Email open rates are going down. I’ve heard the chatter in author marketing groups, the worry that readers are growing tried and weary of the same ole marketing tactics. While there are all kinds of marketing hooks you can use to improve your email marketing, it’s just as important to meet your fans, your readers, where they are at.
Recently I received an email from a fan who told me he has over 10,000 unread emails in his inbox. How he had the time to open one of my emails and respond is a mystery to me, but it’s obvious, people aren’t reading their emails.
Back in the day, people didn’t think twice about sending email. Getting a personal message in your inbox was like discovering gold and everyone loved it. But then…along came the marketers.
The marketers created sales funnels, email marketing swipe copy and strategies, allowing you to copy and paste in order to attract more people to your funnel, and sell more of your product and services. It still works…but only if you can get people to open your emails.
Starting in March of 2017 I used a variety of tactics to grow my author email list by over 10,000 subscribers in just under 6 months. The results don’t lie, email is a powerful tool and it’s still king.
I’ve seen my book sales double, reviews have tripled, and I’m learning some advanced book marketing strategies thanks to rubbing shoulders with bestselling authors. While my email list grows at the rate of 1,000 subscribers a month, I continue to do research on ways to reach new readers and engage with them.
While email marketing is a must have, as the trends in technology rise and fall, I believe it’s imperative for authors to be on the cutting edge of what’s new in marketing. While marketing tactics come with a degree of risk, the pay-off can be quite spectacular.
In August of 2017, I decided to build out a ChatBot to connect with readers and engage with them.
What is a ChatBot?
A ChatBot sends automated messages to your social media inbox. There are ChatBots for Facebook, Instagram and other platforms. In order to do my research, I subscribed to a bot called Bookbot Bob. Bookbot Bob does what many platforms like Bookbub, Freebooksy and others do. Every day, they send readers a message about free or discounted books in the genre readers have selected. With Bookbot Bob – instead of sending you an email, you receive a message on Facebook.
Do you need to opt-in?
Chatbots do not send you unsolicited message, you have to opt in and you can opt out or change your preferences at any time. This is key. When people think about receiving messaging in their inbox, it can feel like an invasion of privacy. After all, we all get those spam emails from businesses we’ve never signed up for. The opt-in is required.
How does it work?
Like a sales funnel, ChatBots are built out of content that you, the author, creates. You can create sequences, add tags, and send users through different sales funnels based on the response they choose and how they opted in. Just remember, when you’re creating content, act like a person chatting with a friend, it makes you likeable and encourages engagement.
The first step in creating a ChatBot is integrating with with social media. Just like you have to choose an email provider, you also have to choose a provider for your ChatBot. There are a few platforms I recommend, I’ve used ManyChat and Chatfuel and from early data don’t have a preference regarding either tool. Both of these tools are free to use and an excellent way to set up sequences, growth tools, lead pages, and send messages to your subscribers.
These tools allow you to send out images, video, add buttons, links and others things to engage your subscribers and keep them coming back. Here are some examples of a ChatBot in action.
Use the Chatbot to increase sales. I created a post on Facebook announcing my October 9 book release. When people commented on it, they were sent a message with details on how to purchase the book. The messages are multi-layered, meaning, depending on what button people click, more options become available.
Use the Chatbot to engage with fans. During the release of Eliesmore and the Green Stone, I decided to conduct a Read Along. Each day over 80 days, participants read 1 chapter from the book and share their thoughts in the Fan Club. In order to get people to join I did 2 things.
#1 – created an opt-in in the header of the book sales page for Eliesmore and the Green Stone. Before someone leaves the page they receive a message asking if they’d like to join the Read Along. If they say yes, a message is sent to them on Facebook and they can choose to opt-in. The message has details on how to join the Read Along and where to get the book if they don’t already have it.
#2 – Once your bot is integrated with Facebook, you can create a post and have people opt-in when they leave a comment. Once people drop in a comment, your bot will automatically send them a response.
Result: I’ve seen an increase in book sales and have added subscribers to my list. Plus, I have a 100% open rate and a 90% click rate.
Why do I want people to subscribe to the bot? Since the Read Along takes place in my Facebook Group, it’s another way to improve the engagement. Each week there is a giveaway, and when a giveaway goes live, I can broadcast a message to everyone who has subscribed to the bot. This retains the audience and you don’t have to worry about people “not seeing” your Facebook posts in your group.
You can get creative with the way you setup your bot, just keep in mind, although bots are excellent for increasing your engagement on Facebook, it’s still a good idea to keep growing your email list.
See it in action:
It took me a while to come up with sequences for the bot and I’m constantly improving. However, if you’d like to see it in action, go over to my Facebook page: The Four Worlds Series, and send me a message. You’ll be able to see my automatic response and choose your next action.
Now, the response you receive when you go directly to my Facebook Page is different from the response you’ll receive if you visit my website. To see it in action, visit my website here.
All in all, having a bot to help you out with book marketing is worth it to keep the book sales and engagement up on social media. It’s also a fun new way to engage with readers who aren’t exhausted from the never ending emails.
If you’re an author and you’d like to promote your book via a bot, Bookbot has options available for authors. Learn more about them here.
Will you use a Chatbot to market your books? Share your thoughts in the comments below.