Let’s talk about freebies.
Everyone loves a freebie, right?
Not exactly. As you’ll discover in this lesson, not all free opt-in incentives to get people to sign up for your email list are created equal.
Many years ago, it was much easier to build an email list. All you had to do was ask people for their email address or invite them to sign up for a newsletter, and you could grow your list.
Also, we didn’t have running water and we had to rub sticks together to create fire. And instead of Angry Birds we had to entertain ourselves by … throwing birds at the wall.
I’m probably over simplifying what the internet was like in the good ol’ days. But it is true that it’s gotten much harder to build an email list.
That just means you have to be smarter.
Because some people would rather give away their first born than sign up for another email newsletter.
Why? We’ve all been burned. We’ve all signed up for an email list that starts spamming you with unrelated content you don’t care about.
The best way to be smart about building your email list is is to create a compelling opt-in offer that incentivizes people to give you their email address in order to get this freebie. Some people call this a “freebie” or a “bribe” or an email bonus.
Now, there’s a secret to creating an amazing freebie that will make people trip over themselves to give their email address to you to get your freebie.
Are you ready for it? It’s just one word.
That’s right – testing. You need to test whatever it is you create. If you’ve been following along in this challenge, you should not be surprised.
In fact, when I first created a freebie for my site, I made the classic mistake. I spent months and months creating what I thought needed to be the PERFECT free opt-in offer.
What I created finally became a 50-page free opt-in.
The only problem was – not a lot of people wanted it. One of the major reasons was the title.
My original title was “How to Create Your Personal Networking Plan.” I copied this format from Michael Hyatt, who had a free opt-in offer at the time titled “How to Create Your Personal Life Plan” which had apparently been downloaded over 250,000 times.
I thought since I was going to write about relationship-building and connecting in business, I could borrow the same format of the title and I’d get lots of downloads as well.
But it didn’t work out that way. The signups were very slow at first.
So what did I do? I started testing new titles. Very slowly, I found new language that worked in the title, and eventually I settled on a totally different title – “How to Increase Your Income Today by Building Relationships with Influencers, Even if you Hate Networking.”
I gave this free ebook away for years before I finally decided to test it head-to-head against a simple 2-page list of “5 Email Templates” I had created.
The result? I immediately got a 50% increase in the number of signups. For a freebie that was 2 pages long.
In fact, my index page which used to convert at .2 or .3% currently converts at about 18-19%.
You could say it’s because people are lazy and they don’t want to read a 50-page ebook. That could be the explanation. Or it could be because they really wanted the email templates.
Whatever the reason, the lesson is you should keep the freebie you create very short and then simply test how you describe it using a tool like AWeber’s built in form split-testing, Sumome or LeadPages (more in the next lesson about these tools).
What Format Should I Use?
Now one of the most common questions I get about creating a freebie is what format should it be in? Video? PDF? Should it be in the form of a series of emails?
The truth is, none of those things really matter. What really matters is that whatever you are offering is described in a way that is compelling, interesting and relevant to your audience.
The exact medium which will perform the best will vary over time. It used to be if you offered a free series of videos, you could get a lot of people to sign up. However, I have seen simple PDFs vastly outperform multi-part video series which cost 10 times as much to produce.
I’ve tested just about every different type of freebie, and here are a few ideas that I’ve seen work well:
- A “cheat sheet”
- A checklist
- A list of tools. People generally tend to value getting tools over learning new skills, because there’s a perception that a tool will be a quicker and easier solution to achieve a desired result. Here’s a video on the LeadPages blog explaining why giving away a list of the tools that YOU use works so effectively.
- A short training video
Now the final point is that your results will vary depending on what audience you have coming in.
If people browsing your site are looking for information on gardening, they are not going to be interested in downloading a free checklist on how to change the oil on your car.
That’s where guest posts come in, which you will learn about in Lesson # 6.
- Before you run off and spend months and months creating a 50-page free ebook (like I did – I was an idiot), create a 2-page freebie and test the language you use to describe it using AWeber, Sumome or LeadPages (more on these last 2 tools in the next lesson).
- The audience that sees your freebie to will have as big an impact on how many signups you get as the freebie itself. So be sure you are getting in front of the right audiences (more on that in the lesson on Day 6).