For those of you who may be new to marketing your books and the tools many authors are using to accomplish this sometimes daunting task, I'll give you a quick overview of what BookFunnel is. Put simply, it's a distribution platform for eBooks, but it has a few more features you won't get if you publish a book through Smashwords, Amazon or Draft2Digital. Though you can get links to books you're publishing for free on self-publishing platforms, BookFunnel gives you statistics and control. CLICK HERE to see their low pricing and features. You can use BookFunnel to help gather new leads for your mailing list by creating a link for your lead magnet, distribute eBook prizes for a giveaway you've had, or give your review team links to an eBook for them to review.
Mailing List Integration
So the big news is BookFunnel, thankfully, keeps expanding the mailing list services with which they integrate. ActiveCampaign and Aweber are the newest vendors they've added to the roster. CLICK HERE to read their announcement and some other exciting news. BookFunnel now integrates with…
(Psst…none of those are affiliate links…just FYI).
As of this post, I am personally migrating over to ActiveCampaign and I am LOVING their services so far. You can bet I'll be posting a review in the future, as well as some tips and suggestions on how to use ActiveCampaign for your Reader Club. If you don't have a Reader Club and would like to know how to create one, CLICK HERE to read my Mailing List Series for complete instructions.
How This Affects YOU
As many of you may have read in the article I posted on How to Build Your Mailing List Quickly, I encouraged the use of InstaFreebie because it has a book discovery platform. Most authors I know use MailChimp – and I was one of them – so the solution was pretty simple and was available to a lot of people. BookFunnel, from a flexibility standpoint, does indeed have more options, but they lack that book discovery platform. InstaFreebie has a newsletter they send out to subscribers, sharing some of the free eBook giveaways on their platform. BookFunnel does not. I had intended on writing an article that explored other options, but now that my hand is forced…looks like that day is here!
But, due to the limitations of InstaFreebie's mailing list integrations, many authors who are not on MailChimp can't really use InstaFreebie as an automated solution. I did reach out to InstaFreebie asking them if they had any plans to expand their services to itegrate with other mailing list vendors…and they basically said with much enthusiasm that “this is definitely something we are looking into developing in the future. I can share that we will be talking more about this soon because repeated requests from our authors have ensured that this is a priority for us.” So says the customer service rep that answered my question. Hrmmmm…I'm a little put off that their answer wasn't, “Yes! This is in the works and we can't wait when we can announce it.” GAH! But maybe I'm being impatient with them. Unfortunately, I don't think I can wait around.
What To Do Now
So, since I'm moving over to ActiveCampaign and I will no longer have that automatic inclusion on my newsletter through InstaFreebie, I thought sharing my own thoughts on this dilemma might help others who love to use BookFunnel the way I described in this article, but don't know how to drive readers to their lead magnet. I'm thinking I have two options…
- Keep my paid accounts with MailChimp and InstaFreebie and still have an automatic welcome message to those coming in through InstaFreebie. But I would have to manually move people over to my ActiveCampaign list on a weekly basis. Doable…but I don't like manual tasks. I haven't been dubbed the Empress of Automation for nothin'! UPDATE: MailChimp now offers automation for free accounts, so this option is much more cost effective. I have chosen this option for now, which means I still need to manually move leads from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign (grrrrrr), but it is the lesser of the two evils. However, I did hear InstaFreebie was making moves to integrate with other mailing list services. (crosses fingers one will be ActiveCampaign)
- Switch to BookFunnel as my new lead magnet distribution and cancel my InstaFreebie account and move to the free MailChimp account. That $20 a month to InstaFreebie will have to be diverted to Facebook ads (grrrrrr….I hate making FB ads!) to drive peeps to my free eBook/lead magnet that is linked to the BookFunnel giveaway. UPDATE: This turned out to be a bust because I suck at FB ads. Though I did gather leads through this method, I spent a lot more money to get fewer leads as compared to the InstaFreebie method. FB ads are also more time consuming than a weekly import from MailChimp to ActiveCampaign, which only takes me 5 minutes to perform.
If I went with Door #1, I could make sure I just implement a weekly chore (groan) of downloading all my new leads and importing them into my automations in ActiveCampaign. The good news is, I've already set them up properly during my painstaking migration, so dropping people in shouldn't be a problem. All my new weekly newsletters are going out on Tuesdays, so I just change the welcome message at MailChimp to say, “You'll hear from me on Tuesday!”
BUT some people unsubscribe after they get their freebies, so I would also have to make sure that every week when I do my import of new leads, I also have to include a weekly suppression list of people who have unsubscribed. AND I will also have to manually have to delete people from my MailChimp List a week or so AFTER I've imported them to ActiveCampaign so I'm not double paying for subscribers with two different services. That means creating segments and manually doing deletions. Yeah…this whole setup sounds like a total PITA.
If I choose Door #2, then the bummer about the setup is the Facebook ads. You can't just have a free book sitting out there on a website that has no book discovery or no way for people to discover it. I've contacted BookFunnel with an idea of how they can integrate book discovery without doing the list-sharing option InstaFreebie practices, a practice many authors don't like. We'll see what they say. Heck…they may have something in place already and I just don't know about it.
So Option 2 would mean upping my subscription plan to accommodate those monthly limitations (I get more than 500 downloads a week on my InstaFreebie eBooks, so basic won't work anymore), and use many different ways to drive people to my lead magnet, Facebook ads being one of them. Unless I find another solution that doesn't use Facebook ads, this is the option I will choose and I will write a follow-up message on how to accomplish this in the most automated way I can find. Keep subscribed to my mailing list to get updates.
Your Thoughts? Have Suggestions?
Either way, it's more legwork for me. But Option #2 is the most automated out of the two choices. Though FB ads need to be checked on and watched to be sure they're still effective and reaching people, at least I don't have to do a lot of list maintenance, and that's the lesser of the two evils. See above update comments.
Do you have other ideas that might be more productive? I'm all about automating processes and getting tools to work smarter instead of harder. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave them in the comments below.
That's my two pence…