Email Marketing and RSS Feeds for Self-Publishers

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Your distribution list may seem like a simple collection of email addresses, but it’s so much more than that. When it comes to promotions, building your mailing list is the basis for your entire marketing strategy. Whether you’re providing updates on an upcoming publication or sharing information about author events, your email marketing lets you reach fans with important information to raise your visibility, encourage brand engagement, and drive book sales.

The following email marketing tips and strategies can help you build your mailing list to create true, lasting fans who will read whatever you write and eagerly await new material.

Start Your Email List Early and Update Often

Because it’s essential to build a fan base and drive book sales, start building your mailing list long before your book becomes a reality. It’s never too early to begin collecting contact info from interested parties—even before you establish a formal website or blog. Get email addresses from other authors and contacts in the industry or subject you write about.

To incite readers to sign up for your mailing list, try incentivizing. Offer free booklets, stories, or expert information in exchange for email addresses. The promise of free content, especially if it’s original, may be enough to encourage a reluctant reader to subscribe.

Use an Email Marketing Service

There are many email marketing services you can use before you establish an author website that will later integrate into your site seamlessly. MailChimp is an excellent service that provides email marketing management. It’s free to use for fewer than 2,000 email addresses, and it provides a number of useful marketing tools that will let you see who opens your emails and what they click on. MailChimp offers customizable email newsletter templates that allow you to integrate images and columns of text, making it easy to design an attractive, eye-catching newsletter.

MailChimp also automatically manages email contacts, tracks unsubscribes, and updates lists accordingly. When you do have a website, MailChimp provides an easy-to-use email sign-up widget that will collect subscriptions from your website and update your contact list, eliminating the need to update your contact list manually. It also has marketing campaign analytics that can help you understand which of your emails are the most successful so you can do more of the things that are working better. 

RSS Feeds

An RSS feed can be a productive addition to your marketing strategy, but it shouldn’t replace your email marketing list. RSS feeds don’t collect email addresses. They allow readers to sign up for an alert that will let them know when your blog has been updated. If you want to use an RSS feed, try easy-to-use Feedburner.

Your email newsletter gives your readers a more personal connection to you than your website and other, more public venues. Use your authentic voice, and make the most of your gift for writing. By including original, personal content in your newsletter, you can build strong, lasting relationships with your fans and ultimately drive book sales.

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Carla King

Carla King is an adventure travel author and technology journalist who has been self-publishing since 1994. She is the founder of Misadventures Media, a small press specializing in adventure travel books, and Author Friendly, a service that provides affordable publication planning, coaching, formatting, editing, design, and social media setup for independent authors. Her Self-Publishing Boot Camp educational series of books and workshops have helped authors make good publishing decisions since 2010. Find out more at AuthorFriendly.com.