Why Do You Want, or Need, a Mailing List?
A mailing list is a valuable commodity and is evidence of a platform. If your statistics are good, you can use them in query letters to agents and publishers. If you’re an indie author, you can sell or trade advertising in your newsletters (never sell access to your actual mailing list, though). And that’s before you’ve even begun using it to market your own books. According to Copyblogger.com email marketing still generates more sales than other online communication options.
- Blogging, Instead of Email?
A blog is an excellent platform to build, but you have little to no control over whether a first-time reader will ever return to your blog. Even if he enjoyed your post, he might click a few links, read a couple more articles, and forget about you. But if you manage to convince that reader to sign up for your newsletter you can land your best headlines right in his inbox and bring him back to your blog until he’s a regular.
- RSS, Instead of Email?
Some people do sign up for RSS feeds and use either a reader or their email account to read blog posts. But it hasn’t taken off as well as it might have and many people still don’t know how to set one up or how to sign up for a feed. And, while some syndication systems do allow you to access the names and email addresses of your readers, you cannot use those contact details without skirting a very fine line.
- Social Networking, Instead of Email?
If you have a thousand friends on Facebook or a large Twitter following, you might be wondering why you can’t just use these platforms to communicate with your fans. Again the problem is that you don’t have any control over whether your friends and followers actually check in to their social networks, or whether they have filters to keep the noise down to only their IRL friends and family. Most people do check their email, though.
Yes, but, you may say, email can filtered, too. Disposable email addresses might never be checked. And that’s true, and a good reason that social networking works well in chorus with email newsletters and a blog.
The other issue with social networking is fickleness. Remember MySpace? The names and addresses in your mailing list database are under your control, not Facebook’s. You can back it up, and if your mailing company goes under, you can move your database to another one. If half your Twitter followers decide to move to Pinterest instead, you have to move with them or risk losing them—if you have no other means to connect with them.
And that’s where your mailing list comes in.
|Elle Carter Neal is currently building up her own email mailing list (again) after mistakenly believing email correspondence would die out. Elle is the author of the teen science-fantasy novel Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin, due out later this year.|