Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Marketing Funnel by PK Hrezo

The Marketing Funnel
Thanks so much to Susan for letting me take over her blog today. I always enjoy her posts so it’s a pleasure to be here. When she told me she thought a post on marketing would be good, I got all excited. That’s because I just finished a month long course on the subject, and want to share it.

So what’s a marketing funnel? I’m glad you asked. It’s what every author needs in order to maintain an active relationship with readers, fans, and customers. This is done by having an email list or newsletter.
I know you’ve all heard how important it is to have a newsletter/email list before, just as I had, but having its relevance broken down to me over the recent course really drove it home. Here’s why:

It’s a proven fact that email recipients are more likely to buy your book over anyone who sees it on social media. Social media is NOT a reliable marketing tool. Most of the time ads and promos just pass by as white noise or don’t get seen at all. Someone who signs up for your email list/newsletter, however, is actively agreeing to become accessible to you.

How does the funnel come into play? Well I mentioned that social media isn’t reliable for selling books, but it is reliable in harnessing potential email recipients, therefore turning all your social media outlets into a single funnel for your main marketing tool: the email list/newsletter.

They work together. Let’s say you run a clever blog, but don’t get on Twitter or Facebook much. No problem. Just make sure you have a place for people to sign up for your email list on your blog. Make sure it’s visible.

Same for Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn … If you use them regularly and have fun status updates and participation, make sure your home page filters back to your email list. You’re collecting and funneling potential customers and clients into this list, so that when you do send out your newsletter announcement of a new book or special offer, they will absolutely %100 see it.
Everyone uses email. Everyone.

If you’re like me, you’re inundated with emails and the thought of getting more makes you cringe. But not everyone out there is a writer who gets the amounts of email we do, so give them the chance to connect with you in a reliable way that will make your contact with them personal, and allow it to grow.
Think of social media as your tools and use them to funnel in strangers so that they become real fans. This allows you to connect with new readers.

Make a plan and stick to the tools you’re good at. You can’t do all of them well so don’t try. And if you want a surefire way to bring people into your email list, give away something for free when they sign up. Things that work well are first eBooks in a series, or PDF reports of what works for you--like tips on craft or cover designs. This is the age of DIY and if you offer something useful, they will come.
You don’t want your newsletter to be JUST promo stuff either. Give your readers something of value each time, whether it be content you’ve already shared on your blog or directing them to a recent post ON your blog. Then, include your latest announcement or offer. This will keep the people on your list opening your emails.

Share what you’re learning while you’re on this journey and offer to help others.
Many of you are like me and have worked hard on maintaining a blog presence, so this idea of adding another job to an already time consuming one is a bit daunting. I get that. But the problem with blogs nowadays is that people are not going out to look for them anymore. Your followers may or may not see your posts, but the same details in an email list WILL be seen when it’s convenient for the person to open their email.

This is some of what I learned from Tim Grahl’s marketing course. I took it because I’m not good with marketing—I’m a creative person, an artist, and I’m better at the actual production. But I knew I needed to change that attitude, especially since I’m indie and in charge of ALL my marketing.
If you’re not familiar with Tim, he’s the successful author of Your First 1000 Copies, which he indie published last year and has just hit 10k in sales. He shares his story here in this link—about what worked and what didn’t, and I highly suggest listening to it.

Thanks so much for stopping by here today! If you have any questions on using email and newsletters as a marketing tool, just ask in the comments and I’ll answer to the best of my ability. If you’d like to sign up for my email list, here’s the link:
I give my email list an exclusive first peek at what I’m working on and special offers only available to them.

Tell me, what have you found to be a successful marketing tool? Is there anything you dislike seeing? Do you think we’re too overloaded with promos on social media? Please share … 

 PK Hrezo is the author of Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. and Diary of a Teenage Time Traveler. Her sequel, Induction Day, is due out late summer. You can find her on her blog:
Or website:

Thanks, PK, for taking over my blog today. You're very convincing about the newsletter. You've given my so much to think about. What do all you readers think?


  1. Thanks for another great post, Susan and PK. I can see why newsletters are the perfect marketing tool.

    I must admit I signed up to a popular newsletter provider and stalled at the first hurdle - I had to give my address and from what I can see, your newsletter recipients can access that information. I didn't like the thought of anyone knowing my home address. Then I thought just get a P.O. Box. That way I can keep my address private. But they aren't cheap. So, I decided to put off doing a newsletter until a two or three months before I publish my next book. As I'll be publishing more not long after, hopefully the sales will help offset the cost. At least that's the plan!

  2. I have been getting Tim's emails, but haven't read his book. How often does the newsletter have to go out? Can I get away with twice a year? Still have no idea what I would put in my newsletter...

  3. Hi, PK! Good luck with your upcoming release.

  4. Thanks for being here, PK. You've convinced me. Added to the todo list and I'll be scoping out your newsletter.

  5. Ugg the thing that gets me is it is another friggin task to do. Blogging every single day keeps me relevant there, but yeah a newsletter may work. have to look into it.

  6. Ellie, I know what you mean... that threw me off too, but then I figured it's so easy to look that stuff up on the web anyway, it prolly wasn't worth me worrying about.

    Alex, Tim suggests twice a month--but not just to promo yourself, to include useful content WITH your promos. But it's really up to you how much you like to send. I hope to start a monthly routine. The good thing is that you can refurbish your blog content to put in your newsletter so you don't have to come up with new stuff.

    Thanks for stopping ny Armchair Squid!

