Three secrets that add power to your author email marketing – Part One

873928_66742457junk mail FBEmail marketing isn’t the new kid on the block anymore but it’s still one of the most powerful and cost effective media that you can use in your book marketing efforts. As always with any marketing tool, start by identifying how it fits into your overall marketing strategy, what you plan to accomplish with it,  and how you plan to measure its effectiveness.


There are many reasons for non-fiction writers to use email marketing including:

  • Building a database/list of potential clients and book buyers
  • Increasing customer loyalty and encouraging book buyers to purchase your other books, products, and services
  • Staying ‘top of mind’ so that when event planners need a speaker, you’re the logical choice
  • Establishing yourself as a subject matter expert to distinguish yourself from your competition
  • Highlighting special promotions and events such as book signings


Some common measurements are:

  • Open Rate: The number of recipients who actually open the email message
  • Click-Through-Rate: The number of people who click on a link in the email which takes them to your web site or landing page
  • Referral rate: The number of people who forwarded the email to someone else, making it viral
  • Opt-out rate: The number of people who un-subscribed from your list.


Speaking of Opt-ing out, they first must opt-in. That’s the first commandment of ethical email marketing. You want to get permission before you start to market to anyone; otherwise you cross the line from marketer to Spammer. “Spammer land” is not a fun place.

Most professional email service providers have a spam button that allows users to flag an email that think is spam. When that happens, you go on a watch list. If you get too many spam flags, all of your emails get blocked from delivery.


To stay out of trouble, ask for permission. Your first email to someone you’ve met at an event or other source should be sent from your personal email address inviting them to join your list. That email should contain a link to your email service sign-up form. If they don’t opt-in, don’t add them to your list. Ask subscribers to add your email address to their contacts list or address book so that you won’t get accidentally blocked or reported as spam in the future. Email marketing tools such as Constant Contact and MailChimp have permission built in and multi-purpose tools like Aweber and Infusionsoft do also.


Getting permission is extremely important because a clever, well planned email marketing campaign can help you to build a loyal fan base, while spam is likely to alienate them.

What exactly is an email campaign? It’s a series of email messages that contain useful information along with an offer. The offer might be to purchase your latest book, register for an event, or enter a contest.

The first secret to Powerful email marketing is: Have something to say. We’re bombarded by over 300 marketing messages every day and we’re particularly overloaded with email. The first thing I do when I open my email in-box is to browse the sender name and subject. If I don’t recognize the sender or if the subject line doesn’t seem urgent, the email goes into the ‘read later’ category at best or at worst, gets deleted right away without being opened.

The secret starts with the subject line. It should be short and to the point. It should address a problem or pain point that your readers are experiencing. A subject line that reads: “New Nutritional Supplement Available” is likely to be put off for later reading. A subject line that reads: “Fight fatigue with this breakthrough nutritional supplement” is more likely to be read.

In Part two of this series, we’ll discuss Powerful Email Marketing Secret #2 – Having a Plan.


Linda Griffin
Linda Griffin

Linda Griffin is the author of the book, Maximum Occupancy: How Smart Innkeepers put heads in beds in every season and the founder of She is currently working on her second book, Book Smarts: The ninety day guide to writing and self-publishing for busy professionals.

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