It’s been a long time since we addressed the dreaded author newsletters. My posts on what to start doing and make sure to stop doing with your newsletters were two of the most-searched articles on Moms Who Write. Since this is such an important topic with so many facets and uses, it’s about time we looked at some of the newsletter opportunities you had no idea you could use to increase engagement– and, more importantly, sales.
1. The signup page
Do you have ads on Facebook or other social sites with links directly to Amazon or other purchase venues? Do me a favor and reroute those links to your author newsletter signup page. Put the purchase links on that page instead.
Why? First, if someone is clearly interested in purchasing your book, not collecting their contact information (or any marketing metrics) is a missed opportunity. Convince them to subscribe on the way to purchase, and now you can solicit reviews or shout out when the sequel is ready. And what do I mean by marketing metrics? I’m talking demographics, psychographics, or any details you can use to tailor how you phrase your CTAs.
Second, sending traffic to Amazon helps Amazon. They gather analytics about how long people spend on pages, they gain SEO and trustworthiness from clicks and traffic. These are all advantages you could be giving to your own website before your customers move to purchase!
You can even segment your newsletter based on where people sign up to increase engagement and decrease unsubscribes. More about that in a few.
2. The confirmation page
Chances are when new subscribers hit submit, they see a quick confirmation screen with a brief thank you. That’s it. End of journey. Then they move on with their day and forget about you until they hopefully notice when an actual email comes through their promotions folder.
Don’t be discouraged. The confirmation page can do so many things to keep the journey going! You can remind subscribers to check their email for their special welcome gift. Or, you can include links to more of the type of content that drew them in the first place, whether that be your relevant blog or your scintillating novels. Make sure you supercharge those invitations with amped-up language—you’ve only got seconds of an attention span to work with! This is a great opportunity to practice the art of the elevator pitch and experiment with branded imagery.
My favorite use of the confirmation page? Gaining information on your audience and learning what they’re here for. This brings us to…
3. Gathering market research
“Market research” is just a fancy way to say “learning about your readers.” And yes, building a customer relationship is a two-way street. You have to learn more about them to learn how to connect with them in a way that makes them want what you have to offer.
So, why did that subscriber sign up in the first place? What are they hoping to gain from what you send them? How do you find out? Simple. Ask.
You can use built-in survey tools within your newsletter service or create a more versatile form to collect from multiple outlets using a third-party service like Jotform. Avoid the list of gender and age bracket selections and cut to the chase. Offer a type-in box under something like this: what is going on in your life right now that brought you to me today?
And if not many people do the survey, please don’t be discouraged. Email marketing guru Jay Sennet, who proposes the above question, says that he doesn’t consider even a less than 10% response rate unsuccessful. While you can increase your chances by keeping the survey short, simple, and immediate, many people just don’t bother. Nonetheless, even a few answers can help you tweak and tailor your content to your audience. Knowing what they’re going through, what they want, and what drew them to sign up helps you know how to cater to the people.
4. The welcome email
The automated welcome email can be so much more than a thank you. First, it’s a great place to include another link to your aforementioned survey. After all, if data suggests people need to see an image 8 times before they purchase, giving them a second opportunity to click your survey link is worth a try.
Even better, make your welcome email the start of a funnel. You can include, for instance, the link to a promised freebie. Where they find the freebie, they also find links to related content, included content for purchase (your books!) or free (your blog, your socials). Hopefully, they will continue to find hints of the value of what they can purchase on the free sites. Ensure that anyone who reads anything is invited to review it; automated emails can be set to release on a timer, i.e., a week or two after the signup and purchase.
Don’t just let them sign up and forget about you. Continue to drive traffic, even if only by planting a sign at a fork in the online road.
5. Utilizing tagging and segmenting
Here’s the truth: your subscriber list is full of individuals. Some clicked purchase, some didn’t, and they all have their own reasons. The people who purchased don’t want to keep receiving emails that beg them to buy what they already bought. The people who didn’t buy the book needn’t be pestered about reviewing something they haven’t read.
Enter tracking and tagging. When someone on your list has purchased your materials, tag or segment to reflect it. Your newsletter service or analytics plug-ins should provide insights on things like clicks within emails or whether people signed up from a page linked to your social leads or at a point in your funnel.
Information is everything. You can automate emails requesting reviews to go out only to subscribers who’ve clicked purchase after a set time span. You can segment so that the emails focusing on sales pitches exclude subscribers who have already purchased. The possibilities are endless.
Are you wasting your author newsletter?
Listen. If you haven’t been taking advantage of any of these options, that doesn’t actually mean all your hard work has been for nothing. I hope you will find ways to implement these strategies to continue building on whatever foundation you have.
If you already have 100 subscribers, and you’ve never asked them why they came, add your survey question to the next author newsletter issue or two. Analyze the responses as you edit landing pages or revisit the automated welcome email. It’s never too late to improve, and there’s not one person who doesn’t need to in some way.
Personally, I’m only just starting to implement these things so we are in this together!
About the Writer: Kathryn Tamburri (@KathrynTamburriAuthor) writes clean YA epic fantasy novels which seethe with slow-burn romance. You can find more of her writing tips on The Devo Blog at KathrynTamburri.com, and learn from her publishing journey by subscribing to her fun author newsletter!