In this episode of the Writing Momentum podcast, hosts Chris and Gena address the frustrations of writers who are struggling with email marketing. They offer several solutions, including using a lead magnet in books to collect email addresses, simplifying email service providers like MailerLite or ConvertKit, and paring down email lists. They emphasize the importance of starting with what is easy and building from there. Throughout the episode, they provide practical tips and resources to help writers simplify their email marketing efforts and connect with their audience effectively.
- ConvertKit: https://wmdeal.com/convertkit
- MailerLite: https://wmdeal.com/mailerlite
- Liz Wilcox’s Email Marketing Membership: https://wmdeal.com/liz and https://wmdeal.com/lizannual
- Get your FREE Move the Needle goal-setting for authors ebook at https://www.writingmomentum.com
- Write with us! Join Chris, Gena, and Rene each Wednesday at noon Central and let’s get our writing DONE! https://www.writingmoments.com
episode 90 transcription:
[00:00:00] Gena: Help. I'm a writer and I'm frustrated with email. How can I simplify it and make it work for me? [[00:00:05] Christopher: We can help with that. [00:00:10] Christopher: Hey, welcome to the Writing Momentum Podcast. I'm Christopher Maselli. I'm here with my wife, Gena. How you doing, Gena? [00:00:16] Gena: I'm doing really well. I feel like this is the time of year when everything starts settling down after the busyness of the beginning of the school year and the beginning of just different things that go on and we're starting to just take a breath. [00:00:34] Gena: Things are cooling down. Things were getting back into the groove. It's feeling good. [00:00:38] Christopher: And we get to join you all again on the podcast, which is something we really enjoy because it's just a fun to get to sit here and talk and get a little conversation going back and forth. And that's actually what happened this past week. [00:00:50] Christopher: This last week we did that a great talk with Liz Wilcox about her site where she helps you. We shall send you a template and you can use that template [00:01:00] to send emails and make sure you're consistent with it every week. And if you haven't listened to that, it's a great podcast. Liz is such a wonderful guest to have on. [00:01:09] Christopher: And she talked about how she could help us as authors. But, we received some feedback from that podcast pretty quickly, didn't we? [[00:01:16] Gena: We sure did. We got a feedback from a listener named Bridget and she had said that she had some questions and some frustrations about email. And as we read through her, frustrations, her feedback, her questions. [00:01:31] Gena: We thought we can help her with that. We've got some shortcuts. We've got some ways to make it a little bit easier for her. [[00:01:38] Christopher: Yeah, so what Bridget said is she said, hey, Chris and Gena, every site tells me that I need an email list. And we told her that too, right? And she says, however, Amazon does not share who buys your book online. [00:01:51] Christopher: She's right. They don't share the emails. And she said, that limits my ability to do an email list. And then she said, I also have problems with [[00:02:00] MailChimp being user friendly for me, and it has a huge learning curve. And, how am I supposed to understand that lingo? Plus, money can be tight, and all these things cost a lot of money. [00:02:11] Christopher: She says, I'm not making excuses, but I'm frustrated with the system. Bridget. Bridget, we hear you. We know exactly what you're talking about, but I think we have some really good creative solutions for you today that you're going to like. [00:02:24] Gena: Absolutely. Bridget, first of all, girl, I hear you. We have been there, we have been figuring out the process, and that's really what this podcast and what Writing Momentum is about. [00:02:35] Gena: It's about shortening the learning curve for other people and helping writers like you. And so we know also that if we hear from somebody who has a question like that means there's a whole lot of other people out there who are thinking that question, but maybe they didn't respond. And so we know that this is a question that a lot of people have. [00:02:56] Gena: And so let's just get started. What do you do? [00:03:00] Cause I think this is true. It's a valid point that you sell your book through Amazon and Amazon doesn't share that email with you. But I will say that would be the same if you were selling traditionally. If you were selling through a bookstore that was being distributed to by your publisher, you also would not have that. So this is a hurdle that we all have to get over whether we are traditionally or independently published. So let's talk. What do you do? [00:03:30] Christopher: Some people say don't sell on Amazon, right? Sell it through your own website where you can collect that email you could do that except for then you're keeping yourself out of the largest bookstore in the world right and you really don't want to do that. [00:03:42] Christopher: Gena just said If you sold locally or traditionally, you'd have the same issue where you're not collecting email addresses. So the best solution that