So, Who Needs a Newsletter?

Guest Blog: Hallee Bridgeman
Webinar Speaker: Building Your Email List, 4/13/2021

In my opinion, newsletters are one of the most important marketing tools available to authors. The reason is that the people who sign up for your newsletter are the ones who are saying, “Yes, I want to hear from this person and I’m interested in what she has to say.”

Unlike social media, with the newsletter you are not at the mercy of a platform that can decide through algorithms and usage who ought to see what you’re saying, or charge you for the privilege. With a newsletter, you’re in control and it’s up to the end-users to choose whether they want to open that newsletter or not.

The more people you have on your list to open the newsletters, the better it obviously is for you as a way to get word out about your writing and your books. One way to grow that newsletter list is to utilize the services, either paid or free, that are in place for the purpose of growing newsletters.

I have heard the so many people say that using newsletter building service like Book Funnel, Authors XP, Ryan Z, or places like those are not a good idea because what you will do is flood your newsletter with people signing up just to get a free book you’re offering through the service.

There are many readers who will opt-in for your newsletter for the purpose of downloading your free book, and then they will just as easily opt out of your list or unsubscribe the first time you send them a newsletter. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the list building services. However, you can get a lot of quality readers, or find new readers with your free book give away through the services, as well as add quality subscribers to your list.

How do you separate the chaff from the wheat?

One very effective way is to utilize a newsletter onboarding series. What this means is that a series of newsletters will automatically be sent to any new subscriber to your list. For my list, I have established the following series that is triggered when someone signs up for my list:

  1. Immediately, the reader gets a welcome to my list email. This contains the link to the free book.
  2. Twenty-four hours later, they receive an email giving them a little bit more about who I am as a writer and hoping that they’re enjoying the story.
  3. Three days later, I talk about writing romance novels and how much my readers mean to me.
  4. Two days after that, I sent an email that talks about how my writing career started, and give my writing testimony.
  5. Three days after that, the email explains how much correspondence from my readers means to me, encouraging the reader to reach out to me by replying to an email, and encouraging the reader to leave reviews. What this does is once they have replied to me, then I am in their sent mail, and I am less likely to hit their spam mailbox the next time I send them an email.
  6. The final email goes to them one week later. This is the first email where I link all of my books and advertise all of my series. It is the first email in a series of six over the course of almost 2 weeks where they actually get “sold”.

The reason that I have this six-letter onboarding series is so that those readers who have signed up just to get a free book will very likely unsubscribe in the first bulk newsletter out to my entire list. If you have a massive amount of unsubscribes from a single email, then that will put you in a bad category with your newsletter service. Having the unsubscribe trickle through individual emails going out one at a time to people will keep your open/unsubscribe rate higher for your actual newsletters. And that keeps you in good graces with your newsletter service.

It also gives my new readers an opportunity to truly get to know who I am as Hallee Bridgeman the person, versus Hallee Bridgeman the author. Becoming a real person to them creates a connection and they feel invested in me and my books.

When I set up my onboarding series, it took me all day long. By the time I finished the last email I was completely exhausted. I felt like I had talked to a group of people for the entire day. Because what I did was write the emails in my own voice as if I was having a conversation with them.

It has been extremely successful to have this series. Setting it up was not hard. There are tons of tutorials online on how to do it. If you haven’t arty done something like this with your newsletter, I highly encourage it.

Hallee Bridgeman

With nearly a million sales, Hallee Bridgeman is a best-selling Christian author who writes action-packed romantic suspense focusing on realistic characters who face real-world problems. Her work has been described as everything from refreshing to heart-stopping exciting and edgy. An accomplished speaker, Hallee has taught and inspired writers around the globe, from Sydney, Australia, to Dallas, Texas, to Portland, Oregon, to Washington, D.C., and all places in between. Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her.