Fern Reiss, CEO, PublishingGame.com/Expertizing.com
One of the easiest ways to beef up your sales is by doing an email newsletter. Whether you’re just interested in selling your book, or whether you’re trying to leverage your book sales to sell more lucrative workshops and consulting, an email newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with your audience and introduce new products and services. And it needn’t take more than a few minutes each month. Here’s how to get started:
Harvest customer names. The easiest way to get going on an email newsletter is to constantly be on the lookout for ways to harvest customer names. Once you’ve got your customers and potential customers signed up for your email newsletter, it’s easy to touch base with them regularly. So how do you harvest their names? The easiest way is by having a sign up form on your website, which offers customers something for free—as well as a subscription to your email newsletter. The freebie is the enticement that sweetens the signup, and it can be anything from a complimentary special report to a list of industry contacts. I give out a complimentary “Hot Contacts” sheet of absolutely everyone you need to know to be successful in the writing and publishing world, from wholesalers and chain stores to major reviewers and vendors to major magazines and talk show hosts—including many email addresses. (You can sign up for the freebie—and my Expertizing newsletter—at http://www.PublishingGame.com/signup.htm) You can harvest customer names when you’re speaking to live audiences, as well: When I keynote conferences or address corporate groups I always do a business card raffle of my Publishing Game books. The winner, as I explain to the audience, goes home with my Publishing Game books. I go home with everyone’s email addresses, and add them all to my email newsletter list. (Be sure you offer an easy opt-out/unsubscribe option so that people can cancel their subscriptions if they desire.) I never leave a conference with fewer than 95% of the audience email addresses using this method.
Offer great content. A boring or useless newsletter isn’t going to net you customers. Be sure your newsletter is lively, engaging, and above all, be sure it offers information that your readers want—and which they can’t easily get anyplace else. My Expertizing newsletter, for example, offers monthly tips on how to get better media attention for your book and business; each month, I discuss a different publication that I (or sometimes one of my clients) has gotten into, share the soundbite that worked to get me in, and explain how you can generalize from my example to get your business featured similarly. This is proprietary information that most PR companies guard heavily, so readers are hungry for it—and my 30,000+ subscriber base is growing steadily because of it. So be sure you’re offering great content that your customers will want to read.
Follow the rules. Don’t forget to follow government regulations of email newsletters: Don’t subscribe people to your newsletter unless they’ve requested the subscription; always offer an easy way for people to unsubscribe; and be sure you include a mailing address for your business within the context of the newsletter.
Figure out an easy subscribe/unsubscribe mechanism. If you don’t have in-house web support, sign up with a subscription service such as Constant Contact (ConstantContact.com) so that customers can easily subscribe and unsubscribe themselves. Services such as Constant Contact will also send out the actual newsletter for you (for a fee, based on how many subscribers it’s going to) saving you much time and effort.
Be consistent. Some email newsletter experts claim that you must always publish on the second Tuesday of the month (or some such set date) if you want to be successful. I’m not sure that that level of consistency is necessary. What is necessary is that the format stay more or less consistent, and that the content remain as expected. My readers are interested in getting more media attention for their book and business; if I were to start sending out newsletters, instead, that talked about dog care tips, they’d be justifiably irked. Sticking to your area of expertise may seem an obvious point, but it’s amazing how many email newsletters stray from their designated topic.
So get out there and begin your email newsletter. And watch your book sales grow!
of PublishingGame.com/Expertizing.com, is the author of The Publishing Game book series. She consults with authors on how to find a literary agent, how to self-publish, and how to successfully promote a book. Sign up at http://www.PublishingGame.com/signup.htm for her complimentary monthly email newsletter on how to get more media attention for your book and business.