we've found is to include a lead magnet in the front of your book. So what's a lead magnet? A lead magnet is simply [00:04:00] asking for people's email address. [00:04:02] Christopher: And in exchange for that, you'll give them something. So what a lot of authors do is right in the front of their book, they'll have a page on page two or three that says, hey, would you like to have this free checklist, that I've created, or this free PDF I've created, or a free bonus chapter to this book that I've created. [00:04:23] Christopher: If so, go to this web address, and it's a web address on your website, and give me your name and email, and I'll send it to you for free. And these are actually quite effective, right? They work really well. And, now here's a little secret, you can include that early on in the book so even if someone on Amazon clicks, look inside, they can go ahead and get that free chapter or that free download without even buying your book. [00:04:50] Christopher: And that's okay. The reason that's okay is because what you really want is that email address. Because then you can start building a relationship with people. And yeah, give them that [00:05:00] stuff for free, who cares? What you want is the email address in the first place, even if they don't buy your book. [00:05:04] Gena: So here's the thing. What Chris was saying there works for nonfiction and fiction. [[00:05:10] Christopher: Yes. [00:05:10] Gena: So I have seen this used in fiction. I've seen it used where maybe the person gives away, if they're doing a series they give away maybe a novella. [[00:05:19] Christopher: Yes. [00:05:19] Gena: So you do a short novella to go along with your series. Bonus, if it's something holiday related or something that's evergreen like that would be really fun. [00:05:31] Gena: Another one might be, if you've got a series, you could give away maybe some Easter eggs. And these are little, those little little treasures that you put in your book where you say maybe why this character is named the way they're named. You've had some, what are some Easter eggs that you've done? [[00:05:48] Christopher: Like I wrote a book about a kid who becomes a superhero, and so the Easter eggs in there are a lot of the names in the book were tied to comic book writers, comic book [[00:06:00] designers, that sort of thing. [[00:06:01] Gena: Yeah, I know you also used an address one time that was similar to the address you had when you were a kid, that kind of thing. [00:06:08] Gena: So there, that's a way that you can do it for that lead magnet for fiction, but for nonfiction where Chris is talking about a checklist. It might be a checklist, if you're talking about a specific topic, it might be a checklist to help people understand, do I fall into this category or not? [00:06:26] Gena: Or it might be, here are some additional resources. If it's a self help type issue, maybe here are some additional resources that you can have for that. There's a lot of different ways you can go about it a lot of different things you can do. I've even seen authors and just the simplest way is letting readers know, hey, find out about my latest books, by signing up here and you can keep in contact with people that way. [00:06:51] Christopher: Yeah. And of course, if you're writing children's material, shout out to our friend, Rod Butler, who puts out some great books called Captain Flashlight right there. That's the main character is they're [00:07:00] Darknetized, it's the first book. [[00:07:01] Christopher: And in those books, what he does is he gives away coloring pages as well as he has links to his YouTube videos when you go to his website. So by going to his website, you can go ahead and download those things and in exchange for an email. [00:07:15] Gena: Definitely. All right. So let's talk about the next question that Bridget had, which is the difficulty, the learning curve with MailChimp. So what would you say to that? [00:07:26] Christopher: I totally get it. I don't think MailChimp is very user friendly either. It's not my favorite email service. The good news is there are other options out there. Two of our favorite email services are MailerLite and ConvertKit. They have a lot of happy customers because they're very easy to use. [00:07:42] Christopher: So I recommend you look at services like that. We'll put links in our in our show notes, but even beyond that, don't forget that just because an email service has a lot of functions, and most of these do because they can be pretty robust, that doesn't mean you need to use all of [00:08:00] them. It doesn't even mean you need to understand all of the features that they have. [00:08:04] Christopher: And they have good training videos and that sort of thing and you can learn more when you're ready. But to start off, most of these email services allow you to do something as simple as sending a broadcast to your list. Just by putting in a subject line and putting in the body of an email. It's the same thing you do if you send a gmail message to someone right except for you're using their email service instead, and so keep it simple. [00:08:29] Christopher: It doesn't you don't have to do really fancy stuff. You don't have to do the automations that we talk