When you’re marketing your product and your business, it’s always about providing value. For small businesses promoting their products, it’s natural to want to sell, sell, sell, but nurturing relationships and leads over time by providing value is a more effective technique than a direct sell. So let’s talk about one strategy that can help you sell your self-published poetry collection—creating a freebie that provides value to potential customers, using that as a tool to grow your email list, and, in turn, increasing your book sales. Check out these steps on how to make it happen:
Before creating a freebie, think about your audience
The goal of creating a freebie is to provide information and value that addresses a need your audience has. Don’t just assume what your followers want to know! Go through your social media feed and look at what your followers are asking you—what kinds of questions are you getting? Your audience will likely be made up of fellow poets and poetry enthusiasts that write or dabble in poetry, so keep that in mind.
These considerations should help you identify the topic and the blueprint you will use when creating a freebie to grow your email list.
Here are some considerations for creating a freebie as you develop your topic:
- It needs to be a problem solver. If it’s not solving a problem and fulfilling a need your reader has, then it won’t provide the value needed to ultimately sell your work.
- It offers a quick win. You want the user of the freebie to feel good and to quickly feel the value of it, so make it something that’s easy to accomplish and digest.
- The more specific, the better. In some cases you’ll want to cast a wider net with a more general topic for your freebie, but most of the time, it’s beneficial to be specific in what your freebie offers. You can zero in on a specific element of a style of poetry or one component of poetry, etc.
- Along with offering a quick win, you want it to provide enough detail to be useful but simple and concise enough to be easily digested.
- Have it set up so that it can be accessed immediately when someone signs up for your email list so they’re not kept waiting (more on that later).
Figure out the format for your freebie
Just as important as identifying the topic for your freebie is determining what format you want to use. As a creative, you know the sky’s the limit, and your freebie should be a reflection of you and your creative process. Are you a list person? Maybe your freebie should be a poetry checklist with the necessary components of a certain poetry style. Are you all about stream of consciousness and free-flowing creativity? Then think about designing a journaling guide that helps readers structure their process and organize their ideas.
Here are some other ideas for creating a freebie:
- A resource guide with a list of beginner resources to help poetry newbies
- A writing calendar that helps you break down a poetry collection over time
- A booklet with inspirational quotes and journal prompts that give poets an opportunity to journal and develop poems on a range of topics
Get your design on
The substance of your freebie and the value it provides should be your primary concern, but the design and appearance of your freebie matter too. The required effort and the difficulty of the design will vary based on the type of freebie you want to create. If you’re up for the task, using a site like Canva is a free and relatively easy option to design the freebie on your own. The site has premade templates, or you can take pieces and incorporate them into your own design. If you want something more in-depth and you have the budget to do so, another option is to hire a graphic designer or marketing service to design your freebie for you.
Set up your email platform to grow your list
At this point, you’ll want to have your freebie creation underway so when it’s finalized, you’ll be able to implement, promote, and use it to start building your email list. There are several email platforms that offer automation and tools to help you with this. Some options include FloDesk, Constant Contact, and ConvertKit. Personally, we recommend FloDesk.
Create your email sequence
So at this point, you’ve got your freebie hot off the presses, and your Mailchimp account is set up and ready to go. Now what? It’s time to set up your email sequence. Mailchimp offers email automation that will help you build out your initial communication to readers who want to access your freebie. Here are the basic parts you’ll need to build in Mailchimp as part of your email sequence:
- A landing page – This is a page that reiterates your offer—the freebie—and describes how it provides value and will help the person signing up improve their poetry game. It needs to include a form that collects basic information, including their name, email address, and other details you want to gather.
- A thank you/confirmation page – This page (it can also be an email) is where someone is directed after they’ve successfully signed up to receive the freebie on your landing page. This page needs some basic language thanking them for signing up and a link or information about how the freebie will be sent to them. Here is a guide on how to send your freebie document to the subscriber as part of your email automation in Mailchimp.
- A follow up email sequence – More on that a bit later.
- A sales page – More on that later, too.
Push people to your freebie landing page!
Your landing page and beginnings of an email sequence are ready to go, so what’s next? Now it’s time to push people to your freebie. Here’s where all of your work on social media will come in handy! Social media is the best tool you have to encourage people to learn about and engage with your landing page.
Plan a social media campaign that talks about your freebie and the value it adds (we recommend using some of your landing page copy and repurposing it here). Make sure to include the link to your landing page, and don’t focus on the sale of your self-published poetry collection. Don’t overdo these posts; make sure they’re a part of your content mix, but do them regularly and when appropriate, and share them in the poetry groups you’re a part of (check the group’s self-promotion rules first!).
You can also boost your posts to a targeted audience, including your page followers and those that fit within a certain demographic, or you can do this for free with your organic traffic.
Use your email list wisely
With your amazing freebie out in the world and people signing up on your landing page, you’ve got new subscribers flowing into your email list. This is where restraint is your friend. Now that you’ve got this receptive audience that is aware of you and has gained value from using your freebie, you may be tempted to go full-on sales mode for your self-published poetry collection. Use this list wisely! Do not spam subscribers with continual messages. Not only will users unsubscribe, but you’re unlikely to get any sales with this tactic.
Develop a schedule for email content that works with your availability, and send clients follow-up that continues to build the relationship and provide value. You can send out communication to your list about your poetry collection and drive sales, but as always, make sure you’re emphasizing the value, even if that value is just for recreation or entertainment.