You look at your inbox, and there are all these catchy email headlines tempting you to open them, take yet another course, buy yet another product.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t begrudge successful author entrepreneurs or social media experts with enticing offers. I also use email marketing and hawk my books and services from time to time too.
But last week it just seemed like too much. Let me give you some examples of the headlines in my inbox:
- 50 Ways to Get More Facebook Fans
- 5 Things You Should Be Doing with Your Content But Aren’t
- Why You Need to Sell Courses Starting Now!
This is my response to those headlines.
50 Ways to Get More Facebook Fans
With Facebook’s new algorithm tweaks, which will make it impossible for a typical indie author to have a successful Facebook page, I doubt that there are any ways to get more fans aside from paying beaucoup money for advertising.
Facebook’s reason for tinkering with the algorithm wasn’t nefarious. They surveyed hundreds of thousands of people who said they want to see more content from friends and “Pages they care about and less promotional content.” Facebook went on to say:
We dug further into the data to better understand this feedback. What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads. This may seem counterintuitive, but it actually makes sense: News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional Page posts. Now we’re bringing new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages.
What does all this mean for you? Well, you can encourage people to like your page by including reminders in your newsletter, at the bottom of your blog posts, and in your email signature, but from years of doing this I’ve got to tell you that the number of people who take the extra step is few.
I have a Facebook Page, and I’m keeping it, but I no longer recommend that indie authors try to start or maintain a Facebook page. This is a radical turnabout for me. (I’ll discuss an alternative for you in an upcoming post.)My advice: Don't start an author Facebook page Click To Tweet
The bottom line is that if you want a Facebook page (not a profile where you have friends, not fans), buy lots of advertising. That is your true alternative to doing well with your Facebook author page.
5 Things You Should Be Doing with Your Content But Aren’t
This seemingly is a great headline for a blog post. But remember, I was in one of those moods last week. I didn’t want to read that I’m doing something wrong with my content, which, by the way, I work hard on.
I probably would have read a post with this headline: 5 Things You Absolutely Must Do with Your Content. That’s a headline that I would tap to learn more.
The lesson here is to keep your blog post headlines positive and provide the content that your readers crave. You’ll get more readers, like me.
I want to make another point. Content marketing works. We only need to look at successful authors and publishing experts to verify this fact: Joel Friedlander, Joanna Penn, and Jane Friedman, to name just a few.
Content marketing has been the basis of my business. I’ve never purchased a Google Ad and I’ve only bought a small handful of Facebook ads. All of the relationships that I’ve developed online (Jane Friedman, Joanna Penn, Anne R. Allen, and Paula Krapf just to name a few) are a result of content marketing. So don’t ignore this powerful strategy.Provide the content that your readers craveClick To Tweet
Why You Need to Sell Courses Starting Now!
Confession time: I’m working on a course. Well, I offer a free, email-based course, and I’m slowly working on a course authors like you can purchase.
And I’m slowly making my way into video, too, although none are for public consumption at this time.
What I object to, I guess, is the demand that everyone needs to create and sell courses. Do fiction authors need to sell courses? No. (Caveat: Unless you’re like Joanna Penn or Mark Dawson.) Do nonfiction authors need to sell courses? Some of them probably should but not all of them.
The idea that you need to create and sell your course now and not get left behind is a call to action that is tiring. Don’t you agree? It feeds into the FOMO syndrome (Fear of Missing Out).
Experts use the same reasoning for podcasting, and I mistakenly fell for it. So the lesson here is: Don’t worry about selling courses. If it makes sense for your business, do it. Otherwise, delete the email and move on.
9 Lessons for Moving Forward
So what can you learn from my inbox last week?
- Make your blog post headlines encouraging and enticing.
- Carefully craft your email headlines.
- I know that urgency sells, but sometimes it can be tiring. Use this motivational style sparingly. (I can sense marketers groaning at me.)
- Be authentic.
- Be respectful of your readers.
- Don’t send too many emails.
- Make sure your emails contain the content that your readers need and enjoy.
- Don’t make your email headlines sound as though the end of the world is near.
- When you’re overwhelmed by email, tap the delete icon mercilessly, take a deep breath, and know that tomorrow your inbox will be tamer.
About the Author: Frances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several books including The Author’s Guide to Goodreads, and Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writer conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Ask Frances to prepare a social media audit for you.