How I used freebies to get over 53,837 leads into my email list

Free stuff sells.

I repeat: free stuff sells.

Yeah, yeah, I know. That doesn’t *technically* make sense.

 
 

Lemme clarify.

People like free stuff. Especially free stuff on the internet. And to get their hands on that free stuff, people are usually pretty willing to do something in exchange.

Have you ever signed up for a newsletter just so you could get free shipping on, let’s say, some cute romper you saw on Instagram?

That’s what I’m talking about.

You got the promo code for free shipping. The cute romper seller got permission to email you on the regular — in the hopes of selling you another fabulous one-piece outfit.

freebies email list elise darma.png

When I say free stuff sells, I mean that giving away something for free helps sell something else down the road.

Welcome to the magical world of freebies (aka content upgrades, lead magnets, or opt-ins)! ✨

Freebies are a powerful way for online business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs to grow their email lists AND grow their businesses.

I’m a huge fan of freebies.

I’ve used these babies to generate over 53,837 warm leads for my business, and I strongly (strongly) believe that these magical things should be an essential part of every online entrepreneur’s toolkit.

Your own subscriber list will thank you for it! (And you’ll thank your subscriber list when it brings in leads and sales. 🙏)

This is your official guide to creating freebies to grow your email list (and your biz).

Wait — back up, what are 'freebies' or 'lead magnets' exactly?

In the online biz world, a freebie generally describes anything you’re offering for free, in exchange for something from your audience. That ‘something’ is usually their email address and permission to send them emails.

Because the internet loves itself some jargon, you might know this whole freebie concept by a different name.

Liiiike, lead magnet or opt-in. Or content upgrade.

Same same.

Why online business owners NEED freebies

I get it. The idea of giving something away for free seems counterintuitive.

 
email list elise darma confused meme.png
 

But trust me here: online business owners need opt-in freebies, for these four reasons:

  1. 😇 Freebies make you look good. When you give something away for nothing, you look nice. When that something is valuable, you look authoritative and trustworthy. Win-win. Freebies help your audience trust you as an expert in your field.

  2. 📈 Freebies drive traffic. You’ll promote that freebie all over your socials. But your audience will have to head on over to your website to take advantage. Hello there, website traffic boost.

  3. 💌 Freebies grow your email list. An opt-in freebie requires, you know, opting in. Each opt-in is a new subscriber on your email list. And not just any new subscriber, but someone you actually want to target — because your freebie is designed to appeal to your ideal client.

  4. 👋 Freebies invite people into your world. Once they’ve grabbed your free goodie, you’re essentially welcoming them into your world; your world of content, of your value, and of your unique expertise. Now it’s up to you to show ‘em what you’ve got and how you can help them.

Sold? Thought so.

The different types of freebies you can create

At the start of this guide, I used an example of a romper company giving promo codes for free shipping to new subscribers.

The promo code is just one kind of freebie. There’s a whole wide world of freebie types out there. I’m talking…

  • Workbooks

  • Quizzes

  • Checklists

  • Guides

  • Calendars

  • Quick tutorials

  • Cheatsheets

  • Templates

  • Masterclasses

You don’t have to stick to just one kind of lead magnet. You can experiment and see what works.

Personally, I have a few different varieties of freebies in my arsenal:

The masterclass: How to Boost Your Sales, Leads and Clients from Instagram in 2019

👈 This is my baby, and my star freebie. This 60-minute (and jam-packed with value) free masterclass delivers a few of my top strategies and tips for using Instagram to grow your business in 2019.

Over 53,000 people have gone through this masterclass. Amazing, right?

Biggest lesson learned about offering a free masterclass? If you only share value, people want and are excited to be on your email list.

Click HERE or fill out the box below to catch this masterclass for yourself.

Instagram Masterclass 👉

Boost Your Sales, Leads and Clients from Instagram in 2019... WITHOUT Being an “Insta-Model"or Spending Hours in the App

Ah, another pride and joy. I created this simple Instagram guide as a summary of the tactics I used to grow my own Instagram following by 60,000 Instagram followers in less than a year.

This baby has generated over 5,000 subscribers to my email list. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Click HERE to grab this free guide.

The checklist: Checklist for the Travelpreneur

My third highest subscriber-earner is this checklist, which I made as a way for potential travelpreneurs to see if they have what it takes (and what to do if they don’t).

This one got me more than 800 new email subscribers.

Click HERE to grab this free checklist.

The quiz: What's Your Freelancer Superpower?

I whipped up this self-discovery test to help my entrepreneurship-curious followers figure out what kind of business they’re best suited to run.

Subscribers gained: 200.

Fun had: infinite.

P.S. My favorite tool for making quizzes? The program, Interact!

Click HERE to take this free quiz.

The template: My Top 10 HIGHEST Converting Instagram Captions Templates

I figured I wasn’t the only online biz owner who is sometimes at a total loss for something witty and original to say on Instagram. It was a good hunch, because this template package attracted 200 more subscribers.

Freebies are a personal thing. What works for my biz won’t necessarily be winner-winner-chicken-dinner for yours.

Click HERE to grab this free captions template.

Which brings me to my next point...

How to figure out the best freebie topic for your biz

For a freebie to be successful — AKA, what your target audience is willing and eager to give up their email addresses for — it needs to be two things:

  1. Something your audience finds valuable. Keyword being your. Your freebie has to offer your particular audience something that they can’t easily get elsewhere. Namely, your expertise in the form of a guide/webinar/cheatsheet/whatever.

