Since my last post on this topic (in October) I haven’t done very much with the newsletter. After sending the last (first) newsletter, I pretty much just set up links to subscribe to it, shared them on the website and on social media, and hoped readers would find it. Not the most proactive method to build a mailing list but it suited me as I always feel awkward starting a ‘conversation’. I’m fine blogging, possibly because it’s ‘my’ space, and I’m just writing out my thoughts.
But – big ‘but’ – I really need to push myself out of my comfort zone and start sending regular newsletters. Actually, I’d like to do two – one for readers and a ‘behind the scenes’ for fellow independent publishers (as some of what I do and discover may be of use).
The purpose of a reader magnet is to offer a free book to entice a reader to sign up for a newsletter. I did experiment with insisting on a subscription to the mailing list in exchange for the reader ‘magnet’ (short story) but decided against this method. I would rather readers followed any newsletters I send (eventually) because they are interested in hearing what I want to say. So, for that reason, signing up for our newsletter optional.
Our Reader Magnet
S.E. Anderson very kindly provided a short story to use for our reader magnet – A Starstruck ‘Suburban Sensation’ (aptly named Lasers and Tiaras).
Growing a mailing list
Well, this is the tricky part. I’m good at the theory (and should be considering the number of ‘how-to’ articles I’ve read on the subject) but I’m not so good at the practical.
Newsletter landing page
This is the page to send readers to via social media promotions. I read somewhere that it is advisable to have as few distractions as possible on this page (basically just an image and the signup box) Mine is quite cluttered at the moment so this is something I may need to address.
Some (most?) sites I visit have a pop-up box encouraging visitors to sign up to their newsletter. I don’t do this because I hate pop-ups with a passion, especially if I have to hunt for the ‘X’ to close them.
Published book back matter
Links to our newsletter are in the process of being added to the back matter of our published books.
Next steps/things to try
- Send regular newsletters
- Newsletter builders
- Newsletter swaps
- Ads to attract subscribers
- Put links to subscribe on social media sites and in an email signature
- Research other methods of growing mailing lists
I have added the ‘next step’ suggestions into my bullet journal (otherwise known as my ‘ever-growing to-do list) so I can work my way through them.