This month we’re going to look at how authors can mobilize their email subscribers to sell books.
But first things first: I’ve got my sales report for the first quarter of 2017.
I sold 60 copies of my books between January and March — 45 of my debut novel and 15 of the prequel novella (the one I actually give away for free to my email subscribers and don’t promote).
Compared to the previous two quarters, I improved my sales rate: In Q3 I sold 25 books, and Q4, over the holidays, I sold 39.
How’d I do it? Some of it is simply having more books available for sale. But I also tested out my ability to mobilize my email subscribers — and it worked.
Email sales conversions
For the most part, your email outreach should be about strengthening a relationship with your readers. But on occasion, mobilize those readers to generate sales — that is the end game, after all.
So when my book’s publication anniversary came around in mid-March, it felt like the perfect time to test out my ability to turn my list into sales.
I worked with my publisher to do a $.99 cent sale for a week, and then got to work to create an email push around it.
In my opinion, the key elements of any good email campaign are:
- Intimacy: You are your brand. Readers don’t just buy books, they buy authors. Sharing your personality in your emails builds a personal connection.
- Exclusivity: Offer something to your subscribers that they can’t get anywhere else. Make them feel like an insider, whether it’s for-your-eyes-only weekly emails or simply an early sneak peek.
- Repetition: The mechanics of marketing matter, too. A persistent, frequent pattern of outreach plays an important role in mobilizing your audience. It’s just plain science that most people need to hear a call to action multiple times before the act.
I created an eight-part email series where I shared a “secret” about my upcoming sequel novel every day for a full week. That was one short daily email the week of my book’s release, a wrap-up email at the end recapping the full week’s content and giving readers one last chance to take advantage of the sale.
To keep these emails open-able and engaging, I kept them short — a few sentences of intro, less than 100 words to explain the “secret,” and then a concluding call to action that reminded them about and linked to the sale.
These secrets were only available to my email subscribers until after the campaign was over. I posted about the campaign beforehand so non-subscribers had a chance to join–and I did see a small uptick in new subscribers as a result. Then, I shared the secrets all together in a blog post after the campaign was over, again telling readers that they can be the first to know about these things if they join my email list.
How’d it go? I refer you to my increase in quarterly sales.
It wasn’t a wild, over-the-moon blockbuster, but there was a definite increase in sales. My Amazon ranking increased the first day of the campaign, went up again the next day and hovered at about that point through the end of the campaign.
Would I do it again? Heck yes. In fact I may use this campaign as a model to start from as I prepare for book #2’s release, as one of several tactics in a larger push.
As an author, your email list is one of your most valuable assets — it’s a direct line to your biggest fans. But, this only translates to real value if you know how to motivate them to take action on your behalf. Follow these three principles as a foundation, experiment, and keep an eye on those analytics to see what works.
How do you mobilize your email list? Do your subscribers make the leap to buy from you?