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3 List Building Tactics to Attract Subscribers Quickly Before a Book Launch

Are you leveraging email marketing for your book launch?

Do your subscriber numbers look a little sad?

While there are hundreds of ways you can promote your email list, we’ve handpicked a few of the most effective so that you can build your list fast. If you’re only months away from launch day, these are the tactics on which you’ll want to focus your attention.

Tactic 1: Create a Tempting Opt-In Offer

An opt-in offer is an incentive that provides prospects with something of value in exchange for their email address. This kind of free offer is brilliant for leveraging the power of online marketing and filtering readers into your sales funnel.

In the past, blog subscriptions and email newsletters were highly effective for attracting subscribers.  While they still hold some clout, readers want more these days. If they’re going to part with their precious contact information, they want high-value items that will benefit them in some way.

The benefit to you in creating a high-value item is that you create a value ladder, meaning the more value you bring, the more you can charge. The opt-in offer is the first rung—the product that lets you know whether your audience is interested in climbing further.

For a non-fiction author, a value ladder might look like this:

Free Checklist -> $10 Book -> $50 Audio Book -> $250 Mini Course -> $1,000 Full Course -> $2,500 Premium Course ->$5,000 Weekend Retreat

For a fiction author, a value ladder might look like this:

Free Bonus Materials -> $10 Book -> $50 Book Bundle + Audio Versions -> $250 Speaking Engagement (Locally) -> $1,000 1-Day Retreat -> $2,500 Weekend Retreat ->$5,000 Speaking Engagement (Nationally)

The idea is that you entice people to the top of the ladder, which starts way back at the freebie. This means that by giving away a high-value item right up front, you could potentially earn thousands later.

Opt-ins can be anything from free ebooks, templates, cheat sheets, and checklists to free training, audio versions of your book, short stories, webinars, and more. You could even use bonus material like deleted scenes, alternative endings, sneak previews, and similar content to entice signups. What you give away will depend heavily on whether you’re a fiction author or a non-fiction author.

The trick is to make sure it’s relevant, useful, engaging, and highly targeted towards the type of subscriber you want to attract. Many writers have a valid concern that readers only want the freebie and don’t really care about being part of the email list. While that’s true in some cases, refining your incentive into something that appeals to a very niche audience will help ensure you only draw qualified leads. The key is to know your audience.

Before we launch into the steps associated with creating an opt-in offer, it’s important to keep in mind that this incentive is only for email subscribers and shouldn’t be available anywhere else. The exclusivity aspect is extremely compelling and persuasive, which is why these free offers are such a big enticement.

Here’s how to create your own opt-in offer:

Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas

Ideally, your giveaway will be related to the book you’re about to release. This will give people a taste of what they can expect from you in future.

Step 2: Create Your Content

Based on your opt-in idea, your content may take the form of a written document, audio recording, video, email series, or other media. Thankfully, there are thousands of tools available to ensure your particular type of incentive is well produced. Be sure to use ones you’re familiar with and can easily navigate.

Here are some suggestions:

Documents – Open Office, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs

Presentations – Google Slides, PowerPoint, and Keynote

Graphics – Canva, InDesign, PicMonkey, and PhotoShop

Audio – Audacity and Adobe Audition

Video – Adobe Presenter and TechSmith (a.k.a. Camtasia)

Alternatively, you can hire a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork to help ensure you have a stellar final result. Costs can vary, so be sure to focus on freelancers with great reviews, lots of experience, and a current work history.

When creating your opt-in, consider using a template to reduce production times. You’ll also want to ensure all design components reflect your author brand and that you include relevant calls to action and engagement elements that could make your content more shareable and further help your cause. Always focus on offering value first—elegant design won’t outperform exceptional content.

Step 3: Decide Where to Host Your Offer and Upload It

To deliver your awesome new asset, you’ll need to use an online hosting service like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Amazon S3. These file-sharing services offer both free and paid options, so you’ll need to check pricing and file size limitations before creating an account. Although you can use the same server you’re using to host your website, this could potentially slow your page loading times. In turn, this leads to higher bounce rates and fewer email signups.

If you’re using a landing page builder like LeadPages, you can conveniently host there. You can also use your email marketing service provider’s storage options, which is often the easiest solution.

Step 4: Create Signup Forms

Signup form creation is part of your email provider’s toolset. Usually, you’ll have the option of embedded forms, popup forms, and link forms depending on which service you’re using. All you need to do is follow your provider’s instructions for creating the forms and then integrating them into your site. You can also search online for signup form plugins. You’ll find there are a variety of options, including the ever-effective exit-intent popups. The only potential downside of using a signup form tool outside of your email service is that you may need to pay for email integration so that you don’t have to manually transfer the addresses you collect into your email client.

The great thing about signup forms is that you can brand them to ensure they’re as visually appealing as the pages you put them on—usually your website’s pages, blog, and dedicated opt-in landing page. If you don’t have a website, a general link form with a unique URL you can share via various platforms, including social media, is the way to go.

