You know you need an email list. And you’ve also been told that the best way to get people to sign up is to give something to them for free.
What in the world can you offer to your list as your lead magnet or email freebie? The ideas are sitting right in front of you!
You can’t just sign up with ConvertKit and put some forms on your site and think that it will work, and people will sign up in droves. They won’t.
The truth is if you just say “sign up for updates in your inbox,” no one will give you their address. Everyone is busy, and they don’t need one more item in their inbox.
You need to make signing up worth it. You need to provide value beyond the post.
That is where the lead magnet, or opt-in, will help. But you don’t want to offer just anything. You need to make sure it is a fit for your audience. After all, if you hope to capture that email, then you better make it worth it.
Read more about How to Create an Opt-In Your Readers will Love!
USING OPT-INS TO GROW YOUR EMAIL LIST
If you are struggling with what to offer as your email freebie or lead magnet, you aren’t alone. Coming up with creative opt-in ideas is one thing many site owners find challenging.
But it doesn’t need to be. The answer may be staring you right in the face. And you don’t even realize it.
Don’t just start trying to figure out what to do willy-nilly. You need to develop a system. And that all starts with content.
WHAT IS AN EMAIL LEAD MAGNET?
If you are new to blogging, you may not understand what a lead magnet is. A lead magnet is an incentive you offer to your readers to get them to sign up to be on your email list. You may also see a lead magnet called an opt-in or a freebie.
A lead magnet is a digital product such as a printable, video, audio recording, checklist, or eBook. A reader signs up, and after they give you their email, you send them what you promised.
WHY SHOULD YOU OFFER A FREEBIE?
Extending a lead magnet to your list is a great way to encourage them to sign up. They want your awesome product and are willing to hand over their email address.
As mentioned above, readers do not need another email clogging their inbox, so asking them to “sign up for updates” or “join me for tips” is not going to cut it. They will, however, be more willing to sign up if you make it worth their while.
The lead magnet is the lure to get them to want to sign up again and again.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO CREATE FOR YOUR LEAD MAGNET?
Knowing you need to offer something to your reader is quite different from creating it. Where do you start? How do you know what to make to get people to sign up? It begins with your site.
REVIEW YOUR POPULAR CONTENT
To rapidly grow your list, you should start by adding an opt-in on the posts that currently send you traffic. After all, people are visiting, so you need to do all you can to capture those readers and funnel them to your list.
Log into Google Analytics. Navigate to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages. You will see the posts that are sending the highest traffic to your site (over the past seven days – change the dates for a larger sample).
Click on the small box with an arrow on it, and that will open your post in a new window. That will be the first post for which you need to look at creating your freebie.
So what should the opt-in be? Review the post and see if there a checklist that may be able to help the user.
Perhaps you have 10 points on the post and could make an opt-in that lists 15. If it is a recipe or DIY, it could be a way to print it the instructions along with a shopping list.
You may have 20 recipes on your site, and you want to offer those in one easy download. It could even be a daily affirmation they can print and hang on their bathroom mirror.
Every post will have something you can create that will provide your reader with more value. Think outside of the box and see what you can come up with to encourage those people who love your content to also sign up for your list.
Continue working through every post on your site, and, as you add new content, think about what you can offer as the lead magnet.
Research is not only good for new content ideas but also lead magnets! For example, if your blog niche is health, you could go into Pinterest and search for health printables. You will see countless ideas to see what others are doing so you can use that to come up with your creative spin on what to offer to your readers.
ASK YOUR READERS
You’ve already got people who follow you or might be on your list – so ask them! What is it that they need? What would make their lives easier in the form of printables or books? You may just come up with a fantastic idea that you never thought of before.
DO THE BRAIN DUMP
One of my favorite ways to come up with ideas is just to start writing them down. I call this the brain dump. Write down anything at all that comes to you in a 30-minute session. Don’t exclude anything!
One of my clients recently did this for her site on teaching breastfeeding. She came up with an idea for something that was nowhere on her website but will do fantastic — all because she did a brain dump. Now she is working on a unique eBook she will be able to offer to her readers (sorry – can’t tell you what it is as I don’t want someone else stealing her idea).
THE #1 MISTAKE BLOGGERS MAKE WITH THEIR LEAD MAGNET
Before you jump in and create a freebie, you need to make sure you are doing it the right way. There is a mistake that many bloggers make when it comes to making a lead magnet.
They are not post specific.
Have you ever visited a site and you see an opt-in for a list or freebie that has nothing to do with what you are reading? You probably did not sign up, did you?
The lead magnet must connect to the post. For example, I have a post on this site that is about how to use the Amazon Affiliate Program the right way. The lead magnet is an Amazon Dos & Don’ts checklist. That makes sense. However, if I included an opt-in about how to use Pinterest, it would not.
