Email Marketing 101 from a Pro | Email Marketing for Authors | The right & wrong ways to do email

Hi, I’m MK Williams, an author and independent publisher. I love sharing my insights about all things self-publishing with you. Before I get into the details about today’s topic, don’t forget to subscribe. You’ll be notified when I put out new videos every week about self-publishing and make a career out of being an author.

  1. My experience with email marketing: 
    1. Media Buyer which included digital ads but also email list buys and email newsletter buys as well as direct mail
    2. Digital marketing manager where I had to manage full-stack campaigns which included email.
    3. Email marketing or CRM (customer relationship management) marketing. Managed the global email marketing software for a major sports company. I had to ensure we had up to date list hygiene practices, that global emails were not going to interfere with regional campaigns, that our massive database was segmented correctly, and that we were collecting new leads and nurturing them.
    4. So when I say I know how to do email marketing the right way, I’m not just tooting my own horn. Big businesses trusted me with the keys to their database. They trusted my subject line and email content testing methodology. They expected me to be the air traffic controller when it came to the dozens of campaigns that went out on a given day. 
    5. As I’ve mentioned in previous videos, when I got home at the end of a long day of training people on proper subject line testing setup, sitting on calls with our legal team to make sure we were GDPR compliant, the last thing I wanted to do for my author business was work on emails. I wanted to write my books. Which is part of the reason why I have a very small email list even now. 
  2. Basic terms to know
    1. ESP- Marketo, Exact Target, ActiveCampagin, MailChimp
    2. Spam
    3. Subject Line
    4. Pre-Header
    5. Landing Page
    6. Campaign
    7. Direct email – message, 1 call to action
    8. Newsletter inclusion – multiple articles or items, a digest of information
    9. Bounce back
    10. Automation
  3. Basic laws to know – avoid spamming people
    1. CAN-SPAM
    2. CASL
    3. GDPR
    4. California’s GDPR
    5. List hygiene
    6. Best practices and bad practices
  4. Strategies and campaign types
    1. Lead generations
    2. Automated email series after opt-in
    3. Nurture
    4. Segmentation
    5. A/B Testing
    6. Direct response v branding
    7. Newsletter v opportunity
    8. Re-engagement campaign
  5. Author specific email strategies
    1. Lead generation with side stories, end of book freebies, etc. 
    2. Mini courses for lead generation
    3. Book to coaching funnel -> nurture segment that came from book opt in
    4. Claim book freebie -> reminder to leave a review
    5. Email pre-order receipt for gimmes -> thank you -> reminder to review
    6. On the list, now what? -> Send regular newsletters with updates on the next book? Only email when a new book is available? What content to include? 

As you can see this can be a lot to set up and manage so you don’t have any crossed wires. Does this explain a bit why I’ve neglected this? Some ESPs require you to pay for a higher plan to get access to smart campaigns with automations and nurture functionality. That’s money I could invest into Amazon ads or something that gets me closer to the reader. Also the lead magnets that would get someone to the tip top of the funnel before they even buy my book, if I’m a brand new author with no audience, how do people even find out about this offer? Oh right, Facebook ads, Twitter ads, etc. 

That’s where I have a problem with these online business gurus saying, “oh you can get 100 email subscribers in 1 day if you have the right lead magnet.” Yeah and like how much money for ads on top of that? I know it takes money to make money, but sometimes email marketing can feel like a money and time/effort pit when you really just want to write a good book, get a solid review, and write the next one. 

All of the jargon aside, your strategy for email marketing shouldn’t just be shouting at people and hoping someone buys your book, or course, or whatever. This is a direct line of communication to the person who has expressed interest in your work. When I was at my last company the tide shifted towards “do whatever it takes to make the sponsor happy” which meant loading up every single email with tons of banner ads and “buy this!” from sponsors with no value provided to the person receiving the message. I put a lot of time and effort into trying to convince our sponsorship team to work with the sponsor to reword the message so it showed value. Nope, just put “buy now!” and then they were so shocked when people didn’t click. People don’t want to be sold to. They don’t want to buy things. They want to feel connected, they want to support the people and things that genuinely interest them. If you want to do marketing right, not just email marketing or social media marketing, but any marketing right – you need to read Seth Godin and you also need to stop thinking about what you want from this transaction, but instead think about the person on the receiving end. What do they want? What do they need? 

Looking back through all of this gets me excited to do a better job with my own email campaigns. I do a once a month newsletter for my fiction audience and once a month for my Author Your Ambition newsletter. I don’t think my audience needs more than that right now, but maybe I’ll do a better job at creating these gimmes to get more people to subscribe. Eh, we’ll see. 

Chapters
My experience with email marketing: 3:08:19
Basic terms to know: 5:49:01
Basic laws to know – avoid spamming people: 21:14:10
Strategies and campaign types : 36:20:07
Author specific email strategies: 49:11:09

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