about on this podcast sometimes. You don't have to do tagging if you don't want to start off. Just to start off, just go ahead put subject line, put in a body of an email. Don't even use the templates, right? [00:08:47] Christopher: They have all these fancy templates with big colors and designs. I'll tell you if you get emails from us you'll notice that we just use text. We just put text in emails because it feels a lot more natural and honestly, that's all we [00:09:00] need to get the point across We don't spend a lot of time on our emails, as far as like design goes, because we just want to make sure that we get the message across. [00:09:08] Gena: Yeah, Chris and I when we were talking about this. I was sharing with him about a company that I use educationally, it's an educational company. And they have a great Slogan that they come back to where you're dealing with helping children learn and it's easy plus one. [[00:09:26] Gena: And I think that is such a great model and slogan for all of us in pretty much all areas that start with what is easy for you and just let that become habitual. Let that become consistent. And then you can add the extra things. You can add the extra colors. You can add the segmentation. [00:09:48] Gena: You can add the automation. You can add some of these other things, but for now, don't worry about all of that. That is overwhelming. Just do what Chris said. Just [00:10:00] send the email to your list. Start with your list. And it doesn't matter If you've got just five people on your list, if you've got two people on your list, it doesn't matter. [00:10:08] Gena: Just start emailing those people regularly. Hey guys, keep it conversational. We've done podcasts on this before where we've talked about the tone that you keep. Make it very natural. Just talk to them. Talk to them like you're sitting down across from them having a cup of coffee and just, sharing what's going on, what's going on with your writing, your subject, whatever it is. And so keep it simple, keep it easy for yourself and you can always grow from there. [00:10:37] Christopher: And just to shout out to Liz again, who we had on the last podcast, she's created, what she does is she creates templates that you can fill in. So it helps you get over that learning curve of what do I talk about this week, right? [00:10:51] Christopher: Because sometimes that can be a challenge. If you go to WMDeal. com slash Liz, you can see how you can hire her for just $9 a [00:11:00] month. It's very low cost, and she'll go ahead and send you those templates. It makes writing your emails very easy. But the important thing to do is to start, right? If you, it can become overwhelming to feel like, Oh, I have to do this stuff every week. [00:11:13] Christopher: But if you just keep it simple. Just say, I'm going to send an email to my list every week. That is the best thing you can do. [00:11:20] Gena: Definitely. And we were talking about the cost of all this. What do we do? How do we keep this cost down for our email when we're just getting started? [00:11:33] Christopher: I'll tell you, these services have made it very easy to keep costs down, and what both MailerLite and ConvertKit does is something that MailChimp used to do, and that is let you have your first thousand email addresses collected for free. [00:11:48] Christopher: Now, once you get above a thousand emails, they usually charge around $25 a month. Or if you want to do some of the fancier things they do like automations and such, then it costs $25 a month. But to start off, [00:12:00] it's completely free just to email your list from these services. So yeah, go ahead and get an account at MailerLite or ConvertKit. [00:12:08] Christopher: Keep your list as long as it's under a thousand people. You can go ahead and just start emailing them from these services. It's a great way to learn about it. And it's very cost effective. Now you say, what if your list is above a thousand people? What if over time you've collected more than a thousand people? [00:12:25] Christopher: Then it seems expensive, right? $25 a month to do this. So what we found when we started off doing this is that we had more than a thousand people on our list. We'd collected names over time. And so we thought, wow, what do we do? It's going to be very expensive. And then we realized how many of those emails were just like not active emails. [00:12:45] Christopher: They weren't people who really wanted to hear from us. So we immediately started sending out emails and just saw how many didn't even open the emails. And we cut them off the list. We got rid of those names. [[00:12:58] Gena: Do you remember how hard [[00:13:00] that was? [[00:13:00] Christopher: That was so hard to do. [[00:13:00] Gena: It was so painful. [00:13:01] Christopher: Because it's so hard to build an email list. To get those names to go up and to automatically cut. We cut ours. [[00:13:07] Gena: In half. [00:13:07] Christopher: In more? Yeah. A little more than half I think. And that was painful to do. That was actually something that Liz told us to do, and we were like, Liz, we don't want to do that, because that will, we'll have half as many people as we did. [00:13:20] Christopher: We did, and let me tell