BookMachine Works is a creative events and marketing agency, specialising in the publishing industry. We combine experience, energy and enthusiasm to create outstanding events and unrivalled marketing campaigns. Here Nicola Slavin, who is part of the core team, shares her tips on why email should be your priority.
For many marketers, email is one of the most important channels. Adestra’s recent report says email reigns supreme in terms of delivering ROI and it drove an estimated £29bn of UK online retail sales in 2016.
And yet, for those of us promoting books in an ever-changing digital landscape, email can get lost in the rush to create video content, hashtag campaigns and social media accounts.
All of these have their place but there’s little doubt that a healthy, engaged, growing email list is one of the most powerful assets you can own. That’s true whether you’re launching a new book, promoting backlist, or building up your brand.
Here’s a few reasons why…
Your email list belongs to you
Every social media comment, every Amazon review, every Goodreads conversation – they’re all happening on networks subject to algorithm changes, platform updates and acquisitions. The people on your list haven’t used a social account to give you a fairly meaningless like or follow. They have trusted you with their email address – not Facebook or Twitter or Goodreads. This means you own some very valuable data.
They’re already engaged
Your subscribers are usually there because they’ve opted in, and now they expect to receive content. You need to work to keep your list current – tracking open rates, click-throughs and conversions can help keep it healthy – but the fact people have chosen to hear from you is a great starting point.
You can build relationships
One way to capitalise on this is to talk with your readers. You can do this on social media too, but particularly for small publishers and authors, email allows for ongoing conversation. Engaging with your subscribers is also a natural way to keep your list healthy. A small, engaged list is better than a huge, disinterested one.
If you’re a publisher with multiple series or an author with a diverse writing portfolio, you might find it hard to know where to focus with social media. Although platforms like Facebook allow you to target posts, there isn’t much that can compete with a well-segmented email database. If you capture the right kind of information, you can send incredibly targeted communications.
With Mailchimp opening up automation for free accounts and other email service providers onboard with automation, there’s little excuse for not utilising this powerful tool. An automated sequence allows you to set a trigger or series of triggers so that your readers receive targeted emails whenever you choose. For example, you could share a book recommendation one week after a reader has signed-up.
It works both ways
A healthy email list is an asset not just in itself but because of the other ways it can be used. For example, Facebook’s advertising platform allows you to use your list and build a very targeted audience. This is a great way to reach people who are already interested in your content but might not previously have bought anything.
You can contact BookMachine Works to discuss how we can help you with your own mailing lists.