31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 14: How to Boost Sign-ups

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Photo by Andrea
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[Oh, wait, before we start, have you followed 10 new people yet?]

On Day 14 of our platform challenge we are going to go back to getting people to sign up for our email list by dangling our freebie; we’ll create and kick off a giveaway campaign. Yes, today. No sense wasting time.

As we talked about in Day 11, the most effective way to entice people into giving up their email address is to offer them something exclusive (and free) such as a downloadable set of coloring pages/activity guide/curriculum tie-ins, discount code, or exclusive content. Those freebies are called a “lead magnet” (as you know from earlier posts on Day 10 & 11) and we have already worked on them (Day 12) so your should be shiny and ready to roll.

Online promos are another option, are easy, and can work magic. “RT and win” is a social media example that we’ll create today.

This post is kinda long but the campaign task is in the second half, and honestly isn’t too much work. But before we get there…

Ways to get email sign ups–with or without the pop-up

Here are some ideas besides giveaways on ways to get people to sign up for your newsletter (or, quite frankly, to follow you on social media). I wasn’t sure where to put this info, and it’s not an exact fit here, but here ya go…

  • Social media ads: I have never tried them TBH but at some point I will. It’s always an option and I like it because you can start at like $1/day and see where gets you before deciding to go further. Use with or without freebie.nThere’s a great breakdown on true cost of social media ads; bear in mind that article is for small businesses that are looking for much larger output than we are. But it’s a great frame of reference. If you’ve used them before, please share your experience!
  • Be prepared: When you attend industry events or signings, either have your laptop open to the SUBSCRIBE (or Follow/Like) page so all they have to do is enter their name, or have an old-school clipboard handy for them to write their email. Incentive optional (but more effective).
  • If in person such as at a conference or signing where you have a table, offering a “onetime day-of-the-event giveaway raffle” for those that sign up is a huge incentive! Giveaway could be as little as a $15 card to a local bookstore or credit to your personal bookstore, one of your signed books, a small trinket, or a free ZOOM author visit. Have a posterboard with the specifics announcing your giveaway and how/what they’ll win.
  • Post on social media: Share your newsletter signup (or social media handles) link across all social media channels and encourage your followers to sign up. Facebook author pages allow direct link; Shopify says you’ll need something like LinkTree for Instagram and others. You can also try social media ads to target people you think you might not otherwise reach. Again, freebie optional but bound to help.

Given all that info, today we are still going to focus on freebies and create a promo around it–one that you’ll post across social media.

What freebie did you decide on a few days ago, and is it ready like it’s supposed to be? Get on it because the promo plan should go live TODAY. It’s going to be a “RT& Win” campaign.

Let’s test out that freebie!

RT & Win Campaign

Going back to Day 10–is your pop-up installed and active yet? I hope yes. It needs to be, as we have a game to play! As soon as you are done creating your free lead magnet, hold a “RT, Follow & Win” contest across your social media platforms. The rules are that if people sign up for your newsletter (give them the direct link) and also RT the post, and they’ll be sent the FREE [insert freebie here]. Give a deadline so people have to “act now.” A few days or a week is probably good, as you never know when the RT will be seen by the people who RT the RT.

RT & Win

It will take some work for you to verify each new newsletter subscriber has RTed (they only get freebie if they do!), so FOR NOW un-check the pop-up option that has new subscribers automatically getting the welcome email and download.

But how exciting. You are building your list!

Isn’t this fun?

You should get a sense of whether or not your freebie has legs based on the excitement it generates. If people aren’t RTing it, that means not only do they not see value, but they don’t think their peers will either. This is good information to have! Now you know and you haven’t wasted your pop-up offer on something lame. Move on to the next item on your list and try that on for size.

A lack of RTs could also simply mean you haven’t promoted it well enough. Ask your critique partners and a few close friends to help you promote it. I don’t think it’s worth a $5 social media ad yet but you might, your call.

Recap: Time to start collecting emails from that pop-up you created! Create a quick “RT & Win” promo and set it live TODAY! [Your freebie has to be complete, and your email list collection has to be set up first.]

You can change it up and redo this “RT & Win” several times a year, basically any time you have new content or news to share, or need a boost. You can have them RT your book cover and win swag, for example; it doesn’t have to always be signing up for your newsletter. People LOVE free stuff!

Come back here in a few days and tell me how this promo shakes out for you! I’m excited to try it myself.

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 12: Let’s Make Freebies

[Before we start, have you followed 10 new people yet?]

Make it and they will come

Remember in Day 10 of our author platform challenge we talked about dangling a freebie to get people to sign up for your mailing list, and in Day 11 we brainstormed ten potential freebies? Today, Day 12, we are going to pick one of those freebie ideas, and create it.

If you love the idea of the coloring pages option but are pre-published so you don’t have a book let alone an illustrator who could work with you on it, by all means keep that idea on your list. But for today, pick a different freebie to work on.

Hmm, what to work on? Think…What are you known for? What are you comfortable talking about ? What you are an expert in?

I knew I wanted to create the “Secrets to Writing a Query” as my lead magnet because A) most of my followers right now are fellow authors and B) over the years, as I review my spreadsheet, it appears I have written over 200 of them. Does that mean I have 200 acceptances? Oh by no means no. But it DOES mean I know what DOESN’T work, lol. I also looked up what editors and agents have to say about it, and combined that with my own experience. That’s what makes me uniquely qualified to offer suggestions and advice on the topic, IMHO. And I know it’s a hot topic that everyone searches online for tutorials on.

I created it in Word. It’s not fancy. It’s in black and white with no graphics. The emphasis I chose is content, not outward creativity. I am a writer, not a graphic designer. I don’t have time to make it look like a business form, nor is that my goal. Sure, I could try running it through PowerPoint or whatever, but done is better than pending. I encourage you to not obsess over making it perfect.

Repeat after me….

Get to work on creating that freebie document or packet so when you install that pop-up and start collecting emails, you are instantly ready to roll. You’ll be able to set the sequence so all new subscribers are emailed the freebie the second they hit the enter button! (I personally set it to arrive two minutes after, so I don’t look too needy, lol.)

Recap: create that lead magnet freebie. Right now.

Feel free to share your pop-up link below so we can sign up to your mailing list and, and see your finished product! Include your link in the comments, or tag #31DayAuthorPlatformChallege and we’ll do our best to find it!

Don’t forget to subscribe (enter yer email in top right column) to be sent these daily tasks directly; you won’t have to remember to keep checking back every day. I don’t want anyone falling behind!