How to Create a Valuable Free Offer to Increase Subscribers

photo of woman handing flowers as a valuable free offer to customers

Do you agree that email address pop-ups are annoying without offering anything in return? We’ve all encountered them when browsing the internet, and most likely clicked away at the first opportunity. However, occasionally you’ve handed over the goods. Here’s why: the valuable free offer speaks to what you are looking to buy/achieve/learn about in your life.

High-quality free offers are one of the most productive ways marketers and entrepreneurs build their email subscriber lists. Creating the right ones can mean thousands of new subscribers eager to learn more about you and primed to buy. 

So today, we’re going to look at how to create a strategic, valuable free offer your ideal customer wants enough to hand over their name and email address. It is the first step to building familiarity and trust with your brand.

What is a High-Quality Free Offer?

You might hear this marketing tactic referred to in a few different ways, including a lead magnet, opt-in, free offer or freebie. These terms refer to a package of information you create to give for free to your target audience. A lead magnet’s goal is to entice your target subscriber to opt-in to your email list because they want access to the freebie or discount you’re offering.

As a result, the trick to creating a high-converting lead magnet is to ensure the content is something that your ideal customer can’t resist. 

So, how do you create a product that your ideal customer finds irresistible? You have to know their wants, needs, desires and pain points inside and out and create content that speaks to those needs.

How to Determine the Subject of Your Offer

A lead magnet’s success relies on one thing: how well you know the wants, needs, and desires of your customer.

Suppose you’ve been in business for a while and are just turning your focus to email list building. In that case, you likely have all of your target audience demographics and psychographics nailed down.

Great! Familiarity will make content creation easier.

On the other hand, if you are in the early phase of your business, you might have to research what your ideal customer is seeking out. 

You can find out what your people are looking for in a few places:

  1. Facebook Groups – join Facebook groups to find out what your customers complain about and wish they had.
  2. Instagram/Twitter – search hashtags, and spend time reading comments, looking at your peers/competitors’ polls to see how people respond to relevant questions.
  3. Pinterest and Google – type your topic in the search bar to see what auto-populates. For example, I created a lead magnet because small business owners were searching “how to write blog posts faster” on Google and Pinterest.
  4. Your current customers – ask them what they wish they knew more of or had a template for!
  5. Competitor Freebies – find inspiration in competitor free offers

By designing your offer based on solid research, you’ll use the right language to convert more of your landing page visitors into subscribers.

Components of a Valuable Free Offer

The key to creating a prosperous free offer for your ideal client is to make it valuable in the sense that people will want/appreciate/learn from it. It needs to be simple to produce and access. 

Here are some simple high-performing formats: 

  • Downloadable Template 
  • Free guide 
  • Coupon code
  • Challenge
  • Webinar
  • Training
  • Gift with purchase
  • Mini-Course

Adding Value but Not Too Much

Another important consideration is to give away enough helpful information that they want to learn more or buy from you, but not too much. It’s beneficial to think of the offer as something you are creating to introduce yourself as an expert, priming them to buy.

As Amy Porterfield says, they should be thinking, “Wow, if they are giving this much quality info away for free, imaging what the paid stuff looks like!”

The length of your offer and the depth of information should be digestible. In other words, a 45-page PDF or two hour-long webinar would probably make for a better sellable product than a freebie. People want a quick win when they opt-in.

In summary, your lead magnet should:

– Offer a solution to a problem your ideal client is facing

– Make your target subscriber’s life easier

– Share knowledge with them that you’ve gained through experience

– Pique their interest enough with specifc, relevant information 

– Be easy to digest and obtain (more on that below)

How to Create a Landing Page or Opt-In Form 

For your target audience to get the valuable free offer you’ve created, you will need an email service provider (ESP), and access to tools to create a home for your offers. Many ESPs have built-in templates, and there are design programs like Canva (free and paid versions) you can use.

You can house your offer in a few places, including a landing page, pop-up form or inline form on your website.

Landing Page 

A landing page is a full-page web page that details what your offer includes and asks for first name and email address. After the visitor enters this info, they hit a call-to-action button, “Get it Here” or “Download Now.”

After they do so, they automatically receive your free offer via automation made possible by your ESP. I can’t give specifics on how to do this as all ESPs are different. However, there will be a way to set it up. 

