The Power of Your Customer List: Feel the Love By Amy H. Kalinchuk

When I published my first book, Making Soap In Your Own Kitchen, I was brand new to book marketing. Heck, I wrote the book to teach myself how to write and publish a book! Soap making is a subject that I know a lot about, and I knew I wanted to publish my own stuff. So I wrote it, and published it as an ebook. I continue to sell a modest amount of these books through my website. In its second year, I made about $1,800 after royalties from that book. I don’t know how much money others make, but I thought that was pretty good.

During this second year of publication, my book customers started contacting me, asking about my next book. “Where is your recipe book? I want a book of soap recipes!” It is good business to listen to customers when they say things like this. I set myself to the task, and wrote the book. This time around, the formatting was much better, I got a bit of expert help, and I don’t have to pay any royalties–I get to keep it all myself.

Since I had kept the email of every person who bought my first book, I now had a built-in target market. With my property taxes coming due very soon, I decided to use this list to my advantage. I crafted an email, offering all the folks on the list the first shot at owning the book, before I published it. Of course, I also offered them an enticing discount.

It took me a few minutes to email everyone on my list. Before I sent the last batch out, I had already sold one book. Woot! Fifteen bucks in 10 minutes! I’ll take it! I sent that person their book, and went back to my email. Ping! Another one! Sweet! This went on all evening, and I sold about 16 books in less than 24 hours. 10 minutes to send the emails for $240. I will take it, sir.

A week went by, and the sales trickled in. Then they slowed. Then they stopped for about a day. I was itching to publish the book, but payday was approaching. I thought maybe if I sent a “last chance” email, I could sell a few more books. Once again, I crafted an email quickly, using much of the information from the first one, but this time putting a deadline on it. Type. Send. Ping! Ping! Ping!

Sending emails very near the end of the month is a good strategy, as is sending a “last chance for your discount” email. I sold 18 books in 24 hours, to bring my grand total of books sold to 34, equaling $510. All of this was from sending two emails! Two! Does a focused, targeted email bring results? I say it does.

But wait! There’s more! I briefly contemplated leaving out the 16 people who had purchased my new book first, when sending the second email. I thought that they would feel pestered by another note. After thinking about it, however, I added a postscript, asking those who had purchased the book to let me know what they thought. One of the folks who responded was someone who had been soaping for 30 years, and sent me a glowing review! Of course, I plan on using her comments to help sell the book once it is offered to the public. Priceless!

Feel the love from your customers. Maintain that email list, and treat these folks well. It is much easier to sell to them than to folks who don’t know you. When you need to pay your property taxes, your email list will come through. Ask me how I know!

Amy H. Kalinchuk is an author and publisher, among other crafty and glamorous things. Her first book, Making Soap In Your Own Kitchen is available on her website. Her new book, Best Soap Recipes is receiving rave reviews. She lives with her family in Denver, Colorado.