how to build a mailing list

"The money is in the list"

I've already heard this phrase countless times already and up until recently I couldn't really explain what all this is about. I've read from other bloggers and fellow publishers that there are many promotion techniques but having your own mailing list, or in other words, an audience of raving fans can't really be compared to anything else.

Well, although the whole plan sounded a bit difficult to implement, I decided to give it a shot and see how it goes.

I can tell you only one thing. I should've tried this a lot earlier. Results were tremendous. Within a few weeks, I passed the 1000 subscribers mark, and this had an immediate impact on my KDP business.

Each mail blast I was sending, resulted in at least 100 more downloads. Not bad for almost a free way of promotion.

I use the word almost because depending on the method you'll choose to promote your books, this list building can cost from zero to several hundreds of dollars.

What I chose to do, was first to try out my idea as cheaply as possible, and after I had confirmed the positive ROI, I invested more money in order to grow this list bigger.

That's what this guide is about. I want to show you the best methods there are in order to build your mailing list for promoting your own books.

But first things first. Why is it so important to have your own mailing list?

The money is in the list

Having your own mailing list is extremely important because of three main reasons.

Reason #1: Control

Remember how many times I've told you before about how a wonderful ecosystem Amazon is in order to sell your stuff?

Well, this is true, but it comes with a big BUT. Lack of control. No matter how good of a salesman you are, no matter how much traffic you send to your books, Amazon's still in charge. They only have the contact details of every reader/customer and they are the only ones they can "freely" sell stuff to them.

Until you build your list...

After you have your very own mailing list, you get more in control. With every new email address you add, you have one more potential customer to sell your books to. After having your own list, all you have to do is send a campaign introducing your new book to your fans.

You don't have to rely that much on Amazon's "good will" to promote your books anymore. A well-built list (like the one I have for example) would have an open rate of about 40-50% and a click rate of about 15-20%.

mail blasts sales

Of course in order to achieve very high open and click rates, you will need to establish a very close relationship with your audience.

If you want to learn more about the exact methodology I use in order to build a relationship with my readers, as well as the exact scripts and all the mail sequences analyzed, you can find it in the member's area right here.

Now, imagine what would happen if you sent out a campaign to only 1000 subscribers. You could expect at least 100 to 150 downloads from a single campaign. And I don't even count the cumulative effect of traffic, Amazon's SEO, etc.

What if you had 10,000 or even 20,000 subscribers in this list. Imagine that!

Reason #2: Scalability

This actually might be an even more important reason to start building your mailing list today.

Let's analyze the two major points here.

First of all, this is a method to scale your business immensely. You cannot possibly believe what power you have with a mailing list of 10,000 subscribers or even more.

Each email blast could bring in 1,000 to 2,000 more downloads just like that. No way you can achieve that kind of ROI with any other marketing technique.

Secondly, what most people don't think about is that, since you got this email list and you got a good connection with your audience, you can leverage this list to start promoting other stuff you sell, like affiliate products, your own products, books of another pen name you might have, etc.

The possibilities are really endless. All you have to do is built a nice, genuine relationship with your fans. Provide the kind of value they want, give away a lot of free valuable stuff and every now and then, you can easily promote any product you think it would fit your customer's profile.

For example, I mainly publish fiction romance in my niche, so the reader's persona I try to target is mainly women, 20-45 years old, low to middle-income class, etc.

By the time you have this persona in place, I am sure you can think of a lot of different stuff to promote to them.

Reason #3: Barriers to entry

Last but not least, this is another major reason to start building your mailing list immediately.

How many people do you know who have published a book on Kindle Store? 20? 50? Or even 100? I personally know more than 200 Kindle Publishers.

Okay, how many of them do you know that have a list of 10,000 fans?

Exactly. Almost none. This is your edge. This will be your strongest competitive advantage.

Let everybody else, hoping for Amazon or other book marketing websites, promote their stuff. You'll have a hidden ace up your sleeve.

This mailing list will be of immense value after a while. It will be an asset for you. Even in the extreme scenario that an earthquake buries Amazon, you'll be able to sell your books to your readers just as you normally do (only on a different website).

Building your mailing list

Before we begin, please consider that nowadays, Internet users are way savvier than a few years ago. Every other guy out there will ask for an email address.

So in order to stand out, you will have to offer to your audience something of real value. Something they would really want. Email addresses ain't "free" anymore.

Now that we're all familiar as to why a list is important, let's see which are the best methods to build one.

Depending on which stage you're at, you will find each method having some positive and negative aspects. Let's see them in more detail.

Method #1: Cheap and slow

When I first began building my list, although I was hearing what a phenomenal promotion strategy this is, I was a bit hesitant. So due to that and my lack of marketing budget, I decided to test this method out.

What I started to do, was trying to lure my potential readers into giving me their best email address in exchange for a little gift. This is also known as a lead magnet. Depending on the industry, this lead magnet can take many forms.

From other ebooks, reports, additional chapters, to article curations, industry insights etc.

The secret here is to get inside your reader's minds and try to estimate what they are craving for. You need to provide a piece of content that will be irresistible.

I've tried several lead magnets and I've found the free ebooks to perform the best. What proved to work extremely well, was to give an additional story (complementary to the original one as the lead magnet).

For example, if you had a romance novella, you could give as a lead magnet the prequel of this very story, or a booklet with the short bios of every character mentioned in the book.

So, in the beginning, by following this simple method, I managed to collect about 6-7 (double opt-in emails per day).

After I'd sent my first email blast to my list, I saw an increase in sales of about 20-30% for the following period. So although I decided that this method works for me, it was kinda slow.

After I saw the phenomenal effect my list had on my business, I decided I had to do something else in order to gather more emails. Faster!

Method #2: Paid and fast

Like everything else in life, nice things have a cost. The same stands true when you wanna build your mailing list.

Since I had seen these early results to have a huge impact on my sales, I decided to spend some money in order to send some paid traffic to a landing page of mine with a very nice lead magnet.

I outsourced a nice piece of content, I put together a nice Facebook ad, and I set a budget of 5 dollars per day.

After some optimizations, and a few days later, my ads were running extremely well.

The average CPC was at about 0.15$ and the conversion rate on my landing page was about 50%. So all in all, each email address was costing me about 30 cents.

Facebook Campaign with Lead Magnet

Not bad for a US highly targeted audience.

At this cost, I was averaging about 15 new addresses per day for this budget. So I've decided to spend even more, so I increased the daily budget on 10$.

At this point, I am getting between 20 and 30 new subscribers each day with only spending 300$ a month.

I estimate that this method has a very positive ROI, but unfortunately due to the limited Amazon's analytics I cannot be very specific about the exact conversion rates.

So, after many experiments, I've narrowed down to these two, as the best options in order to grow your list.

In case you have an alternative method of growing your mailing list, I'd really love to hear your opinion in the comments below.

*As a final note, because you often ask me what is the exact methodology I use, the authors, the designers and the exact promotion techniques I utilize in Kindle Publishing, I decided to put together a thorough program, in which I explain in every detail (videos, scripts, resources), the exact same method I use to get these results.

In case you are interested, this is the program I have put together. Thanks!

  • Really loved this, Roberto 😀

    • Roberto Zanon

      Thanks a lot dude. I hope you’ve fined some useful and applicable stuff in this 🙂