Landing page on the web where visitors are directed to download my valuable free offer
Landing Page

Landing Page versus Pop-up Form

If you’re thinking, what the heck is a landing page versus an opt-in vs an inline form, I get you! I wanted to get super specific with this post because it can be confusing!

A landing page is a full-page form that allows you to go as deep into your offer as you like. You can spell out the benefits and include images (see above).

When you promote your lead-in on your social media channels, you’ll need to route the person to your landing page. Why? Because you risk losing them if you direct them to your website, where they have to search out the opt-in. 

Pop-up or inline forms tend to be shorter and ask for a first name and email address to receive the offer. The pop-ups live on your website, whereas the landing pages exist as a URL on the web.

Example of a pop-up window on my webpage to download a free offer
Pop-up on my webpage

You can program your pop-up to appear at different times during the user experience (10/20/30 seconds after landing).

In both options, the process has to be super simple and take them no time at all. 

So to recap, the process looks like this:

Infographic detailing customer journey when opting in to a free offer via landing page
customer journey when opting in to a free offer via your website

Promoting Your Valuable Free Offer

You’ve researched what your audience needs and wants to determine the subject of your free offer. You’ve created it, made it possible to access and enabled sharing, either via download, or Google link, with your ESP. Now, it’s time to promote it!

In addition to promoting it as a pop up on your website, you can also promote it in the following areas:

Existing email list – take care of your people first! If you have subscribers, give them first access to any new free offers or discounts before sending it out into cyberspace. They’ll love you for it.

Instagram/Facebook – create a content plan around your offer and direct people to download it via the landing page link in bio, or linktr.ee

Pinterest – this platform is ideal for promoting lead magnets and is a great place to check out other people’s freebies. You can create multiple pins around your lead magnet and optimize the Pins with related hashtags. Include the landing page link in your Pin.

Blog/Podcast/YouTube – include a link to your landing page in the podcast notes, internal links on your blog posts or talk about it in your videos.

There are many ways you can organically promote your lead magnet, but it’s important to keep promoting it. You’ve put hard work and valuable information into your freebie, so don’t leave it out to dry. The chances are that less than 3.5% of your audience on the social media platforms will see it, so you owe it to them to be consistent in your promotion.

Troubleshooting Your Lead Magnet

Ok, so you’ve put blood, sweat and tears into creating, designing and promoting your lead magnet, and it’s not resonating. Your twenty friends have opted in, bless them, but that’s not really what you were hoping for, is it?

The truth is that conversion is not always indicative of the product itself (a healthy conversion rate on a freebie is 20-30%), but we can continuously improve.

Here’s a checklist that can help you to troubleshoot:

  1. Targeting the wrong audience – have you nailed down your ideal customer’s core wants/needs/desires/pain points and used language that speaks to them?
  2. Content is boring and not actionable – remember, freebies should offer quick wins and actionable advice
  3. Lack of exposure – promote it often and on all relevant platforms
  4. Ease of access – ensure your landing page is optimized and easy-to-use
  5. Too long or detailed – be concise on your landing pages and pop-ups
  6. Poor design of landing page/pop-up – it needs to be attractive and easy to consume (scannable)
  7. Poor headline – think of hooking the attention of your reader
  8. Lacks focus – avoid trying to solve too many problems; focus on one
  9. False promise – ensure your offer does what it says it will, and aligns with the wording of the offer
  10. Wrong content – is the content on the right path, but just slightly off the mark? Solicit feedback from those who have downloaded it.

If you have a small audience, you might see traction with your lead magnet as your following grows, but in the meantime, try to create a second lead magnet to see if it performs better. 

If you’re in the creative space, producing high-quality free products will forever be part of your marketing plan. So, don’t worry! creating a second one won’t be a waste of your time.

Make the Most of Your Lead Magnet

Your lead magnet is the front door to your brand and services. Your subscribers have accepted your invitation so welcome them in, offer them a coffee and biscotti and take care of them!

In other words, nurture them, serve them and ask them how you can make their experience in your world better in your email correspondence.

The whole point of building up your list is to establish the know/like/trust factor, so your audience eventually buys from you. To learn more about how to nurture your audience, check out my post on sheownsit.com, a site that empowers women to tell their own success stories.

Do you want to see a lead magnet in action? Download my most recent one here!

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