So I got myself a MailChimp…

Question is, what do I do with it? Everybody and their grandma seems to advise building an email list, but is it really that different from “subscribe to blog via email” ? I mean, would anyone want to get a newsletter from me, considering that I already document every step and event along the way? Not to mention, I can’t even figure out how to add the sign up to my WP theme…

Does anyone have experience building an email list, and if so – was it worth it? And how do I get a signup form into a template?

Sorry for this completely uninformative and uninspiring post. I promise to make it up with the next one!

75 Comments

Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

75 responses to “So I got myself a MailChimp…

  1. I just found this informative post to help you get started. I never thought about MailChimp but this is something I should really look into more. Thanks. Here’s the link: http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/ultimate-guide-to-using-mailchimp-and-wordpress/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh honey, you are asking the wrong person. I can’t figure anything out on WP. You are lightyears ahead of me because you have the twitter thing going on and the amazon ad and like–a gazillion followers. LOL. All I know how to do is write a post and answer comments! Best of luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. tghuguenin

    I just started mine a few months ago. I try to make my montgly email updates a little more personal or something but also give more or different info than the blog. I’m still trying to figure all that out too. But the idea is that when people sign up for emails, you now have a direct line to those people who are more likely than others to buy your book. And since its email, its more direct and you can take those email addresses with you even if you change to another website or something. I don’t know too much since I’m just starting out but another thing us that I have email subscribers who wouldn’t follow a blog in a million years, not everyone understands how blogs work, but almost everyone understands email. Don’t know if any of that helps.

    Liked by 5 people

    • What he just said. Also, with mailchimp account you are able to see how many people actually open your email. The email list is yours to take with you. It is hard to come up with different material for the newsletter but worth it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you – how did you get people to subscribe?

      Like

      • tghuguenin

        Ha well I’m still working on that. Right now I only have 35 subscribers. What I’ve read suggests making sure you have links or sign up forms for it in easy places to see on your blog, a link wt tge end if your eBook, and its best if you are able to have some sort of magnet. Folks with a larger backlist get a lot of subscribers by offering free books for signing up (new subscribers get a welcome email with the ebooks attached). For people like us its a little harder, but maybe you could out together free sample chapters, or maybe a some short spinoff fiction that people would want to get in exchange for providing you with their email address. I still haven’t gotten my magnet figured out; almost all of my subscribers are friends who are just excited that I’m writing a book and want to stay updated. Since you already have a platform if you do it well it should be a little easier for you. I would highly recommend Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies, email list marketing is his soap box and he has a lot of good tips in there

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you very much, will check it out. As soon as I release the second book, I will make the first one free for subscribers, or I might finish a collection of short stories and release it as a free book for that purpose.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I found this article really helpful. I wasn’t able to get it to work *exactly* like this, but I was able to put a link in there and so people can sign up for my newsletter from my wordpress blog. Hope this helps.

    https://anikocarmean.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/mailchimp_newsletter_wordpress/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Ana,

    Yes! It is true. I am finally posting on your site. First, I wanted to say thank you for “Liking” my book review of Phil Plait’s ‘Bad Astronomy.’ And a big thank you for following my blog. Of course, I reciprocated and have been following you for a bit now.

    I do read your articles by the way. As a fairly new blogger, and a science and math guy, I try to glean as much as I can from the successful bloggers. I think it’s a good way of picking up good habits, which is why I follow you. Science and math can be a bit dry and monotonous sometimes, so I gladly give you credit for helping me to find my inner Neil deGrasse Tyson. It’s a work in progress, but I’m getting closer and closer with each article.

    As far as an email list is concerned, I’m still in the beginning stages of this platform and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can. I will follow your lead, Ana.

    Have a great day!

