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?
Current Mailing List Subscriptions: 489 fans / 1000 true fans (Up 151 from last week.)
**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
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:
- Catchy Title / Subject
- 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.