How to Improve Your Author Platform With a Successful Newsletter is a recap of “How to Create and Maintain a Successful Newsletter,” a recent episode on our Book Marketing Tips & Author Success podcast.
We delve deeper into our discussion about this important topic for authors trying to figure out the ins and outs of marketing self-published books and building their author platform, so be sure to download and listen to the show for all the details, recommendations, and considerations!
One of the challenges when establishing your author platform, especially when you are self-published, is growing your followers. Email marketing has continued to grow in recent years and having a successful newsletter can really be a cornerstone to your success. So let’s talk about some of the factors you are going to want to keep in mind for your newsletter.
There are several different newsletter services out there, so how do you know what the right one is? Decide how you are planning to utilize your newsletter within your author platform and then do your research to see what different services offer and how they fit in with your plan.
We suggest you look for a platform that is not going to discourage your growth. Some services are going to charge you based on how many subscribers you have. While others will charge based on how many campaigns you send out.
Build Your Followers
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is an author platform. In the long run, it will greatly benefit you to have followers you have gained organically and that want to be there.
Be sure to put a newsletter sign-up link on your website – and make sure it is easily accessible. Spread the word on social media. Give your followers a tease as to why they should sign up to hear from you. You can also put a link in the back of your ebooks – what better than a direct path to an author a reader has enjoyed.
Newsletter swaps are another great way to aid in building your newsletter subscribers. This is also an ideal option if you are running a book promotion. If you go this route, just be sure to network within your genre and follow through with the agreed-upon commitments for the swap.
Make it Matter
Be intentional with your newsletters. Offer up a reader magnet – something special to your subscribers to help keep their interest. Yes, you want to talk about your publishing schedule and updates on upcoming books, make sure to balance that push with a pull. Offer readers the chance to claim an early copy or a free copy of the new book in exchange for a review on a title you already have out.
Set Realistic Goals
When you are first establishing your author platform, you want to make sure that you are setting realistic goals for yourself. It is always a wonderful thing to dream big, but you want to work on focusing on the small, measurable goals to help keep you motivated on your way to that larger goal.
Start by choosing three topics you would like to discuss in each newsletter you send. Focus on something you feel your readers would resonate with to help gain interest and keep them coming back for more. Once you are able to be consistent with those categories, you can consider adding in more.
Set up a consistent schedule to send out your newsletter, even if it is just once a month. You can always send out a “bonus” newsletter if you have a special promotion or even pop up. You want this to be a fun addition to your marketing plan, not a task that leaves you feeling overwhelmed.
Keep it Clean
Make sure that you keep your newsletter design in line with your author platform. Play with the overall look and design or change the template around to make sure you get a clean layout that is easy to read. Keep your blocks of text short. Not only is this going to be more visually appealing, but it will also hold the reader’s attention longer.
Increase Your Open Rate
This may take a little bit of trial and error on your part. Play around with the different subject lines, different newsletter lengths, and when you send it out – you can do A/B testing and see what works best. It’s actually pretty easy and gives you some good insight.
An interesting thing you may not have known: every time you interact with a newsletter you receive, it tells the provider that this sending is “okay”. It then shows you pretty much everything they send. To help aid in this, put an interactive portion in your newsletter. Have your readers reply back to a question or even for a prize – just keep in mind you may need to adjust this as your subscribers grow.
Research has shown the best days to send newsletters are Tuesday or Thursday, followed by Wednesday. And the best times? According to Coschedule, 10 am (Eastern Time) is the best time, followed by 8 pm (lots of people read their email in bed). Another popular time is 2 pm (people looking for a break from work) or 6 am for those early-risers checking email first thing.
In addition to keeping your layout clean, you also want to keep your subscriber list clean as well. Schedule time to go through and clean out the inactive email accounts, not only will this help to improve your overall open score, it will let the email systems know that more are interacting with your domain.
Consistency is Key
Regardless of what you decide to do with your newsletter, make sure you are consistent. Remember to always focus on the reward, if there is a reward for everyone involved in what you’re trying to do – then you’re most likely on the right track!