Recently on my Twitter and Facebook pages, I asked authors if they could only use one of the following, which one would they use: Facebook, Myspace, Opt-in Mailing list or Twitter? Only one person dared to answer. Hmmm, I wonder why. This should be an easy one to answer. Maybe the problem was I placed Facebook and Twitter in the options and they couldn’t choose between them. Maybe they thought this was a trick question. Nah, I wasn’t trying to trick anyone. I honestly wanted to know your opinion.
Thankfully, we don’t have to choose one, but if we did, I’d have to go with my opt-in mailing list. Why, why, why? Everyone knows social media such as Facebook and Twitter are the in thing. What kind of nut would choose an opt-in mailing list over social media? Okay, so I’m a nut. If I had to choose the type, I’d say walnut. They are good in cookies, brownies, in ice cream, for cooking…
Like many authors, I’m an observer of human behavior. I love to discover what makes people tick and the hows and whys behind their actions. I went to several of my Facebook friends who aren’t authors and have 150 friends or less and asked them how they use Facebook and Twitter. I have over 1000 friends on Facebook and thought authors such as myself don’t use social media the same way. I was slightly surprised by my finding. My non-author friends test group who were not marketing products (such as books), use social media the same way I do.
They pop on a few times a day to see what’s going on, post a status and/or comment. Here comes the important part. Most did not or rarely looked at older post. Go to your Facebook account and scroll down. Unless your marketing/promotions post is near the top of the user’s newsfeed page when they happen upon it, the chances are, it won’t be seen. Same goes for Twitter or any other social media. With 150 friends, that front page of the newsfeed can fill quickly. And many don’t realize there is a way to sort by most recent. YIKES.
I experiment all the time, using myself as the lab rat—ewww, I don’t like that term. Anywhooo, I’ve always known how important opt-in email subscriptions are but wanted to find some hard evidence that my theory was correct. I released a romance and sent an announcement to one of my mailing list of 100 people and received 14 sales by the next day. I then waited a few days for sells to stop and began promoting this same book on Facebook and Twitter (1000+ people) for three days straight. I received two hits to my website (I pay close attention to referrals on my stats) from Facebook and clicks on the buy link. When I went to the sells report, I saw that two did purchase the book. I’m making the assumption these were a direct result of the Facebook and Twitter campaign.
The next romance book, I flipped the process around. I did the campaign on Facebook and Twitter first for one day (1000+ people). I received four hits to my website from them and three buys. I then waited two days (received no additional hits or sells) before I sent out the announcement to 100 people on my mailing list and guess what? Twenty-three purchases over the next day.
See where I’m headed? Social media is extremely important, and I’m truly glad to have 1000+ friends. “Everybody loves me!” But don’t forget your opt-in mailing list.
Let’s talk about opt-in mailing list for a second, or two, or three. Back in the day, authors were encouraged to harvest every email that they received from people and add them to their mailing list. Please stop doing this. Times have changed. Everything is going online and people receive entirely too many emails they don’t want.
You do not want to be considered part of the electronic age’s noise also known as spam. I’ve taken my theory to the streets and asked numerous readers how they feel about being added to mailing list and groups without their permission and over 90% loathe this practice, and they usually ignore the author. I know some of you may be thinking, but I’m reaching nearly 10%. Yes, this is true, but that doesn’t mean they are purchasing your book or you are winning them over or that they open your emails every time or that you aren’t pushing them to think of your emails as spam. You are also creating a sour taste in the mouth of over 90% of the others and word of mouth has a big influence on what books readers purchase. Do you really want to turn them off?
Talking about word of mouth, I feel confident saying that’s how authors get most of their sells. I have an opt-in mailing list of supporters who want to be there, and they often tell others. They are spreading the word online and I assume offline also. When they see my post about the my books, they share (without my harassing them to do it). On social media they often tag me after they’ve read the book as they share their love of it on their walls. Or I’ll receive emails saying they told so and so about my books. It usually takes a few days or weeks before you start seeing the results, but building that loyal base is the key.
Back to mailing list. My various opt-in mailing lists have an extremely high open rate. It’s three times higher than the industry average. Why? Well, my lists may not be as large as others’ lists, but the people on my various lists want to be on it and look forward to my emails. Okay, maybe that’s a bit much. I hope they look forward to them. Instead of automatically adding people to your mailing list, send an invitation for them to subscribe. It’s going to take longer to build your list this way, but your list will be of higher quality.
Social media is extremely important. It is a part of your web presence, but don’t forget about your mailing lists.
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