In this post, I’m going to walk you through my own strategy for creating freebies that convert. That is, a free offer you can put in front of your audience that will entice them to sign up to your email list.
Let’s start with some benchmarks.
For every 100 visitors to your website, you should aim to get at least 3 of them to sign up to your email list. Ideally this should be 4 or 5, and if you’re really good at this you could get that number as high as 10.
For a dedicated landing page (we’re going to be talking more about that in part 3), you should aim to convert about 30 out of every hundred visitors. Ideally this should be between 40 and 50, and if you get good at it that number can be as high as 60.
By the way, a note here for new readers. This blog post is part 2 of a 5 part series on how to create a high converting email list. You can read part 1 here, where I walk you through the exact steps to set your opt-in up on your website.
So the purpose of this post is to give you a simple strategy for coming up with the perfect free offer. One that is attractive to your audience and will convert as many of them to your email list as possible. In order to do that, I’m going to give you 10 characteristics that every good offer possesses. Think of this as a kind of checklist.
Please note this post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.
#1: A good free offer is quick to consume
This goes against the grain of what a lot of business owners think they need to offer to get people to sign up to their email list. The reality is, most new visitors don’t know you and if you offer them a 30 day meal plan they aren’t going to take you up on that offer because 30 days is a big commitment. However, a 24 hour detox, for example, is far less of a commitment and something most people are willing to try. That little offer is going to allow your visitor to test you. So as a general rule, whatever you are offering, make sure it is a quick win for your email subscriber.
#2: A good free offer is valuable
It goes without saying that the offer should be of value to your reader, but this is why I put this point below my recommendation to offer something quick, because many business owners think that for something to be valuable, it’s got to be big. This is simply not true! A 2 page PDF can be just as valuable and it’s all about what is valuable to your reader. To give you an example. Let’s say you run a blog for new mums and the blog is all about sleep. A 2 page PDF entitled “the guaranteed method to get any baby to sleep in 5 minutes” is incredibly valuable (take it from one who knows). Side note: I have no idea if this exists. If it does, please travel back in time to 2012 when my eldest was born and let me know the secret.
#3: A good free offer solves an immediate pain point
I’ve mentioned that an offer should be valuable, but what does it actually mean for something to be of value? Well, one thing it can mean is that it solves a pain point. If you are experiencing some form of pain, right now, then if a person claims they can get rid of that pain for you, that is valuable. So this is where you need to start thinking about your target audience and what drives them to be reading your blog. What are they seeking when they are on your site? What problem are they hoping you will solve? And what is keeping them up at night?
#4: A good free offer is in line with your target customer
You’ll have seen this mentioned before, but it bears repeating. Don’t offer your audience a free iPad. That’s taking it too far, I know, but hopefully you get the point. If you are a sleep training expert, you want to attract new mums. You don’t want to attract anyone who wants a new iPad; that’s just too broad a group and you are likely to get a very large email list of people who are never, ever going to buy from you. They aren’t your target customer.
#5: A good free offer is worded enticingly
Good working is everything when it comes to list building. Compare these two offers:
Offer 1: Two surprising 5-minute hacks that will de-clutter your house today
Offer 2: How to organise your kitchen and keep it tidy
Which one would you go for?
Of course – you’d pick the first offer!
So what does offer 1 have that offer 2 doesn’t? Well, it is simple. It makes a promise. And it is specific.
When putting together your offer, spend a good few hours (at least) writing down lots of different ideas for the headline for your offer until you find the one that really looks the most appealing.
#6: A good free offer is presented beautifully
In the first post, I gave you a few examples of methods you can use to put an opt-in form on your website. You can check it out here. My point in this post is that it is vital you present your offer well. Take time to make sure the colour and style fits with your website and looks professional. First impressions count. A scruffy opt-in will imply that you haven’t put much time and thought into the actual offer you are putting in front of them.
#7: A good free offer provides excitement, or an ah-ha moment
I’ve seen this so many times: offers that promise the earth, only to download them and think: is that it? I knew that already. Don’t disappoint! Really make an effort to put something together that will excite and delight your email subscriber (I like to call it the “ah ha moment” where they read your eBook and a lightbulb goes off when they read the new information you’ve just put in front of them). They really need to feel like they’ve got something valuable from your offer, otherwise they are going to just unsubscribe straight away.
#8: A good free offer has an element of mystery
Remember those two de-cluttering offers I listed earlier? There’s a key word I used in offer #1: surprising.
Certain words in your offers create an element of mystery and make your reader sit up and say: I really need to know what this is. “Surprising” suggests it’s going to be something unusual and something they haven’ t seen before. It’s a strong promise. Certain key words in your headlines are good for creating this sort of mystery, for example: secret, new, this, why.
#9: A good free offer presents you in your best light
I mentioned that your opt-in needs to be presented nicely, and that’s also true of your offer. Remember, this is about selling you as a person they can trust. Providing an offer that looks professional makes a big difference, especially if it’s short and sweet. I highly recommend Canva for this if you are producing any kind of PDF or eBook – you can check out my opt-in eBook if you want an example of what I do.
#10: A good free offer should be current
This is something I don’t see enough off: current offers. So many websites have opt-ins that have been around for years, because at one point in time they did really well for that blogger. The problem is, times change. Don’t get complacent. You might find that an an offer that was once a star performer for you is starting to have a negligible impact, and it probably means it’s been around for too long. Make sure your offer is really current, highly relevant and up to date.
There we have it. My 10-point checklist for the perfect offer. I have also put together a free download where I’m sharing my top 12 best optin offers to give you some specific ideas to start with. It’s in my free membership area that goes with this blog series, which you can access now (as well as lots of other little goodies) by clicking on this link:
List Building Goodies – The Free Membership Area
In the next post, which you can read straight away by clicking here, I’m going to be talking about one of my favorite subjects: landing pages. This is essential if you plan on using social media to build your email list (you should) and it’s also going to be very useful to you if you don’t yet have a website.