Spread the Word! Managing Your Email Marketing

Executive Director Heather Duncan gave a presentation at the two MPIBA Spring Conferences about how to create and maintain a quality email marketing list. The outline of that presentation is presented below.

If you have any questions about the presentation or if we can be of any assistance, please contact Heather or Jeremy.


Spread the Word!

Best Practices for Creating, Maintaining, and Making the Most of a Customer Email List


Spring Conference 2019, Education


Creating Your Customer Email List
  • Just START — even if you don’t have a detailed plan!
  • Use an email management program
    • Constant Contact (has a relationship with IndieCommerce)
    • MailChimp
    • Others that people like?
  • Collect email addresses
    • Always opt-in only
    • At the cash counter — use paper sign-up forms or digital entry
    • Via Social Media
      • FaceBook page “sign-up” button
    • Your website
      • Link & page pop-up
      • Can feed directly into your email management program
    • Via event registrations
    • At events with a sign-in, sign-up sheet
    • Enter-to-Win promotions
    • Be sure to have “disclaimer” information when not using direct Opt-in, letting customers know they’ll be added to your email list, but can always unsubscribe
    • Other suggestions for growing an email list?


Maintaining Your Email List
  • Check your bounces frequently and remove anyone “suggested for removal”
  • Input written email addresses regularly, and shred sign-up forms
  • Use welcome emails
    • Let people know they’ve been subscribed, what to expect, and how to unsubscribe
    • Don’t be too specific, so you can change your email strategy as needed
  • Send email to your subscribers regularly


Best Practices for Customer Email Communications
  • Send relevant content
  • Create segments of your subscribers so you can send different things to different people:
    • Genres; Frequent Shoppers/Best Customers/Members; other segments that might be useful?
  • Measure results
    • Look at your opens, click-throughs, shares, etc.
    • See what your customers are responding to and excited about
    • Use split testing to test different ideas
  • Consider email frequency
    • Develop a cadence
    • Regular, at least once a month
    • Generally, more frequent email is better
      • Remind them about you!
      • They signed up, so they want to hear from you.
  • Send emails to yourself and staff first — check how it looks, typos, links
  • Do NOT Spam
    • Only send to OPT-IN subscribers (never a purchased list)
  • Make it easy to subscribe (see all options above)
  • Focus on your subject line
    • Things that do well in subject lines include:
      • The recipient’s name
      • A tasteful emoji or two
      • 30-50 characters tops
      • Action verbs
      • A clear and irresistible value proposition that matches the content of your email
      • Consistency (some emails perform best with the same subject line every time, it helps readers know what to expect so they keep an eye for it in their inbox)
    • Things that don’t do so great are:
      • Spammy keywords (urgent, buy now, win, free)
      • All uppercase letters
      • Exclamation points
      • Typos
      • Overuse of emojis
      • Deceptive subject lines that don’t match the email content
    • Don’t forget the sender information: bookstore name, specific person’s name
  • Keep it simple
    • Limited text blocks, limited text
    • One or two “calls to action” per email
  • Keep it true to you
    • Match your brand, include your logo/font/colors, sound like you
    • Be as storyteller
  • Encourage sharing via email and social media
  • Optimize for mobile
  • Reward your subscribers with offers


Partner with Shelf Awareness, MPIBA, and the ABA
  • Shelf Awareness for Readers
    • Customizable and can feature your upcoming events
  • ABA IndieNext List and Children’s IndieNext List
  • MPIBA Digital Holiday Catalog
    • Send all information in the print catalog direct to your customers
      • From your email address
      • Branded with your store logo
      • Buy buttons linking directly to YOUR website
  • ALL Completely FREE to you!