    And thanks again for having me Susan!

    Pat, I hear ya! I thought the same thing, but where blogging goes out to anyone who looks at your page, newsletters go out to the peeps who become your exclusive fans, and you can reward them for that. Not that you can't do it with your blog, but peeps tend to feel more special when you single them out--which means they're more likely to buy your work. I always mention in my newsletter that only THEY get to see the info FIRST.

  7. I've been debating for a long time about starting a newsletter. I'm so busy as it is now though with all my writing, blogging, etc. that I cringe at the though of adding something else, even if I can reuse some info from my blog. Another thing that I wonder about is the fact that I'm a new author. I don't have as many fans as you, Alex, or Pat, so I worry i'd be wasting my time and energy because only a few would sign up. It does sound like a good idea though. I'll have to look into it more.

  8. Great post, PK.

    I agree that people have grown desensitized to ads. I know I have.

    My Twitter feed flies by too fast to see much, and I rarely buy from that anyway. I occasionally check out something I see on FB. Mostly I buy from e-book ads I subscribe to (Fussy Librarian, Kindle Romance Review...), email notifications of new releases from favorite authors (via Amazon author page opt-in), or occasionally from word of mouth.

    Though I have no way to know exactly why most of my customers purchased Come Back, I think the e-book ads (DBT, TKRR) were the source of most of the sales.

    I follow lots of writer's blogs, but when it comes to my choices as a reader, I prefer email ads or newsletters that have a narrow and selective schedule. I've subscribed to a few author's newsletters and unsubscribed again because they send out things too frequently.

    It would be interesting to see if readers (who aren't writers) feel the same, or if their threshold for newsletter frequency is higher. Also, if they want more than just cover reveal and new release information--like giveaways, information/articles, etc.

  9. Great tips, PK!! I'm bookmarking this post for when I'm ready to start a marketing plan (ugh, even that phrase makes me want to crawl under a rock and hide... ;) ) I like the funnel metaphor!

  10. Chrys I know what you mean. Last thing we need is more to do. But don't think of yourself as too small of a name--think of yourself as in the beginning stages and start collecting those emails now and continue to grow it. You'll be glad you did. You don't have to send anything out til you're ready. Every few months or so just to stay active, and you can expand from there when you're ready.

    Melissa, that's awesome you've had success with ads. They're such a huge help when you find the right audience.
    I think actual readers see newsletters much differently than we do. The best way to grab those new readers too is buy having that link in the backs of our books to funnel them into our email list. We have to grab them while we can, cuz it's so easy to forget about things in this age of info saturation.

  11. Thanks Liz! lol I know! *cringe* But the key to marketing is not to dread it--the key is to have FUN with it! If you're not having fun, than nobody else will either. That one little aspect will set you apart. Have fun with your newsletters and social media, and they'll come looking for how they can get more of you. And those real fans will feel special being on your personal email list. ;)

  12. When my YA/NA series was coming out, I had a newsletter that went out every month. I also collect emails at all of my seminars. I must have a database of 10,000 or more now.

  13. Thanks Shelly!

    Wow Diane that's incredible ! Good for you! :D

  14. This post couldn't be more timely for me! Just this morning I talked myself out of building an e-mail list...looks like I'm being told to do otherwise. I think once I have a solid plan for what to include in my e-mails it will be easier for me to move forward. THANK YOU for these tips & thanks, Susan, for bringning PK's wisdome to us.

  15. Nicki, I'm glad you found it helpful. I think an action plan is the best way to go--I have to do the same and make it a mandatory part of my schedule.

  16. Fantastic post! I've done a lot of things lately, but I haven't set up a newsletter yet. That's one thing I definitely need to do.

  17. A good reminder. I still don't have a mailing list and I know that's a mistake. Hopefully your post will push me to organize one.

  18. Definitely Christine! The sooner the better!

    Thanks Vanessa! Start collecting those emails now! :)

  19. Thanks for this advice, Pk. I struggle with marketing and need all the help I can get LOL. I've read before about the importance of a newsletter but this really clarified things for me. Definitely need to get one set up.

    Thanks to both of you for this very helpful post!

  20. I'm back at the starting point with the Catch-22 beginner's dilemma. I haven't gathered e-mail addresses because I have no idea what I'd send out and I haven't tried to create a newsletter because I have no one to sent it to. I need a jump start.

  21. Great blog PK and Susan.I've been hearing more and more about funnel marketing. I looked at the newsletter as a chore when another writer started hers in Jan and encouraged me to do it. Finally I decided to try it by setting up a subscriber sign up in June. My first newsletter went out last week to 25 subscribers. As for content-they got an advance cover reveal of my upcoming release, an excerpt and a blog/article from an author that was kind enough to do one for me. Too early to know results but I'm glad I took the leap

  22. Thanks Julie! I know you'll be great with it once you get it started.

    LD I know what you mean, but you have to start somewhere. It's a slow build, but that's ok. We all start somewhere.

    Hi Michelle! That's great! What a perfect way to get your feet wet and get into a routine of email marketing. Wishing you much luck with it!

  23. Great post. Blogger is nice because it lets you set up a "subscribe to this by email". I've been told I need a newsletter, but if my "fans" are looking at my blog as a way to get to know me, they can just sign up for the blog via email. I don't really know if it works or not, I haven't a clue as to how many people actually do that, but every time I announce a new book coming out, I get a spike in sales. And I only announce once on Twitter because I don't market at ALL!


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