Congratulations, you have published your book, but now you’re stuck and don’t know how to sell it. You’ve already approached all your friends and your family, and there’s no one else that you know to buy your book. What do you do now? You might Google tips to sell more books and find out that you need something called a mailing list? So what is a mailing list? How do you build one? And what good is it?
A mailing list is a list of people that are interested in hearing from you. It is a list of email addresses that people have given you permission to contact them. That’s it. It’s not complicated. I go to many writers’ groups to speak, and I find people stare at me in amazement when I ask them about their mailing list.
I asked them, “how do you sell books?”
They reply with the same old story. They go to some little street festival or author event at a local bookstore, and they try to peddle books from their table and think they are doing good if they work themselves to death and sell 5 or 10 books.
I asked them, do you collect the customer’s email address when you sell a book, and they again stare at me blankly. Then I asked this question, and they look like I have just shot them in the foot. I asked them, “is it easier to sell book number two to someone who’s already bought book one, or is it easier to sell it to a brand new customer?”
They immediately agree with me that it would be easier to sell book two to a previous customer, but then they don’t have any way of getting a hold of their previous customers. That is why you must have a mailing list. So how do you get one? First of all, you need to set a goal.
How big of a list would you like to build? Now bigger is not necessarily better. If you get 10,000 email addresses, but only 500 people open the emails, then the rest of them you need to drop from your list. You don’t want 10,000 emails that no one will open.
So set yourself some goals. How many email addresses would you like to have, and what percentage of engagement would you like to reach? It is naive to believe that 100% of your email recipients will open every email.
After you’ve set your goals, create a client grabbing website. You want to provide value to your clientele with your new site. Figure out who your target audience is, what they want, and provide it for them.
After you have given valuable content on your website, focus on sending as much traffic to it as possible with social media posts, ads, speaking engagements, etc.
On that website, you need a signup box where people have the option to give you their email address in exchange for what’s called a lead magnet. What is a lead magnet, you ask? It is a short ebook or PDF document, or it can be a short video. It can be any small item you can give away for free in exchange for the visitor’s email address.
I use MailChimp.com. It is free for the first 2000 emails on your list. It’s very user friendly, and it’s easy to sign up. There are a lot of other options available, though. Now that my list is outgrown Mailchimp I am considering using Aweber. It’s not a free service but offers more options to those with a larger list. You can also check out MailerLite and GetResponse.
After choosing an automated email service, then create your signup form on your website. The next step is to decide what you will create for a lead magnet and start building your mailing list today. Stay tuned, and I will give you more information about creating an award-winning lead magnet.
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