instaFreebie Grows Publishers’ Email Lists With Ebook Giveaways
One key component of successful direct-to-consumer marketing is the consumer’s email address. But earning that email address can require a lot of legwork from the book publisher, from social media marketing to advertising and publicity. instaFreebie attempts to streamline the audience development process for authors and publishers by hosting limited-time ebook giveaways and using data analytics to nurture readers towards submitting their emails. CEO Jason Freeman explains that instaFreebie utilizes its extensive database to target the right readers with an ebook giveaway in order to maximize conversions. The startup provides an email list developed from the giveaway to the author or publisher to be used in her own marketing efforts. Below Freeman explains why ebook giveaways are a powerful way to jumpstart publishers’ audience development efforts.
What problem are you solving?
Publishers are looking to go “direct-to-consumer” because they’re focused on filling the void left by disappearing retail space -- Barnes & Noble closing stores and reallocating shelf space, Borders out of business, Family Christian Store’s bankruptcy, and indie bookstores struggling to survive. The prospect of giving more power to Amazon is anathema to many in publishing so publishers are working to create their own direct-to-consumer brands and selling directly from their own sites.
instaFreebie helps authors and publishers connect with readers by hosting giveaways and nurturing readers toward an email subscription. We’re providing audience development for authors and publishers so that they have a list of readers to market to in the future and build that direct-to-consumer channel. Additionally, content giveaways are protected with our digital rights management technology.
What’s interesting and new about our company is that we’ve served thousands of independent authors -- many are using instaFreebie’s free of charge giveaway hosting service -- through millions of giveaways while maintaining strong partnerships with traditional publishers who want to develop direct-to-consumer relationships. And we’re also now serving book marketing companies to build their own promotional mailing list. I don’t know of anyone else doing audience development like that.
How did you come up with this idea?
It’s amazing that in 2016 we’re still struggling as an industry to run simple and effective promotional giveaways. Knowing that a direct-to-consumer strategy has become critically important to authors and publishers alike, we took on the challenge of building a simple solution to engage new readers, regardless of their reading device or platform preferences.
We’ve spent the past two years maximizing that process of converting readers to mailing list subscribers and, thanks to the hundreds of thousands of book giveaways hosted on instaFreebie, our solution has been thoroughly vetted by readers. In fact, we’re able to maintain free human customer support with readers for all instaFreebie authors and publishers, because of our exceptionally low rate of customer service requests. It took a lot of data and analysis to realize that audacious idea from two years ago.
What are the most important trends in publishing that you’re seeing today?
Publishers now say that developing direct relationships with readers is critical. Unfortunately, many don’t have the attention and resources to develop connections in a meaningful way. Publishers have to see that empowering authors to develop audience -- through sharing content -- is their best chance to develop sustained and meaningful relationships with readers.
The future of publishing is in the author brand. And it’s time that all authors recognize the importance of not waiting to be picked by a promotional site or by a traditional publisher to start building lasting connections with their readers.
Who is your competition?
Our biggest competitive challenge is when authors and publishers decide to hack a solution for hosting giveaways through a combination of products like Dropbox, MailChimp, and Rafflecopter. To overcome this challenge, we’ve started building integrations with commonly used products (we announced our MailChimp integration recently) in order to seamlessly fit with how authors and publishers already do giveaways.
There are also other book discovery platforms that provide DRM protection (ie. NetGalley recently announced their social DRM option). We’ve always offered a free social DRM option on all instaFreebie products, and plan to keep that option available to all our partners.
Quite simply, we plan to offer new book discovery options for instaFreebie’s authors and publishers. We’ve started book recommendations with a select group of author and publisher partners and the response from readers has been fantastic. We look forward to broadly offering these services in the near future.
Jason Freeman, CEO of instaFreebie, is a serial entrepreneur, having helped co-found two prior startups that were eventually acquired. Jason studied finance in his undergraduate and MBA studies and holds three accounting certifications: Certified Management Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, and Certificate in Achievement in Accounting, emphasis taxation.