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Email Lists

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Philip Overby, May 7, 2015.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    Everywhere I go look at promotional tools I keep seeing email lists or newsletters as one of the best ones to have. However, I don't see how one could create such a thing without becoming spammy. I'm sure there are ways to do it without doing so, but I guess as of now most people that I have emails for are friends, family, and people I know through work. So it seems kind of strange to target my style of stories towards people I know most likely wouldn't read my style of writing. I know there are services that help target people that would be in your audience, but I wouldn't even know where to start.

    Have any of you heard anything about building email lists or if these are valuable tools? I imagine for a bigger writer this would be good, but for a relative unknown it might be a tough climb.
     
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Email lists are your biggest marketing tool. But you have to use it right, and be clear when people sign up when and why you're going to email them.

    And it should probably only be when you have a new work available for sale. They're signing up for the announcement.

    If you want to do a newsletter, well, it's basically another way of writing a blog. In fact a lot of blogs even send out a weekly newsletter which simply links to all of their blog posts that week.
     
  3. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Phillip,

    I collected a lot of email addresses by creating a story available for free download and giving people the option of signing up for a newsletter if they wanted.

    You should also prominently place a link to sign up on your author platform.
     
  4. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    BW: That's a good idea to put a link like that on my blog or something. I should probably use my blog more often for that to make any difference though. I have thought about paying someone to build me a website just so it looks good and I can get all the linkage I need. Not sure how all that works though. It seems a lot of people use Wordpress blogs as websites and they work fine.

    Devor, I have heard that it's a big marketing tool for many people, but I guess BW answered my question of how you would even get potential fans' email addresses. Like for me right now, most of the addresses I have are for people I just know personally. I just wondered how to even get people interested in receiving emails from me if it's just another thing in their inbox. I guess the idea is to make it stand out somehow. I have gotten newsletters from like Tor.com before, but those are obviously professional.
     
  5. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Philip,

    It seems to me the keys to using a mailing list effectively are:

    1. Don't spam! Use it sparingly when you have something relevant to say. I plan to only use mine to announce major releases.

    2. Be friendly.

    3. Make sure to include an easy opt-out/unsubscribe feature.
     
    Philip Overby likes this.
  6. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    e-mails lists can be very important to your marketing success, but you are right, targeting is the key.

    For instance Lee Child (moderately successful) gives a great deal of credit for his success to the newsletters he sent out early in his career.

    | Author Lee Child: Jack Reacher Novels

    I don't think you can or should spam, but should slowly and carefully build an e-mail list of people who might buy your work.Then write newsletters that are interesting even if they don't buy your book. Put in some articles, photos, tips or links that your market will find helpful even if it is not yours.

    For instance, my wife's upcoming novel involves child soldiers so her newsletter will likely put out some links to some recent developments in that area with some comments from her and others in the field. I have a few ideas that I think fantasy readers might be interested in for when I get my novel published.

    You can go to commercial providers for e-mail lists but they are not cheap, and probably not well targeted for you. I think you are better off slowly building your list through your website, social media, personal appearances etc.

    In Canada there are strict regulations on e-mail soliciting so if you are e-mailing in Canada do be aware of them.
     
    Philip Overby likes this.
  7. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    Well, I made an email list using Mad Mimi. It looks pretty user friendly and might be cool to mess around with. If anyone's interested, you can sign up here.

    Mad Mimi

    Edit: Actually, not sure if it's working, so maybe hold off on that until it looks like I can get it going.

    Edit Edit: OK, seems to be working now. I'm looking forward to see how this turns out. Even put a link on my new blog. I wanted to kind of start over in some way, so I scrapped my Blogspot and shifted over to Wordpress.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
  8. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    I have no idea what it would be like in other countries...
    But within the UK and strictly technically... Any list/database you created of names, emails and other information to then be use for commercial and marketing purposes, would need to be registered with the Information Commissioner...
     
    Ruby likes this.
  9. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    Interesting. Since I'm based in Japan, I'm not sure how that would work. I'm also using KDP as a U.S. citizen, but I'm not sure how that connects to using a list. In any case, I made a list, but maybe using it to sell something is a no-no? I'm not sure what the etiquette/law is on that in the U.S.
     
  10. Ryan_Crown

    Ryan_Crown Troubadour

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    The big thing with US laws is that you cannot add anyone to your list without their express permission -- so don't just put people, even friends and family, on your list manually. Have them sign-up via the link on your website. Also they have to have a way to unsubscribe should they choose.

    Personally I use MailChimp for my mailing list -- its free up to your first 2,000 subscribers and they're really setup to ensure you are in compliance with US laws. You can setup two-step opt-ins, so they get a confirmation email they have to click a link on before they're added, and it makes sure that all of your emails have an Unsubscribe link at the bottom of them.

    I'm still working to get my mailing list active, but I figure if nothing else it's a good way to notify people when I have a new blog post up, and eventually (once I actually get something published) I figure I can use it to send out updates on that. Now the trick is getting people to sign up for the list!
     
  11. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    OK, so since I'm publishing in the US, I guess I'm fine in that regard. I haven't added anyone manually, so that won't be a problem. I haven't gotten many people to sign up yet, so that's another thing to promote on top of everything else.
     
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