Social media is a vital marketing tool for authors, but it has one big drawback: Somebody else owns the platform! That means there’s no guarantee that your hard-won social media fans will always receive the messages you’re posting or that access will always be available. At Web Design Relief, we know the only surefire way to control the flow of news is to gather your own mailing list.
A healthy mailing list gives the writer absolute control over the message as well as the time of delivery. And savvy authors maximize this benefit by setting up drip email campaigns.
What’s A Drip Email Campaign?
A drip email campaign is a series of tandem emails. The emails drip into your fans’ inboxes in preordained intervals. Just about every email service provider (like MailChimp, VerticalResponse, and Constant Contact) offers this kind of automation. Starting a campaign is as easy as crafting emails, choosing intervals, and putting them in logical sequence.
One of the biggest benefits of a drip email campaign is that it is often set-it-and-forget-it email marketing. Once you’ve written the emails and determined the release intervals, you can arrange for every new subscriber, every one of your current subscribers, or even a subset of your current subscriber list to be put automatically in the queue to receive your news.
But I Have No Idea What To Say!
Authors set up drip email campaigns for any number of reasons, but two smart promotional purposes are 1) to welcome new subscribers, and 2) to promote book launches.
To welcome new subscribers: A writer could craft a series of biweekly emails that might include:
- A welcome letter. Welcome your new subscriber to the mailing list with an idea of what to expect—whether it’s a quarterly newsletter, special announcements, weekly recipes, free short stories, or photos of your dog.
- Deliver a bonus of some sort. One great way to make subscribers consistently open your emails is to offer value. Value can be many things: A dossier on your super-spy character, a novella available free only to subscribers, or a fascinating, humorous, personal, or surprising story about the origins of your latest release.
- Encourage interaction. To draw readers deeper into your world, ask them questions. Did they like the bonus content? What are they reading now? Which character would they like you to write about next? Do they prefer eBooks or print books?
- Pitch your latest project. Once your new subscribers have been welcomed into your world, received a bonus, and encouraged to interact—it’s time to introduce them to your latest book.
To promote a book launch: A writer might craft a series of weekly emails that may include:
- Coming soon! Let your readers know that there’s a new book coming, and tease them with an exciting blurb.
- Exclusive Cover Reveal. Surprise them with a first look at the cover of your new book.
- Chapter Reveal. Let your subscribers get a special sneak-peek.
- Release Day! Thank them for their support and include buy buttons for your new book.
While drip email campaigns work wonders for keeping dedicated readers engaged, it’s always a challenge to coax fans into signing up for your mailing list in the first place. Many smart authors use “reader magnets,” that is, a free book or novella, to get them to submit their email address. However you choose to attract subscribers, be sure to take advantage of a drip email campaign to keep those fans engaged.
Question: What do you expect when you sign up for an author’s mailings? Free books? Discounts? Information about the author and/or books? Notice of new releases? Or something else?