One of the best assets you can have as an author is an email list. When people sign up for your email list, they give you permission to contact them, share marketing messages, and build a relationship with them. This is incredibly powerful for several reasons.
You own your data with email marketing.
Social media has gotten a lot of glory in recent years, but it has one massive disadvantage: Your account lives on someone else’s real estate. Whether your favorite platform is Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or you’re still hanging out on MySpace wondering where everyone went, the reality is you are borrowing space that you don’t own—and that space can be taken away from you.
It happened to us here at the Nonfiction Authors Association—our Twitter accounts with over 70k followers evaporated into thin air. We certainly didn’t violate any terms, didn’t receive any kind of warning, they just disappeared. This incredibly frustrating situation was a harsh reminder that social media accounts are not an asset.
While you essentially rent your email management tool, such as Constant Contact, MailChimp or Aweber, these companies don’t own your data—you do. Your account could be cancelled, but you will still have rights to your contact lists and any content you’ve produced there.
Email marketing gives you direct communication with your audience.
Not everyone engages with social media with the same frequency. Some may check in several times a day, while others check in several times a year. So, it’s likely that only a tiny percentage of your followers there are truly engaged. (There are always exceptions, of course.)
But guess what most of us do every single day? We check our email! And if you deliver content that delivers value to your subscribers, you can expect 20% or more (industry average) of your subscribers to tune in—every time to communicate with them.
Bottom Line: If building your email list hasn’t been a top priority for you, it should be!
The best way to build your email list is by offering incentive to subscribe. A box on your site that says, “Sign up for my newsletter” is not enough. We are all protective of our email addresses because we don’t want our inboxes overloaded. If you want to grow your subscriber base, you absolutely must deliver value.
What is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is incentive for signing up for a mailing list, and that incentive needs to matter to a potential subscriber. It needs to improve a subscriber’s life in some way.
Your lead magnets should accomplish several of the following:
- Solve a problem for your audience.
- Demonstrate your expertise.
- Entice readers to buy your book.
- Provide entertainment.
- Deliver value.
- Dazzle readers so they want to learn more about you, your book, or your products and services.
How many lead magnets do you need?
I recommend trying several different lead magnets to find out what works best for your audience. You can test by offering them on your website and through your social media networks (your rented, non-asset!). Most successful marketers create a variety of lead magnets, offering new ones on a regular basis to make sure website visitors and social media followers are inspired to sign up.
And by the way, a top goal should be to inspire your social media followers to sign up for your email list. This will ensure you can maintain your connection with them no matter what. Plus, email gives you a more effective way to reach them on a consistent basis.
Want some ideas to get started with lead magnets?