Email: Why it’s still the marketer’s best friend

Cartoon: Source: is an essential tool for publishers and authors who plan to create a direct sales channel for their ebooks. It’s on a par with websites and blogging as the most powerful tools in a digital marketer’s kit. In this section, we look at how to build and manage an email list.

Why email is still the marketer’s best friend

Email Contact

With all the glamour of social media, it’s easy to think that email’s time has passed. There’s already evidence that young people use email less than older people.

But as a driver of sales and response, email is still hard to beat – as long as you’re sending it to a list of people who’ve agreed to receive it.

This last point gets to the heart of marketing and publishing success in the internet era.As bestselling author and marketing guru Seth Godin says:

Permission is still the most important and valuable asset of the web (and of publishing).

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It takes years to build a really good, permission-based email database. It’s not something you can do in the weeks surrounding a book launch.

Of course, email isn’t the only permission-based system. Social media, too, are permission-based. But a name on your email database opens up more possibilities for direct and compelling communication, and direct and repeat sales.

If you’re publishing in a non-fiction area, or selling a series, this is especially important. You can build an entire business around a permission-based email database.

Tip: A term you’ll hear often, and a key aspect of email list building, is opt-in. This refers to the process of gaining permission from the user for their contact details to be held and used in specified ways for marketing, usually by getting them to check a box agreeing to terms.

A system called double opt-in is even better and is required by some email service providers. People signing up to a mailing list are sent a confirming email which they must respond to before their subscription is activated.  

Next we’ll look at ways to manage your email lists.


Find out more about this topic on our Digital Publishing 101 useful resources site.


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