    Matt

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, thank you very much, Matt. Funny enough, I’m a former scientist (we’re talking proper lab coat, gloves, multi-pipettes and a PhD), so maybe it’s the dry daily job that requires a daily measure of creativity, in order for the brain to function properly? Hmmm, there’s got to be another PhD in that…

      I will get this working and let you know if it was worth the effort πŸ™‚

      Like

  6. I don’t even like doing it with my business where I send discount coupons. I can’t imagine doing it as a writer. My business list is around 4,000 and even one or two unsubscribe sir marked as spam bothering me. I don’t want people thinking I’m annoying them. Curious to see how yours goes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Anna, You want an email list because it’s yoursβ€”not WordPress’s, not Facebook’s, not Twitter’sβ€”yours. You’re a creative writer, and your newsletter should be creativeβ€”maybe a short story that give some backstory to Tara’s parents or sister, or a contest to see which subscriber guesses the most correct answers from a list of items Tara takes to her office at Shizzle Inc. … the sky’s the limit. A perk for your subscribers could be the exclusive news about the sequel before the general public gets to hear it. Think about what would make you open a newsletter, and you’ll think of a ton of things to include in yours. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much πŸ™‚ I’m gonna do it – might have to try different things, as I have no idea what I’m doing. probably start with very limited announcements, only something of value, like time-limited free giveaways, or something, and monitor unsubscribing…

      Like

  8. I usually do a newsletter on my blog, but I’m thinking about starting an email list instead, because as someone said earlier, not everyone understands blogs. I have lots of followers on Facebook and Twitter who never click my site, and who usually end up posting an “I didn’t know you were giving that away” because they never bother to check. As far as the MailChimp goes, I’d thought about doing it, too. Please let me know how it works for you & good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great help from the comments. Think I’ll take advantage of it. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve just recently started building my own newsletter. The reason so many people advocate for it is for the releases of your future works. It’s the best method for getting people to purchase your work, but it should never really be all about the purchasing. Many established authors give away a whole book (one day I’ll get there!) or a short story. Give some extra perks to it, like bonus points for giveaways that you host, etc. Then make sure you periodically give more, like recommended reads or finding books that you enjoyed that are currently on discount. Since I’m still a baby in all of this, I’ve got a lot to learn! But I subscribed to some of those newsletters of some of the authors I admire, so I can take notes on exactly what they do πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a very timely post for me, Anna. Literally three hours ago I put a “subscribe” widget on my WP web site and was wondering, “Okay, what now?” Your post and the comments will be extremely helpful. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You’re way ahead of me, Ana, but I’ve bookmarked this page for when I catch up! Thanks for paving the way! I’m working on my first book now! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  13. And BTW, notice how I’ve told ‘the world’ so now I *have* to finish it!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Liz

    You’ll rock those newsletters! And as to why you need your own mailing list and not FB’s or WP’s? I love the way they go straight to the point here (just replace “comedian” with “author”): https://bandzoogle.com/blog/3-reasons-why-every-comedian-needs-a-mailing-list

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I guess in a way my following is my “street team” – I just have not formalised anything (and I think formalising it may kill the spirit). I need to think of some “challenges” now – I can give away free ebooks or even signed print books, depending on the effort required. Thanks again πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I was just going to second your blog….. Then I saw the outpouring of help. It’s left me even more bemused.
    Not a clue anymore. πŸ˜±πŸ˜‚πŸ˜

    Liked by 1 person

  16. All of your posts are informative, I had no idea what a Mailchimp was!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hey, forget the ‘uninspiring’ bit. I, too, am wrestling with the ‘mailing list’ and ‘author platform’ concepts. Let me know how you get on.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Deb

    Ana – one place I have seen authors gather subscribers for their email newsletter is in the physical world – at book signings, or conferences or events. I spoke at length to one author and she explained to me the “owning” your list concept mentioned above.
    I really like some of the creative ideas thrown around here, like an exclusive short story that would provide character back story – that is brilliant! If you go in with a real strong concept like that is should be easy to sell people on signing up because they see the added value.
    Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Deb! I have not done much of anything in the real world so far, but this gave me the energy to put together 3 short stories I already had, so that will be my “bait”…an update coming up!

      Like

  19. I’m also giving it a go. So far, with regards to building up the list, what I’ve found quite useful is taking part in giveaways with other authors. As you can choose what you want to do for people to take part, you can always include as condition that people sign in for your list. You can do it on your own or offer free content (it’s good to do that in the first e-mail you send), but doing it with others has the added value that people from the other writers’ circle are also encouraged to participate…
    Of course there are fancy things that require payment, like launch pages that you can use to direct people to…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, thank you, Olga – I didn’t know you can do giveaways with others? How does that work?

      And what’s a “launch page”? My god, every time I think I’ve learned something, it turns out I just opened another Pandora’s box…

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi Anna, thanks for a stimulating post.

