Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Tools and Tidbits for Writers: Autoresponders and Growing Email Lists #toolsandtidbitsforwriters #growyourlist


Tools and Tidbits for Writers
by JQ Rose

Hello and welcome! 
Today on Tools and Tidbits for Writers, we're talking about building an email list filled with folks who are interested in you as a writer. But why bother? How do you find people wanting to be on your email list? Once you have the list, how do you send a large number of emails without getting in trouble?

Well, let's dive in. Feel free to ask questions and/or share your experience with email lists in the comments section below.

Why do you need an email list?
I thought having an email list was not necessary until many experts explained that the connections I have on Facebook or Youtube and my free blog could easily be broken because I don't have any real estate on those sites. What if FB or YouTube went out of business? Just this summer, Blogger which is the home of this blog, decided to abandon using RSS feeds to let my subscribers know when a new blog post was published. That hurt. I have installed follow.it hoping subscribers will come back and follow me again.

About 2 years ago, I signed up with mailerlite to be my email responder, also known as an autoresponder. I send my monthly newsletters through mailerlite thanks to a heads-up from my author friend, Juneta. There are so many companies that offer this service with a free membership up to a designated amount of emails. Once the list hits their maximum, such as 1000 emails, they will charge for the service.

Constant Contact, Aweber, Mailchimp, sendinblue and more are some of the most recognized names for emailing, landing page creations, promotions, etc. Autoresponders could be another blog post topic!

Once you decide you do want to offer a monthly or weekly contact with friends, family, readers, you can join the autoresponder company, and they will compile the addresses. This connection is usually in the form of a newsletter. 

The Rose Courier

I suggest you not refer to it as a newsletter. Another newsletter filling up the inbox will erase the idea of subscribing to another one. The title of my surreptitious newsletter is The Rose Courier. Think of something catchy to get their attention and curiosity stirred up, and not a reminder it is actually a newsletter e.g. Jan's Newsletter or Newsletter from Jan.

Newsletters can be fun to put together and an entertaining piece that is fun for readers to enjoy photos, articles, jokes, quizzes, polls. It doesn't have to be a dry old letter shouting "buy my book." 

I know, it was a puzzle to me too as to how to direct people to join the list. Don't worry about that. The autoresponder directs you through the setup. Then gives you a link so when people click on the link they subscribe to your list. This does take some study and watching tutorials, but I believe having the ability to connect to readers whenever you wish is worth the effort (and even the hair-pulling!)

TIP: You probably have friends' and acquaintances' email addresses. Do not add people to your list without their permission.

Once you have your friends and family on the email list, how do you grow that list? That is the question! 

1. Many experts in the field suggest giveaways, also referred to as freebies, lead magnets, reader magnets (or bribes) to connect with readers. A giveaway can be about anything pertaining to your writing, teaching, speaking, business. Just don't make it something you spend hours and days on creating. It can be a checklist, an article, an excerpt or a chapter of an eBook (such as the first in a series of books). When sending the freebie, a note will accompany the gift inviting the person to join your newsletter. So, in exchange for the gift, the person gives up his/her email address.

A lot of testing is needed to discover what giveaway works in getting readers' attention. So, create more than one. You can have several giveaways going at once.

I must admit I have not done this giveaway idea because experts explain that a lot of the email addresses are just there to get a freebie. They will probably not be active, so if you are paying the autoresponder to send an email, you are wasting your money. What is your experience with giveaways?

2. Authors XP offers a paid program for growing email lists. Click here to find out all the ways they can help you build your list.

3. Use a sign-up sheet at events such as author talks, book signings, festivals, any in-person events, but be sure the person knows they are subscribing to your newsletter with the ability to unsubscribe after receiving it.

4. Include the link to the newsletter in your email signature.

5. Spread the word on social media.

6. Make it easy to sign-up on your blog.

7. Be a guest on a blog, podcast and YouTube shows.

8. Swap newsletters with an author who writes in your genre or field.

9. The old-fashioned way of getting the word out--word-of-mouth. Ask friends to tell their friends about your newsletter.

And yes, reaching out to people to sign up for your newsletter is similar to marketing a book. Use all the resources you have.

Thank you for stopping in. 

I just happen to have the link to sign up for the Rose Courier below. I'd appreciate a chance to deliver it to your inbox once a month. In fact, this Friday is delivery day. You can unsubscribe if it is not for you.  Thank you for your consideration.

The Rose Courier

Click here to sign up to receive 
updates, articles, freebies, photos and fun in the Rose Courier. 

Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women
by J.Q. Rose

UPDATE: Girls Succeed! The paperback edition is now available in COLOR!  And it is gorgeous. 
Thank you, Amazon, for offering authors the opportunity to easily publish paperbacks and hardcovers in color. 
The inspiring book is for middle-school girls. I know they will appreciate the colorful photos of the amazing women within the pages.
The paperback is available in black and white or in color. Click here to order a copy this Christmas for the girl in your life. 

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Thank you.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We got a mailing list go going for the IWSG, but I've never started my own. Probably not doing any more books, so might be too late.

J.Q. Rose said...

If you continue to sell your backlist, you could use a mailing list.?? I wish I had started 10 years ago when my first published book was released. I believe you mentioned you weren't going to write more books several years ago, but yet...here you are with more books! LOL.

Marsha said...

Hey, JQ. Here you are again with great ideas. I use Mailchimp. I had a paid PR person many years ago and that's how they set up my newsletter, I've been doing it myself for years now. But I unfortunately call it the Newsletter with the month. It looks a lot like my blog and people used to get it confused which is when I started putting NEWSLETTER & Month in big letters at the top.
I've use Author's XP to grow my list, and I get signups at all events I attend in person. Yes, some of those who sign up on Author's XP for whatever giveaway I'm offering do drop off. Here's a think I stumbled on that is important. When someone unsubscribes, you need to archive that address to get it off your main countable addresses. I thought I was going to have to pay for more when I picked up this piece and now I routinely archive folks. Considering maybe cutting those who only ahve a single bubble indicatings openings. Not sure. Would probably send out an email asking telling folks I was considering that before just Xing them out. What do you think.
I've never gotten a freebie attached for new folks. I do have a welcome emailer that goes to new folks. I hadn't thought about using a chapter from a book. Might use that, but geeze then I have to figure out how to give it away! I've only occassionally been able to make book tunnel work to get other's freebies! That doesn't make me much want to do this, but I know its a good idea. Thanks, JQ. I've shared.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks for sharing, Marsha. I have read articles about sending an email to those who haven't opened the newsletter in a while. I can set that up using mailerlite or just delete those who haven't opened in 3 months. I think that's the drop off length of time they use. I clean out the no-openers every couple of months. Yes, automation for sending out gifts can be done. I have done it. Check it out. Mailchimp will walk you through it I'm sure. Mailerlite does.

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