I actually ran two campaigns. The first one was for my Christian fiction newsletter list and the second one was to kick-start a science fiction mailing list. I’m moderately pleased with how both turned out. I’ll break down each one in turn.
1. Christian Mailing List:
Goal: Increase readership in order to provide future agent/editor/publisher hard stats on my ability to build a platform for my writing. This mailing list needs to be able to make an impact by the middle of 2019, so a shorter event horizon, if you will.
Method: Set up a KingSumo contest with a free book giveaway advertised on my personal facebook page and my writing Facebook page.
Cost: Book ($8.79) Facebook ads: ($18.19) Total: ($26.98)
New email addresses: 55
New likes on Facebook page: 30
Engagements on New Subscriber Email #1 (17 opens, 2 clicks, 2 unsubscribes: 30% opens)
Engagements on New Subscriber Email #2 (10 opens, 0 clicks, 0 unsubscribes: 18.9% opens)
When I added the 53 email addresses to my main Christian fiction newsletter, I got the following responses from my drip campaign:
Drip 1: 53 sends, 11 opens, 3 clicks. I believe, based on what I can see, that my free Bookfunnel novelette was downloaded twice off of this campaign.
Drip 2: 53 sends, 7 opens, 0 clicks.
Drip 3: 53 sends, 7 opens, 0 clicks.
I’ve sent one monthly email since then, and my preliminary data suggests 9 opens.
Commentary: Overall, I’m happy with this campaign. It cost me less than $30 and it got me 53 subscribers, of which 18 are 3-star and above after my drip newsletter and one monthly newsletter. I’ll try to reengage the rest of them before purging my list in mid-January. I suspect I’ll be able to capture a few more, but most of the rest will be dropped. Again, for such little overall investment, picking up this number of new subscribers was worth it.
I plan to run another KingSumo campaign in the early spring to coincide with my next short story release.
My biggest takeaway is that I need to write better engagement emails for my drip campaign, and to incorporate those new subscribers sooner into my larger mailing list. I kept them quarantined too long.
Special shout out to James L. Rubart, who’s book The Man He Never Was* had just earned him his 5th Christy award right before I started the contest. I’m sure that helped, and I’m grateful for his dedication to the craft. Jim and I did not correspond before I ran the contest and, aside from hopefully gaining some new fans through my promotions, was not given any monetary reward.
2. Science Fiction Mailing List:
Goal: Long term prospect of slowly building a list to introduce people to my writing while building relationships that will, someday, lead to sales of future projects. Maturity horizon for this list is approximately 5 years out.
Method: Set up a KingSumo contest with a free short story value pack giveaway advertised on my Sci-Fi Facebook page.
Cost: Asimov’s Science Fiction Value Pack ($11.70) Facebook ads: ($20) Total: ($31.70)
New email addresses: 49
New likes on Facebook: 21
Engagements on New Subscriber Email #1 (11 opens, 0 clicks, 2 unsubscribes/bounce: 22.9% opens)
Engagements on New Subscriber Email #2 (11 opens, 0 clicks, 0 unsubscribes: 23.4% opens)
I’ve sent one monthly newsletter since gaining these subscribers. The newsletter resulted in 9 opens (19.1%) out of 47 sends, with 1 unsubscribe.
Commentary: I bought a value pack from Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine* in late 2017 and loved it, so I enjoyed using this as the prize for my sci-fi contest. While the number of bounces and unsubscribes is higher with this campaign, I’m still happy with the results in an overall fashion. All said, 14 subscribers have a 3-star and above Mailchimp rating on the date of this post. Like with my Christian newsletter, I plan to attempt to engage the 2-star subscribers to beef that number a little before purging the inactive subscribers by the end of January.
Oh, and the guy who one the contest? Already signed up to be beta reader for my short fiction!
Ok, now for my overall verdict. Would I do KingSumo again? Yes! It took very little cash to reach real potential readers that I probably wouldn’t have reached before. Now I’m doing the hard work of building relationships with them. Several email addresses were probably just spam traps, which bounced as they expected, and some realized they didn’t win and don’t care about my writing, which led to the unsubscribes. Others probably just have an email address they don’t check often and don’t care about me either. They’ll get removed if I can’t engage them.
Overall, though, this was a better campaign than the Bookfunnel free giveaway, and I expect to run it again at least for my Christian fiction brand, if not for my sci-fi list.
* Affiliate Marketing Link