Email Marketing Strategy

Advantages of Email Marketing for Authors

Did you know one of the best ways to increase your book sales is through a digital marketing technique that costs much less than advertising? Email marketing has been around for many years, and some authors simply ignore this method of communicating with their readers because they think email is dead. This is a myth and should be tossed away right now! Today, I want to talk about the many advantages of email marketing for both nonfiction and fiction authors.

Advantages of Email Marketing: Low Investment

When we’re talking about real dollars in the bank—not sweat equity—email marketing has an extremely low barrier to entry for authors on a budget. In fact, if you’re smart about the tools you use, you might even be able to start your email marketing strategy for free. (You can check out my review of Mail Relay if you want to start your list today for free.)

If you do your research, you’ll find that many email marketing platforms have a beginner account you can use for free. This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but here are some of the main tools available to you that allow you to create a list for free:

There is also a new player in the game as of 2023 that was created specifically for authors called Author Email. It is not free, but once you have a larger list, you can save a ton of money by switching to their platform because they charge a ton less than some of the bigger companies do. It comes with fewer bells and whistles, but you don’t need anything fancy to do your email marketing.

Email Marketing Motivates You to Create a Closer Relationship with Your Readers

One of the great things about email marketing is that it opens another line of communication between you and your readers. This is an advantage you definitely want to pursue because it makes them more likely to become life-long fans of your books. Not only that, but if you fully engage them in the emails you send, they can also become one of your most powerful advertising tools by referring your books to their friends. Never underestimate the true value of social proof.

Advantages of Email Marketing: Powerful Analytics

Getting a reader to respond to the emails you send is a great way to measure how well your email campaign is doing. However, you will learn much more about your email strategy’s success through the analytics your email marketing platform gives you. (I personally use Mail Relay for my email marketing right now, and they actually give real-time updates to the analytics. I’ll talk more about that in future blog posts, but for now, it’s enough to know that each company does these differently.)

Some of the data you’ll receive:

  • How many clicks you receive
  • What links your readers click on
  • Number of spam reports (unfortunately, this does happen)
  • Number of unsubscribes (not the end of the world!)
  • How many emails get read
  • How many bounces you receive (either their inbox is full, or they’ve given you an incorrect email address)
  • . . . and more!

Like I mentioned above, each platform offers different analytics, but no matter which one you decide to use, you will have more than enough data to measure how successful your email campaigns are.

Email Marketing Belongs to You

When you sell your books on retail platforms, your customer data doesn’t belong to you. Just ask Amazon if you can have a list of the people who have bought your book in the past. They will laugh you right of your live chat, phone call, or email to support. This is one of the biggest reasons I can think of to make moves to own your marketing data.

When you have an email marketing list, you’ll learn (over time) their likes and dislikes, what types of stories in your genre they like to read, and what kind of content they want to see in your email newsletter. And, once you have a solid strategy, you are going to start making great sales through your email marketing efforts.

Even if you don’t have a list started yet, it’s never too early—or too late—to start. You really don’t want to be left without any way to contact your loyal fans if something happens to your retail accounts with any of the booksellers. I’ve seen it happen to several authors who did nothing wrong that might warrant getting their publishing accounts taken away.

But, if you own your customer data, your readers are always only an email away.

Advantages of Email Marketing: It Sells Books

We established earlier in this article that email is very much alive. Well, here’s another myth dispelled for you: if you have a healthy email marketing list, you will make sales . . . lots of sales. In fact, email marketing is still one of the best ways to sell books. I’ve surveyed successful authors of all genres, and the top-selling authors all say they make most of their sales from their email marketing campaigns.

But you have to have a marketing strategy that works. (In future blog posts, we’ll talk more about strategy. But, for now, just work on putting one together that matches your style, brand, and readership. You can always tweak it as you go along.)

It’s true that a great email marketing campaign can really move the needle for an author who wants to build a successful publishing career, but it’s not always easy or quick to get there. Even if you don’t have a full strategy yet, start working on some creative ideas to attract future readers to your list. You can’t enjoy all these advantages if you don’t have a list, and it all starts with one brave first step.

Have questions? Comment below, and I’ll respond as quickly as I can. I’d love to chat with you about email marketing!