  2. Something related to your biz offering. Your goal is to build up your email list with people who you’d love to become a client or customer. There needs to be a fit. If you offer business coaching, a free guide to the best dog food is probably not going to attract the right leads for your particular biz.

You can probably make a few educated guesses about what your target audience wants. But honestly, the most foolproof way to make an effective freebie is to straight-up ask your existing followers what they want and need.

Instagram Stories is the easiest and best way of asking. Use the Instagram question sticker to ask a Q like “What part of running your online biz do you need help with?”

 
Me    very casually    figuring out how I can help my audience via IG Stories!

Me very casually figuring out how I can help my audience via IG Stories!

 

Aside from using your ask-the-audience lifeline, there are a few other ways to get a sense of what topic might make the best freebie for your biz:

  • Look at your top blog posts. If you’ve got a couple of posts that are top traffic-earners, even way after their original publication date, chances are those topics would make for a super clickable freebie.

  • Do some Facebook creeping. In groups, I mean. Pay attention to the most-discussed topics or questions in your own Facebook group or groups that you and your target audience belong to.

  • Google Trends. This free tool lets you search keywords and check out their performance over a period of time. If you’ve got a few freebie ideas up your sleeve, use Google Trends to see whether you’re tapping into a buzzing topic.

How to create a lead magnet for your biz

I promise that you don’t have to have wizard-like graphic design skills to make a cool freebie for your biz.

You just need to use the right tools. 🛠

Apple Pages, Google Docs and Microsoft Word are all legit programs for turning the content you write for your freebie into the final product.

Incorporate your brand colors and fonts, use headings and tables to keep everything neat and tidy, then save it as a PDF.

Personally, I like writing the content for my freebies in Google Docs and then using Canva to make it all fancy.

Canva has all kinds of graphics, images, and templates that you can use to format your content and dress it up. It takes a little bit longer to use, since you have to copy-and-paste everything in, but the huge range of design and formatting options makes it worthwhile.

Look how many fancy things you can make with Canva!  😍

Look how many fancy things you can make with Canva! 😍

Check out how I use Canva to make killer Instagram Stories.

Before you click “Publish” on your shiny new freebie, follow this checklist to make sure your content and formatting are good to go:

✔️ Title is catchy and click-worthy

✔️ Features your brand colors, voice and tone

✔️ Includes a brief intro to who you are

✔️ Text is easy to read

✔️ Includes your name, logo and website URL

✔️ Zero spelling mistakes and grammar errors

✔️ Includes a clear call-to-action (CTA) at the end

How to deliver a freebie

You’ve got your beautiful, value-filled, on-brand PDF. Now what?

Time for the most important step of creating a freebie: delivering it.

Dun dun dun.

Just kidding. It’s not that intimidating. Lemme break it down for you into a few easy steps.

  1. Host your freebie. Your freebie has to live somewhere other than your desktop, so that your new subscribers can access it. The easiest solution: upload the PDF to your Google Drive and make sure the sharing permissions are set so that anyone with the link can view and download it.

  2. Create a landing page. This is a dedicated page on your website that’s all about your amazing freebie and why your audience should opt in to get it. It has its own descriptive URL and, most importantly, a big, obvious way to sign up. Check out the landing page for my 4 Secrets to Instagram 2019 Growth Guide as an example.

  3. Promote, promote, promote. In your Instagram Stories. On Twitter. In your Facebook group. With a Pinterest pin. And by adding a link and CTA to existing blog posts.

  4. Deliver via email. Once someone successfully signs up for your freebie (🙌), you gotta get the thing into their hands. Each new subscriber should automatically receive a friendly email from you, with a link to download the freebie.

 
Here’s an example of the email I use to deliver a freebie!  👆

Here’s an example of the email I use to deliver a freebie! 👆

 

Want some help with the nitty gritty of setting up your email delivery? Keep reading; I may just have a special (free!) surprise 🎁 for you below...


Ready to create your own successful freebie and add tons of new subscribers to your email list?

Awesome. I want to help!

Years of creating opt-ins that have added tens of thousands of subscribers to my email lists have helped me figure out the best and easiest way to create freebies that actually work.

I’m ready to share the methods to my madness with you.

Say hello to my FREE Tools Training. 👋

 
 

In the FREE Tools Training, you’ll receive:

  • 6 hours of comprehensive guidance, tips and tricks to the tools that I use every single day in my own 6-figure business,

  • A guide to ConvertKit, the best tool for delivering lead magnets and growing your email list,

  • My open-worthy welcome email sequence that you can use in your own biz,

  • A list of my best-ever email subject lines, and

  • all kinds of other top-notch trainings for other parts of your biz!

👍 The GOOD news? ALL of this goodness is yours for $0. Yep, you guessed it; this Tools Training is a freebie that I offer to my amazing audience!

👎 The BAD news? I’ve been told over and over by my friends, my business mentors, and my awesome audience that this training is too valuable to keep free, so it may not remain free forever…

Grab it quick while it’s still $0. Tick tock!

Time to get crackin’ on your freebie, and maybe, just maybe, the next freebie I sign up for will be yours 😉


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Elise Darma

About the Author:

Elise Darmanin believes that "travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer." That's why she makes beaches, coffee shops and co-working spaces her office by working remotely while growing Canupy Content. Canupy is a social media and copywriting agency for small to medium-sized businesses. The Canupy team helps brands grow through social media marketing, copywriting and content strategies that inspire audiences and drive sales.