Need a quick way to entice someone to join your email list or register for your website? Give away something for free.
By giving away something site visitors can download or access instantly, you can break through your readers’ hesitations about handing over their email addresses. And you earn their trust by giving them something useful immediately .
Some call it a “bribe,” some call it an “incentive,” and some call it a “freebie.” Whatever you call it, this technique can bring in big results as a list-building strategy.
But finding the right incentive for your audience — something that really makes people stand up and take notice — can be tricky.
How to create an irresistible incentive
As with everything in content creation, you need to keep your ideal customer in mind when you’re dreaming up your incentive.
What can you create that people will be incredibly excited to receive? You want them to look at your form and say, “Yes, I absolutely must have that!”
Start by generating a list of possibilities — ideas you can create quickly and test out.
To get you started with your own brainstorming, here’s a list of 13 ideas for enticing freebies to give away in exchange for an email address.
1. A cheat sheet
Everyone wants to do things the faster and easier way — sometimes cheat sheets are more popular than longer ebooks or reports.
Is there a shortcut or “cheat” you can give your audience?
2. An interview with you (video or audio)
If you’ve recorded an information-packed audio or video interview, you can use that as an incentive.
Remember to make the sound high-quality, and it shouldn’t be one big sales pitch.
3. A productivity template
Templates or fill-in-the-blank worksheets can help your audience complete a difficult or confusing task, so that they make progress toward their goals.
4. A case study
Do you have a shareable story about a client or student who has tackled a problem?
Case studies can be inspirational giveaways for your audience and great learning tools, too.
5. Your manifesto
A manifesto is a written, public declaration of your principles and beliefs. You can write up your own manifesto, get a graphic designer to spruce it up a bit, and give it away on your site.
Check out The Writer’s Manifesto from Jeff Goins.
6. An email course that shares information on solving a problem
Lisa Tener gives away a 7-day e-course on how to write a book, and it’s full of helpful bite-sized advice.
7. A checklist describing the steps of a detailed process
People love checklists! A checklist incentive is even easier to use if you can make it editable and printable.
For more information on writing checklists, read Atul Gawande’s marvelous book, The Checklist Manifesto.
8. Access to a webinar or class
If you teach via webinars on a regular basis, giving away a recording of a past training session can work well.
You can also offer free registration to an upcoming live webinar.
9. Access to a monthly live Q&A with you
For many years, Pamela Slim offered free access to a live Q&A session with her — any questions were welcomed.
You can offer this to your new subscribers and send them information about the live session after they sign up for your list.
10. A mind map
Mind maps are visual representations of concepts, ideas, or processes, and they are intriguing incentives when they’re done well.
Try XMind if you need a free, slick mindmapping tool.
11. A toolkit
If you’ve got a collection of useful resources in your content archive (like cheat sheets, checklists, videos, or ebooks) you can package them together into one super-useful toolkit for your audience.
12. A video series
Videos can be highly enticing incentives. If you feel comfortable on camera, shoot videos of yourself presenting a particular topic. Or if you want to stay off camera, you can do screencasts.
Either way, your sound quality should be top-notch — it can make or break your videos.
13. Templates, stickers, or wallpaper
If your specialty is design, you can bet your audience likes and appreciates your style.
You can give away a WordPress theme, a business card template, stickers, or other graphic gifts that show off your style.
The key to finding a great email incentive …
Keep testing different ideas until you find one people can’t wait to download.
Pick an idea, create it, and advertise it on your site with an opt-in or member registration form. Then, track the results and see how your audience responds.
If they love it, great! If not, move on to the next incentive idea.
Keep trying new freebies until you find one that’s so tantalizing, your prospects can’t resist it.
Read all the posts in our email marketing series
- How to Choose a Solid Email Service and Build Your List on a Firm Foundation
- Your Top-to-Bottom Email Checklist: What to Include Before You Hit Send
- Email Newsletters vs. Content Notifications: A Head-to-Head Comparison
- How to Write a Heroically Effective Email Autoresponder Series
- How to Write Email Subject Lines that Make People Stop, Click, and Read
- 4 Quick Solutions that Spawn Radical Email List Growth
- CAN-SPAM 101: A Crash Course in Bulk Email Regulations
- 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Virtues of Email Marketing
- Your Step-by-Step Email Marketing Strategy Guide [Free Checklist]
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