I know it’s easy to get a lot of subscribers in a short amount of time using Instafreebie. Especially so if you get involved in cross promotions with other authors.
What I really wanted to know, however, is do Instafreebie subscribers buy books or are they just there for the free stuff? I’ve heard results from both camps.
First, an update on subscriber numbers. I did one promo on List 2, but nothing since.
I still find it interesting that without promo you can gain subscribers. I haven’t done any promo on List 1, yet it’s up to 129 subs in two months. It really is no effort list building.
But do they buy?
Yes. But not in huge numbers.
I sent a new release email to List 3 – a total of 2,571 subscribers at the time. Price was reduced to $0.99 for the first week and I made it clear they didn’t need to have read the other books as they worked as standalones.
Caveat. I wasn’t expecting great results for this book anyway since it’s the third in a dying series. I made huge mistakes with this series: the first book came out over a year ago, the second book was rushed and people did not like it AT ALL, and so the third (which I actually really enjoyed) didn’t have much of a chance. I’d also pulled this series out of KU late last year, further narrowing the market, which I now realise was a mistake for new releases in this genre. I did need to finish the series though so I could close it off and start work on something more lucrative and to market.
Clickthrough. Firstly subscriber engagement came right down. Last month I had 70.6% opens and 45.9% clicks. This campaign it’s down to 46% opens and 23.4% clicks.
Most of those clicks went to another link to free books which I placed at the bottom of the email.
156 clicks went to my new book. This was spread across Amazon, Apple, Kobo & Google Play since the series is wide. No clicks to Barnes & Noble, interestingly.
This resulted in approximately 25 sales that I can attribute to this email (based on extra sales above what I had been normally getting on this book). 25 sales @ 35 cents ($0.99 x 35%) = $8.75. Hmm. Since I’m paying $20 a month to have Instafreebie, this is clearly not profitable.
However, like I said, if this book had been in KU I feel it would have been significantly better. And I did see a flow through to the other books in the series, so there is that too.
Quick Note. Sending a blast like this can cause a lot of unsubscribes at once. Mailchimp will send you a nasty email if you get close to 10% unsubs. I was nervous about this.
From this campaign I got 162 unsubscribes and 4 abuse reports. YIKES! Fortunately that still fell under the threshold and I didn’t get a warning, however it did make me mindful about what content to send them in the future.
So, obviously, I sent another email. 🙂 This time a poll.
Polling your audience to find out if they buy or not.
Now I was curious. I needed to know my audience better, so I set up a poll on Google Forms.
I put up the cover of a new book I’m working on and asked them what they would pay for it.
Out of 1200 emails I sent to List 2, I had 90 responses (so far). I also had a few extra people email me with their results because they didn’t want to click the link. LOL. Of those that responded, the vast majority do buy, but primarily at lower prices.
Over 70% of respondents would pay for the book. That’s encouraging (also because this new book is nearly finished and I’ve set expectations on price up front).
To be clear though, that’s 70% of those that responded, not from the whole list. (I had another 4-5% unsub from this email blast too). Still I’m happy with that, especially as these readers weren’t organic and are only on my list because of free books.
I did find it interesting that there weren’t as many respondents in KU as I thought, unless some of them are, but chose another option instead. Hmmm.
It’s no surprise that the majority of Instafreebie subscribers are those that only read free books. They don’t care about you or your newsletters and will unsubscribe if they aren’t interested. However, the difference between these subscribers and getting subs from a competition to win something (for example), is that these subs are actual readers, not competition junkies. That’s a huge difference. That means you can, potentially, turn them into fans.
And that’s encouraging.
So much, in fact, that I’m still on board with Instafreebie. I’m sure the effectiveness will wane in the future, like all good promo tools do, but for now, I’m still invested and will continue to use them until I feel the costs outweigh the benefits.