One of the recommendations that I give to all of my clients is that they include a place on their author website for fans to enter their email address and stay notified of upcoming events, etc…
There are so many different things that an author can do with that email list, including setting everyone up for automatic notifications whenever a new blog post is entered or sending out an email blast to everyone on the list when there’s news to share, like a new book release or a radio appearance.
But what often gets lost in this process is the mechanics of actually getting people to sign up, and what they receive when they do sign up. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to increase the number of sign-ups you receive, and improve the experience for people who actually do enter their email address:
1. Offer a bonus. Right above where someone can enter their email address, tell them what they will get for actually entering it. For example, “Sign up for my email list and get a free whitepaper.” That extra incentive may make someone who is unsure whether or not to give out their information take the plunge.
2. Guarantee privacy. Always include a discreet line of text right near the sign-up box that reassures people that their information will not be shared with or sold to anyone else.
3. Set expectations. Make sure someone knows what they’re signing up for. If they’re going to be receiving notifications every time you post a blog entry, tell them that. If they’re going to receive a weekly newsletter, they need to know that as well. Ditto if you only plan on sending updates when there’s really big news to share.
4. Customize your confirmation email. If you have a website built in WordPress, then listen up! We use a plug-in called G-Lock Opt In to collect email addresses through client websites. That system is then automated, so that after someone enters their email address, they receive two follow-up emails: one asking them to confirm that they actually did enter their email address and want to be on the list, and another (after they’ve confirmed) “welcoming” them to the email list. What many people don’t know is that these emails can be customized. I highly recommend that all authors access this tool and write their own emails to go out in place of the standard ones. Those emails should include:
- A “thank you” message for signing up
- A reminder of the frequency at which the person should expect emails
- Links to the website, and any other social media sites you have a presence on
- Whatever it is that you promised to whomever signed up. So, for example, if you offered a whitepaper to whomever joined your email list, this is where you would include a link to it.
An email list can be a wonderful thing for an author. Follow these guidelines and your list should start growing — full of happy followers — in no time.