When you create or add opt-ins to your posts, they need to add additional value to the content. That will turn casual readers into fans.
It may seem like a lot of work to make all of the opt-ins, but if you can increase your list, it will be well worth it. I promise.
CREATIVE OPT-IN IDEAS
When it comes to creating your freebie, there are countless things you can offer. This list will give you ideas you can use for every post you create, so you can come up with something that will provide extra value to your readers so that you can capture that coveted email address.
People love a useful checklist. Use these on travel posts or how-to posts. You can even use your listed items in your post and transform that into a checklist.
One thing you can do is find a paid product you sell (or promote). Create a free checklist that will work with that product, and then when people sign up, you can put them into a specific funnel so you can try to sell the product to them.
I do this with my Start a Blog Checklist. It is a freebie that goes with a post. When the reader signs up, he or she gets funneled into a six-part email series where I sell my technical blogging course. They’ve got the checklist and have questions so that the course will fill in those blanks for them.
Self-Improvement Blogs: Healthy habits checklist, daily motivations checklist, self-care checklist
Health & Fitness Blogs: Daily workout checklist, fitness routine checklist, healthy habits checklist
Parenting Blogs: Babyproofing checklist, hospital bag checklist, traveling with kids checklist
Recipe Blogs: Spice cabinet checklist, freezer checklist, pantry checklist, shopping checklist
Finance Blogs: Debt planner, shopping checklist, money-saving checklist
Another easy opt-in you can create is an eBook. If you are a recipe blogger, you could make a collection of some recipes. It could be from a series of posts you wrote that go together to encourage or teach. Review your content and see if you can’t pull the content from some of your posts together and put them into a book.
Just a word of caution! You have to be careful about affiliate links in your books as some programs do not allow that (such as Amazon).
EMAIL LESSON OR CHALLENGE
If you teach your users at all, a challenge can be a great way to get them onto your list. You come up with an email sequence you send out to them over five days (that is the perfect number). Each day they get a new email with a piece of the lesson. At the end of five days, they’ve done what you promised to do.
Then, you can upsell them to a paid product such as a course or book. They already love what they’ve learned from you and are primed to learn even more!
You can see this at work on my site. If you look at the post about selling printables, there is a freebie. That offers them a free course they can sign up for as well. There is also an option for growing your email list that is also a free 5-day course on building your email list.
Each of these provides value to the reader beyond the post and works to get them to sign up again and again.
Self-Improvement Blogs: 5 Days to overcoming negative self-talk; 5 day
Health & Fitness Blogs: Daily workout challenge; 5 days to a healthier diet
Parenting Blogs: 5 Days to more positive parenting; breastfeeding challenges
Recipe Blogs: Meal planning, five days to learn how to cook freezer meals
Finance Blogs: Plan to get out of debt, learning how to budget
These days everyone loves video! Your opt-in could be a video where you go into more detail on a topic or provide value beyond the post. For example, you could do a video showing how to make that DIY – and then a bonus way to make it different or something that may work with what they just made.
You can host these on YouTube for free — or use Loom and record the video which is emailed to them after they sign up.
Readers love a good template too! Items such as coloring pages, budget, financial forms, self-help guidance, meal planning, and more make the perfect template. Create something your readers can use that they just have to print and can start filling out.
Self-Improvement Blogs: Self-care planner, mental health guide
Health & Fitness Blogs: Wellness dairy, fitness journal, food diary
Parenting Blogs: DIY printables for kids, babysitter form, health & medical family forms, family calendar
Recipe Blogs: Meal planner, shopping templates, favorite recipes journal
Finance Blogs: Budget, debt form, bill tracker, income report
TEACHING TUTORIAL / SELF-HELP
Each of these includes information and value. It is beyond the scope of the article. The guides walk the user through the process, so they know how to get started on each of these platforms.
A resource library is a great way to offer all of your printables at once – without needing to do more. There is one right here on TracieFobes.com (you must sign up for any of my freebies to gain access).
When readers sign up, they get an email back that shares the details on how to access the library. They can print one, five, or ten forms — whatever they like! Also, each time you create a new freebie, the reader does not need to sign up to get access.
PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP
If you have a group, you can funnel people to join through your list. Include a code word in the email that they need to provide to you (you will ask a question). That way, you only approve those who already signed up and should be in the group.
Get some tricks on how to run a thriving Facebook group.
Sometimes people want to listen to content rather than read it. Consider recording your post in an audio format so you can email it to users. They can listen to on their terms.
Think about what value you can provide to your readers and then come up with a creative opt-in that you can put on your site. Readers thing you are just giving value – but you know you are growing your list.