With all the talk of social media and the dominance of Facebook in the our thoughts when we market your book online, authors have been asking me “Do I still need a mailing list?”

The answer is any unwavering YES!

@ for mailing listsWhen I started my mailing list back in the 1990’s, just having an email address from a reader meant you had a connection. Then marketers got busy sending out offers and mailings, with some large companies reaching millions of subscribers. Spammers really added to the clutter to the point where many people shut down one email address and started over.

However, in the past decade, we’ve all come to depend on email for important communications. Most good email services do a pretty good job of catching the spam, and we’ve all learned to filter and ignore the mundane or irrelevant mail.

You Have to Be Relevant

When I talk to major marketers about their mailing lists, they tell tales of lower response rates to sales offer emails. One might think that email is on it’s way out.

Not quite, what on it’s way out is irrelevant emails.

It’s true that some young people forgo an email address to get their messages from other sources, but most everyone is getting email type messages in one or more places. Facebook has just announce integration with email systems. Emails between real people have a real conversation is alive and well.

What does this mean for an author today?

You have a major advantage when you engage readers using email. As an author you understand the power of the written word. In an age where much of the communications amounts to the written equivalent of grunts and murmurs, a little bit of attention to good writing really stands out.

Here’s some tips for getting your email read

  1. Make sure your are writing as a human being. Put your own name and a return address on every email and expect that some of your readers will reply and want a response. If you have a large following, you may need some assistance, but there’s no excuse for ignoring your readers.
  2. The SUBJECT LINE is the most important part of an email message. If your reader thinks it’s just another ad or notice, you’ve lost them before the message is opened.
  3. An email is not a book. Keep it brief, get to the point and let your readers know what do next to continue the conversation.
  4. Don’t send email just for your own goals. Pay attention to what the readers will be feeling and thinking when they get your email. What is their desire? Speak to those desires and they will respond.

How To Build Your Mailing List

When you know what your readers want, it’s easier to find other places they are reading relevant information. You can buy advertising, or reach these group in forums, chat rooms and user groups… or you can get creative…

My favorite way to find people who are anxious to read about a subject is a cross promotion with other authors in similar niches. We often put dozens to hundreds of authors together to announce a new book launch or business. We know that readers will like seeing what authors they know recommend.