Ever wondered how all of those bloggers make SUCH amazing opt ins and freebies? Do you feel stuck for ideas on creating the perfect opt in? You don’t have to be a designer to create one that your tribe will totally LOVE! Krista from Blog Beautifully shares her process on how to go from zero to opt in in 5 simple steps!
Here’s a little secret for you: your email list is the BACKBONE of your success as a blogger. Your email subscribers are like the VIPs of your blog, and they’re also the people who are most willing and ready to invest in you and your business. In order to grow and build your email list, you need to create opt-in freebies that are perfect for your ideal audience. What is an “opt-in freebie”? It’s something that you give to your readers in exchange for their email address. Simple, really.
Some affiliate products are recommended in this post, only because I truly LOVE them. They are marked with a * and I will earn a bit if you love them and decide to purchase something awesome!
First things first. What in the world is an Opt in?
An opt-in freebie can be one of many things, including:
a workbook or worksheet
an email course
a resource library
a PDF guide
Today I’m sharing my 5-step, start-to-finish process for creating the perfect opt-in freebie for your audience. Now, here’s what I don’t want you doing: reading this post, wishing you had the time/money/skills to put these steps into action, and then clicking away and never thinking about opt-in freebies again. AH!
To make sure you have the support you need to actually create your perfect opt-in freebie — instead of just dreaming about it — I’ve created a FREE 5-page workbook filled with questions, suggestions, and checklists for you to tick off as you go. Click the image below to download the workbook, and let’s get started!
DO YOUR RESEARCH
The first step in creating your freebie is to do some research into what your audience actually wants. You can spend hours creating a beautiful freebie, but if it’s something that your readers aren’t actually interested in, all that time and effort was completely wasted.
So, let me ask you this: what type of freebie would your readers be most excited to download? If the answer doesn’t come to you straight away, that’s okay! Try asking yourself these two questions to get the ball rolling:
- What is my audience currently struggling with the most?
- How does my expertise and experience lend itself to solving that problem?
If you’re still not sure, head straight to the source. Social media is one of my favorite platforms for connecting with my readers, and it’s the perfect way to gauge your audience’s interest in a particular product or freebie. Try running a poll on Facebook, creating a survey and linking to it on Twitter, or asking your Instagram followers what they want to learn about.
When deciding on the perfect topic for your freebie, remember that the best freebies are always ACTIONABLE. Instead of a wordy document explaining some really deep, in-depth processes, create a step-by-step guide, a checklist, or even just a list of resources that your readers would find helpful. Simple, actionable advice is a million times better than hypothetical or theoretical concepts.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT ‘THING’
Once you’ve got your idea down, the next step is to pair your content with the appropriate format. Like I said earlier, there are a ton of different directions you can go in when it comes to creating a freebie (eBook, email course, PDF, etc.).
Different content is better suited to different formats, and the goal is to share information in the way that’s quickest and easiest for your readers to absorb. For example, something like a “Top 5 Tools For XYZ” would work well as a PDF, whereas a 7-page Word document might translate better into a 7-day email course.
Again, if you’re not sure which route is best, ask your audience! Say something like, “If I were to create a freebie for XYZ, which format would you prefer it in?” Then, list the options: e-book, email course, PDF, workbook, etc. Your end goal is to create something that’s undeniably appealing to your audience, so when in doubt, go ahead and ask your readers.
Once you’ve got your topic and format nailed down, it’s time to create a rough outline of what you want to say in your freebie. In step 3, you’ll hash everything out more and finalize the content as you bring it to life.
FUN: CREATING + DESIGNING YOUR FREEBIE
Now comes the fun part — designing your freebie! There are a lot of free or built-in design programs you can use for this step, including:
Canva, *PicMonkey, Microsoft Word, Pixlr, Google Drive
If you’re willing to make an investment, the more “high-end” design programs I recommend are:
Apple Pages, iBooks Author, Adobe InDesign or Illustrator
Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of a free mailing list service that allows you to create email courses. You can start a free account with MailChimp, but you have to pay extra to use their “Automation” feature. I personally use ConvertKit for my mailing list and email courses, and I love it. It’s simple and straightforward to use, and only $29/month to get started with.
