Is Email Marketing Dead??

“Email marketing is dead,” the person told me. “People can delete your email on a whim and you’ve wasted your time. Not only that, but your emails all too often land in their spam folders.

“If I advertise on Facebook, I can dive deep on the demographics of the people I’m trying to reach.

“If I advertise on Amazon, I can choose the genre and then market our books to people who would likely purchase our books.

“Online marketing is the future.

“I’m not so sure,” I replied.

Do you really need an email list?

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Let’s take a closer look at email marketing versus online marketing.

The Downside of Email Marketing

It’s time-consuming. Let’s be honest. Email marketing can be a time and energy suck. Building your list, then managing it on an email platform, and then writing the content for even one email can be overwhelming.

It costs money. Studies indicate that the average cost of obtaining one email address is $15. For one email address.

Sending more than 30 emails through your personal provider will get you flagged for spamming. So, you need to send your emails through an email marketing platform. While these platforms offer free services, they’re pretty limited in what you can do unless you sign up for a monthly subscription.

There’s no shortcut to building your list. Most email marketing platforms enforce strict measures to prevent spammers. Years ago, I purchased 120,000 email addresses of likely customers. But in order to actually promote to those email addresses, I was forced to work with an expensive, shady operation out of Canada that involved ghost emails so my web host wouldn’t shut me down.

It wasn’t worth the time and stress. Plus it felt a little creepy.

You’re on a constant search for new content. Where do you find fresh content so you don’t keep repeating yourself?

Email marketing has downsides, but so does online marketing.

The Downside of Online Marketing

You need to get ed-u-ma-cated. Launching a Facebook promotional campaign is easy, right? Just set it and forget it. Not so much. If you try the DIY approach to Facebook marketing, you’re likely going to spin your wheels and waste your money. Believe me, I’ve tried it. You can take classes online, at the cost of time and money.

The same goes with other forms of online marketing, including Instagram and Amazon. See below for what happened to me when I didn’t know what I was doing with our Amazon advertising…

It’s costly. A few years ago, when I began dipping my toes in online advertising, I prepared a book promotion on Amazon—and decided to set it and forget it. One week and $600 later, I stopped the campaign because I completely exceeded my budget.

You can test the waters on your own, to your peril, or you can hire a professional to maximize your budget.

You have absolutely no control over your followers. A year ago, someone hacked my personal page onFacebook, so they shut it down. After jumping through all their hoops to prove I was the real Mike Klassen, my account—with 2,000 Facebook friends—was still shut down six months later.

Finally, last March, I decided to start over again from zero. Talk about frustration. But it can get even worse…

What do you do when Instagram or Facebook don’t agree—or worse yet, misunderstand—the message of your book? In this new age of censorship, you can get shut down without explanation.

A good friend of mine, who released a book with a traditional publishing company, suddenly discovered that Amazon didn’t like the content of her book. So they banned it. She has no recourse.

Algorithms can—and will—change without notice. Amazon used to be a great place to advertise books. I mean, people surf the Amazon for one reason: to spend money.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine made a healthy full-time living writing eBooks which he advertised through the online bookseller. The man was a book writing machine, with as many as eight releases a year. He conducted workshops on how to make a full-time living as an Amazon author.

Then Amazon changed their algorithms. As is the practice of Amazon, Facebook, Google, and any other social media platform, they can change their search engine formulas without informing anyone of the new formula. The last I heard, my frustrated friend secured a day job and no longer writes books.

I no longer recommend Amazon advertising because I don’t know anyone who is actually making money on it.

Before you get overly depressed, there is an upside to all of this.

The Upside of Online Marketing

You can reach new readers. Through Facebook or Instagram, you can find readers you wouldn’t normally be able to reach. Unless you’re under 30 years of age, though, you probably need the help of a gifted millennial.

You can use it to build your email list. And that’s my point.

The Upside of Email Marketing

Content is king. The old adage is true. If you can generate fresh, helpful content, you’ll be able to build your list and people will read your emails.

You’re in control of your audience. No one—not Facebook, not Instagram, not Amazon—can touch or even communicate with your private, email list—as long as you abide by the rules of your email marketing platform. In my experience, they haven’t been nearly as controlling. JUST DON’T BREAK THEIR RULES!!

You’re building a community of loyal fans. Readers on your email list rarely read every email. But they know who you are and they know where to find you. Best of all, it presents an opportunity for them to know you. Ask them questions and invite them to respond. This will build trust with people who will most likely read your book.

You can try out new ideas on people who want you to succeed. Want feedback on a book cover or a plot twist? Ask your readers. They’ll tell you what they want.

The Bottom Line

Both are useful for selling books, but nothing can supplant the foundation of email marketing.

I mean, you’re reading this email, aren’t you?

Then supplement it with other online marketing strategies, with the help of someone who knows what they’re doing.

Next week, I give you some tips on building your email list.

This Goes Without Saying…

If your book doesn’t look high-quality—inside and out—you’re wasting your time on marketing.

Professionally designed covers that appeal to your audience will increase the likelihood that readers will actually read your book.

You need a professional copyeditor (not your friend who teaches English in middle school).

You need a professional typesetter. Automated services will never be able to replicate the work of a person who actually knows what they’re doing.

You need a professional copywriter who will write the back cover copy and Amazon description.

No one, not even bestselling authors, can release a high-quality book on their own.

Our team of professionals can transform your story or message into a book that looks, feels, and reads like a Harper Collins or Random House release.

Now is The Time to Respond

Due to rising publishing costs, we’re going to be adjusting our rates in January.

If you’re remotely interested in publishing your book next year, then you owe it to yourself to explore your publishing possibilities with Illumify.

Schedule a strategy session with me by clicking here.

Let’s bring your book to life!

Michael J. Klassen

President, Illumify Media