Borrow Other People’s Mailing List For Extended Reach
Borrowing other people’s mailing list is a powerful strategy to employ if you want to rapidly reach new people about your book. At the same time, it’s a strategy that forces you to follow certain rules if you want this to work for you time and time again. Approach this in the wrong way, and you will miss major opportunities every time.
By: T. Eldidge, creator of Marketing Tips For Authors.
What do I mean when I say “borrow” other people’s mailing list? Simply, find a way to have your content included in someone’s newsletter. There are several ways you can achieve this. Some ways cost money; some ways you can barter for; still other ways you can provide something of unique value to the list owner and his or her readers.
Before we go any further, there are some things you need to know about the mindset of most list owners. To some extent, they probably think about their lists in the following ways:
* There is a degree of protectiveness for their lists. Most people have privacy policies not to sell their names to other people, but even if they don’t, your chances of asking them if you can send a message to their list will probably earn you a quick and strait forward “no.” Why? Because they value the list. They know if they start letting everyone use it to send messages, people would start unsubscribing in droves. If that happens, their list loses value rapidly. For more information on the value of mailing lists, read Golden Nugget: Collect E-Mail Addresses.
* List owners can be polarized into one of two different mindsets. They can either have the practice of never using their list to discuss anything but their own products and purposes or they can monetize their list and sell advertisements, placement and content of all sorts. Of course, you do have the ones sprinkles in between on the continuum. By conducting a little market research, you should be able to find out where the list you have targeted falls.
* Most lists owners are looking for good, relevant content for their subscribers. The bottom line is that the good list owners are more concerned about keeping their subscribers happy that they are about making a quick buck or in making you happy.
Knowing this, you can start to formulate a marketing plan on how to get your content in other people’s newsletters or mailings. Since the purpose of my blog is to help authors find marketing ideas while on a shoestring budget, we are going to rule out the mega lists whose sole purposes are to sell you and me access to their lists. I have seen lists that charges thousands of dollars for a small placement in a single newsletter issue.
That means we need to focus on the lists where we have a shot at providing useful content for their readers. Remember, the goal in getting mentioned in someone’s newsletter is not always to make the immediate book sale. It is to find subscribers to your own newsletter. Again, refer to my earlier mentioned article link for the importance of this.
So, you do the research and you find a few good, mature, healthy mailing lists that you would love to be in. You know this because you have read the sites associated with the newsletter and you have subscribed to it yourself. To give you the best chance of making it in one of these newsletters, follow these steps:
1. Understand what the purpose of the newsletter is and be able to articulate how you have the ability to enhance or complement that purpose.
2. Decide on a value added measure you can bring to the table. This doesn’t always mean you have to write a 3000 page reference book and make it available to the lists readers. I have seen free tips offered to people in exchange for their e-mail address that was nothing more than ten bulleted one liners. Here are some ideas for you to consider about what, of value, you can offer a list owner that will cost you some elbow grease but not a lot of cash up front:
Offer to give away a signed copy of your book to a lucky winner of the list
Offer to set up a live chat and have a Q&A; session with the subscribers
Create an e-book with content made just for the people on the list
Create a resource room on your site where only members of the list have access
Offer to submit site related articles to the lists owner’s web site, newsletter or blog
Be creative in what you offer the list owner. Chances are, after spending a little time on his or her site, on in their newsletter, you will see something that will resonate with them.
3. Contact the list owner via e-mail and introduce yourself. List your writing credits and anything else that supports your assertion of being an expert. Explain what you like about their site/newsletter and let them know you have a similar subscriber/visitor base and you would love to be a resource to him/her for their subscribers.
**NOTE** This can be a tricky part and you can blow it here if you are not careful. You need to show the list owner how you can be a resource to him for his subscribers. If he ever thinks you are in competition with him over his subscribers, then you will have no chance at working with him.
4a. Refer to an article on the site or in the newsletter that you agree with and let them know you were working on a similar article. Propose that he or she take a look at it when it is complete and offer to let them use it as a piece that corroborates their article.
4b. Let the list owner know that you are adding him/her to your professional network and you would be interested in offering one of his visitors/subscribers a signed copy of your book. Tell them that all they have to do is run a contest of their choice and then submit to you the name and address of the winner you need to send the book to. (Your hope here is that he/she will publicize the contest in his newsletter and/or website giving you more exposure. I have used this technique successfully, but usually after we have had a dialog going for a bit. I never spring this on someone the first time I meet them unless we really hit it off).
4c. Let the list owner that you have created an e-book, resource room, white page, etc… for your subscribers and you will be willing to let her subscribers have access to it for free. Offer to send her a copy to look over and make sure it’s something of value to her subscribers/visitors.
Whatever you offer in part 4, you need to make sure it is a value added piece to the list owner for his subscribers. Taking these extra steps of really researching the list owner and making personalized value added offers can sometimes even convince the person who never talks about anyone but themselves and their products to talk about you to their subscribers.
5. You may have had several exchanges by now, but eventually the list owner will say, “Yes” (to your original request or to a modified agreement that you two may have reached), or she will say “No.” You should always view “No” as “Not at this time.” You planted a seed. She will now be more aware of your name and just may contact you at a later time. Even that “No” is a small success for you. You have effectively made yourself aware to a person with a strong site and/or newsletter.
6a. If “Yes,” follow through on every detail of your agreement and meet every deadline. Give your best effort. Don’t think of this as having gotten the job; rather, you have just been granted permission to interview before the real boss. The CEO. The Subscriber.
6b. If “No,” thank the list owner and let them know you will be happy to help them in every way you can. Periodically follow up with a quick note to stay in front of them. You can share an interesting link, share your own articles, or to let them know that you just linked to their blog from your blog.
These tips may cost you some elbow grease, but they could land you on some very active lists that are responsive to you and your book. You may be surprised at where this leads you:
* Recurring appearances before the list owner’s subscribers
* Referrals by the list owner to other list owners
* A jump in your own subscriber base as people resonate with you and your book
I would be remiss if I didn’t end with a few warnings, so here they are:
* Don’t offer a discount off of your book as your sole “value added” proposal. You will probably be looked at as someone wanting free advertisement rather than the resource you are trying to convey that you are
* Don’t expect someone who has never met you to take your word about what you can offer. Offer to link them to examples of your work.
* Never pass on an opportunity to be mentioned in some way on a site or in a newsletter, even if they are not giving you what you want. Any reference to you puts you in front of the eyes of people who may become you next readers.
* Don’t lie about who you are. If you received a BA in Communications don’t claim to be a botanist specializing in Southwest American Landscaping.
*Don’t over promise. If you make an offer that they accept, you move heaven and earth to deliver. And whatever you do, don’t show up at deadline with an infomercial about your book in place of what you originally promised. Do we really need to say this? I’m afraid so. I have seen this happen on more than one occasion.
I hope you have found some tips in here that you can use in your quest to “borrow” other people’s mailing lists. With a little effort and practice, you will begin to develop and refine your own pitch. Before long, you will find yourself in front of many more people that you thought possible.