Learn how to set up Mailchimp from start to finish AND automatically send your new subscribers their free gift with THIS COURSE!
A crucial part of designing your freebie is making sure that every single inch of it is “on brand”. You want anyone who comes across your freebie to know, instantly and without-a-doubt, that this awesome-and-super-helpful-freebie came from YOU. So extend the aesthetics of your brand (colors, fonts, etc.) to your opt-in freebies. You should also add either your logo, website name, or URL so that people know where to go to find more content from you.
To further enhance your branding, stick to a visual template for similar types of freebies. If you’re creating more than one PDF guide, keep the layout and colors the same, and only switch out the text and information. Not only will this save you time, but it will also create a more cohesive feel to your brand and freebies.
GET IT OUT THERE. HOW TO PROMOTE AND MARKET
Now that your freebie is ready-to-go, the next step is to promote it anywhere and everywhere your ideal audience hangs out.
Social media is your best bet, especially when it comes to attracting people who don’t read your blog yet. Create a promotional graphic for every single social media platform you use, including Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. Regularly mention your freebie in tweets, Facebook comments, and Instagram captions. You can even add the link to download your freebie into your social media profiles.
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Write at least one blog post that’s directly related to the topic of your freebie, and include the link to download the freebie within that post. Your goal is to have the freebie complement and enhance the blog post, but not overshadow it. Make sure your blog post is strong enough to stand on its own, but that the freebie is such an awesome bonus that people would be silly to turn it down.
Lastly, add 2-3 opt-in boxes on your website promoting your freebie. I love the SumoMe plug-in for WordPress, because once you set it up, it basically does all the hard work of promoting your list and freebies for you. If you use MailChimp or ConvertKit, you can design customized opt-in boxes using their software, and then copy and paste the HTML code directly into a widget/box on your blog.
DELIVERING THE FREEBIE + MAKING SALES
If you’re with MailChimp, you can add your freebie as an attachment included in your initial “Welcome” email. On ConvertKit, you can add it to the “Incentive” email, OR set up an Automation so that whenever new people opt-in, they’re added to a Sequence and immediately sent the freebie.
No matter which way you choose to deliver your freebie, remember that the end goal is to have your freebie lead towards people purchasing your PAID products. Whether that’s a product from your Etsy shop, your info products, your services, etc. You want to send people down a sales “funnel”, starting with them opting in to your freebie and leading to them purchasing one of your products or services.
You can achieve this by setting up a follow-up email sequence that’s sent out to your reader after they opt-in to your freebie. Ideally, your sequence will have 5-7 emails spread out over the course of 10-14 days, and near the end of the sequence, you’ll “pitch” that person your paid products or services.
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The conversion rate for sequences like these is only around 2%, which is why it’s SO important to build up your email list in the first place! The more people you have on your list, the more money that 2% is going to work out to.
Sales funnels might seem a bit complicated at first, and if you don’t have any paid products or services yet — that’s okay! It’s never too early to start building up your list, because when you DO get around to launching something, you’re going to be super glad you have all those email addresses tucked away.
NOW, GO GET STARTED!
I hope this guide has been helpful for you guys, and that your brains are spilling over with ideas for your opt-in freebie. The next step is to download and print off the corresponding 5-page workbook that will take you through the process of researching, designing, promoting, and delivering your perfect opt-in freebie. Click the image below to download it, and get to work! You got this.
So what do you think? Are you ready to make the perfect opt in? Feeling stuck on ideas? Feel free to leave your questions in the comments and let’s generate some amazing ideas together!
About the Author
Krista is the author and founder of Blog Beautifully, a resource hub for aspiring bloggers. She loves talking about Pinterest, growing your email list, and making money online. Follow her on social media on Pinterest | Twitter | Bloglovin’ | or catch some amazing tips for creatives on her blog, Blog Beautifully.