This is a follow up article for the how do I start a blog series that we have been publishing on this site to help users get started and create a successful blog.
If you’re planning to establish an online business, or generate leads from an online source for a brick and mortar business, you need to have a sizable and engaged list of email subscribers.
Just a few years ago many internet marketing experts were predicting the demise of conventional email marketing because of the rise of social media.
However, a recent survey conducted by Salesforce.com, a leading technology and CRM company, reveals some interesting facts about how marketers view email marketing.
- 73% marketers, out of the 5000 surveyed, considered email marketing to be the core part of their business.
- 59% marketers planned to increase their email marketing budgets in the coming year.
- 20% marketers said that email marketing was directly linked with their revenues.
Another study reveals that,
- 91% of US consumers check their email every day.
- 89% companies in the US consider email marketing a worthy investment.
- Almost 71% mobile purchasing decisions are influenced by email.
These stats clearly suggest that email marketing needs to be a key component of your online marketing and lead generation strategy.
But to attract email subscribers, you need to offer something valuable in return for their email addresses. You can’t build a list by offering “Free Blog Updates”. It doesn’t work that good anymore.
A high value email list incentive, or bribe as I like to call it, is a necessary pre-requisite to building an email list. Without having one, it’ll be very difficult for you to get people on your list.
To help you create an ideal email list bribe, here are a few ideas that’ll get your creative juices flowing.
1) A Free Email Course
Offering a high value email course for free is a great way to not only attract more subscribers to your list, but also convert them into leads (potential customers) by showing them your expertise on a certain topic.
Subscribers like email courses because they’re easier to digest. Most email courses are spread over 7-10 weeks during which the subscribers receive 1-2 emails every week.
This helps them consume the information that you share and allows them to implement your advice in a timely manner.
Many leading bloggers, freelancers and internet marketing experts use free email courses to attract subscribers.
To set up an email course, you’ll need to configure an auto-responder series with 1-2 weekly emails containing high value content.
2) Time Saving Checklists
Checklist is one of my favorite forms of email freebies. In fact, I rarely refuse the opportunity to sign up for a checklist when I see one.
Why? Because they’re so easy to digest, save hours of learning time, and provide immense value straight away.
Checklists basically help your subscribers audit their own performance in regards to a specific aspect of their niche. By using a checklist, they have a benchmark that they can follow and use a tried and tested method for success.
3) Intelligent Cheat Sheets
Cheat sheets are eBooks that focus on one objective, and share time saving and highly effective techniques to achieve it. Unlike the conventional eBooks, cheat sheets are not very lengthy and usually get straight to the point. You can consider them as an extended form of the checklist freebie.
You can use smart templates or quick comparison tables as cheat sheets as well.
In short, your objective is to deliver precise and targeted value that helps your subscribers achieve a certain objective.
4) Subscriber Exclusive Content
If you produce lots of content on your blog, you can offer selected content exclusively to your subscribers. Your regular blog content will be open to everyone, but the subscriber exclusive content will be partially visible to non-members.
Leading news agencies and magazine websites apply this strategy regularly. They display the first paragraph of an article, and require the readers to sign up to read the remaining content.
You could also create content about the hottest questions in your niche and offer it to your subscribers only. In both ways, your readers will need to sign up for your email list to gain access to this content.
Copyblogger’s exclusive subscriber content is a great example of this freebie
5) A High Value Ready to Use Resource
There are “Do It Yourself Resources”, and there are “Done for You Resources”. This type of freebie falls in the latter category.
It is a free giveaway that, instead of asking your subscribers to do something, actually does something for them. It gives them ready to use information or resources that can immediately start adding value to their business.
This kind of freebie is extremely attractive for your blog visitors since it does not require any effort or time on their part. They just need to use the resource that you’ve already developed for them.
6) Super Useful Toolkit
Another highly attractive form of email list bribes is the free user toolkit. In simple words, a toolkit is a bundle of really useful all-round tools that your subscribers can benefit from. It can include things like worksheets, eBooks, any free tools you like, templates and other resources that can be of interest to your visitors. You can bundle all of these tools together and offer as a downloadable ZIP or RAR file.
People love the toolkit freebie because it gives them direct access to useful tools that they can use as they like. It is also much more tempting than a simple eBook because it’s ready to be used.
7) Case Study
Who doesn’t like a detailed, all-revealing case study? Case studies are not only effective in attracting subscribers, but they’re also great for your brand image. Because they give your subscribers a look at the backstage activities of your blog.
Case studies are especially useful if you run a service based business, for example a graphic design or a web development company. You can create case studies of your clients and feature the problems they had before approaching you, and how you managed to resolve their issues.
Case studies give you a great opportunity to market your services and expand your clientele as well. A successful case study is effectively a testimonial for your services.
On the technical side, case studies are basically eBooks in PDF format. To make them more engaging, make sure you add lots of screenshots and before/after stats and images of your client’s performance.
As a website or blog owner, email list building should always be among your top business priorities. But you can’t build an effective email list without offering a high value email bribe to your subscribers.
The examples I’ve shared in this post should give you a good idea of what an effective email list freebie looks like. There can be a number of other ways you can create awesome freebies. All you need to do is understand the needs of your visitors and create something that can attract them to your list.
You can easily use the WP eStore plugin’s squeeze form feature (or the stylish one) to offer your freebie (securely) and build the list.
Do you offer any email incentives on your blog? Or do you have any other ideas we can add to this list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.