Okay, I know what you’re all thinking: Where do I even start to build an email list, and what mass email marketing tools do I need to succeed? Isn’t this some kind of crazy expensive formula that I’ll barely be able to afford, let alone know how to properly implement into my site?
Well, you have a blog, like I told you to make. Preferably, you’re using Wealthy Affiliate’s platform, community to garner comments, and for Jaaxy and the SiteRubix hosting. And I connected either MailerLite or MailChimp to my site and have my reader magnet up and running.
Why is no one coming to my website?!?!?!?!
Okay, just calm down real fast, it’s not as bad as it seems, because you might just be making one little mistake when it comes to traffic generation, which you need to worry about before you even think email marketing.
Or a few little mistakes, but these are tiny, minute mistakes that you can fix in two seconds if you know what to do.
And that’s what today’s article is about: Building your email list beyond what you ever thought possible using simple mass marketing methods that are practically on autopilot.
Let’s Get Started with Something: Prolific Works is Epica Fantasia
Yes, Prolific Works is a fantastic tool to utilize if you’re just starting out, but it should only be used exclusively in conjunction with other tools, especially if you only have one or two books out.
You can easily hook up your MailChimp account with Prolific Works, set a book on the platform for free, and give readers either the option to subscribe to your mailing list or you can make it mandatory. However, making for a mandatory subscription virtually hides your book on Prolific Works so in the beginning, I’d recommend you go with the optional opt-in.
Put your reader magnet on the platform. Make sure your cover is professionally designed, that your book description sells, and not summarizes, as many authors make this mistake, and also make sure the magnet is advertised in one of your books over at Amazon and other stores like iBooks, Kobo, and Nook. You can link your work to Prolific Works without fear of rejection, since Prolific Works isn’t a direct competitor with any of these stores.
This is what I did over my first year and garnered about 150 emails over about eight to ten months, from August 2018 to the summer of 2019.
Definitely not a lot of emails, but it did start driving my list in the right direction: Up.
A Better Way
Believe me when I say there’s a much better way to go about this, and while Prolific Works is a great way to get started and is serviceable, there are so many better ways to get started.
Just a tiny warning:
If you’ve been following my blog recently, I’m simply going to rehash some old hash here, so bear with me. For those of you who are new, you’ll find this information very helpful, as I’m providing a step-by-step method on how to maximize your traffic that will in turn help grow your mailing list.
Oh, and by the way, there’s hardly a special tool required for what I’m about to show you.
Set One Book to Perma Free
For a series, the first in series is often a good start. For standalones, choose any book you’d like, and set it to free. As I stated ion previous posts, you’ll need to email Amazon with links to its main competitors in order to set it to free; don’t use the price matching tool because it never works.
Place Your Ad in the Perma Free Book
Alright, hop over to Canva, where you can create a nice-looking ad. This should consist of a book cover of your reader magnet, as I have one of The Skyehawk Chronicles in the front matter of Northern Knights.
Make sure you have fit the description in there as well, and perhaps a blurb if space allows. Get a relevant background color or design, and boom, you have your ad ready to go. An ad like this one shown below is what I use in the front matter of Northern Knights.
Connect to a Landing Page
There are two ways you can do this: The free way and the paid way.
For the free way, you can use a landing page from email providers like MailChimp and MailerLite and connect your ad with it. Basically, you’ll take the link in the address bar, copy it, and paste the link into your ad. When a reader clicks the ad, they’ll be funneled to your landing page.
Now, the downside of using a landing page for free with email providers is they’re not your landing pages. So the domain name wouldn’t say ‘lordofcolumbia.com,’ it would instead say something like ‘us12.admin.mailchimp.com/landingpage/ldesign?id/4653, like this:
It takes away from the legitimacy of your business, but there are authors who do this if they’re strapped for cash or are experiencing something similar. But eventually, you want to go with the paid method.
With this way, you’ll invest in a theme like AuthorCats, which has landing pages built into it. All you have to do is add your own elements to the page, such as the cover, text, subscription buttons, etc.
The paid way will also keep everything on your domain, therefore further defining your brand and legitimacy as a true professional rather than someone who’s just connecting pages from their email provider to their website. Take a look at the difference between what I have up top versus what my landing page at lordofcolumbia.com looks like.
On Your Landing Page
So, on your landing page you should have a subscription box which allows readers to enter their email address in exchange for their free reader magnet. See the buttons on both my free and paid landing pages. If a reader clicks the button, the subscription box will pop up.
Make sure you connect this page to a Confirmation or a Thank You Email, like this:
You can automate this via your email provider. For instance, if a reader subscribes to my mailing list through my landing page on lordofcolumbia.com, they will get a Thank You email along with a link to download a free copy of their reader magnet.
And I don’t have to do anything; it automatically sends them the email and the button at the bottom sends them to my download page.
So, the button that readers can click through to a subscription box is the MAIN element you want on your landing page.
Also, you want some imagery as well. You don’t just want a box that says ‘Subscribe.’ That’s not going to do much.
Instead, you want your landing page to resemble your ad. Place your book cover, description, and button on the page, and nothing else. The landing page should only link to your reader magnet.
