How kickass would it feel to create an opt-in freebie that gets downloaded by hundreds of people on the very first day it’s released?
If you’re trying to grow your email list, opt-in freebies are your magic beans. 95% of my email list growth has come from the freebies I offer my readers!!
What is an opt-in freebie, and how do you create them? That’s what you’ll learn in this post!
5 Steps to Create An Opt-In Freebie Your Audience Loves
Ready to create an opt-in freebie your audience LOVES? Let’s get to work!
What is an opt-in freebie?
An opt-in freebie is something you give your reader in exchange for them joining your email list. It can be ANYTHING. Here are a few common types of opt-in freebies:
• a workbook
• a checklist
• a cheat sheet
• a video tutorial
• an email course
• a discount code
• a template
• a spreadsheet
• a live webinar
• a PDF guide
An opt-in freebie truly can be anything, and I strongly encourage you to be creative with it! The key is to find a topic and format that your readers strongly resonate with, and are happy to hand over their email addresses for.
How do you do that? By following my simple 5-step system, of course 😉
Because I love you so much, I’ve even created a workbook you can download and write your answers in. At the end, you’ll have a solid game plan for creating, promoting, and delivering your freebie!
Step #1: Market Research
To create an opt-in freebie your audience loves, you need to know your audience reeeeally well. What topics are they interested in? What do they need help with? Where do they hang out online?
If you’re not sure, it’s time to do some market research!
Make a list of the places your ideal readers like to hang out. These could be forums, Facebook groups, social media platforms, or something else. Then head over to those places and do some digging!
Connect with people, ask them what they’re struggling with (as it pertains to your blog’s niche and your area of expertise), or create a survey on Typeform and ask them to fill it out.
Once you’ve generated a list of your ideal reader’s problem areas, it’s time to choose one to focus on. Which problem best matches up with your expertise? In other words, which question are you most comfortable answering, or which problem are you most confident solving?
Once you’ve chosen the topic for your freebie, it’s time to select the perfect format!
Step #2: Choose the Format & Name
As mentioned above, your freebie can come in SO many different formats; from checklists to workbooks to videos and more. The goal is to make sure that the CONTENT in your freebie is perfectly suited to the FORMAT.
For example, a tech tutorial of an online program works best as a video where you record your screen and talk users through what you’re doing. If you’re sharing a long list of items to complete, you’ll want to create a checklist (people LOVE ticking things off a list!)
Take a few minutes to decide on the best format for your freebie. Then it’s time to come up with a fun name! You want your title to be catchy, intriguing, and memorable, while still being simple enough for people to remember.
Here’s a quick example: The freebie I’ve created to go along with the blog post you’re reading is: “The Perfect Opt-In Freebie Workbook”. It tells you exactly what the freebie is (a workbook for perfect opt-in freebies) and I like the alliteration of the F’s in PerFect and Freebie.
Names are crucial – not just for freebies, but for everything. If you’re ever trying to decide whether to come up with a fun name for something or not (whether it’s a course, a PDF, a video, or anything else), DO IT. Names make things memorable. Memorable is good.
Step #3: Create the Freebie
Now comes the extra-fun part: actually designing your freebie! Your design program will vary – obviously – depending on what type of freebie you’re creating.
For recording your screen in a video tutorial, I like using QuickTime (it comes standard on Mac computers). For creating checklists, workbooks, PDFs, or anything visual, I like Canva and Adobe Illustrator.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating your freebie:
• Incorporate your brand fonts and colors to increase recognition
• Add your logo or domain name so people are reminded of where it came from
• Create social media graphics to promote your freebie at the same time
If design really isn’t your strong suit, I’d suggest either taking a course to improve your graphic design skills, or hiring a professional to create some freebie templates for you. You want your subscribers to be BLOWN AWAY by how amazing your freebies look. So they know it’s a sign of great things to come!
Once you’re freebie is looking fresh and is ready to go, it’s time to set up the automated delivery!
Step #4: Deliver the Freebie
First, you’re going to need a way for people to sign-up to receive your freebie. One of the reasons I love ConvertKit is because their plans include sign-up forms and landing pages you can customize. I also use LeadPages to create a lot of my sign-up boxes and pages.
In terms of delivery, there are a few different ways you can deliver your freebie when someone opts-in. You can set it up to send with the “Welcome” email your new subscriber receives (more on these in a blog post next week!) OR you can create a password-protected Resource Library to house all of your freebies, and send the password to new subscribers in a welcome email.
Because I use ConvertKit for my email list, let me quickly walk you through how to deliver your freebie with ConvertKit. There are a couple ways you can do this, but here’s my personal favorite…
Step #1. Create a ConvertKit Form for your new freebie (this is how people will opt-in)
Step #2. Create a new Sequence in ConvertKit and name it after your freebie.
Step #3. In the first email in the Sequence, welcome the subscriber to your mailing list and share the freebie with them (either by attaching it to the email, or sharing it as a link via Dropbox or Google Drive).
Step #4. Set up an Automation rule so that when someone subscribes to that Form, they are automatically subscribed to that Sequence.
Step #5. (Optional) In the same Automation rule, set it so that the new subscriber is also Tagged with the name of that freebie.
Although the process of delivery will vary between email list platforms, most platforms will have a relatively easy way to deliver your freebie to new subscribers. Not sure which email list platform is right for you? Check out this awesome guest post by Kory to help you decide!
After your freebie is set to automatically deliver, it’s time to think of the “bigger picture”. If you want to make money as a blogger, you’ve always got to keep your long-game in mind!!
There’s no use creating an opt-in freebie just for the sake of creating a freebie. Yes it’s nice to grow your email list, but HOW are you going to use your email list to build community, expert status, and generate sales?
I don’t suggest creating a freebie on a topic that: a) you don’t consider yourself an expert in; and b) you don’t ever plan to monetize in some way (that is, by creating a course, incorporating affiliate marketing in that area, writing an ebook, etc.)
The perfect freebie will “funnel” people towards purchasing one of your paid products or services. In next week’s blog post, Meera Kothand is stopping by to teach us how to write a killer welcome series for new subscribers. Meera is a sales funnel pro, so I highly recommend checking out her site and courses for more info!
Step #5: Market & Promote The Freebie
You’ve created a kickass freebie – now it’s time to GET IT OUT THERE!
There are a million and one ways you can promote your freebie, but here are a few of my favorites:
• In social media posts
• In your social media bios
• In a blog post
• In your sidebar or a smart bar on your website
• In Facebook groups
• In forums or other places your readers hang out
• In guest posts on other websites
Make sure your freebie doesn’t fall to the wayside. The worst thing you can do is spend days researching a topic and actually creating the freebie, and then not spend enough time promoting it!
Get creative with how you offer it to people. PRO TIP: People love seeing what they’re getting before they sign up. This is why I usually include some kind of “mockup” of the freebie that demonstrates what it looks like.
You can create a standard mockup by taking a few screenshots of your freebie and putting them together in Canva or AI, or you can use a website like magicmockups.com to place your freebie onto a computer or phone screen.
Speaking of mockups… Have you downloaded your workbook yet?