These two services provide similar functions, but often to different levels of success. I’ve spent the last year and half marketing the same books on both services. The idea was to build my mailing list as much as possible. In addition, I wanted to have a mailing list that interacted with my work as much as possible. After all, it doesn’t make any sense to build a list of freebie seekers if they never intend to buy books or work with your offers. Let’s break this service competition into three rounds: type of users, value for money, and speed of list growth. Please remember: Your mileage may vary! Some books are wild successes and others wild failures.
Round 1: Type of Users
As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, having a person’s email address doesn’t mean much if it’s a burner email. If they don’t intend to regularly check their email, open your specific offer, and take you up on those offers… what is the point of having a mailing list? You want people to regularly enjoy your work. I use MailChimp and keep my lists very clean. I also send out emails twice a month and built my emails on a lot of best practices. So… what did I achieve? With my StoryOrigin list, I average a 52% open rate, 14.8% click rate, and 2.3% unsubscribe rate. My best campaigns have a 26% click rate, while my worst have around 12% click rate. All of that is pretty impressive, but let’s also look at my BookFunnel users. Those campaigns have an average of a 56.6% open rate, 15.7% click rate, and 3.2% unsubscribe rate. My best campaigns have a 23% click rate and my worst have a 11% click rate. So what is the synopsis for these two different sources? I would say that BookFunnel users are more engaged, but that also translates to unsubscribing as well. Both sources draw from a similar pool of people, so you will often have the same people from both services.
Winner: Barely a Tie
Round 2: Value for Money
This is a really tricky one to gauge, as different authors want different things. For example, StoryOrigin has word counters on it while BookFunnel does a great job of eBook delivery. However, I am going to toss out any feature that is not central to building the mailing list. They both start out at $100 per year. At first glance, BookFunnel has some downsides comparatively to StoryOrigin. For example, BookFunnel restricts you to 5000 downloads a month, while StoryOrigin has unlimited. The truth is, though, that you will probably not hit this limit while trying to build a mailing list. BookFunnel’s 5000 may as well be called unlimited. There are two things though that make StoryOrigin a clear winner from a value perspective. First off, that $100/yr includes integration with your mailing service. Not having to regularly import users makes life a lot easier. In addition, StoryOrigin includes a newsletter swap option. These are 1 for 1 book recommendation exchanges (I’ll promote your mailing list builder if you recommend my mailing list builder). These can be great because they help boost your mailing list speed during the later parts of the month. Often times, monthly group campaigns start slowing towards the end of the month. You can keep things going well by adding in some of these direct newsletter swaps.
Winner: Clearly StoryOrigin
Round 3: Speed of List Growth
We’ve dug into the audience participation and what it will cost to get that. The final component, and often most hard to measure, is how fast your list grows. As I mentioned in the introduction, I’ve spent the last year and a half promoting the same books on both platforms. What I didn’t mention is that I kept these platform promotions equal. For example, if I was doing three group promotions on BookFunnel, I would also do three group promotions on StoryOrigin. I also kept them the same type of list building campaigns and tried to match the same size of group promotions. What did I find? While both of these services pull from a similar pool of people, BookFunnel was the first to move into this market area. As such, they captured more “market share”. That means there are simply more people using BookFunnel then there are using StoryOrigin. What difference did this make in building a mailing list? My StoryOrigin user base would grow at 70% the rate of my BookFunnel user base. That means for every 10 users I got through BookFunnel, I would gain 7 users through StoryOrigin.
Winner: Clearly BookFunnel
Summation: Based on these three rounds, it may be easy to come to the conclusion that it is a tie. However, my preference is strongly StoryOrigin. Why is that? Their innovation and access is much better. For BookFunnel, you have to pay a lot extra to gain access to anyone for support questions. StoryOrigin’s creator sends you direct emails and interacts with you directly. You don’t have to pay any extra for that. In addition, StoryOrigin is constantly adding new features. I don’t remember the last time BookFunnel added a feature. Finally, StoryOrigin recently launched their subscription model. Up until recently, they were completely free. When they launched their subscription model, they had a 30% off coupon that will last the life of my membership. That means that instead of paying $100 I pay $70 a year. They already won the value argument, but this completely seals the deal for me. I also really love the 1 for 1 trades, as they can include Amazon affiliate codes. That means another revenue source for me. I don’t make a lot (few bucks each email) but that helps offset the $70 per year I paid. All that being said, if I were running my own eBook store, I would probably select BookFunnel. I believe they have a better delivery system, though I haven’t tried it out. Plus, more people are going to be familiar with their delivery system, since they moved into the market first.
Bonus Tip: In my review above, I mentioned that StoryOrigin has 1 for 1 trades. That’s where you recommend their individual book for your individual book. StoryOrigin has a system built around this that is absolutely amazing! It is so amazing because it gives you a sneak peek into another author’s mailing list. In addition, you can see the success of those campaigns! When you are improving your methods, why not emulate those lists that work the best? With StoryOrigin I can see when a fellow author is going to send a campaign, how well that campaign did (down to an individual book level), and even see a copy of those campaigns. I can see if they have a large list that is poorly maintained or a small list that is extremely active. That means, when I trade a 1 for 1 recommendation, I can trade it with someone who has a similar track record as me. In addition, if I notice someone is doing absolutely amazing, I can copy their recipe for success! While I am not sure if StoryOrigin intended this use, it makes a huge world of difference. I can also gauge how well my list is doing versus all my competitors, since both are verified. (Hint: I am doing pretty good at the moment)