The Overlooked Secret to Doubling Email Book Sales
In the world of email marketing, experts constantly talk about the importance of adding new subscribers, increasing open rates, and boosting click rates. The internet is littered with articles on these topics. But, are these the best metrics to gauge success? If email marketing is supposed to help generate book sales, could we be majoring on the minors? Are we overlooking a more important statistic?
To answer this question, let’s consider the fastest way to double book sales using email marketing. Which tactic do you think makes the most impact? Should you increase the subscriber rate, the open rate, or the click rate? Using simple math to make all things equal, the numbers reveal an obvious choice.
Start with the premise that you have 50,000 email subscribers, an open rate of 15%, a click rate of 2%, and a book price of $10.00. Using these figures, the total sales per email campaign would be $1,500.
50,000 Subscribers x 15% Open Rate x 2% Click Rate x $10 Price = $1,500 Sales
If current sales per email are $1,500, what would you need to do to double your sales and make $3,000? Since you can’t double the price of your product, you’ve got three options:
Double Your Subscribers:
100,000 Subscribers x 15% Open Rate x 2% Click Rate x $10 Price = $3,000 Sales
Double Your Open Rate:
50,000 Subscribers x 30% Open Rate x 2% Click Rate x $10 Price = $3,000 Sales
Double Your Click Rate:
50,000 Subscribers x 15% Open Rate x 4% Click Rate x $10 Price = $3,000 Sales
Which of these options is the most plausible in the real world? Should you focus on growing subscribers, open rate, or the click rate?
Adding new subscribers to your email list may seem like an easy task, but consider the cost and time involved. It’s very difficult to double your subscribers overnight. The process usually takes time, which means months not weeks. In addition, most marketers have to spend advertising money on Google, Facebook, or other websites to attract new subscribers. That ad cost counts against the profit of growing your sales.
What about doubling your email open rate? Is it easy to quickly jump from 15% to 30%? Most marketers have discovered that open rates tend to moderate over time and hover in the same range, give or take 5%. In reality, open rates tend to drop as current subscribers get bored, change email addresses, or unsubscribe. You must constantly add new blood just to keep open rates steady. Sure, it’s possible to slowly improve open rates over time. But, attempting to double your open rate is a futile exercise, like pushing rocks up a hill.
What about doubling the click rate? The answer is no and yes. If you’re judging all clicks, including the product links, company information links, and related social media links found in most emails, then the answer is no. Why? The actual number is clouded by people clicking on links that don’t lead to product sales (info links, social media links, etc.).
However, if you focus on doubling your click-to-buy rate, then the answer is yes. The “click-to-buy rate” measures how many people click on a link with the interest to purchase. Here’s why this number matters most:
- Doubling the click-to-buy rate doesn’t require adding new subscribers.
- Doubling the click-to-buy rate doesn’t require a long time. It can happen instantly!
- Doubling the click-to-buy rate doesn’t cost any money to improve. It’s free!!
Using our example above, if 2% of subscribers currently click to buy, and you increase that amount to 4%, then you double your sales! Yet, this tactic is one of the most overlooked and least discussed topics in email marketing. People seem to think it’s difficult to achieve. That’s not necessarily the case.
Let’s consider proven ways to increase the click-to-buy rate in your email campaigns. There are psychological steps you can take that encourage people to click on book links and purchase. You can break down these steps into four categories: Price, Scarcity, Exclusivity, and Bonuses.
People love saving money, and the Internet has become a bargain hunter’s paradise. If you want to double your email click-to-buy rate, tell your subscribers that you offer the lowest price available and back it up. Make their choice simple. Buy from you and save the most money. Buy somewhere else and pay more. When you present that scenario in your emails, people will want to buy directly from you. This may sound like a big “duh,” but few marketers make this option clear. (If you’re unable to offer the lowest price due to retail partnership agreements, continue reading.)
When people feel like they might miss out on something good, a sense of urgency develops. That sense of urgency heightens the desire to buy. It’s the principle of scarcity, and it can be employed in various ways. You can make limited-time offers, such as, “Buy now, because this price is only good for 48 hours! Don’t wait or you’ll miss the deal” or “Buy now, because there are only 25 total units available. When they’re gone, they’re gone!” Consumers tend to respond better when they realize quick action is required.
If you are the only place that people can purchase a title, you are known as having a “corner on the market.” Exclusivity means people can only buy from you, whether permanently or for a limited period. Telling people in your emails that they can only buy books from you will help increase the click-to-buy rate. Narrow their choices down to you alone.
Too many publishers, though, do not take advantage of this powerful dynamic. They worry about creating conflict with their retail partners or other distribution channels. But, in many cases, you can have your cake and eat it too. Take a popular title and create an exclusive version that only you sell. Or, put titles together into unique bundles that only you offer. Your distribution partners can still sell your common products. But, presenting exclusive options creates the advantage of driving sales through your designated channel.
Another way to boost email sales is to offer bonuses as incentives for purchasing. Examples would include buy one title and get another copy for free. Or, buy one title and get a different title for free. Use bonuses to highlight related products and gain marketing exposure for other items that are older, but still attractive to consumers. Even though you’re giving away the secondary item, it helps drive sales of the primary product at your desired price. You can use the scarcity principle mentioned earlier to limit the total amount or time period of bonuses to heighten interest. This strategy also allows you to offer incentives that avoid potential conflict with retail partners and present options that competitors cannot match.
When email marketers struggle to reach their sales targets, they are usually focused on the wrong metrics. Yes, it’s good to grow your total subscribers and boost email open rates. But, those issues require time and budget that most companies don’t have. If you want to grow book sales quickly, concentrate on the one area that you can influence immediately, which is the click-to-buy rate.
Make sure you measure how many people click on the product links in your email campaigns. If possible, embed trackable links within your emails to monitor actual book sales that occur from those clicks. Otherwise, examine the sales you receive over the time period of the email offering. Stop and study the numbers to analyze that improvement is occurring. Otherwise, you’re just shooting in the dark and hoping for the best.
Most importantly, use the power of price, scarcity, exclusivity, and bonuses to make people willingly click on your email book offers. You can employ each of the four tactics separately or use several in combination. If you want to double your email sales, don’t get distracted by majoring on the minors. Increase the click-to-buy rate, and your email book marketing campaigns can become a major success.