Lola’s Advice is a monthly feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews, which will be posted on the first monday of the month. Lola’s Advice posts are usually how-to or tips type of posts. They are mainly aimed at authors, but I also try and show the blogger/ reader side of the topic I address. I share my knowledge or personal opinion on mostly book, authors, marketing and promotion related topics. I hope it’s helpful for authors and bloggers alike. Also even though it’s advice please understand that even if you follow all my advice it still won’t guarantee your book will be a success, but it hopefully will be helpful. I also believe that not everything works for each author, every author and book is different and different strategies work for different people. So please use whatever you want to or fits with your style. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
Today I want to talk about newsletters and mostly how to get more newsletter subscribers, there’s so much more about newsletters I want to talk about, so I will address a few other things as well, but my focus will be on getting more subscribers today.
Why should you have a newsletter?
I think that it’s important for every author to have a newsletter. A newsletter is not only a direct way of having contact with those who sign-up, but it’s also something you have more control over than social media. It is unlikely to happen, but if a social media site would disappear you would lose all of your followers there, with a newsletter that won’t happen. And while on social media not everyone sees your post, a newsletter is more likely to actually reach everyone, ofcourse you have e-mails that land in spam. Or people won’t open them, but at least they see your e-mail and title. Not everyone has social media, but almost everyone has an e-mail, so you can reach people you might not otherwise by having a newsletter. Besides that a newsletter is a different medium than social media, which means you also reach a difference audience or segment of followers or have another way to reach people who already follow you on social media. And as it’s a different medium, it also means it has a bit of a different feel than social media, newsletters can be a bit longer and you can address multiple topics in one newsletter.
How to set-up a newsletter
There are a lot of different sites that can handle newsletter e-mails campaigns for you and it’s worth it to look at the different options. Consider what kind of options you want your newsletter program to have and what’s important for you (prize, costumer service, certain features etc). I personally would recommend Mailerlite, it’s affordable, very easy to use and their customer service is great. I also have heard about Mailchimp, Madmimi, Convertkit and many more. These programs often give you widgets to use on your websites or a link to where to send people for sign-ups, which you will need for some of the options I list below. Once you’ve chosen a company to handle your e-mail campaigns, you also need a personal e-mail. Please don’t go with a free gmail or yahoo account as e-mails send from those are more likely to land in spam. So its advisable to buy your own domain name and make an e-mail address with that domain to use for your e-mail campaigns. Also make sure to set up your DNS records right as that also diminishes the chance your e-mails will land in spam. DNS records are records associated with your e-mail which basically say where you can send e-mail from for example. You’ll have to look at the FAQ or google this for the company you picked as each has a different code you need to put it in your DNS records. Here is mailerlite their post about how to authenticate my domain to give you an idea of what’s involved.
How to get more Newsletter Subscribers
I think the best advice I can give on this topic is to make sure the link to your newsletter is everywhere it can be and makes sense to add it. You never know how or where someone might stumble upon the link to your newsletter and decides to sign-up. I list a few of the possible places below and some ways besides that to encourage newsletter sign-ups.
- Put a newsletter sign-up on your website. Like I said before, the best advice I can give is to put a newsletter widget or newsletter everywhere on your website where it makes sense to add it. Do you have a list of social media sites? Add it there. Have a sidebar? Add it there. Maybe even add a pop-up or a bar on the top of the screen for your newsletter and/ or a page on your website about your newsletter. I personally am not a fan of pop-ups, but I heard time again and again that they do work, so it’s worth to consider. I also think a landing page on your site for your newsletter is handy so you can send people directly to where they can sign-up for your newsletter. A sidebar widget/ bar on the top of your site or a pop-up are great for catching visitors on your site and making them aware of your newsletter. And a sign-up or link on pages where it makes sense like your about me page for example can also be helpful.
- Put a newsletter sign-up in your book. I’ve heard from some authors it can be quite effective to add a link to your newsletter sign-up in the back of your book. And even if it isn’t as effective I still think it’s a good place to add a link to your newsletter sign-up just in case someone would see it there. I know I have found some newsletters that way myself.
