After hearing a number of authors suggest that having an email newsletter was super helpful in marketing their books, I finally set up a newsletter.
Now, I’m not sure if it’s going to make a difference that the newsletter says “Infinitas Publishing” rather than “Stephanie Flint and Isaac Flint” in terms of personalization, but I wanted to include both Isaac and I in the newsletter, along with our books and our games (seeing as how they tend to tie together).
On the other hand, I wonder if readers would respond better to having a more personal touch, where it’s addressed directly from the author. We’ll see how this goes. If any of you have experience with that, feel free to chime in.
After looking between a couple popular mailing list services, Aweber and MailChimp, I opted with the latter. Mostly because it’s free for the first 2000 subscribers, and it seems to work for the authors that I receive newsletters from. Now, once the mailing list reaches a higher number of subscribers I’ll need to decide whether or not to switch services, but that probably won’t happen for a while.
When I first signed up, I was a bit confused as to how everything works. Actually, I still am, but after a bunch of clicking on different options and creating a test template, I finally figured out that you needed a “list” so that you can collect subscribers, from there you want a “form” so that readers can subscribe, and then you create a “campaign,” which is the specific email you send (‘regular’ for general purposes), and then use a “template” to drag and drop the specific content you want into your email.
Then you send the campaign, and it goes to all the people on your list (or whomever you selected when you first created the campaign).
That seems to be the basic gist of the service, from what I tinkered with tonight, but there look to be a lot of other features which may be handy later… A/B testing, options to have a welcome letter for people who have just subscribed, different “groups” of subscribers, tracking to show how well a particular email campaign worked…
I like what I see, and I suspect that after I send out a few emails… er, campaigns… I’ll have a better idea of what I’m doing.
It did help that I already have a PO box ready so I didn’t have to use my actual address (you’re required to have a physical address on bulk emails as part of the US’s CAN-SPAM act). Most of the other forms you fill out are relatively easy, though the fact that the password requires at least one special character did throw me for a loop when I tried to log back in a second time. Makes sense to require, given that you can send out mass emails through their service, but not what I’m accustomed to.
That being said, there is now an HTML link on the right of my blog (I’ve cleared up the sidebar a bit) and a link in the top bar of our main Infinitas Publishing page. Technically, free WordPress blogs offer a widget to include a MailChimp newsletter popup, but I’m not sure I want to add a popup just yet. I’ve tended to find them annoying, rather than enticing me to sign up for anything. But maybe that’s just me. I may test the idea later, if it seems to work. Have any of you found them to be effective?
That’s my experience with email newsletters thus far. If you want to subscribe to my newsletter to receive updates and special promotions regarding the books and games that Isaac and I create, please click the link below. 🙂