1000 True Fans – Using Your Mailing List

operation_-8

I have a new focus for March’s 1000 “True” Fan blog series. It’s KEEPING FANS. Now, that my mailing list has grown to nearly 500 subscribers, I want to keep them  happy. Convert them to “true” fans–at least some of them. 🙂

In February, I found that the secret to growing a mailing list quickly is giving away something free. (That ethical bribe.) It doesn’t have to be much a short story or two or even the first few chapters of your novel. Then, once you have this, you need to work with other authors to cross-promote your freebie.

Review of Past Week (Mission 8: Using your blog): Historically, this went GREAT! Last week, so-so.

I know blogging and reading/commenting on/following other people’s blogs is HUGE for growing your true fans. In fact, I’m nearing 500 followers to this blog. Last week though, I got busy and didn’t do as much reading and commenting as I would have liked.

I’m still participating in some newsletter building cross-promos, so how is it going?

Drum Roll…Ready?

Current Mailing List Subscriptions: 489 fans / 1000 true fans (Up 151 from last week.)

copy-of-operation_-8

**Note, due to lack of space, I switched my graph to be month by month.

This Weeks Mission: Keeping Fans – Newsletter Content

Since I had grown my newsletter list, I decided to finally send something out to my mailing list subscribers. I had two main things I needed to accomplish: I needed to send out a link to the cross-promotions I was participating in. (It was a requirement of participation) and I wanted to have people nominate my novel, Blood & Holy Water, on Kindle Scout.

I debated for a while on how to send these things out. Nervously, I composed an email/newsletter and hit sent. Waiting for the unsubscribes to happen.

My concerns with sending out my first email to my mailing list:

How often do you contact your mailing list? I’ve seen weekly emails to monthly emails. I don’t want to get annoying. To a true fan, you probably wont. To those fans still on the fence. Maybe. But  you need to balance this with exposure. You want your name out there and you want people to think of you, when they think of an author. After combing through the internet for the best frequency, it became painfully obvious that there wasn’t a gold standard. Some people do well with frequent emails, others will get bombarded and either unsubscribe, or just hit delete when they see it. My goal at first was I’d start with every 2 months. Then I’d be sure to have new content to share. It may not be frequent enough, but it’s a starting point. (The best option may be to eventually tailor your list to the subscriber. Ask them how often they want to hear from you and make multiple lists.)

What content do my subscribers want to hear about? I had two things to say…was that enough? What about all the work I put into blogging, could I use this for additional content? I needed something of value, because I don’t want to be seen as all marketing. I have my quirky sense of humor, so I decided on sprinkling a little humor in…along with my blog feeds. It’s the best value added things I could think about. Maybe it’s too much and a more to-the-point personal email would be better? But then, I’m only sending one off every 2 months. Of note: most my subscribers came through the free giveaways, so I wanted to make sure to offer some free stuff in the email…assuming the subscribers like free stuff. Key point: You’re not selling your books with your mailing list…you’re selling yourself.

What format do I send? My parents send out a monthly newsletter for their zoo. It’s in a professional format that I like. I know exactly where to find whatever information I’m seeking. I’m also subscribed to a dozen author’s newsletters and have been watching what they do. Their emails are more like letters with no blog feed. Hmmm… I decided to be different (usually, not the right thing to do, but I always try to stand out a little) and went with the newsletter format and blog feed. We’ll see how it goes over.

This is what I came up with:

Page 1———————————————–> Page 2

newslett

I sent out 300 newsletters and had 15 unsubscribes. That’s okay. I’m looking for true fans anyway. My open rate was a little over 50%. I think the key newsletter will be the one I send out in April, advertising my new novel.

Some people send out multiple welcome emails after a new subscriber, to weed out those that are not true fans, but I decided against this despite being a good idea. I really don’t want to be annoying, but I use Mail Chimp. Once I hit 2000 people, there is a charge for the service. (Quite hefty.) I’ll probably start kicking people off the list when (if ) I hit 2000 subscribers. (I’m already feeling guilty!)

My goals this week: After sending out this email, I stumbled upon this reference on How to Create an Author Newsletter that isn’t Terrible. I’m going to work on polishing my newsletter content for my April edition using the information from this post. I won’t see an immediate result in this work, but I’m hoping for a long term benefit. Changes I’m making:

  1. Catchy Title / Subject
  2. Create Standard Sections including: Main Story, Update on my novels, Recommendations/Deals, & a Short Bio.

Want to read more? Here are some web pages to read.

Next Week: Value added versus Non-Value Added content.

If you want to get caught up on 2017’s journey to find 1000 fans, check out the 1000 “True” Fan Landing Page.

How do you structure your newsletters/mailing list contact? I’d love some more ideas!

About Joynell Schultz

Writer & lover of all types of speculative fiction. I'm shivering in northern Wisconsin. Learn about my novels here: http://Author.to/JoynellSchultz
This entry was posted in 1000 True Fans, Marketing, My Writing Journey and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to 1000 True Fans – Using Your Mailing List

  1. Lana says:

    Oddly enough, I didn’t get any email from you even though I signed up for the mailing list…do you think I should try signing up again?

    Anyway, I don’t know all that much about mailing lists (most of what I know comes from you, haha), but I think for me personally it would kind of end up being an extension of my blog, with more rambling about my writing (and possibly extra content and spoilers, more than what I put on my blog) and then maybe some of the things that I’ve been learning or working on. But I’m sure yours would be different because you have a different blogging style and angle, so…I don’t know. I do need to do more research on mailing lists, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I bet my newsletter went in your junk folder. (That’s where my husband found it.) I think it went to half the people’s junk. (I checked my list, you’re on it and it went out on the 17th of February.) I don’t know how to keep the email out of people’s junk folders. Urgh!

      Obviously, I’m not an expert at content yet either. We’ll see who opens my second email and how many unsubscribes I get in April.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was one of the openers 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Steve D says:

    I haven’t actually begun sending my newsletter yet, but I’m planning to structure my lists based on when people subscribe (I’m also using MailChimp). So when I first promote my newsletter on my site, that first “batch” of subscribers would be one list. When I offer up free content to current and new subscribers (like, anyone who subscribes over the next # days will also get this freebie), that would be another list. I have no idea if this will work, but it makes sense to me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the idea of having multiple lists. That would be great for getting a consistent flow of traffic to wherever it’s needed (but may be more work to manage on a weekly basis.) Thanks for sharing–I love new ideas!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Steve D says:

        It’s definitely more to manage. For me it sort of streamlines the tracking, because I know who signs up when and what kind of freebies, etc they’ve gotten. But I’m also looking at a monthly newsletter 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: What NOT to put in your Newsletter | Joynell Schultz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s