- Link to your newsletter on vendor sites. Another place to put the link to your newsletter is in your author bio or description on vendor sites. I see quite some authors who add a link to their newsletter in their amazon bio and I think this is a good place to add it as someone who checks out your author bio might be interested in you and your books and might be interested to sign-up. I have found some newsletters to which I signed-up this way.
- Use social media. I think social media both serves as a place where you can link to your newsletter and as a way to promote your newsletter. You can link to newsletter sign-up page on social media, for example facebook has some apps for this or you can add it in your page details, in twitter or other social media you can add it in your description for example. And you can make posts, tweets etc about your newsletter to encourage sign-up. Make people are you have a newsletter or let them know what they get or can expect when they sign-up. Always include a link to where they can sign-up for your newsletter, preferable send to a page on your website solely dedicated to signing-up for your newsletter.
- Link to your newsletter in your author bio or list of links. Wherever you post an author bio or your social media links try to add your newsletter link as well. Think of book promotion sites, guest posts on other blogs or a blog tour for example where you can submit your author bio and social links.
- Giveaways. Giveaways also can be a way to get more newsletter sign-ups. You can add sign-up to your newsletter as one of the options to your giveaway or even make it obligatory. I’ve also seen sites like GenreCrave and Ripley’s Booklist which do group giveaways where people who enter submit their e-mail and get entered to the mailing lists of all authors who donated something for the giveaway. often this is one big prize or a bunch of e-books that are given away. I talk more about how to run a giveaway in this post.
- Instafreebie. Instafreebie is a site where you can list a copy of your book for giveaway, there are different setting you can choose for this. Either people can click on a button to opt in to sign-up for your newsletter or if they get the free book their automatically are signed-up for your newsletter. From other authors I’ve heard Instafreebie is a good way to get more newsletter subscribers. Another instafreebie related way to get more newsletter sign-ups is to do group promo’s with other authors, that way each author promotes the page where all books are listed and you can reach even more people this way.
- Give subscribers something and advertise that fact. This is something that I see a lot of authors do, give away a novella or the first book in the series to newsletter subscribers as a way to entice them to sign-up. It can be an effective way to get more sign-ups, although you do have to make sure to advertise the fact you’re giving things away to newsletter subscribers on social or even pop-ups or a page on your website.
What do about unsubscribes
In general I would say not to be afraid or let unsubscribes get you down. The unsubscribe option is an important one, this way people who don’t want to be on your newsletter can leave and unsubscribe. This is a good thing as if they don’t want to be there why would you want to keep them? Ofcourse it is important to keep an eye on your unsubscribe percentages and reasons, because if a lot of people unsubscribe with a certain e-mail you might want to see if you can find out why. And it is important to try and keep your subscribers happy. I think the most important ways to do this is to provide value in every e-mail, don’t send an e-mail without a reason, but also don’t forget to send an newsletter for too long as then your subscribers might forget about you. I personally think that everywhere from the 2 times a week to once a month is a good frequency for e-mails. You do want to make sure your subscribers hear from you, but you don’t want to annoy them by e-mailing too often. It also depends on what kind of newsletter you have and what you let them know when signing-up, if they know in advance they will receive an e-mail every day for example that’s okay. But I do think it’s a good idea to make sure subscribers know that when signing-up if you’re going to e-mail them that often.
Where do I sign-up for newsletters?
When I discover a new author and want to join their newsletter I usually take a look at their website first and look for their sign-up form there. Sometimes I find the link to their newsletter on social media, I have joined a few newsletters when I heard authors talk about their newsletter for example. I also joined some newsletters through giveaways and instafreebie when I was interested int he giveaway/ author or the book on instafreebie. Sometimes when I am over on amazon looking for a book I might notice a newsletter link in their bio on amazon and use that to sign-up. I also have seen a few authors who did a link to their newsletter at the back of the book and even signed-up for a few of them thanks to that. So most of the ways I listed above I have used, although most commonly I look at their website first if I want to sign-up for a newsletter.