written by : Jimmy Burgess
The single most effective way authors can grow their business is by engaging with their readers or ideal clients. Social media platforms are becoming more and more restrictive with regard to how easily we can connect with all our followers. What we have seen with Facebook this past year is not going to change; I believe social media will continue to move toward a pay-to-play game. The only way to stay completely engaged with your readers and to control that engagement is through email. The following are five ways to grow your email list.
Give Them What They Want (It All Starts Here)
If you don’t have a great offer for them, chances are they will not opt-in. Ask yourself “What would my ideal reader love to have?” If you are a fiction writer, it may be a free novella. If you are a nonfiction writer that writes about living on a boat, then it may be a pdf of the top 20 harbors for people that live on boats. Focus on the desire of your ideal readers and give them what they want. If you don’t get this one right, the rest of this post is irrelevant.
Here is an example of how I make my offer in case you are looking for an example:
(wink, wink, did you see what I did there?)
Write for Large Websites (#1 Strategy Today)
Large websites are begging for quality content. Most have subcategories where your ideal readers or clients exist in droves. Almost all of these sites have submission pages where you can learn the submission guidelines and how to submit an article for consideration.
My friend Kimanzi Constable started writing for large websites approximately four months ago. During that time, he added 17,000 email subscribers and saw his book rise to #64 on all of Amazon. This is the most effective strategy that you can implement today
Guest Posting (Old Faithful)
There are blogs and websites where your ideal readers or clients congregate. I heard an analogy once that guest posting is like being the opening act on tour for a large band. If the opening act plays similar music and nails the performance, many of the more famous band’s fans will then buy the opening act’s records and become fans.
Guest posting is the same way. If you write a great article that is used as a guest post on a website that is similar to yours, you will add subscribers. Almost all guest posters get the opportunity to tell who they are and how they can be reached. This is where you can link back to your website and their followers can find you.
You may have guest posted in the past or never before; either way this should definitely be a part of your strategy.
Get Active on Forums (Add Value for Results)
Most forums give you the ability to have a hyperlinked tagline in your signature box that will be attached each time you comment on the forum. For instance, I help self-published authors. That is my ideal client for my business as well as for an upcoming book I am writing. I naturally enjoy forums that discuss self-publishing. I don’t promote my business in a sleazy way on the forums. I simply answer questions or participate in threads that interest me. Here is the tagline I use:
By clicking the sentence above you can see the squeeze page where it sends them. The more helpful you are on forums, the more subscribers you will gain.
To find forums where your ideal readers/clients are lurking, simply Google “Forums about (whatever your ideal reader or client loves).”
Don’t Forget Your Most Valuable Real Estate (Your Book)
If your book is nonfiction, scatter links (digital versions especially) throughout your book for access to bonus materials. If you have a chapter on goals, for instance, put in a sentence like, “For access to a free 30-minute video of me training a group on effective goal-setting, click here.” Then link that to an opt-in page where the video training will be emailed to them automatically.
Whether your book is fiction or nonfiction, make sure you give them the opportunity to be notified of future releases. Also, offer them something of value as a bonus.
It can be as simple as:
Thank you for reading my book. If you liked this book, you will love the next one I am working on now. To receive an email for early release dates of any of my future works, click here.
Another way is to give them something they want. If they just finished reading the first book in a series, offer them the first two to three chapters of the next book in the series. Most will be glad to opt-in to see where the next book is headed.
My book is about how to bounce back in life. Here is what I have as an offer at the end of my book:
The value of the people who sign up through an opt-in from your book is immeasurable. These are the people who have read your book and will be more inclined to purchase your next book.
What’s Working For You?
In the comments below, share what’s working for you. Also, feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to help you build your email database.