Why Email Marketing for Authors Is Important

Melanie Balke
January 16, 2024

I’ve covered many industry-specific uses for email marketing, and it’s time to discuss another!

That’s right!

Today’s blog post is dedicated to the art of email marketing for authors. I’ll tackle some of the most common questions and discuss those must-know basics. More importantly, I’ll show you how a well-established email marketing strategy can amplify your book sales.

Trust me! As a small business owner, I know the struggle. I know how tiring it is to churn out low-yielding posts on social media platforms. I know the frustration of constantly scrambling for traction. I also know the importance of email marketing. Unlike other marketing channels, emails are a one-stop shop that effortlessly covers every step of the customer journey. It also lacks the pesky, ever-shifting tedium of social media algorithms.

So, join me! Keep scrolling to see how you can take your writing career to the next level by investing in email marketing.

The Benefits of Email Marketing for Authors

I’ve covered this topic before, but that doesn’t make it any less important! After all, as a savvy businessperson, you can’t invest in something without knowing the risks. You’re already running an author website and managing book launches. Why, then, should you add email marketing to your full-to-bursting plate?

Well, for starters, an author mailing list — much like your website — is a self-contained reader magnet. It’s one link. Moreover, unlike social media, an email list reaches everyone. It’s centralized, meaning you don’t have to draft fifty copies of the same message. Together, these factors provide more value to you and your subscribers.

But let’s dig a little deeper.

There’s more to love when it comes to email marketing!

Save Money and Reach More Subscribers

One of the biggest perks of email marketing is its unparalleled affordability. Social media advertisements are expensive, with the most thorough campaigns averaging $1,000–$2,000 monthly. And those ads have consistently low returns. The average social media campaign will struggle to break a 6% conversion rate.

Comparatively, email marketing campaigns often begin at $10–$100 monthly. That cost includes the software and monitoring you need to maintain interest and the time-saving ability to set up automated email campaigns. The return, too, is superior; a 4,200% ROI is far from unusual! Comparatively, your hard-won SEO views will likely plateau at 700%.

You may even meet self-published authors subsiding on a free plan! These bare-bones email marketing software subscriptions lay the groundwork for any email list and offer most of the features you’ll need to succeed. However, you’ll eventually be forced to upgrade! Most email service providers charge flat fees based on the size of your email list. More subscribers means more money, but it also means more potential readers!

Incentivize Retention and Reward Awareness

Another perk of email marketing is the medium’s unrivaled adaptability.

Email marketing remains one of the most popular ways to raise awareness and convert potential consumers. These humble messages have the power to turn new subscribers into dedicated fans. More importantly, email marketing covers every step of the customer journey, while many social media sites focus on retention and conversion.

Don’t believe me? Well, consider this map of a “standard” email marketing journey:

  1. Awareness: Customers begin their relationship through your welcome sequence.
  2. Consideration: You got them to bite; now, reel ‘em in! Entice new subscribers with a free book or weekly newsletter. Nudge them to your storefront with discounted book sales and clever storytelling. You are, after all, an author! Make those writing skills count!
  3. Conversion: Congrats! You’ve scored some book sales. Don’t waste your chance to keep the conversation rolling. Start taking advantage of consumers’ interests with a post-purchase automation sequence.
  4. Loyalty: Start following tactics from the biggest and best! Keep readers updated by sharing your “author journey.” Showcase your creative mind with previews and exclusive content. Think of your email marketing as another author platform, a place where even the smallest self-published writer holds the audience’s unwavering attention.
  5. Advocacy: Finally, push your “author brand.¨ Yes. You are a brand. Your writing is your product. Think of how your online content reflects your values. Promote your brand and incentivize vocal admiration! It may seem outdated, but word-of-mouth marketing remains one of the most potent forces on the planet!

Meet Expectations

And did I mention that people prefer email marketing?

72% of modern consumers rank email marketing as their go-to place for promotional materials. That places this marketing channel well above all others, including social media.

More importantly, it cements this platform’s ability to meet consumers at eye level. On social media, you’re little more than a faceless seller. You’re another algorithmic content creator, and your click-through rates likely echo that sentiment.

That’s not to say you can’t succeed on social media. TikTok, Twitter, and all those other platforms are great places to hype upcoming books and welcome new readers. However, that only covers 40% of your market. Your online marketing must still find ways of incentivizing and retaining readers. And as you may have guessed by now, email marketing is the best solution!

