Capturing e-mail addresses from your author website visitors is a CRUCIAL aspect of marketing your book
Arguably the single most important factor in Internet marketing success is THE LIST, that is the mailing/contact list with whom you regularly connect and to whom you regularly reach out and market.
You should want every visitor to your website to sign up for your mailing list. If you’re not, you’ve got a giant hole in your marketing strategy. However, in order to build your list, you’ll need to provide an incentive to get your visitors to fork over their name, and that white gold — a viable e-mail address. Internet marketing expert Alex Mandossian calls this offer an “ethical bribe.” The ubiquitous free newsletter still retains moderate usefulness, but it has generally become passé. In this age of fierce competition for that most precious commodity — time — people are often looking for something more compelling and useful than a newsletter.
Special reports still work. Better still are video clips or MP3s. eBooks, organizing tools like spreadsheets, and self-quizzes also work. What you’re doing is offering your readers a taste of your writing, your book, YOU … with the ultimate goal of getting them to not only buy your book, but to come back again and explore your site even further to learn more about your area of expertise.
One thing to keep in mind when you’re making your offer: be sure it’s something you can easily deliver to a large number of people. If you’re just building your list and your coaching practice, for example, it may be feasible to offer a free 15-minute coaching session … but how long can you realistically do that, particularly if everyone who signs up for your list actually takes advantage of your offer? Not very long — or soon your entire schedule will be filled with free sessions and you won’t have any time for anything else.
Group sessions, however, might be a good happy medium. Teleclasses, webinars, and sample chapters also work. Just make sure you can deliver whatever you promise. One of my clients created a stunning video collage of images to accompany the voice-over of her reading a passage from her book. Be as creative as you can with this part of your marketing strategy.
Position the capture box for your e-mail list in the upper right-hand corner of EVERY page on your site. Request, at minimum, the first name and e-mail address of the visitor. It’s sure helpful to get more information than that, but the more information you request, the less likely people will be to sign up. You’ll need to determine if you’d rather risk losing a few people to gain more complete information.
In exploring the utility of your list and the prospective success you can anticipate from it, you may want to ask yourself a few questions:
- How big is your list?
- How accurate is your list? Are the names/addresses current, or do 50 percent of them kick back as unavailable?
- How niched is your list? Is your list made up of everyone you have ever met, or do you have it categorized so that you can send marketing messages about your book to the people who will actually want to buy it?
- How many business cards and little pieces of paper with interesting people’s contact info do you have in piles on your desk, in your wallet, strewn throughout your purse? As my financial advisor friend Todd Smith once pointed out, these are little piles of money.
- How regularly do you update your list? How often do you cull the bad addresses and add new ones?
- Do you have your list organized into an A-B-C system? A indicates those who have expressed direct interest in your book or subject matter. B are those folks with whom you have a personal connection, but they may not have a direct interest in your book or industry. C are those people who are one step from elimination. You met them, but don’t remember where, and just happen to have their card in your pile.
- How often do you contact your list?
- How many different ways do you connect with your list? If you’re relying only on e-mail, you’re missing a significant opportunity to impact your list. But, in order to be able to send snail mail (or contact them by other channels), you will need to collect more than just their e-mail address.
If you’re just beginning to build your list, now is the time to get it right. But if your list needs updating, there’s no time like TODAY to begin cultivating and pruning it. It’s never too late to begin improving your book marketing endeavors. Check back on Monday when we’ll talk about one important action to take with your list: an autoresponder campaign.
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Thursday, Oct.6 – Does your author site give visitors a reason to COME BACK?
Monday, Oct. 3 – I’m on Facebook and have a blog – why do I still need a website?