How to build an email list

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

There are lots of different ways you can collect people's emails. You can easily use Google forms, applications on your website, or you can collect them manually but you need to think one step ahead.

How are you going to entice people to join your mailing list?

Once you have these emails, how are you going to manage your list?

How can you best utilize email marketing for your success?

Let's dive in.

Email marketing is an excellent tool for authors at any stage of their career. It’s one of the best ways to keep in contact with your audience and let them know about upcoming releases. If you are looking to build a loyal following that will purchase every book you publish, you’ll find email lists to be much more powerful than just using social media marketing. To help you build an email list, we’ve put together a few of the key steps you need to follow to start building a lifelong relationship with your readers.

1. Choose Your Email List Provider

Before you can even think about attracting readers to your email list, you need to select a service provider to manage your list. There are some great free options online today, but if you are looking to scale your business, you’ll want to consider paying for one that can deal with a larger number of subscribers. Great options for authors include MailChimp, MailerLite, Wix Ascend, ConvertKit, and Flodesk, but you’ll find there are many other options on the market that might fit better with your budget. Make sure you research the pros and cons of each option first to ensure you find a solution that’s right for your needs.

2. Create a Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is an excellent tool to help you increase the number of sign-ups to your email list. The best way to get started is by creating something for free. It could be a worksheet, activity, coloring page, or other parent or teacher resource. You want to create something that your target audience will be interested in! This is called a lead magnet or an opt-in. The goal is to offer something in exchange for a person joining your mailing list. Then, you will start sharing and promoting your free resource. Remember though, authors are NOT your target audience for a children's picture book.

Once they subscribe to your list on your website, they’ll be sent a welcome message that contains the link to download the freebie. (To take the stress off of you, automate this process!) If you don’t have something ready to use as a lead magnet, consider tapping into your current publications and offer a free eBook or give them the chance to pre-order your next book. As long as it’s an exciting offer that’s not available to anyone else, you’ll have no trouble getting more sign-ups using this method.

3. Allow Your Readers to Opt In

In order for you to attract a genuine audience to your email marketing list, make sure they are agreeing to give you their email. Nobody wants spam, and it’s much better for an author only to be emailing those who are genuinely interested in your work. Make sure you work to organically attract readers to your email list instead of being tempted to buy subscribers from spam sites online. Once you have your readers’ details, ensure you don’t share these with anyone and only send them the type of emails they have signed up for.

4. Make It Easy to Sign Up For Your Email List

There are a few ways in which you can attract sign-ups to your email list. Firstly, make sure your website is optimized to allow readers to easily sign up at the bottom of each page and on your home page. They shouldn’t have to search your site to sign up for your email list, as this will result in no one ever being able to subscribe. You can also add a link to your email list sign up page from your social media accounts, which makes it easier for readers who connect with you in that way to sign up.

5. Think About The Emails You Are Sending

Once you’ve managed to get a good number of readers signed up to your list, you’ll want to ensure you keep them engaged with your content. While you may be tempted to bombard them with exciting information, less is more when it comes to email lists. After a few months of trial and error, you’ll be able to find the right number of emails to send each week or month. Avoid sending more than about two emails a week. You don't want to overwhelm or annoy your subscriber list. If you have a good idea where in the world your audience is based, think about the time of day you are sending emails to have the best chance of them being opened. Have a strategy and if you need more guidance, do some research or take courses on email marketing.

Most importantly, you can't send emails to these people without their permission! It's a law--you legally cannot add someone to your email subscriber list without their consent. You also need to offer a way for them to unsubscribe should they choose, but email services like MailChimp, MailerLite, and Wix Ascend will do that part for you.

By following these tips, you’ll soon be able to start creating an email list that will help you to connect with your audience. When you send them regular email updates and valuable content, you’ll find they continue to support you throughout your career for many years to come.

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