome or follow-up email if you want to alert them to something, like a new book, course, or social media platform connection request.
You are a fool if you don’t build a list. Why would you turn down something that has a big pay-off but costs nothing, is targeted, easy-to-implement, and is within your means to do?
Think of some opt-in incentives, list the contact info, and build a list now so you will have it for when you need it. You won’t regret it.
Learn, Grow, Succeed!!
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: .