Build A Customer Base

There are two basic ways to get information out on the internet.

  • Push = send email updates to list of customers
  • Pull = attract readers to my blogs

I have a blog under my pen name advertising my eBooks. It includes links to Smashwords. I had planned to blog on it about four times a year, when I have an ebook ready to publish.

I have a blog (this one) where I write about writing fiction. Does it need a customer base? I have nothing to sell on the blog. I have information to pass on to other new authors, if and when I learn a new area. I blog on it once a week.

I have email and RSS feed set up on both blogs, and readers are free to select either  for notification of new blogs.

So, do I need to build a customer base? What would I have to offer to induce them to sign up?

Free short stories for the readers? A competition and winners get free copy of eBook? Free articles on internet marketing for other new authors?

I could advertise via the blog and the customer list when I have a new eBook available or provide a special voucher for a lower price.

I could advertise via the blog and the customer list when I am looking for reviewers for each new novel.

I have no idea yet what the statistics are for how many prefer email notification vs visiting blog when they have time. I also have no idea where to locate this information.

So, I could build two lists, one for writers and one for readers. But the only opt-in option I am aware of is AWeber and you need your own web site to set up the opt-in form. There is also a cost involved. US$1.00 for joining, and US$19.00 a month for 1-500 subscribers.

I decided to Google and gather some data. I used “opt-in email marketing” for the search and located a site MailChimp

It is free to build your first 500 subscribers and you can send out 3,000 emails a month.

Not bad for free. There is a price once you collect more than 500 subscribers. It is US$15.00 a month with unlimited emails sent. Still cheaper than aweber.

I checked out the Terms of Use and they are reasonable. It is handy to note they are monitoring and the site is not used for distributing illegal information or products.

I clicked the Resources page and looked at the free guides to get started.

  • Getting Started with MailChimp Build Your Audience
  • Common Email Marketing Rookie Mistakes
  • Your First Email marketing Project
  • Create an Email Marketing Plan
  • Email Marketing

I am off to read through all the information and work out my marketing plan.

Have you started to build your True Fans list? What about the cost? Low? High?

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8 comments so far

  1. LisaM on

    Hi Diane, thanks for sharing the info about MailChimp.

    I’ve just been over to your blog and had an idea, sort of like a flashbulb moment.

    One of the things I particularly like about Neil Gaiman’s short story collections is that he explains in the introduction how each story came about or some other anecdote about what happened during the writing of each story. Would that be something you might consider adding to your blog each time you’re ready to publish an ebook?

    I’m really glad to hear that you’re moving so well through the whole e-publishing arena!

    All the best, Diane. 🙂

  2. LisaM on

    Ooops, I pressed the Submit button before I’d added a link to something I thought might interest you.

    http://www.mediabistro.com/articles/cache/a10978.asp

    It’s an interview with Seth Godin who has published (traditionally) 12 books and has decided he’s had enough of that process and is moving into e-publishing.

    • djmills on

      Thanks, I will check out the link.

  3. Rabia on

    Diane,

    I’m curious as to why you have two separate blogs. If you’re only going to update the other one four times a year, why not have just one blog? People are not going to return to a blog that is so static and thereby miss seeing your updates.

    • djmills on

      Which is why I am looking into building an email list for updates on novel releases. 🙂

  4. Texanne on

    I subscribe to this blog through email. Like djmills, I wonder why you have two blogs–why not a regular blog, and a page for the books?

    Your placement in Google ratings is partially dependent on the number of times you post new content. This means that your book blog is not going to place high unless someone googles for your name or the name of your book specifically.

    I wound up with two blogs, too, but I’m (whimper) letting one go soon. It hurts, but it’ll save a penny and unclutter my mind a little bit.

    But I’m not sure I even knew about your other blog. Going to check that out now.

    • djmills on

      Thanks for the suggestion. I could add a page to this blog showing my pen name and list the books there with links to download page. The other blog was a suggestion by Smashwords in the instructions on setting up the links listed in each book.

  5. Texanne on

    Oh, my kingdom for an edit button! Not what djmills said, obviously, what Rabia said. I must be running low on Dr. Pepper or something.


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