Saturday, February 13, 2021

Squeeze Pages and Newsletters

Here's a new term I learned this morning, courtesy of David Gaughran's newsletter. Gaughran is a marketing guru for the self-published; if you don't already read him, check him out online.

His "squeeze page" is a box on the right side of his home page, in which he offers a free copy of his book "Following" in exchange for signing up for his newsletter.

That's pretty much the definition of the term-- it's a page in which you offer something of value to the reader in exchange for signing up for your newsletter.

Here, Gaughran is offering a free copy of his e-book Following in exchange for your email address.

Your newsletter is your most valuable asset as a writer-- it's a way for you to get in direct contact with your readers. It's advertising on a shoestring-- if you have a small list (under 1,000), you can get a company like MailChimp or MailerLite to host you for free. Then all you have to do is periodically write some engaging content-- but remember, it can't always be about sales. Let your readers get to know you as a person.

Then you can begin to develop a personal relationship with your readers. Whether you send one out monthly or semi-annually, It's a way to remind your readers that you exist, to share your triumphs (new book, new contract, new story published) and turn your fans into superfans (another Gaughran book.)

I joined a massive 180-author promo in January. I wrote a new story on the theme “Winter Wonderland,” and we leveraged our joint promotional efforts to give away nearly 100,000 gay romance e-books to readers. By offering a free copy of an otherwise unavailable e-novella, Winter Term, I added nearly 5,000 dedicated readers of the genre to my mailing list, and the unsubscribe rate was fairly low – less than ten percent so far.

Right now, this story is unavailable. Soon I will make it a giveaway to join my newsletter. (Note to self: work on that!) I have three separate newsletters-- one for gay romance, one for gay mystery, and one for fans of my golden retriever mysteries. Eventually I will have a separate giveaway for each list.

The 5,000 new signups gave me a dedicated launch pad for my February 1 release, The Gentleman and the Spy. That audience is not the only reason why I sold 200 e-books during the first two weeks of release (I did some minor other promo, including a paid newsletter listing, a newsletter swap, and visits to two other authors’ Facebook groups.)

When you consider that according to Scribe Media, “Research suggests that the “average” self-published, digital-only book sells about 250 copies in its lifetime,” I’m doing pretty well so far. And I look at the “long tail” – sales over time.

My first self-published book, In Dog We Trust, came out in 2010, as the Kindle was gaining traction, and so far has sold a little over 21,000 copies on Amazon alone—add another roughly 10-15% for other sites like Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords, and so on.

So I’d say that my gentlemen have gotten off to a good start, helped by my mailing list. I have been working, on and off, since December on my newsletter “onboarding” process—soliciting new readers, then welcoming them with a series of emails giving additional freebies and encouraging them to stay on the list, but that process is nowhere near finished—and now that I know the term “squeeze page” I’m going to keep that in mind as I polish the process.

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