I sent out my second newsletter ever last night. As you all know, I published my book, Blood & Holy Water, this week and wanted to tell my list. That’s why you have a mailing list, right? To share things with them.
Well, it’s been twelve hours since I sent my newsletter out to 1502 people, and I’ve already seen the following:
- 40 unsubscribes (out of the 348 people who opened it)
- 2 reports as abuse/spam
Is this bad? The unsubscribes don’t bother me, as most my list was from instafreebies with basically this message: Sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll send you this book free. You can unsubscribe whenever you like. Besides, once I hit 2000 people on MailChimp, I need to start paying for the service (or switching email providers.)
The two reports of abuse/spam make me nervous. I’d hate for MailChimp to suspend my account. This made me think about my newsletter content. Was it spammy?
Yes, it was! Nearly the whole darn thing! It’s funny how blind you can be to things until someone else points it out to you.
HERE‘s the Newsletter I sent out. You can click it to see the whole thing.
The newsletter was promotional as it’s focus was to announce my new book. To loyal fans, I thought I added value by discussing how the book’s ideas were formed, links to my blog, and a comic too. The newsletter did generate 30-40 book sales so far (out of the 348 opens…a 10% sale rate makes me happy.)
What can I do to lower the unsubscribes and prevent the abuse/spam reports? I had blogged about newsletter content HERE, but am changing some of my thoughts.
- Weed out the sign-up-for-free-content-only seekers before sending the main monthly campaign (see “Welcome Email Series” below.)
- Make sure the readers know who you are. I’ve been afraid to annoy my readers by emailing too frequently. I’m learning now, that I should be sending something more routinely. Other authors have done polls and their readers say they’d love to hear from the author weekly. I’m hesitant for this, and will try monthly. I’m also going to add my book covers to my newsletter banner — hopefully, this reminds the subscriber who I am.
- Provide valuable content. The 80/20 rule applies to the content in the newsletter. 80% non-promotional and 20% promotional. What kind of valuable content?
- Sneak Peaks
- Entertainment (An author friend of mine is starting a serial newsletter book. In each newsletter — she sends it out weekly — she includes the next part of the serial novel.)
- Keep it simple. Everyone’s short on time. I may cut out my blog feed, thought I was thinking this was the VALUABLE content.
This whole thing is a journey, and I’ll learn so much more as time passes.
A WELCOME EMAIL SERIES when people first subscribe. This suggested schedule was taken directly from Nicholas Erik’s website. I’ve also seen a 7 email welcome string but felt that was too long. I may start with two emails…maybe three.
- Immediate: Welcome (e.g. what to expect) + Your Free Book (give them a link to the free book)
- Day 3: Free Book #2 (if you have another – don’t send them all at once) or Ask Them if They Got Book #1 Okay/How They Like It
- Day 10: Free Book #3 or Ask Them About Their Favorite Books in the Genre/Recommend Them One
- Day 17: The Next Paid Book in the Series (or Box Set), with retailer link/cover + small backstory/blurb
- Day 25: Ask Them to Join Your ARC Review Team or Ask Them to Review the Free Book
The other point I want to touch on. In the past twelve hours, I’ve had 348 opens out of 1502 emails. Where did the other 1154 emails go? If they were like the one I got, directly into my junk folder.
This can be triggered by the “from” email address…the subject line…or even the number of links in the email. I think it’s time to upgrade my wordpress site to obtain my own domain name. I’ve been sending my newsletter from my gmail account.
Many authors say to resend your email to the non-openers in a few days. Change the subject line and/or the “from” email address. Keep the new one short and sweet.
Those are my thoughts this morning (it’s hard sharing one’s failures, but that’s how we learn.) Here’s to no more abuse/spam reports. Have a great weekend!