Replacing Costly "Giveaway" Services - saving money and time with Gumroad
As an author, or any creative producer, the key point you want is to get your readers and buyers into your mailing list. Most of the time, you have to pay to give all that away - in addition to the time and money invested in creating the giveaway itself.
I was working to streamline my "reader magnet" backmatter ad and found I was jumping through hoops to get the email opt-in and also to deliver the free giveaway.
And then it hit me: Gumroad already does this.
What are you wanting to do with a reader magnet? Give something valuable away for free to people in exchange for them giving you their email. Too simple. Yes, of course, when you "sell" something for free on Gumroad, this is automatic. Yet most authors pay a giveaway site somewhere to host those reader magnets and also separately pay a mailing list service for using their opt-in forms. If they want some fancy landing pages, then that is another third fee.
Paying money to jump through hoops.
Gumroad does all this for a single fee - which is part of the cost of checking out. But they charge nothing for a free product. (There are limits on how big that digital item can be, though - so see that link.)
Again, you create a reader magnet, host it, offer it for free, collect the email - all from Gumroad FOR FREE.
Again, count the money and time you save. This means you can do almost everything from Gumroad that other site hosts charge you for. But Gumroad doesn't.
Of course, there's not a lot of bells and whistles you can add on in their poshed-up landing pages, (like fancy icons in multiple columns) - but on Gumroad you can already post videos to your item's giveaway page, along with animated GIF's, and all sorts of fancy things.
And, like a long sales page, it more depends on your content than cutesy graphics.
You already have bullet-points, links, bold, italic, underline, plus two different heading sizes, and "quotes". Look up any magazine article and you'll see this is pretty much all they use to get their message across. And the oldest sales pages only ever really had these to work with. Gumroad products also enable you to inject graphics and videos anywhere in that description box. They're Inline for now, sure, but just wait... Gumroad is constantly improving.
In short, you've got all the elements you need to persuade someone to download your free offer. For free.
They don't even have to read the whole sales text, since the checkout button is right at the top (just be sure to tell people to scroll back up and click...)
Importing to your mailing list.
It's pretty simple, you export as a CSV and then import to your mailing list provider.
(Technically, you can actually just use Gumroad as a pro user for all your vital mailing needs, but that is another subject. We're assuming that whatever you've had so far hasn't been working as well as you want, so now you're looking at other options.)
The free version of Gumroad will enable giveaways, it's that simple. So you don't need to pay for landing page services and giveaway sites. Meanwhile, you're potential customer is now introduced to all the other books and products you offer. They'll find their personal Gumroad library where they can re-download all their content. They are now ready to actually buy your products.
So, yes - I'm happy now. "Simpler" costs less in both time and money. And gets your customer right to the place you sell everything else.
Obviously, with the Gumroad Pro plan, I want to transition over to emailing directly from Gumroad to my customers (far more granular). But right now, I use Zapier (free plan) to copy my Gumroad customers to Mailerlite. For now, I'll compose the email in Gumroad, and if I don't send it to my specific customers from there, then I'll copy/paste that into Mailerlite to get to everyone else.
Eventually, as I do all my giveaways on Gumroad, the Mailerlite subscribers that aren't on Gumroad will dwindle and become also-rans to my prime customer base here on Gumroad. That's the strategy, anyway. Sure, Mailerlite has more features, but most of these I don't use. My work is all just getting used to these email functions under Gumroad Pro and watching them continue to improve this platform.
What's Next Then?
Obviously, you should check this out for yourself.
Start saving money by using Gumroad for - pretty much everything.
This also then says that a beginning writer (or a veteran writer who want to expand their operation) only needs Gumroad to get started. In addition to the usual suspects of self-publishing book distributors, that is.
The missing points to Gumroad email service which keeps me from shifting solely over to it right now is this: tracking opens and clicks. So there is no way to currently weed out "deadbeats". I can also segment my lists within Mailerlite to more accurately email people according to their interests and activity. But give Gumroad some time and they will. For now, I'll download Gumroad's CSV and import it to Mailerlite regularly, in order to grab any additional data that Zapier hasn't been sending (or can't, for some arcane reason).