One of the best things an author can do through an online presence — be it a website or social networking — is build followers. This becomes your ready-made marketing list — people you can pitch your book to, inform of your next book, and share your success stories. How many followers you have can make the difference between a publisher considering your book, or tossing it aside.
With that in mind, just how is an author supposed to start building this list? How do you get people to sign up for your newsletter, follow your Tweets, or become a Facebook fan? According to a survey by ExactTarget, here are the things that motivated readers to join your group or sign up to follow you (from most popular to least popular):
- Discounts, special offers, or freebies
- The desire to “support” you or your business
- Wanting to stay informed on what you’re doing
- To get updates on future books/products
What’s interesting about these statistics is that the main reason an author wants followers is for #4, while the main reason the followers sign up is for #1. That just goes to show you that, as much as you want to talk about your next book in your tweets/posts/newsletters (and you should!), you also need to sweeten the pot a bit with special offers and discounts. For instance, if you’re selling the book yourself, offer a 5% discount in these updates. Or you can consider other “special” deals for members, like the opportunity to ask you a question of their choice. Remember, you have to offer something to get something. And, as the research shows, what followers want is “stuff!”