Episode 85 – The Email Marketing Show

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Question of the Week: What have you done to increase your holiday book sales? What do you plan on doing this holiday season? Also, do you like the length of our show?


With Bryan camping (living) in a van down by the river, your co-hosts taped a special show on the subject of email marketing. They re-featured patron Michael Alan Peck’s book The Journeyman ( http://michaelalanpeck.com/books/commons-book-1-journeyman/ ) and talked tips on reviving your email marketing strategy, testing your emails, and the factors that go into the “perfect” marketing email. News stories included statistics about email marketing’s supremacy, the success and failure of the biggest brands on Halloween, getting a better return on investment from your emails, how to collect leads at less than $1 each, and why this holiday season could be even bigger and more digital than usual. What have you done to increase your holiday book sales? What do you plan on doing this holiday season? Also, do you like the length of our show?

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What You’ll Learn:
  • Three ways to resuscitate your email marketing strategy
  • How to stay organized when testing your email marketing
  • What goes into the “perfect” marketing email
  • 7 statistics that prove email marketing is #1
  • Why some big brands get higher open rates than others
  • How to provide more value in your emails
  • What it means to get a positive Return on Investment
  • Why you need to push your books for the holidays
Question of the Week: What have you done to increase your holiday book sales? What do you plan on doing this holiday season? Also, do you like the length of our show?

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  • I currently have three books in my coming of age space opera. Starting on Black Friday until the end of the year, subscribers can purchase the e-books for 50% off or buy the complete paperback bundle with the first book free.

    I am also going to run a King Sumo giveaway in December where the winner will receive all three paperbacks.

    Finally, I’m looking at promotion options I can run through Kobo during the Holiday Season.

  • Phil Kassel

    Regarding the length of the show, it always feels just right to me. I don’t even think about how much time has passed when I am listening.

    • Bryan

      We can live with “just right.” Thanks!

  • Nakeesha Seneb

    The show is the length of my bus ride to and from work. Each moment has value. Leave the duration alone.

    I love that you guys have a format, not all podcasts do and the hosts just talk with no focus. SMBS is not broken. Don’t try and fix it!

    • Bryan

      Aw, thanks, Nakeesha!

  • the show’s fine. stop asking. 😉

    • Bryan

      Hehe. But we’re SOOO insecure!

    • ha, well, we keep wanting to make it better, so we keep asking. 🙂

  • Kayla Thomas

    To boost holiday sales of my paperbacks, I’m participating in my city’s shop local market. I’m partnering with other local authors to run a local book booth. Between us all, we have a very diverse selection. As for show length, I like it. I prefer longer podcasts as I’m usually doing housework, and they help pass the time.

    • Bryan

      Oh fun. Let us know how it goes, Kayla!

      • Kayla Thomas

        Did the opening night last Thursday, and sold a few books. Will set up again Saturday and see what happens. I’m curious if there will be more shoppers on the weekend in the middle of the day versus a Thursday evening. More than anything I made connections with live people. It’s so fun when someone comes up and says, “Oh! You’re a writer? Me too!” It’s inspiring on both sides of the table.

        • Bryan

          Always good to network with other writers in your area :).

  • Darren Sapp

    I’m offering the Kindle for .99 (one week after a Book Gorilla ad) and suggesting people buy it as a stocking stuffer. Basically, for under $10, you can send the book to ten friends or family as a stocking stuffer. For those you don’t normally buy a gift or see at Christmas, but you want to do something. It’s quick and easy. I have no idea if it will work, but why not try. ….and, the show length is perfect! I appreciate you guys.

    • Bryan

      Sounds like a good idea. Best of luck with it, Darren!

  • A D Davies

    Because I’m still only a couple of books into one series and have only the first in another, I’m in a writing phase at the moment. The series with only the opener should see a sequel in January, if I can book editors and complete my own read-throughs in time. With that in mind, that first in series is reduced to half price (1.99 instead of 0.99) in December and will be included in the Kobo promotions, with an advert for the sequel and newsletter signup on the page immediately after the final story page. I may promote it at 0.99 around the hard release of the sequel. They’re not continuing stories (ie, no cliffhangers), but I’m hopeful the increase will create some new fans organically.

    It’s next year where I will see some more activity around Christmas, I think. I am planning third books in both series, possibly a stand-alone, then for NaNoWriMo 2016 a novella featuring whichever character is proving most popular. Probably.

    • Bryan

      Very nice. Keep up the good work!

  • A D Davies

    The length of a show is like the length of a book. It’s as long as it needs to be. I think SMBS is balanced really well. I’ve never gotten bored with it or thought you were waffling on to fill time, and it doesn’t feel rushed. Whether it’s a 40 minute one or that rare occasion when it has approached an hour, as long as the content justifies the length, I think people will remain happy.

    • Bryan

      Cool. Thanks, A.D.!

  • Franki Kidd

    The length of the show works for me, mostly. What am i doing to increase book sales? I sent an email to about 40 family and friends, asking them to get my book during it’s 99 cent promotion period, In exchange I offered to to put their name in my ugly holiday sweater Christmas cartoon contest. I also posted the contest on my blog. here’s the full details. As a result I got 9 sales, not bad for a few minutes of work. Read details here and if you DARE create your own contest http://fbkwrites.com/how-to-market-your-book-during-the-holidays/

    • Bryan

      9 sales for a few minutes. Always a good investment :).

      • Franki Kidd


  • Patrick Stemp

    Jim: I think it’s a huge mistake to think you can’t discount memberships to AMC just because current members might feel slighted. Things go on sale all the time. We all know that thing we bought today might go on sale tomorrow. It’s a chance we take, especially around the holidays. If you’ve never explicitly stated in a previous marketing campaign – “it will never be this cheap again!” – as Bryan did with his latest product, there’s no reason you can’t drop the price temporarily to get some new blood. Personally, if I was a current member, getting the value I paid for, I wouldn’t be pissed off just because someone else got it cheaper. I’d shrug and say “good for them” and move on. I think you would gain more members and good will than you would lose from the existing group. If you’re not breaking a promise, you can do whatever you feel is fair for the most people – which in this case, could include letting in some folks who can’t afford the higher price point, but may add value to the whole as new contributing members.

    • I’ve tried it before, and what you said you wouldn’t do happened en masse. I was deluged by people who emailed me and said “I just bought last week, or last month, and I want the discount.” So that’s why I made the decision. But everyone is different.

      • Patrick Stemp

        That sucks, man. If they thought the value was there at the price they paid… well, you know. Everyone wants a deal I guess. I wonder if it would work to tell folks who were still in their “cancel in 30 days” period that they’d get the difference as a refund – so they wouldn’t be tempted to cancel and re-enroll. Best of both worlds? I don’t know. On the one hand of the coin, it sucks to have your current customer base holding you hostage…on the other, I get that the cost of acquiring a new customer is heavy compared to keeping the ones you already have (though, they did pay a one time fee not a recurring one…so…) Thanks for sharing your experience, because I need to learn this stuff 🙂

  • Linda Fausnet

    I love the length of the show. It’s PERFECT! Exactly enough time for me to listen to one episode on the way to work. I work full time with a one hour commute each way, plus I have two kids, get up at 5am to write and all that. I really try to wring out every second of the day and pack in as much publishing, writing and education as I can get and your show is perfect. Though I adore Sean Platt and Johnny T, their podcast makes me want to rip my hair out by the roots because I want to learn, learn, learn as much as I can as fast as possible, and their leisurely podcast is not my style (again they are geniuses and great guys, though…) Don’t change a thing, boys. MWAH!

    • Bryan

      Aw, thanks, Linda!