    I’m in this territory right now. The responses coming in are interesting β€”thanks everyone. Here’s my tuppence worth …

    I start off by making my aim clear: β€œWhat will be happening when I’ve achieved what I want to?”

    My answer might be: β€œ250,000 people (and more every day) will be engaged with my channels on a routine basis. My books sales double every month.”

    If that’s my goal, my next question is: β€œHow will I achieve that?”

    That’s where MailChimp and other options and techniques/technologies come into play … and I need to do some thinking and make choices. Oooh! my brain hurts …

    Thanks again for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Something else that works to get people signed up, is any time you do a speaking engagement or if you sell books at bookstores or craft fairs, have a sign up sheet. It also helps if you raffle one of your books off to people who sign up. Only problem with this is that sometimes you get people who sign up just for the raffle who aren’t seriously interested in your newsletter. They don’t open your emails which lowers the open rate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Patricia – I think you have to assume that majority of people will ignore the emails, I know I like to keep my inbox as clean and empty as possible. It’s a good idea – I’m currently setting up “bait” of a 3 short story compilation, will publish and explain tomorrow!

      Like

  22. olivia barrington

    Great idea! Check out this website for promoting your book,etc. CoPromote at @copromote.com. It’s free!!! It connects to all the media sites, etc. I think it’s worth you taking a look. Found out about it from another author I follow. She is using it and likes it. Hope it helps!! Don’t work to hard!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Hi Ana,

    I’m colossally impressed with how may followers you’ve managed to sing up to your blog. That’s a huge achievement in the first place. Would you consider writing a blog post about building a blog audience sometime! I for one would read it with close attention.

    Regards

    Tim Vicary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Tim, thank you for the suggestion – I will :-). The gist would be – be social on social media. Don’t be a wallflower, ask people to dance first. Find them, follow them, like, comment, engage. When they come over to have a look, have something of interest and value for them to reblog. Lots and lots of work…that’s pretty much it πŸ™‚

      Like

  24. A few friends use it, apparently successfully. I notice they are each a bit sluggish to respond to questions, but they’ve used it for years. I don’t have any suggestions, but wanted to say Hi!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Nancy Glynn

    I use my MailChimp to give away a free copy of my first book, which seems to pull in subscribers. I use Instafreebie so I can see them claim it and it’s just safer, has watermark on it. I’ll be involved in a free Kindle giveaway promotion next month here http://www.freekindlegiveaway.com/product/february-giveaway-sponsorship-silver/ and that’ll bring more subscribers. I plan to use mine for new releases of future works. It’s free until you reach 2000 subscribers, which would be an awesome feat anyway! Here’s a sample of mine: http://bit.ly/MailingListNGlynn. Just go to the forms designer in MC. You can have it say whatever and make it pretty! πŸ™‚ Since I’ve been in a giveaway in Goodreads, I’ve gotten more subscribers that way. Good luck, Ana!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Very helpful comments, what I’ve read so far… I’ve downloaded mail bump but haven’t started yet. I will definitely follow link to mail bump help WordPress site above. I don’t want up grade to business WordPress … Thanks for your exploratory blogs Ana. PJ

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Ana, do you blog from wordpress dot com or host your own on dot org? With WP dot com we can’t collect email addresses.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Thanks for this! I’m dealing with the same think right now. E-mail lists are where it’s at apparently and I really don’t know where to begin. I will be going through these comments carefully, hoping to figure out what the heck I’m doing. Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. The argument I keep hearing in favor of an e-mail list:

    Twitter, Facebook, other forms of social media are very transitory. Most people are following so many people that its impossible to give much attention to what anyone is trying to say. Occasionally, you might luck out and someone who’d be into your book will see your social media post at the exact time you post it. Otherwise, say we’re talking Twitter, I come home for the day, your post gets mixed in with the many other posts everyone else made that day and I’m not going through them all.

    Meanwhile, with an email list, someone who actively signs up to get an email from you must enjoy what you do, and while social media can be hit or miss, your message goes right into their inbox and its there waiting for them until they can get around to clicking.

    But take that with a grain of salt. I’ve never set up an email list myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. The only thing I know about mailchimp is that I receive a lot of emails with mailchimp written at the bottom , lol
    Good luck with it and hope you get to grips with it, however it works.

    Liked by 1 person

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