you, it's probably the best decision that we ever made. Because now, when we email our list, we know that we're emailing people who actually want to hear from us. And on a regular basis, we take people out of our list. If they're not opening our emails, You're going to stop hearing from us because we don't want to be sending emails to people who don't want to hear from us and I would rather have a small amount of people who really want to hear from us, who are active people who want to buy our courses and buy our books and hear from us than to have a huge list that just never opens, right? [00:13:56] Christopher: Who wants that? Plus, it lets you And get a lot [00:14:00] more juice from places like Google. They know that, oh, okay, people actually want to hear from you. So they'll take your email message and put it in the inbox in people's Gmail instead of the promotions folder. Things like that, yeah? [00:14:10] Gena: It's true. And I will also say that the more you get used to paring down your list... And the more that's something that maybe you can work on automating as you go don't do that at the beginning, just go ahead and get the emails out, but you can automate that so that it will naturally do that and what you'll find is that it gets easier and easier because you become accustomed to hearing from people or seeing that your emails are getting opened so that your email open rate goes from maybe 15 percent to all of a sudden 35 or 50 percent and okay, I'm speaking to the people who really want to hear from me. So it gets easier. It's initially, it's a little bit, like pulling off a bandage and it hurts at first, but the more you do it, you're like, oh yeah, let's [[00:15:00] just rip it off. [00:15:00] Gena: Let's go, let's get to the people who really want to hear from us. And that's the good thing. [00:15:05] Christopher: Bridget, we hope this helps. Everyone else is listening. We hope it's helped you too. Here is your short list of action points, okay? First of all, in your books, put a lead magnet at the front. A brief something that lets people exchange their email address for something that you can give them. A PDF or something from your website. If you'll do that, you will automatically be collecting email addresses from people who purchase on Amazon. [00:15:29] Gena: And let me just add something to that. If your book is an ebook that you have uploaded to Amazon, so it's a digital book you can change your upload, right? [00:15:39] Christopher: Yes it's very easy, you just upload a new one. [00:15:40] Gena: I've already published my book. It's not, I don't have a lead magnet in there. It's okay. If it's an ebook, you can go ahead and add that page to the beginning. And I would even add one at the beginning and one at the end. [[00:15:52] Christopher: Go ahead and put those pages in and re upload it. [00:15:54] Christopher: Okay, so that's your first thing. Include a lead magnet. Second, sign up for MailerLite or [00:16:00] ConvertKit. And as long as you have under a thousand people, it's not going to cost you a penny. You can look at their tutorials. You can learn about it over time. Go ahead and search on our podcast for earlier podcasts where we talk about ConvertKit or MailerLite. [00:16:14] Christopher: You'll learn, we have some tips and tricks for you in there. Then third pare down your list if you need to. If your list is too big and you're finding it hard to keep under a thousand, Go ahead and pare it down to those who really want to hear from you. And that's it. I think you'll find that will help you be very successful. [00:16:31] Christopher: The links to all these things, ConvertKit, MailerLite, and Liz's super special deal is in our show notes. So be sure to check those out. [00:16:39] Gena: Definitely check those out. And I was just going to add to that is check out Liz's email marketing membership. It really has helped us. And I do want to just reiterate something. Just because she sends you a template does not mean that your email is going to sound like everybody else's. [[00:16:57] Christopher: At all. [00:16:57] Gena: It's going to be, you're going to see very quickly [00:17:00] how you personalize it for your list, for your people, for your business, or your type of writing, or whatever. So don't feel like, oh, I don't want a template because it'll sound like everybody else's and that feels like it's cheating. No, by the time you're done, she just gives you this quick way to get through it and get it written and get it out there. And they've been so helpful. [00:17:23] Christopher: Yes. Hey, if you know someone else who's struggling with the email, will you send this podcast to them? Just go ahead and click share right there in your podcast app and share this with them. And if you can't think of anyone, but you still want to give back a little bit, go ahead and leave us a review and rate this podcast. [00:17:39] Christopher: That always helps get the message out. Hey, this is something we do because we love helping people. We hope it's helped you and. This is not something we're doing alone, this whole writing thing. It's something that we do together. Why, Gena? [[00:17:51] Gena: Because together we have writing momentum. [[00:17:54] Christopher: Bye bye.