5 Steps to Create an Opt-In Freebie Your Audience Loves
How amazing would it be to create an opt-in freebie that's downloaded by hundreds of people on the very day it's released? If you're trying to grow your email list, opt-in freebies will be your magic beans. Pretty much all of my list growth (5,000 subscribers to date and going strong) has come through the opt-in freebies I offer my audience.
What is an opt-in freebie and how exactly do you create them? That's what this post is all about!
What exactly is an opt-in freebie?
An opt-in freebie is something you give your reader in exchange for them joining your email list. Your freebie can be just about anything, including:
A cheat sheet
A video tutorial
An email course
A discount code
The key to creating a solid freebie is to find a topic and format that your readers resonate with and that they’re happy to hand over their email address for. How do you do that? By following my simple, 5-step system of course!
Ready to create an opt-in freebie your audience can’t wait to download? Let's get to work.
5 Steps to Create An Opt-In Freebie Your Audience Loves
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, do some market research! Make a list of the places your ideal readers hang out. These could be forums, Facebook groups, or social media platforms. Then head to those places and do some digging. Connect with people, ask them what they're struggling with, or create a Typeform survey 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 key topic 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? That’s your topic!
Step #2. Choose the format & name
As mentioned above, your freebie can come in 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 you present it in.
For example, a tech tutorial might work best as a video where you record your screen and talk through what you're doing. If you're sharing a long list of items to complete, you could create a checklist (who doesn’t love ticking things off a list?).
Take a few minutes now to figure out the best format for your freebie. Then it's time to come up with a fun name for it! You want the title to be catchy, intriguing, and memorable, while still being simple enough for people to remember.
Names are crucial — not just for freebies, but for everything. Names make things memorable, and memorable is good. 👌
Step #3. Create your freebie
Now comes the extra fun part: actually designing your freebie!
The design program you use for this step will vary depending on the type of freebie you're creating. For recording your computer screen in a video tutorial, I use QuickTime. 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 improve recognition
Add your logo and domain name so people are reminded of where the freebie came from
Design social media graphics to promote your freebie at the same time as you’re creating the actual freebie
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 and how awesome the content is, so they know it's a sign of great things to come!
Once you're freebie is looking fresh, it's time to set up the automated delivery…
Step #4. Deliver the freebie
Next up, you're going to need a way for people to sign-up and receive your freebie. One of the reasons I love ConvertKit (*affiliate link) as an email list provider is because they include customizable sign-up forms and landing pages with all of their plans. I’ve also used LeadPages (*affiliate link) to create pop-up boxes and landing pages.
In terms of freebie delivery, there are a few different ways you can deliver your freebie when somebody opts in for it. You can set it up so that the freebie is included in the welcome email your new subscriber receives from you, or you can create a password-protected Resource Library to house all of your freebies and then send the password to new subscribers in a welcome email.
Because I use ConvertKit (*affiliate link) for my email list, let me quickly walk you through how to deliver your freebie with ConvertKit.
Step #1. Create a ConvertKit Form for your new freebie (this is how people will sign up for it).
Step #2. Create a new Sequence in ConvertKit and name the sequence 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 this Form, they’re 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, so that you can easily keep track of who’s signed up for what.
Although the process of delivery will vary between email list providers, most platforms will have a relatively easy way to deliver your freebie to new subscribers. After your freebie is set to automatically deliver, it's time to think of the bigger picture — because 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, showcase your 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
b) You don't ever plan to monetize in some way (that is, by creating a course, incorporating affiliate links, writing an ebook about it, etc.)
The perfect freebie will "funnel" people towards purchasing one of your paid products or services.
Step #5. Market & promote your new freebie
You've created a kickass freebie and 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 blog posts
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 people’s websites
Make sure your freebie doesn't fall to the wayside. The worst thing you can do is spend days researching a topic and creating a freebie, but then not spend enough time promoting it! Get creative with how you share the freebie with your audience and prospects.
Pro Tip: People love seeing what they're getting before they sign up. That’s why I usually include some kind of mockup of the freebie to show exactly what it looks like. You can create a mockup by taking a few screenshots of your freebie and putting them together in Canva or AI (*affiliate link) , or you can use a website like magicmockups.com to place your freebie onto a computer or phone screen.
So there you have it! A simple, 5-step system for creating the perfect opt-in freebie that your audience goes crazy for. What type of freebie are you going to make next? Do you have any questions about this process?