Building Your Email List: Essential Strategy for Authors

Why should authors care about building an email list?

As an author, you want to sell books and build your business. It’s critical to grow your tribe of those who are eager for your content and are fans of your approach and voice. As you write more books or develop other products and services, having a list of those who have already bought from you and know and trust you are the best source for future sales and for higher value purchases such as coaching, consulting, online courses, or membership groups.

Social media, while an important strategy for authors building a following, isn’t as significant as building your own list. If any social media platform goes out of business, changes their policies, or is temporarily shut down, your marketing reach is severely impacted. The best strategy is developing and growing your own list.

Strategies for Growing Your List

Landing page/lead magnets. One of the best ways for authors to grow their list is to create a landing page for their book that readers can visit for additional resources and information such as resource lists, bibliography, templates, worksheets, infographics, and other materials that supplement the book. Offering your readers something of value in exchange for their names and contact information is a foundational step. Authors may also use this landing page to house lead magnets that are offered during book signings and speaking events.

Launch team. When preparing for your book’s launch, ask those who express an interest to be a part of your launch team. Collect names of those who may be interested through posts on social media, mentions during presentations, and for those friends and colleagues who have expressed an interest. Many of my authors have shared their book’s content in blog form, letting readers know this is excerpted from the new book and requesting those interested to share their email addresses. Other authors have simply requested that those who are interested to send in their names and contact information.

Webinars and master classes. When you offer your book’s content or related content in webinars and master classes, request that attendees register so that you are collecting these names. You may also be a guest on other thought leaders’ webinars, master classes, and podcasts and have an agreement beforehand to share the registration list.

Collaborators and partners. I have often been a part of collaborative efforts to offer products and services with similarly positioned professionals in a list-building promotion. In this arrangement, each participant offers something of value which is sold as a package with others’ contributions. In this case, all involved will benefit by adding new contacts to their lists.

Participant response cards. One of my favorite strategies had been placing a participant response card at each person’s place during speaking events. My cards request basic contact information and offer a variety of “gifts” in the form of handouts and worksheets.

Most importantly, be diligent in adding interested individuals to your database! Yes, it’s tedious, but is one of the most important jobs as an author/consultant/speaker/coach. If you are behind in entering those business cards you’ve collected, hire a virtual assistant to help you get caught up (and even to do this on a regular basis if you resist this task).

There are many other options including pop-up forms and questionnaires or quizzes on websites, QR codes when speaking both in person and virtually, referral programs, guest blogging, and more. As an author, one of your best marketing strategies is being on the lookout for opportunities to continue to build your list.

What are YOU doing to build your email list and grow your tribe? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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