Inbound Marketing For Authors: Setting Up Your Mailing List

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In our first article about Inbound Marketing For Authors, we learned how Inbound Marketing can benefit your author brand. Now we’ll take a look at how to set up a mailing list, integrate it into your author website, and send out your first mailing. Let’s get started!

Set Up Your Mailing List

Your mailing list is the most important element of your Inbound Marketing strategy. Having a mailing list gives you immediate access to a built-in audience that’s already invested in your author brand and your writing. To set up your mailing list, you’ll need to choose a mailing list management company that offers the kind of service and support you’re going to need. There are many out there: MailChimp, iContact, and Constant Contact, to name a few. If you’re just starting out and want a user-friendly interface, we recommend MailChimp, because it also offers you the benefit of seamless integration with WordPress (more on that later).

While the specifics of setting up a mailing list will vary from company to company, there are some requirements that are common to all. You’ll need to:

  • Give your list a name: Try something that makes sense like “General Mailing.” If you create more specialized lists down the line, you can give them more specific names like “Book Launch” or “NY Poetry Event.”
  • Import any email addresses you have from previous lists: If you’ve had a mailing list before or if you have a list of friends or other personal contacts you wish to add, you can do that. NOTE: Make sure you have permission before you add someone’s email address to your list. Failing to do so may constitute spamming.
  • Create a campaign: A campaign is a prepared group of mailings with a defined purpose. Maybe your first goal is simply to share information about yourself. Your campaign would then start with a mailing that introduces your subscribers to your author website’s latest content. Later, you can apprise your followers about your books and appearances, etc.

Integrate Your Mailing List Into Your Author Website

How you integrate your mailing list into your author website may depend on how your site is built. Most email marketing providers give their users bits of code (usually HTML) that they can place on website pages of their choosing. However, there are some companies that allow compatibility with different CMS, such as WordPress. If you’re using WordPress and MailChimp, we recommend this plugin to create a simple yet attractive opt-in form for your author website.

Remember to showcase your opt-in form in a prominent place, such as a sidebar or anywhere above the website’s fold. Include a clear call to action so users know how quick and easy it is to sign up for your mailing list.

Pro Tip: Offer first-time subscribers a freebie (such as an e-book, excerpt of your novel, etc.) as an incentive to sign up! Check out this example on our subsidiary site Self-Publishing Relief.

It’s Time To Send Your First Mailing To Subscribers!

When creating your mailing make sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Make the call to action clear: Decide what action you want readers to take and gently lead them toward taking it.
  • Don’t clutter your mailing with information subscribers aren’t expecting.
  • Showcase your latest blog posts or news items in a tantalizing way.

Remember, it’s important to tempt subscribers with just a taste of what’s new on your author website—don’t hit them with everything and the kitchen sink! You want to encourage your subscribers to click through to your author website to read the full story or blog post to increase traffic.

Pro Tip: Make sure you have clearly defined calls to action on any page you send subscribers to in order to keep them engaged and interacting with your content.

In our next Inbound Marketing installment, we’ll take a look at:

  • Defining goals
  • Determining buyer/fan personas
  • Creating workflows for specific personas


QUESTION: Have you used a mailing list to increase traffic on your author website or boost sales of your book?

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