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A Guide to Email Marketing for Authors, Part 2

January 7, 2013

Although the popularity  of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others has skyrocketed,  sending or reading email is still the most popular online activity. Surprise, surprise: recent studies show that, when it comes to actual sales, email still outperforms social media marketing.  You’re missing out if you don’t make email marketing a part of your book marketing plan.

In my last post, I encouraged you to strategize for “top of the mind awareness” and build relationships with your audience by providing them with valuable content on a regular basis. Now I have some tips to share about delivering that content.

Tips for Writing Email Content

  • Be yourself! Use a friendly, personal, conversational tone.
  • Tell readers something they don’t already know.
  • Avoid promotional hype.
  • Avoid jargon. Use simple language.
  • Be brief.
  • Ask your readers to forward your email to interested friends.
  • Remember that email messages are short and personal. Provide readers with clickable links to your website for “more information.”

Elements of Good Email Design

  • Whitespace
  • Short paragraphs
  • Images (but not too many)
  • Bold headlines
  • Clearly labeled sections
  • Brief enough so that the reader doesn’t have to scroll very much
  • Easy-to- find “unsubscribe” and “forward” buttons
  • Consistent branding (logo, colors, fonts)
  • Tested in various email programs and browsers

According to the Yahoo Style Guide, “Text that works best on the Web is text that gets to the point fast and that makes it easy for readers to pick out key information.”

Why Use an Email Marketing Service?

There are many email marketing services to choose from. AWeber, MailChimp, MadMimi, and Constant Contact are among the most popular.  The best services have various features that help you to easily create emails and mailing lists and provide reports that provide valuable tracking information.

  • Creating and updating a mailing list is easy
  • Professional designed templates
  • Free and low-cost services available
  • Email campaigns can be tracked, analyzed, and measured for effectiveness
  • Email campaigns can be created and delivered quickly
  • Autoresponders and automatic distribution of blog posts

Evaluating Email Marketing Services

  • Can you try before you buy? How long is the free trial period?
  • Is the cost determined by the number of addresses in your list or the number of campaigns you mail? Which option will work best for you?
  • Are there hidden costs? For example, some services charge extra for image hosting or an archive of your emails.
  • Is there a wide variety of help resources such as FAQs, tutorials, live chat and phone support?
  • Is the service’s website user-friendly? Well-designed, organized, and easy to navigate?
  • Are there a variety of well-designed templates for you to choose from? Can you easily modify templates?
  • Can you easily import your mailing list, group names into interest lists, and automatically detect duplicates?
  • Are people who want to unsubscribe easily and automatically removed from the system?
  • Is a form provided that you can easily to add to your website which enables people to opt into your mailing list?
  • Do opt-ins receive customized autoresponse emails when they do so?
  • Is an automatic checker available that will scan for triggers that could get your email marked as spam?
  • What tools and reporting are available for you to evaluate your email campaign’s effectiveness?
  • Does the system track these basic statistics: number mailed, bounces, spam reports, opt-outs, opens, click-throughs, and forwards? Can you easily view and download these reports?

I hope my two posts about email marketing have been helpful to you. If you have any questions, ask in the comment section or contact me through my website.  Happy emails.

Mary Ann de Stefano is a writer, editor, and organizer of writing workshops with 30 years of experience in publishing and writing consulting. She also builds websites and advises on e-marketing. Mary Ann does business at MAD about Words, named as a play on her initials and love for writing.

  1. January 20, 2013 4:50 pm

    Missed your first post. How do I locate it? Thanks.

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