Once a reader enters their email, they should be taken to a success page. I like to use this page as an upsell, so I’ll offer my Trilogy I box set at a discount of $5.99 for the e-book, 25% off the $7.98 if readers bought each book separately. Have a look:
Simultaneously, my ‘Thank You’ email is on the way to their inbox.
Thank You Email
The reader should then be able to open a Thank You email, on which they can click through to yet another page on your site if you’re taking the paid route. If you take the free route, you can store your .mobi, epub, and PDF files in Dropbox, Google Docs, etc.
The clear downside here is if your reader doesn’t have a proper account, it’ll be far more challenging to open the document. In fact, I had this issue when I stored files in my Microsoft account, where readers emailed me, wondering why they couldn’t open their files.
So, the free way can work, but it provides a watered-down product. The AuthorCats theme allows you to simply store the files on your author site, which can be connected to the Thank You Email on a page like this:
The best way to create these documents is to use an aggregate site like Draft2Digital where you can then publish the work in epub,.mobi, and PDF formatting.
As I’ve previously mentioned, readers can click the button link on my Thank You Email, which will funnel them straight back to my site where they can download the appropriate file for their reading device (see above image).
As for the free way, you can connect your landing page to Google Docs, Dropbox, or something similar, but again, for professional branding purposes, you want to take this a step further.
How to Drive Traffic Grow Your List
Now that you know how to create a professional-looking marketing tool using hopefully the paid method, how do readers find and sign up for your email lists?
There are a few key ways to do this, the first is via organic growth. Think about this: free books will always garner ten times as many downloads as paid works, which is why I mentioned earlier to set a book to free and place an ad for your magnet within it.
When you do this, anyone hitting on your page and opening the Look Inside feature will see your ad and might just download the free book on your site which will then add them to your email lists.
Now, such growth will dry up, which is why we use paid promotion to promote our works. Paid promotion doesn’t have to be pricey. I saw 400 downloads in a single day in August 2019 with Book Doggy, which cost me a measly $18, so .045 cents a download, which is a fantastic ROI. Given the fact a few readers immediately bought Swords of Destiny and Missing in Columbia that day, I actually came close to breaking even within twenty-four hours of the promotion.
Now, you can line up promos with larger sites like Freebooksy, where four-figure downloads are the norm, despite higher prices. For instance, promos in the fantasy genre are at least $100 on Freebooksy. In addition to four-figure downloads, you’ll see a few reviews as well, along with new readers for your paid works.
But the kicker is this, say you get 1,600 downloads via Freebooksy. That’s another 1,600 new eyes on your reader magnet. Even if only 20% of them download the work, you’re still looking at 320 new subscribers and 320 potential customers.
You can host a giveaway, which will build traffic. Say you advertise a giveaway on King Sumo for a bundle of hardcover books relevant to your genre or theme. For everyone who joins your giveaway, you can give them a free copy of your perma free book. If I were to do this they’ll be able to download Northern Knights straight from my site.
Now, I can put a nice little ad in the book that states if they claim a copy and review the work on Amazon as a verified buyer, they’ll double their chances of winning. Purchase Swords of Destiny and Missing in Columbia and review them, they’ll increase their chances of winning by ten.
Not only do people love getting free stuff with value, but they will also love finding ways to increase their chances at winning the giveaway.
Now, what if you were to offer them your magnet book at the end of the giveaway? So, I’ll inform those who entered the giveaway that the winner has been chosen by random chance, but I’d love for you to remain on my list for more giveaways and discounted offers in the future.
If you’d like to remain on my list, please respond to this email, which will confirm you’ll remain on my list and you’ll also be able to download yet another free book (in my case, The Skyehawk Chronicles).
So, even for those who didn’t win the giveaway, they still got Northern Knights (and perhaps a review to increase their chances at winning), and The Skyehawk Chronicles for free. They also may’ve paid $7.98 for Swords of Destiny and Missing in Columbia, or simply bought the box set at $5.99 and reviewed it.
If 4,000 readers enter your giveaway and 1,000 stay subscribed, that’s another 1,000 emails. While a giveaway will cost between $100 and $200, think about the 1,000 new subscribers, which costs between .10 and .20 cents per subscriber.
Cheap as hell, I must say.
So, once you conduct a couple giveaways, you can also utilize cross promos with authors whose work is similar to yours. Say if you garnered 1,500 email addresses from organic growth, promotions, and giveaways, now you gained access to the other author whose work you’re cross-promoting. If they have 1,500, you doubled your exposure.
The list goes on.
Best Marketing Tools
Your blog with proper landing pages, which can then be connected to an email provider and automated to deliver to new subscribers 24/7.
And that’s about it.
This isn’t crazy rocket science or anything of that nature. If you know a little bit about email integration, which requires a small learning curve but nothing outlandish, you can have this up and running within a day.
Not bad at all.
Now, a paid theme like AuthorCats is going to augment this process, keep everything under your branding, and allow your blog and only your blog to be the hub of this email marketing process.
You can also use the strategies above, like paid promotion, cross-promotion, and joint promotion to team with other authors in your genre or theme which will expose you and your work to other audiences.