I began collecting emails for my book launch a year in advance. During casual conversation I would mention what I was working on. If someone seemed interested, I would offer to add their email address to my list. I added one or two at a time, nothing magical about the process, but the list grew steadily.
I had collected my first 100 emails by the time I made first contact with the list – roughly six months in advance. My website was live, the Facebook page was streaming with content, and launch day was in my sights. I shifted my focus to using social media channels instead of leveraging personal connections to gather emails. I directed people to my website and I showed off all the fancy promotional pieces I had been working on. The list’s growth was slower than sap running from a Maple Tree in winter.
As the months passed I could see the book launch coming into focus. Extensive research told me that my email list would be the most important part of launch day; the bigger the list, the more books I could sell because I had their undivided attention. But my list’s growth was still unimpressive.
Finally, after I tried everything in my bag of tricks, I went back to what got me started. I started scrolling through my phone and individually texting people to ask if they’d join my list. Results were… fantastic!
I kicked myself for not sticking with this. Not only were people quick to respond, over 90% of them said they’d join my list. It grew by 50% by the time I scrolled to “Z” in my phone. Then I took it a step farther and asked a few of my true fans to send out their own text messages. I knew they deeply cared about the project and/or me and they would be willing to help. I wrote up a simple text that read:
Hey ______, my friend Mike McCann is writing a book set to launch this fall & I think you’d enjoy it. He asked if I knew anyone who was generous enough to consider joining his email list for pre-launch updates. Of course, I thought of you. It’s a true story of hope set around his 2005 college football team. If you’d like to join, send me your email or check out http://believeeg21.com. If not no worries, just thought you might like the book. Take care!
I asked those influencers (four or five of them) to text some of their friends and family. The strategy continued to work. When the experiment was complete, the list had grown over 150%.
My conclusion, and my advice to you, is two-fold.
1) Start with your warm market before asking strangers to join your list. If you can’t get someone who knows you to sign up, your idea needs tweaking before it’s released to the masses.
2) The latest techniques and technology are not always the most effective tools. Sometimes low-tech options are the most effective. Do not rule them out until you have tried them.