If you're serious about your writing career, listen up. Today, we're diving into the marvelous world of mailing lists and why they're an absolute game-changer for self-publishers like you. Strap in, grab a cup of joe--or jane, I don't judge!--and get ready to supercharge your marketing efforts with this essential tool.
Picture this: you've just released your latest novel, filled with captivating characters and an irresistible plot. But how do you make sure readers know about it? Enter the mighty mailing list. [cue trumpets]
This nifty little gem allows you to gather a group of enthusiastic fans who are eager to devour everything you write. It's like having your very own army of word-hungry readers at your fingertips. Or, as I like to call them, your own personal Minions. Whether you're just starting your self-publishing journey or already a seasoned pro, a mailing list is a vital tool in your arsenal. It helps you connect with readers, build a loyal fan base, and drive consistent sales.
You might be wondering, "Why do I need a mailing list? Isn't social media enough?" Well, Lifers, social media is great, but it's like a party where you're trying to shout over the music. A mailing list, on the other hand, is like a cozy coffee date with your readers. It's personal, direct, and there's no algorithm deciding who gets to see your message.
A mailing list is critical for making money as a self-published author because it's a direct line to your readers. You control the communication, not some tech giant. It's applicable to both newbies and veterans in the self-publishing world. For newbies, it's a foundation to build on, and for veterans, it's a tool to leverage for scaling success.
Remember, Lifers, this isn't about tricking people into joining your list. It's about building genuine relationships. Be clear about what they're signing up for and respect their inbox. No one likes a spammer. Even spammers' moms be like, "I don't know that child!" And that's sad.
Building your list is a bit like fishing. You're out there in the vast ocean of potential readers, casting your net and hoping to reel in some keepers. But just as every seasoned angler knows, you need the right bait and the right technique. Let's break it down into specific steps:
Step 1: Choose Your Bait
Your bait is the enticing offer that will make readers want to join your mailing list. This could be a free chapter of your latest book, a short story that they can't get anywhere else, or a behind-the-scenes look at your writing process. You could even offer a free eBook or a writing guide. The key is to offer something valuable and exclusive that aligns with your readers' interests.
Step 2: Set Up Your Fishing Spot
Your fishing spot is where you'll capture email addresses. This could be a sign-up form on your website, a pop-up that appears when visitors are about to leave, or a landing page dedicated to your mailing list. Make sure it's easy to find and easy to use. The less friction there is, the more likely people are to sign up.
Step 3: Cast Your Net
Now it's time to promote your mailing list. Share the link on your social media profiles, mention it in your blog posts, and include it in your author bio. If you're doing a book signing or a speaking event, invite people to join your mailing list. The more visibility your mailing list has, the more subscribers you'll get.
Step 4: Reel Them In
Once people sign up, welcome them with an engaging email sequence. This could be a personal introduction, a thank you note, or a message that delivers the promised bait. Make them feel valued and appreciated. This is the start of your relationship, so make a good first impression.
Step 5: Keep Them Hooked
Building a mailing list isn't just about getting people to sign up; it's about keeping them engaged. Send regular updates, share exclusive content, and respond to their replies. Show them that there's a real person behind the emails, someone who values their time and attention.
You might be scratching your head, wondering how a mailing list and SEO could possibly be related. After all, one is about direct communication with your readers, and the other is about making your website more visible to search engines. But, Lifers, let me tell you, they're more intertwined than you might think.
A robust mailing list can drive consistent traffic to your website. Every time you send out an email to your list with a link back to your site—be it a new blog post, a book update, or a special offer—you're inviting your readers to visit your website. This consistent traffic is a signal to search engines that your website is relevant and valuable, which can help improve your SEO rankings.
Imagine this: you've just published a new blog post on your website. Instead of waiting for Google to index it and for people to stumble upon it in their search results, you can immediately send out an email to your mailing list. This not only brings immediate traffic but also increases the chances of your subscribers sharing the post on their social media, leading to even more traffic. It's like having a loyal army of readers ready to boost your SEO efforts.
Additionally, your mailing list is a goldmine of information for refining your content and keywords. By engaging with your subscribers—asking them what topics they're interested in, what questions they have, what terms they would use to search for your content—you can gain valuable insights into the language your target audience uses.
For instance, you might think that the term "thriller novels" is what your readers would search for, but after talking to your mailing list, you might find out that they're more likely to search for "thrillers with a twist ending." This kind of information can help you refine your keywords, making your content more likely to show up in relevant search results.
Last but not least, your mailing list can play a direct role in improving your rankings. Encourage your subscribers to leave comments on your blog posts, share your content, or write reviews of your books. These actions can generate social signals and backlinks, both of which are factors that search engines consider when ranking websites.
Remember, Lifers, SEO isn't just about stuffing your content with keywords. It's about creating valuable, relevant content that your audience loves and wants to engage with. And your mailing list is a direct line to understanding what that content should be.
So, next time you think about your mailing list, don't just see it as a marketing tool. See it as an SEO powerhouse waiting to be unleashed.
Obviously, this is a HUGE subject. I talk about it a ton in the Bestseller Life courses, and believe you me--there's a LOT more to say. But this is a good start for a critical weapon of the indie author's arsenal. I mean, critical rod in the indie author's...ummm...fishing storage spot.
Shoot. Now you all know I don't know how to fish.
But I do know how to do mailing lists. Because, unlike fishing, mailing lists just get better with time and won't make your breath stinky on a date.
Here's a handy checklist to help you make the most of your mailing list:
I'm Michaelbrent Collings, an international bestseller and produced screenwriter, as well as a multiple Bram Stoker Award and Dragon Award finalist, and maker of a fair-to-middling chocolate chip waffle.
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