For the past several months, I’ve watched my book sales decline. At first, I was not concerned because the ratings remained constant. I thought that perhaps the whole market was in a slump, or that the approaching summer, the political unrest or whatever was taking readers away from books. When my ratings dropped from the top 100, it was time to do something.
First I tried to figure out what changed. My tweets and Facebook posting were no longer converting to sales. I thought I was engaging my readers by providing interesting content, but I was getting fewer followers and fewer email sign-ons.
Until then, I had not paid for advertising, relying on social media, especially Twitter to help spread the word about my books and build relationships with readers and other writers. But, I started to realize that engagement and marketing are two different things.
Experts say that the best way to engage readers is via emails. My email list has less than 150 addresses, which may or may not still be valid. According to Hubspot, a company that develops and markets software products for inbound marketing, email marketing databases degrade by about 22.5% every year. Since it has taken me three years to build my paltry database, perhaps only about half of the addresses are valid. And since I have not been corresponding with these readers, maybe only a handful are still interested in receiving my emails.
I needed more email subscribers. Apparently, my current sign-on forms were ineffective. I had to find a way to make it irresistible for my readers to sign-on to my list.
I attended seminars. I attended webinars. I did research.
The most valuable “free” offers/webinars that I found are, in order of my attending:
- Hubspot offers a Free Guide: Optimizing Email Marketing for Conversions. Of course, they want to sell their products, but the information is valuable for growing your email list. It introduces the idea of “marketing with a magnet,” by offering interesting content to attract subscribers and then providing relevant materials. To continue being of value to your readers, you need to focus on the reason why they initially signed on. Don’t send a generic email to everyone on your database, but segment the database by subscriber interest. Makes sense, but how do you build that database.When you download the free guide, you get the opportunity for a Free Inbound Marketing Course offering tips and tactics about marketing landing pages, and search engine optimization (SEO) to help develop that precious database. More good info about how to set up your “funnel” but the push is to sell you product. Just glean what you need, and leave the rest.
- Don Crowther: How to Turn your Social Media Into A list-building Machine. He advocates using “opt-ins” at the end of a blog post such as “Like what you just read? Click here to subscribe to this blog.” This opt-in takes the reader to a landing page where you offer something relevant in exchange for signing on to your email list. He also recommends using “postable images” that include your headline and URL. I used canva.com to create these images and added them to tweets and Facebook post and saw an immediate response.
- Mark Dawson offers a Free Course: Learn FB Ads. In it, he recommends creating ads, not to sell books, but to gather email addresses. This course is valuable and I highly recommend it. I did two test Facebook ads based on his techniques, spending $5.00 on each. Not only did I get email sign-ons, I also a few sold books. This showed me on the power of advertising and the way I should move forward.
- Nick Stephenson: offers a free three-video training series Get your first 10,000 Readers. It comes with a free book Reader Magnet that is worth the download. After watching the videos, I purchased the class, so impressed was I with Nick and what he had to say.
As a result of this research, I’ve created a free book and a “Reader Magnet.” and am about to start Nick Stephenson’s training. Once I finish the course, I should be ready to integrate the resulting content with what I learned about Facebook advertising.
Look to my future post to see what I did to make it irresistible for my readers to sign-on to my list and the results I have in increasing my reader database.
Do you have an email list? Do you engage your readers with it? Do you use Facebook advertising to get people to sign up on your list? Do you use reader magnets? Please comment.