When marketing or promoting, many users default to what they see everybody else using. That’s fine. In fact, some people love what they use and refuse to change. If you’re one of those people, you should click on. But if you’re up for a little variety and want to seek out an alternative to the tried and true, you should read on.
Ahhhh, Rafflecopter, how we love you so. You let us schedule giveaways and help us promote our books. And you’re free! We love free. Oh, but I want to add some photos to my contest, change my end time to coincide with a special blog stop that was just scheduled, and I’d really like some special entry requirements… Sorry, those are only for the paid accounts.
But Punchtab is also free and you can do all of those things you have to pay extra for on Rafflecopter…for FREE. Want to schedule a contest in the future with awesome pics and specialized entries? No problem. I signed up for Punchtab and the current contest I’m running has over 5,000 entries so far. Plus one of my possible entries is a specialized tweet, announcing my book and contest, which I’ve changed a couple of times during the contest without any problems. And it does soooo much more than giveaways. It too has paid services, and maybe one day I’ll look into expanding once I learn all it can do for me now. For my current needs it’s awesome. Plus, it too plays nicely with Facebook. In fact, you have to like my Fan Page to even see the contest. So far, I’m mooning all over it. Rafflecopter was my first love, but Punchtab is my hot new boyfriend.
Mailchimp—it’s one of the main newsletter management programs out there that authors use. I have an account, and I loved it. It’s very user friendly and works well with WordPress and Facebook. And it’s also free! Remember we love free. But when you hit 2,000 subscribers, it’s not free no mo’.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been searching for an alternative for a while. There are some that are cheaper if you pay per email, rather than a monthly subscription, but I wanted to find something that I could use and not have to worry if my subscriber list suddenly jumped. Email campaign companies are not cheap…and that includes Mailchimp. After one of my contests ended and I bumped over the 2,000 subscriber mark, I had to upgrade to a “paid” account if I wanted to continue using them. And once you get onto the paid side, you’ll find yourself constantly having to upgrade your account since it’s based on the number of subscribers you have. For the number I had, it would have been $50 a month! That’s not chump change. I was disheartened to see that many other companies charged similar amounts.
MailerLite has filled the void for now. It’s $99 per YEAR for up to 10,000 subscribers with unlimited emails. For the same number of subscribers, Mailchimp would cost $75 a MONTH (that’s $900 a year for the same service MailerLite provides at a fraction of the cost). I will say that I’m still feeling my way around this service, and it’s not as intuitive as Mailchimp. There was no easy Facebook app that with a few clicks I was able to add to my Fan Page. I had to install the HTML app, copy the code, cuss, and repeat over and over until my BFF tech guy grabbed my laptop and got it working within ten minutes tops. Another negative is it doesn’t seem to have as rigorous of a spambot block as Mailchip does. For me, it’s worth the extra time put into it to save that much money. Mailerlite might not be a hot new boyfriend, but it works as my rebound guy. If something better comes along, I’ll definitely scope it out…and I might just fork over serious money for WriterSpace or something similar and let somebody else do all the work. But for those that don’t qualify for free and willing to put a little time into it, it’s a pretty good alternative.
I have both tabs on my Facebook Fan Page here. I’ve changed the standard images (I’ve blogged how to do this before), but you can see them both in action.