Everywhere on the Internet people are talking about building lists, why business people need to have a list, and what to do with the list once they have one. But… do authors need to have a list and why is it important?
First let’s understand what a list actually is. Building a list simply means compiling a list of people or connections who are interested in you and/or your work and agree to let you contact or email them. Remember Rolodex?
These people are called subscribers and have “subscribed” to your newsletter, or something you are offering to those who ‘sign up’. It’s important to give your audience a beneficial reason to join your list and by giving out a valuable eBook, article, or newsletters for free, list building becomes easier. Your target readers then input their names and email addresses on the download page, in exchange for your gift. Before you know it, your list will start to grow.
Benefits to the Author
As an author, you’re an entrepreneur. Therefore, as in any other business, you need to market in order to create sales. Marketing is done through communication, and who better to communicate with, than those who have already signed up to your list and said ‘yes’ to hearing from you? As your list grows and you provide value to your target audience both your sales and your credibility will increase. People buy from those they are familiar with and trust.
The easiest way of using the list is through email and setting up an auto responder system will make it much easier to communicate with your community. Your list is important to the promotion of your work and for increasing book sales. However, how do you build your list?
How to Build a List
Building a list takes time and focused energy. However, it’s worth it. The following are a few ways of gathering names for your list.
- Add an opt-in form on your website where people can sign up for your free giveaway, newsletter, emails, or anything you send out regularly.
- Encourage your contacts, business associates, editors, fellow writers, and everyone else you are connected with to join your list.
- At a book signing event invite visitors to sign a list requesting information and then follow-up with an email confirming they wish to hear from you.
- Invite attendees at your speaking engagements to sign up or take their names to follow up with them. These persons have already demonstrated an interest in your message by attending the event.
As your email list grows you should have more sales and more personal interaction with your readers, creating a favorable long term relationship. This will be done if you are consistent with sending out emails and information that brings value and benefit to your subscribers. It’s also important to set up a reliable auto responder system to send out the emails and track your subscribers. I personally recommend Aweber as a good system for list building.
Having a list is an absolute must and well worth the time and consistent effort it takes to grow a community of ready readers vested in your work. So to answer the question asked at the beginning – Should Authors Build a List? The answer is a definite yes.
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