Sunday, May 31, 2015

Trimming your tribe. 7 reasons a smaller mailing list is better for you as an author.

It may not sound like big potatoes compared to Stephen King, but as my mailing list grows towards 1000 readers, I'm trimming the tribe.  And you might want to consider it as well.

Here are 7 good reasons why a smaller list is better for "business" when you're a writer:

1) Smaller lists are cheaper. 

Most services charge more as your lists grow.  Trimming them regularly to get rid of those who don't read your emails will keep these charges down.

2) Smaller lists are targeted. 

You'll have a better idea who's reading and what their needs are.  Remember, you can't please all of the people all of the time - so quit trying.

3) Smaller lists are intimate. 

Who would you rather chat with - people you know like your stuff and read it avidly, or folks who don't really care what you have to say?  When you visualize someone you know is reading keenly, you'll write in warmer, more personal style.

4) Smaller lists are less intimidating.  (Big lists are SCARY!)

In my last job, I was sending weekly mailings to a list of over 20,000 people.  That was scary.  I knew that if there was a broken link or a typo, lots of people were going to see it.  To some extent, as a writer, you shouldn't take your list so seriously.  With a smaller group, you can just chat casually, and not worry too much about what you're sending out.  (That doesn't mean you shouldn't proofread or check your links, of course!)

5) Smaller lists are less spammy. 

Those hundreds and hundreds of people who are receiving your mails and not reading them probably resent getting them.  They may not even remember signing up... they just figure that like so many marketers, you've gotten hold of their name somehow.  Do you really want your name associated with spam?  Nope.  So get those folks off your list before they start to resent you.

6) Smaller lists are realistic. 

It may be a thrill to see big numbers, but you'll have a better sense of how many are actually paying attention with a smaller list.  And it will grow.  Once it grows bigger in a genuine way - once you have and keep more REAL readers - you'll know you've earned it.

7) Smaller lists are more fun! 

Who would you rather hang out with, a mega-party of 5,000, or 80 of your closest friends (and maybe their closest friends, too)?  At the mega-party, you'll have to shout to be heard.  At a gathering on a more human scale, everyone will lean in to hear you whisper.

Does it feel too drastic to cut people from your list once and for all? 

Try SEGMENTING your mailing list.  Every mail provider lets you do this.  Create a special sub-list for everyone who regularly opens your emails.  Send them special bonus offers; keep them in the loop about your creative process.  Find out what interests them when you're thinking about writing your next book.

We all want a nice big mailing list.  But believe me, you don't want quantity at the expense of quality.  It's meaningless to say "I have 10,000 subscribers" if only about 200 care about you and your books.  Trimming your tribe lets you keep and grow the inner circle of readers who care.  And every one of those is worth his or her weight in gold.

Looking for more on author mailing lists?  Wondering how to get started?

Here’s the ultimate three-part series – and no, it’s not just for children’s authors:


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