Get Specific With Your Email Campaigns

Finally, there’s no denying the power of personalization and segmentation. These joint tools give email marketing its uniquely human touch. Personalized emails reach consumers on an individual level, while segmented campaigns target specific audiences.

“But, Melanie!” you may be saying, “I can do that on [insert social media platform here], too.”

Maybe you can! But there’s still a catch. You probably have readers who aren’t on TikTok. There are readers who eschew modern social media algorithms, and it’s impossible to keep up with all the niches you could fit into. However, your email subscribers are in one place.h

Summarily, that email list ultimately cuts down how much time marketing takes from you, freeing you to focus on your writing!

What It Takes to Succeed

Assorted envelopes. “What to Know About Email Marketing for Authors: Factors to Consider.”

Of course, emails aren’t a free pass to success. You must still work to achieve your goals. You’ll need a solid strategic base and plenty of behind-the-scenes know-how.

You can’t waste those sign-ups! Like a successful book launch, a good email marketing strategy requires planning and intuition. You must know how to appease your mailing list without alienating new subscribers. You must know how to utilize your mailing lists without overwhelming readers, and that’s a fine line to tread.

I can’t offer solutions to everything, but I can give you some basic email marketing tips.

Grow Your Email List Organically

Above all else, never buy an email list. They may promise instant riches, but they’re more likely to land you in hot water with your email service provider.

Instead, use tried and true methods to nurture and expand your email list. Adding a pop-up on your website is a great start. (You may also want to consider double opt-in.) However, there are many reader-specific ways to grow that list, including…

  • Add to the Back Matter: Don’t let the end of a book be the end of your book sales. Add a link or QR code to your content’s back matter to earn additional subscribers.
  • In-Person Promotions: Mention your mailing list whenever you’re promoting your books. People are already at an invent to honor you, so sell more books by mentioning your email list!
  • Use a Lead Magnet: Or should I call it a reader magnet? Either way, think of these downloadable tidbits as treats for loyal consumers. Consider offering new subscribers a free chapter of your latest book or similarly exclusive content. Know, too, that you’ll need a purpose-built landing page for your lead magnet!

Find the Perfect Email Service Provider

You’ll also need a reliable software partner. There are countless ESPs available, and they all off the same quintessential features. You’ll always have some level of automation, customization, and segmentation. These are your must-have email marketing services, so don’t worry much about their availability. Instead, focus on the specifics.

At The Email Marketers, we’re huge fans of Klaviyo. However, we also use MailChimp and many other platforms. It all depends on a client’s needs. You’ll hear of many other platforms, too, including Campaign Monitor, MailerLite, and SendX.

Ultimately, your choice depends on your individual needs. As you begin your search, consider these questions:

  • How big is my mailing list? While most email platforms can handle massive lists, you’ll want something that scales with you. Consider the current size of your email list and how its growth may impact your budget.
  • What features will I need? Some platforms have near-limitless integration options. These tools are essential for self-publishing interactive content. They also power your ability to conduct surveys!
  • What is my lead magnet? You’ll need a platform capable of hosting your lead magnet. A free eBook takes up more space than a sample chapter, and some platforms can’t handle the (downloadable) heat! Alternatively, you can embed that content on your landing page instead of attaching it to your email campaign.
  • Who will access my email account? It’s easy to fly solo, but collaboration takes effort. Some platforms are great for multi-user campaigning. Others work better with one user.

The Content Creation Shuffle

Finally, you’ll need content. While your photos may be limited to a book cover or two, your plain-text content must be impeccable. Unfortunately, pulling this off requires a lot of time. Even a simple welcome email could take weeks of refining and tweaking before it’s ready.

Still, you want your readers to be happy. You want to please your mailing list.

You need a professional marketer, and you’ll find an entire team at The Email Marketers! My hand-picked email pros are always ready for a challenge, and we’ll make your mailing list our highest priority. Like a good publisher, we’ll work with you to grow your audience and reward your subscribers. We know what it takes to keep even the pickiest email list happy, and — more importantly — we’ll make sure you spend less time writing email campaigns!

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

If you’re ready to free yourself from the email marketing grind, just let me know! Schedule a free strategy session and get a personalized game plan. You can also browse the rest of my blog to find more email marketing tips and tricks.