Free gifts or “Thank You” gifts entice your audience to join or opt-in to your mailing list. It’s also a very effective marketing strategy. However, it’s only effective if the freebie is useful, valuable and of high quality. Your freebies pull double duty for you. They serve as samples and examples of your products, services, values, ethics, and expertise. They also enable you to reach more of the people who want and need the products and services you provide.
If you are serious about getting more subscribers/clients, your freebies should be top-notch and something that your audience needs. Ideally, you want to create the freebie only once. However, under certain circumstances, you may want to make a slightly edited version for a different segment of your target market. Here are a few free gifts you may want to consider offering subscribers.
Ebooks – These are great instant gifts, especially if it’s a book you normally sell. This gives it a greater perceived value. When your visitors see that you are a “giving” person, they are more willing to buy from you.
Reports– A report is just a short eBook that is more focused on solving one problem, instead of a complete guide on the topic like a book would be. If you had a website about vegetarianism, you could, for instance, offer a free pantry check sheet, measurement conversion, or substitution chart for your readers to use.
Coupons– People like getting coupons. Offer your visitors a coupon code for signing up for your email list. Don’t discount your work too much, though, because that devalues what you do.
Videos– Offer a short video that teaches or informs your audience how to do something that will
benefit them. An example might be a “How to Install WordPress Editorial Calendar” or “How to Get Perfect Poached Eggs Every Time.”
Checklists– An awesome freebie to give your audience are checklists. People want to save time and checklists can help them do just that.
Charts– Offer your audience a chart or graph that helps them to visualize a complex concept. Pair the chart with a brief explanation of its meaning and relevance.
Related Items Bundle– Compile of all of the above if you want to offer an outstanding freebie to your list subscribers. This is a great way to give them an overall sampling of what you do well.
Ecourse– This is a must-have, especially if you are also a coach. You can provide the course through email or in an eLearning “classroom” type of setting. If you provide eBooks, this might be an introduction to or extension of one of the topics.
Challenge– Offering a niche-related challenge via email is a super way to encourage readers to step outside of their comfort zone or to reach their next goal. Consider including a time or point when you give them personal feedback during or after the completion of the challenge.
Cheat sheets – These quick “reminders” are a great way to teach your audience or provide information that is a bit complex or lengthy. An example you may be familiar with is the emoticons with the keys used to make the symbol like this smiley face : ) .
Templates – You can create all sorts of templates that will help your audience complete a specific task or activity. Depending on your niche/services, you may want to offer a few eBook
templates for your clients to use.
Blueprints– Blueprints are wonderful way to share or explain a detailed concept. For example, you can create a blueprint for clients that explains, step-by-step, “How to Get Readers Excited and Ready to Buy”.
Planners– Offer a fill-in-the-blank content planner to help your audience plan, order, and schedule content. Be sure to brand the planner with your site logo and link. You may also want to include a few planning tips or associate this download with a “Planning” or “Efficient Content” mailing list where you can offer even more planning tips along the way.
Audio– Provide a free audio, where you share tips. Interview someone in your client’s niche. Interview someone about marketing or another topic that all your client’s can use. The interview can help you gain additional attention and recognition, depending on who you interview.
Case study – Give away a case study related to the type of writing or editing you do. For example, if you specialize in writing blog or website content, you might want to offer a case study with the latest statistics about fonts (size, color, styles, combinations, etc.)
Graphics– Depending on your niche, you may be familiar with your audience’s needs and usage of
graphics. If you also do graphic work, or know someone who does, you may want to give away public
domain images, which have been edited to include phrases, tips, quotes, etc., that relate to your audience’s needs. For example, if you cater to home and family sites, you could offer 25 topic related memes with quotes related to home and family.
Private Facebook (or similar) Group– Give new subscribers access to an “insiders” group where they can get info related to their niche and/or business. Keep this group “by invitation only” so it’s
more exclusive and is perceived as having greater value.
Pre-recorded webinars –Offer free access to a pre-recorded webinar that you conducted or participated in. This helps potential clients view you as an authority and/or a leader in your niche. In addition, you get to JV with your peers and stir up a buzz.
Free Pass– Give away a free pass to your next webinar, event, workshop, etc. You can limit this to a specific number of people (spots) or by time, where people have to sign-up during a certain period. Keep in mind that the event or activity should be relative to your audience’s needs. For example, a writer specializing in local business would need to make sure that local business issues and interests were covered.
Guide to…– Create a guide your potential clients and your audience would find helpful. Your free
sign-up gift guide will be specific to your niche audience. For example, if your ideal target market
includes new online business owners, you may need to create a guide, which explains the different types of content they may need and how you can help them. A guide to online safety might also be appropriate.
Plugins & apps– Offering a plugin or app may be a bit beyond your ability. If you have a coder friend,
they may be able to help you create one. There are also some apps/plugins that you can buy with the
right to brand them as your own and give them away. You could check on Fiverr.com for people who
have the technical knowledge.
Free trial– Nothing makes people more willing to take the plunge and take a chance than a free, limited-time trial of a product or service.
Contest entry– Hold a contest. Give new sign-ups an extra entry into the contest or drawing. Another option might just be the standard “enter to win” strategy.
Worksheets– You can give away a variety of worksheets. In fact, you may want to provide a bundle of them. They could include a traffic tracking spreadsheet, keyword worksheet, content ordering form (with the info you need), affiliate product sheet, promotion calendar, etc.
Free consultation– Help your audience get to know you by offering a free consultation, when they sign up. The consultation can be done through email, on the phone or via skype.
Book preview– Offer a free preview of your next book (a few chapters) or digital product. This is also a great way to make pre-sales before launch. Ask for feedback.
Freebie of the month membership– Offer a free membership to a freebie of the month club. People love freebies. You can provide a helpful, valuable, free download item, such as images, checklists, guides,
comparison charts, calendar pages, and more. You could also create a more complex, related item or
package to sell each month.
Fun printables– Using what you know about your target market, create fun printables that help relieve stress, educate, and motivate subscribers. These could include niche related crossword puzzles, word searches, color pages (adults or kids), cryptograms, hidden images, etc.
Tangible Items– Offer a tangible item such as a promotional calendar, pen, t-shirt, 3-ring binder,
or other helpful promotional items. This is especially appropriate if your target market is mostly
made up of local business owners.
Encouraging people to opt in and subscribe to your list is an important part of making your business successful. The major money is still in the email list, even when you market in other places. Get your target market on your mailing list by giving them something helpful and valuable, while you build a better relationship and make more sales.
This article was written by my Mentor Ron Douglas, who has been teaching me for years and who I turn to when I have professional questions about Internet Marketing.