Recently I had the honor of attending my first Novelists, Inc. conference. It is a “must-attend” annually for me from here out. My head is spinning with ideas and information that will change strategy and tactics for me, in big and small ways, and I’ve blogged on specific topics several times already. This week I’m sharing changes to my newsletter strategy that I’ll be implementing as a result of Erica Ridley’s truly outstanding session on newsletters.

First, I have a Thunderclap I’m building. If you would consider supporting it, please join here:

On to the good stuff! For the last few years I’ve been working on building my subscriber list. Not all subscribers are, however, created equal. You want the subscribers that are the epitome of your ideal reader, and you want subscribers that open and act on your content (not just stay subscribed). I have not done a good job on converting subscribers to action, and I’d like to build more quality subscribers. (Read my past post on building your list, here).

Change #1: I’m switching from Mailchimp to Mailer Lite at the recommendation of, well, just about everybody I’ve heard speak on the issue. Why?

—On MailerLite, each subscriber is only counted once. It doesn’t matter how many different “groups” (their version of “lists”) they are in. If you’re on their paid plan, you pay for each person only once.
—More “free” features compared to Mailchimp.
—Two reviewers claimed MailerLite sends “beautiful emails”, as compared to a “formatting look” of Mailchimp.
—Reviewers claim it’s more user friendly compared to Mailchimp.
—They also include 24/7 support by email & chat for paying customers. MailChimp’s chat support is only till 6PM ET.
—Several reviewers liked the feature for landing pages. MailerLite’s interface for building beautiful landing or squeeze pages is simple, easy, and intuitive.

—I found this feature interesting for the “non-opens”. MailerLite has an auto resend feature (unlike MailChimp) The MailerLite auto resend feature allows you to resend a follow up message to subscribers who didn’t open  your email or didn’t click on a single link.Change #2: Emojis and capitalization used to work well for us for opens, and for a lot of other folks, but that included spammers, which meant that over time spam filters starting blocking emails based on inclusion of those kinds of fun attention grabbers. We’re changing strategy on subject lines to keep out of spam traps.

Change #3: Ideal readers want more of what we write. I’ll be sharing a lot of short content that is EXCLUSIVE and free to subscribers, and then publishing it later. Bookfunnel now allows you to sell to readers. I can offer paid exclusives to subscribers as well this way, or exclusive discounts.

Change #4: I’m upping my game with new subscribers with a series of “drip” emails that will come out right after subscription, starting with a voice-y (right tone for my ideal reader from me) welcome, an introduction to my novels and the world and characters, and followed up with exclusive discounts and another free offer.

Change #5: I’ll be focusing on ideal reader subscribers, and to do that I’ll be trying to work with other authors who share the same ideal reader on “swaps”: giveaways to cross-subscribe, and recommendations/announcements for each other. Obviously, not only am I looking for the authors who share the same ideal reader/subscriber profile, but those that have a lot of subscribers.

Change #6: I want to learn from the actions of my subscribers, and reward the subscribers who open and click through (are most engaged) by offering them even more great stuff, to evangelize them. I also want to be sure I’m incentivizing the behaviors I need most from them, mainly: review and recommend.

That’s all I’ve got until next time. Happy American Thanksgiving, all!


Pamela Fagan Hutchins, winner of the 2017 Silver Falchion award for Best Mystery (Fighting for Anna), writes overly long e-mails, hilarious nonfiction (What Kind of Loser Indie Publishes, and How Can I Be One, Too?), and series mysteries, like What Doesn’t Kill You, which includes the bestselling Saving Grace (e-book free everywhere) and the 2015 and 2016 WINNERS of the USA Best Book Award for Cross Genre Fiction, Heaven to Betsy and Hell to Pay. You can snag her newest release, Bombshell, if you’ve already run the rest of the table. She teaches writing, publishing, and promotion at the SkipJack Publishing Online School (where you can take How to Sell a Ton of Books, FREE) and writes about it here on the SkipJack Publishing blog.

Pamela resides deep in the heart of Nowheresville, Texas and in the frozen north of Snowheresville, Wyoming. She has a passion for great writing and smart authorpreneurship as well as long hikes and trail rides with her hunky husband, giant horses, and pack of rescue dogs, donkeys, and goats. She also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound (if she gets a good running start).

Share →

3 Responses to Converting Newsletter Subscribers to Readers and Evangelists

  1. Marcy McKay says:

    I’ve used Aweber from the start. It was PAINFUL to pay for it back in the beginning when I had like 12 subscribers, but I’d heard horror stories of MailChimp shutting down authors for no good reason, then keep their email list.

    I like Aweber. My landing page is connected directly to Aweber, I a nice welcome series and the customer support has always been great. I want to try MailerLite, but KNOW Aweber so well. Here are 2 quick questions:

    1. Did NINC say how many emails to include in the welcome series (the “drip” emails for new subscribers)?

    2. For blog posts, is there an opinion on whether to have the email just be the blog post itself, OR a chatty email talking directly to the reader, then they “click-through” to read the post. I do the latter. My “open” rate is 35%, which is GREAT, but then my click-through drops down to 11% to those who read my posts.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *