How To Build Your Mailing List Quickly

email-list-gift_600x439Trying to get people to join your mailing list can be a little tiresome. I've recently stumbled upon a method that has helped me add over 900 subscribers to my list in a little under 3 months. It's inexpensive in the grand scheme of things, and it takes very little effort, which allows me to focus more on writing and communicating with my current subscribers. I use two tools: InstaFreebie & MailChimp.

Now…for those who like BookFunnel, you can use that in place of InstaFreebie due to their recent updates – BookFunnel Giveaways. These pretty much do the same thing as the Required Opt-In giveaways on InstaFreebie: In exchange for a free eBook, readers need to provide their name and email address. I'm not sure about BookFunnel's ability to integrate with MailChimp, but I do know you can export your leads and import them into your mailing list service, which you can also do with InstaFreebie. I don't use BookFunnel, so I can't speak to how to use their services. I'm an InstaFreebie whore.

How To Setup InstaFreebie for Lead Gathering

You can only integrate your InstaFreebie account with one list on your MailChimp account. For those of you who maintain multiple lists on MailChimp, this would be a nice feature…but alas, no-can-do.

  1. Create an InstaFreebie account (if you haven't done so already)
  2. Upgrade to the Plus account ($20/mo – if you haven't done so already)
  3. Integrate your MailChimp account and choose the list you wish to import into (Click on your Account Name in the top-right corner > Settings > MailChimp Integration)
  4. Add a book
  5. Create an Advanced Giveaway – be sure to choose the “Required Opt-In” option
  6. When you're at the Advanced Giveaway screen, be sure you set the following criteria
    • No limit on number of copies
    • No expiration date
    • Sharing – should be checked to allow readers to share with friends
    • Public – so it will be listed on the InstaFreebie website – THIS IS IMPORTANT
  7. Finish creating the rest of the giveaway and you're all set!

Skip step 3 if you don't have a MailChimp account, but you'll need to regularly export the leads you're gathering. I recommend at least weekly. CLICK HERE to see how to export your leads from InstaFreebie. I recommend you use the CSV format, which is what's used by most mailing list services.


I've only been doing this since June 28th and, as of this post, I've gained 917 subscribers to my mailing list. On average, I was getting about 15 leads a day when I first set this. I'm now averaging about 5 leads a day, so it will slow down after some time.

Also, I have yet to put this list to the test. Remember that InstaFreebie and any other giveaway is about getting FREE stuff. Which means these people are not necessarily BUYERS of books. They could be a bunch of freeloaders, for all I know. I have a release coming up soon and I'll be doing a campaign to my mailing list, so I'll do some reports and let you know how this list responds. UPDATE: I've retained over 57% of the people who sign up through InstaFreebie giveaways and many of them are indeed active members of my mailing list, so I would highly recommend using InstaFreebie to build and genuine reader-based mailing list.


If you're just starting out as an author or haven't yet started building your mailing list, this is a GREAT way to get a large number of people in a short period of time so you can start building devote fans who will be lining up for your books whenever you have a release. Also, a mailing list is a sure way to increase your income by selling more books. Read my Mailing List Series (it's a bit outdated, but still has some good information) to learn why it is so important to build a mailing list and I give you a plan on how to reach out to them. I'll be updating that series in the near future.


As of May 2017, I officially switched my entire mailing list over to ActiveCampaign and I did an evaluation on their services, which you can see HERE. InstaFreebie still only integrates with MailChimp, so I still have my MailChimp account to collect leads through InstaFreebie. Now that MailChimp has automation included for FREE accounts (up to 2000 subscribers), I'm able to create a simple two-message automation that sends a welcome message to every person who downloads my lead magnet AND IF they click on a special unsubscribe link I've created, it sends a confirmation message stating they've been unsubscribed and automatically unsubscribes them. BUT this method ensures that those unsubscribes are done by ME (admin) and not by the user, so if I get a bunch of people unsubscribing, MailChimp doesn't send me a nasty-gram. Out of 1900+ welcome messages sent out, I've had 2 unsubscribes via this method.

I hope to publish another article with instructions on how to set up this two-message automation in MailChimp, so be sure to subscribe to my list to be notified.

That's my two pence…


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