Guys, I love a good freebie. Truly. Look: email marketing has long been one of my favorite things… ever. I love talking about the value of an email list (have you noticed that?), and I’m all about growing and communicating with your list when and wherever you can. There are tons of reasons why email marketing is one of my favorite strategies of all time, and a quick poke around my site would show you tons of resources on it.
The number one reason I love email lists, though? Connection, connection, connection. And it’s ONE-ON-ONE with your people, in their private lil’ inboxes (not the massive void of social media feeds). Email lists give you the option to relate with and connect to your audience on a completely different level than social media or your website, because you’re popping directly into their inbox. (Plus, I don’t know about you, but I don’t give my email address to just anybody.)
One of my go-to strategies for growing my list has been building irresistible freebies that encourage people to opt-in, and it’s one of those strategies that I’d recommend to anyone as long as you’re doing it the right way.
How to Create an Irresistible Freebie
Building an irresistible freebie is your golden ticket to scaling a list that connects and converts—which is the ultimate goal when it comes to email marketing. It’s this rule of reciprocity where you’re adding value for someone else and in return you’re getting the value of gaining access to their inbox!
Now, if you’re reading this wondering what the heck a freebie is, it’s simple:
A freebie is a *free* piece of content or value that you’re giving out in return for someone signing up for your email list.
You’ve probably signed up for at least a dozen freebies in your lifetime (free shipping codes, anyone?!), but the key is unlocking the freebie formula that keeps your subscribers engaged and ready for more. Basically, you don’t want to create a freebie that generates an instant “unsubscribe.” Here’s how to do it WELL…
01. Focus on the opt-in copy.
When it comes to freebies, I’ve noticed that people spend waaaaay too much time focusing on the freebie content itself… and not nearly enough time on encouraging the audience to opt-in. While the freebie content is obviously important (no one wants to make a lackluster one, of course!), none of it matters if no one is signing up to grab it.
Your strategy? Spend just as much time on the marketing plan for your freebie as you do on the actual freebie. It’ll pay off, I promise. Essentially, you absolutely need for people to see the value in your freebie in order to opt in. Without knowing that your freebie is going to be worth it, you’re giving no reason for someone to hand over their email address in blind faith.
Plus, ignoring the importance of marketing your freebie well is the first step you can take to creating one of those email lists that people forget about. You know what I’m talking about, right? You know those emails you’ve signed up for and forgotten about… at least until you use a tool like Unroll.Me to unsubscribe from them? No thank you. Don’t be on those lists.
There are a couple of ways to promote your freebie well, from the title of the freebie itself all the way to your social media copy.
And, while I love a good pop-up strategy, it’s not all you need. Once you’ve decided on your freebie content, take some time creating visually appealing Pinterest graphics, super engaging copy for your social captions, and inspiring anecdotes that remind people how much they need what’s inside of your freebie. It’s all in creating a three-fold, four-fold, or even ten-fold strategy that encourages your list to sign up. From pop-ups to social media to Pinterest, get creative.
Here’s an example of a landing page for one of our most popular freebies: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Starting an Email List. Feel free to use this as a template or example for how to frame your freebie as an irresistible offer!
02. Optimize the heck out of your end result.
Here are the three things your freebie should always, always do:
- Save someone time.
- Simplify a process.
- Bring joy (or value)!
While creating a freebie is definitely one of my all-time favorite ways to grow my own list, I’m always thinking about the end result that my subscribers will get from downloading it. Why? Well, because no one is going to care about the fact that your freebie is an 11-page resource without knowing what they’re going to learn from it.
What people are going to care about, though? That, by downloading your freebie, they’re going to get their hands on a resource that helps them manage their time or optimize their Facebook ad strategy or gain more dream clients or gain clarity on their brand statement.
They’re going to care about the end result.
Your job, then, is simple. Make that end result a key part of your entire freebie strategy. That, my friend, is key to building an irresistible freebie. How? Well, instead of encouraging sign-ups for your 11-page PDF or a Google Sheet template, encourage sign-ups by leading with the end result first.
Let’s say you’ve created a Google Sheet template that helps freelancers track their income (neeeeeded). Well, instead of talking about the features of your Google Sheet, point to the fact that this download will give freedom, create an easier tax tracker, and give the downloader a better grip on what they deserve when it comes to $$$. Then, once they download your freebie, they’ll be surprised by the exciting interface… knowing that the end result is waiting for them.
03. Deliver value.
The thing is, your email list is full of smarties. Think about it: how many of us have been excited for a freebie, only to be super unimpressed by what popped up inside of it? We knew that we were signing up as an email subscriber, but we were fine with it… because we thought the value would be worth it.
In my book, there aren’t many things that would encourage me to hit “unsubscribe” quite as fast as downloading a freebie that was just kinda lame. When I can tell that a freebie exists *solely* for subscriber sign-ups, I’m just not into it. I’d guess that you’re probably the same.
Your content rocks, right? So make sure your freebies reflect that! Focus on always providing value and making your list’s life easier through some sort of content that encourages, simplifies, teaches, or brings joy. You want to make sure that your freebie gives your audience a quick win, proving that the decision to hand over their email address was a good one.
If you can get your audience results from your freebies and other free content, you’re going to leave them imagining what kind of crazy results they might just get from your paid content. Ding, ding, ding.
These are the strategies you need to build an irresistible freebie, my friend: and they work. When you promote for an end result, you provide tons of value, and you help your list with their life or business, they’re going to be pumped to keep learning from you. Now, go build that list!