Step 5: Create a Lead Capture Landing Page

This is the dedicated landing page that promotes your opt-in offer and allows you to collect new email addresses. Like any good sales page, it should contain compelling copy, proof elements, and a solid call-to-action. The key difference is that instead of a “Buy” button or links to your product page, it includes a signup form with relevant fields to capture your subscriber’s name and email address. LeadPages and OptimizePress offer amazing tools for building and optimizing beautiful landing pages for just this purpose.

Step 6: Create a “Thank You” Page

You have two options here: 1) you can create a customized “thank you” page through your email marketing service, or 2) you can use your chosen landing page builder. The awesome benefit of a “thank you” page is that it’s not just about showing your appreciation. Besides including a message of gratitude, you can also optimize the page with social media sharing links, secondary calls to action, a link to your latest blog post, a video, and more.

Whatever you do, tell your readers what to do next. Do they need to check their inbox for the lead magnet or have you included a link directly on the page for them to download immediately? Do you want them to take advantage of another offer? How about encouraging them to follow your social media accounts? This is an opportunity for you to impress your new subscriber while using the “thank you” page to your advantage.

Step 7: Create an Autoresponder Series

Before you start promoting your freebie, it’s time to put your email creation skills to work and create a killer autoresponder series.

Once you’re done, that’s it! You’ll be well on your way to attracting new subscribers with your irresistible lead magnet.

Tactic 2: Run a Facebook Lead Ad

With more than 1.79 billion monthly active users by the end of the 3rd quarter of 2016, you’re guaranteed that Facebook is the place to find your target readers. Fortunately, the social media giant has an amazing advertising solution that can be great for giving your email list the boost it needs. More specifically, the site offers Lead Ads, which are highly effective for running lead generation campaigns on desktop and mobile devices.

When a user opens your Lead Ad, a pre-populated signup form appears with the information the individual shared with Facebook upon signup. If that data has changed, the person can alter the information before they hit the submit button. With a few quick clicks, you can seamlessly collect email address while providing value to potential readers.

Before you implement this tactic, you’ll need:

It’s important to note that you’ll need to integrate your Lead Ad with your email service provider. If you don’t, you’ll need to extract the new email addresses you collect manually. This can cause a delay in the delivery of your opt-in offer, which might upset new subscribers. The steps for integration vary according to services, so you’ll need to research your options before moving ahead.

When you’re ready, follow these steps:

Step 1: Log into your Facebook account and access the site’s Ads Manager. From the list of campaign objectives, choose “Collect leads for your business.”

Step 2: Assign a name to your campaign and accept the Terms of Service. You’ll then need to start creating your ad set by defining your audience, budget, ad placement, and schedule.

Step 3: Select your preferred ad format, upload your image or video, and then add your promotional copy. Choose a relevant call to action for your offer, such and “Sign Up” or “Download,” and then create your Lead Ad form. You’ll be prompted to add a link to your website, privacy policy URL, and additional information about your offer.

Step 4: Make sure you’re happy with your order by clicking “Review Your Order.” If everything looks good, click “Place Order.”

Step 5: Integrate your Lead Ad with your email marketing service based on the instructions provided by Facebook and your provider. Alternatively, you can manually retrieve your leads from your Facebook Page by clicking the “Publishing Tool” tab at the top. Click “Forms Library” on the left sidebar and then click “Download” next to your Lead Ads campaign.

Be sure to keep a close eye on your Facebook Lead Ad. If it’s doing well, you might want to extend the campaign time. If it’s not doing so well, you might want to reevaluate your copy and image or video you used.

Tactic 3: Create a Giveaway and then Promote It to Established, Active Groups

One of the fantastic things about the Internet is that there are millions of burgeoning communities in the form of groups. Just have a look at Facebook if you’re in doubt.

Since people love free stuff, targeting the members of these groups with a cool giveaway can help you scale your email list quickly while generating exposure for your author brand. Prizes don’t have to be expensive, and you can easily make them book or genre-related.

Here’s how to implement this tactic:

Step 1: Search for established, active, and relevant groups online. These can be book club groups, genre-related groups, or fan groups for authors in your genre. Join some of these groups and start interacting with the members, offering value where you can. Be sure to read the group’s rules first to ensure you can share your giveaway when the time comes.

Step 2: Signup for giveaway software like Rafflecopter, KingSumo, or Gleam and then set up your contest. You’ll want to ensure you have contest rules, excitement-inducing copy that persuades people to enter, and a reasonable deadline. Email integration depends on the giveaway solution you choose, so review your options before you select your software.

Step 3: Promote your giveaway to your chosen groups and encourage members to share the link. Continue to interact with the community and answer any questions that might crop up during the contest. Keep in mind that you can promote your giveaway via email, social media, and your other marketing channels. Groups are simply a quick way to access a concentrated population of your target audience.

Step 4: Once the contest closes, select and announce the winner.

Bonus Tip: If you have the funds, think about combining the power of Facebook advertising with your giveaway to accelerate the growth of your list in the shortest possible time.

Believe it or not, authors have generated thousands of email addresses from giveaways alone. By implementing all three of these tactics, you’re sure to grow your list in almost no time at all.

What’s your favorite list building tactic? Let us know in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more on book launches and book marketing. If you’re looking to pick up more book launch tips, download a free copy of our ultimate book launch checklist.