If you've spent any time learning marketing techniques for self-published authors, you've likely come across mailing lists as the #1 way to boost sales, build a platform, and ensure future success as an indie. We've covered mailing list strategies on this blog before, but this article is going to focus on how to grow your mailing list with Instafreebie. Before I get into the nitty-gritty details, let me explain what this wonderful platform provides for authors who are unaware of its value.
What is Instafreebie?
Instafreebie* is a website that connects readers with authors by hosting free books they can download in exchange for joining an author's mailing list. Essentially, Instafreebie offers a valuable service to authors by aggregating a mass of readers who are very interested in finding their next favorite author. Everything Instafreebie offers can be replicated on your own website--namely, opt-in offers and giveaways to readers. But it would take much more work on your part to streamline the process and target the right readers for your book. Instafreebie takes away those pain points.
*this is an affiliate link for Instafreebie's Refer and Earn program.
How much does it cost?
As of this writing, there are three tiers on Instafreebie that give differing benefits. The Free plan allows you to create unlimited giveaways for any book, but you won't be able to collect email addresses. The Plus plan costs $20 per month and allows you to gain reader's addresses and join group giveaways with other authors (more on that in a moment). Finally, the Pro plan costs $50 per month and enables you to use 5 pen names and author pages along with personal giveaway branding.
More than likely, most authors will want the Plus plan for their mailing list goals since it delivers a lot of value for the price.
How does this whole book giveaway thing work?
Once you've enrolled on the site, you can upload a full novel, short story, or preview under your profile to create a new giveaway. Instafreebie then starts recommending your book to readers who would be most interested based on the genre. I'll admit, I don't know all of the details of how Instafreebie targets readers and sends them to your giveaway, but I assume they have an extensive mailing list to work from for that very purpose.
They will still recommend you share your giveaway to your current readers and on social media to ensure maximum visibility. One of the nice things about Instafreebie is if they see you're consistently promoting your giveaway then they'll put your book in a monthly email blast to thousands of readers and share the giveaway on social media. So don't be shy about that free book!
Maximizing Instafreebie with group giveaways
I hope by now you're beginning to see the benefits of Instafreebie. Growing a mailing list of engaged readers is HARD as a self-published author. You'll gain some organic subscribers through offering opt-in offers on your website, but unless you have a massive audience out of the gate, the amount of readers who join your list will be a trickle compared to the flood Instafreebie can offer. And the best way to experience that flood is through group giveaways.
On the Instafreebie dashboard, you'll have the option to join giveaways with other authors in the same genre or create a group giveaway of your own for others to take part in. The benefit of a group giveaway is that you get far more eyeballs on your book because Instafreebie promotes these more than an individual giveaway. These giveaways have more social reach because each author is promoting the giveaway to their list and bringing lots of traffic to giveaway pages like the one below.
I'm currently in two group giveaways for epic fantasy right now--here's one and here's the other--and they have netted 300 subscribers in less than a month. So definitely join the group giveaways and share it consistently for the benefit of all authors involved.
Pros and Cons of Instafreebie
I've been using Instafreebie off and on since 2016 and it's definitely been helpful in my author career, but for all of its benefits there are also downsides. I'll highlight each of these and let you make the call on whether or not Instafreebie is for you.
Affordable for most new authors
Group giveaways quickly grow your list
Instafreebie readers are generally more engaged than random subscribers
Integrates with email service providers like MailChimp and MailerLite
Targets readers in your genre
Author forums offer plenty of tips and help
Support team is knowledgeable and quick to respond to issues
Pricing may prohibit authors on a budget
Instafreebie reader conversion rate for priced books is low
Doesn't integrate with other email services like ConvertKit, Aweber, ActiveCampaign, etc.
Diminished returns on older book giveaways
Newsletter fatigue experienced by readers may result in high unsubscribe rate over time
As you can tell, many of the cons on my list might be subjective and your mileage may vary. Newsletter fatigue is a concern that has come up in self-publishing circles because nobody wants to receive twenty newsletters from different authors they've subscribed to on Instafreebie. Eventually, readers will whittle down their subscriptions and stick with the handful of authors they like most. One must also consider that there is a percentage of Instafreebie readers who are just freebie seekers and don't intend on purchasing any books from you.
This isn't a problem when you've got 100 readers on your mailing list. But when that number balloons to 10,000 and less than 2% are buying your other books then you've got a problem. Email service provider fees aren't cheap when you have that many subscribers and any profit you're making from such a small return will be eaten up. So keep track of who's clicking your buy links and who isn't because having a large list of readers who don't intend on supporting your work financially won't do you any good!
That's my breakdown on how to grow your mailing list with Instafreebie and why it's useful for authors right now. Agree or disagree?
Please let me know in the comments below. And if you're interested in one of my current giveaways, click the button below to grab a free book!