Using a Freebie to Build Your List? 3 Must-Know Strategies

List building 101 – use a free gift to entice people to sign up to your list.

What is a good way to go about choosing the topic? What are the potential formats that your freebie can come in? What to do so that you can save time and effort, and don’t have to reinvent the wheel?

Here are a few pointers to get your creative juice flowing…

Picking a Topic:

  • What is your target market’s biggest challenge or deepest desires? Your content should address these, and your title should tell your audience right away that this freebie can help them solve their problems.
  • Look through your correspondence, blog post comments, or social (media) interactions – what do people always ask you? What are the topics that you discuss most frequently with others? What makes you go on and on? What information others can’t get enough from you (be it the nature of the information, or the way that you present and interpret it)? These “FAQs” are great places to start.
  • Look through your blog content – if you have a good number of posts around one theme, compile them to create your freebie.
  • What are some of the handouts, templates or checklists that are most popular among your clients? Of course you don’t want to give away the farm, but a couple of these most popular items can just be spot on.
Picking a Format:
  • Checklist – I like things that are succinct and help me take action. A short checklist that helps people achieve a specific goal is a great format to cut through the information overload clutter – especially if you position your services as helping people take action and achieve results.
  • Template – templates, somewhat like checklist, emphasize on taking action. Good example is a food journal template, maybe with a special twist to record information relevant to a certain condition specific to your target market (e.g. emotional eating).
  • Special report or ebook – delivered as PDF files, they are easy to create and accessible to everyone. If you have or are working on an ebook, you can give away one chapter as freebie (I recommend picking a chapter that focuses on either building awareness around a problem, or one that focuses on solution), and use it as an opportunity to upsell your ebook.
  • Newsletter – most of the time, telling people “give me your email address so that I can add one more thing to your already overflowing inbox” is NOT going to do the trick. If you want to entice sign up with a newsletter alone, your hook better be damned good! E.g. you deliver exclusive perks and discounts to folks on your newsletter list (which, by the way, Slideberry does – my tribe gets special discounts or first dibs), or you are going to provide some really awesome information that people would actually pay for in every issue of your newsletter.
  • Email series – after sign up, the freebie/information will be delivered as a series of emails. A little more work in the set up process (and you need an autoresponder function from your newsletter service provider) but the advantage is that you will be appearing in your potential clients’ inbox consistently with valuable information that they requested, and you are training them to open your emails.
  • Audio – you can leverage a free teleclass that you used to launch a product or program and re-appropriate it as a freebie. Or, you can pull together a collection of blog posts around a theme and put them in audio format. If you plan ahead when you are doing a teleclass, you can put all the content about the product or service that you are launching in one segment, and you can easily edit it out with software such as Audacity (which is free, btw). Another idea for an audio is to have someone interview you – this makes for a more interactive experience and some people find the more conversational approach appealing.
  • Video or video series – video is great because your audience can put a face and a voice to a name – which really helps accelerate building the “like, know and trust” factor. However, if this sounds too intimidating and creating videos will significantly hold you back and delay your effort in launching your free gift, you can table it as a “enhancement” after you get your first iteration of freebie out to the world.

Information to Include:

  • Don’t be shy about telling people about yourself – include a section about you, about your company and about the products and services that you provide. Appropriate your elevator speech, your unique selling proposition and your compelling story to start developing a relationship with your prospect.
  • Always include a next step – what can your audience do if they find the information in the freebie super helpful, and completely resonate with your approach? Tell them about your products, programs or services – include links to your website so that they can learn more, or invite them for a discovery session.
  • If your freebie is in printable format, include your company name and website address in the header or footer area of each and every page. Print outs get scattered, and hopefully shared – make sure people who see and like your stuff have a way to find you.

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