If you’ve been around the internet for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that many blogs get new email subscribers by offering up some sort of gift to people when they subscribe (or as we say in the biz, “Opt in”). If you’re on my list, you know that I have free gifts for my subscribers as well.
Why do so many people do it? Well – it works!
The giveaway you use doesn’t need to be anything really big, but it does need to be something that has a high perceived value to the people who are in your niche.
You might not be aware that free gifts like these aren’t just great for getting new subscribers – they’re also REALLY great for boosting your email open rate, your click thru rates, and keeping people on your list for a long time.
I love sending out free things occasionally to my list – whether it’s something I’ve created, a free download I’ve found somewhere else online, or a discount that I’ve been able to get for them.
Of course, the typical giveaway is a PDF report that has useful tips for your niche, shows readers how to do something or solves a problem for them.
But there are so many other ways you can go with this! Breaking out of the mold and offering something different can, in itself, be the attention-grabbing hook that you need to boost your opt-ins and open rates.
If you’re having trouble thinking of gifts for your email subscribers, here are some ideas to get your noggin working!
1. Access to a private discussion area or group. This is something I offer among the gifts for my subscribers; email subscribers have access to our secret FB discussion group for one on one help and advice.
2. Mistakes. No one wants to make mistakes! So you can offer a single page or infographic on mistakes to avoid in your niche – for example, “Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Yarn” or “8 Mistakes People Make When Buying Home Insurance”. That’s the kind of valuable content people love to get.
3. Case Studies. I see this one pretty often in the blogging/marketing niche, and I bet you have too. “Sign up NOW to find out how Bob increased conversions 400% With one simple change to his blog”. People love this stuff, because they want to see what works for other people, and see if they can make it work for themselves.
4. Webinars. This is another popular tactic in blogging and marketing. Webinars can be live or pre-recorded and should be on a topic that your niche is hungry to learn about. When they sign up to see the webinar, they’re also added to your list. You can do this really simply on Youtube, just make the video private and give the link to people when they opt-in.
5. Use Public Domain Content. For example, the very excellent book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill is in the public domain. You could create your own worksheets to use with it, and then give it away for free.
6. Buyer’s Guides. Whatever niche you’re in, there are probably things that people need to buy. If you have a photography blog, you could give away a guide comparing a few popular top models of cameras. Blog about gluten-free? Give away a guide to the best brands of GF foods. Your readers will love you for it.
7. A Physical Product. It takes more effort on your part and can be a little more costy, but an actual physical THING that you send them through the mail is seen as much higher value than a digital download. It’s a great way to build trust. The site eZine Articles sent me a snazzy mousepad and pen when I signed up – I felt so important! If your blog is based around your home business, you may want to consider sending a free sample to people who sign up… or see the next tip…
8. A Discount or Coupon. This is another great giveaway for those of you with a home business. If you make jewelry, homemade goods or art, offer people a discount for signing up for your list – OR offer the occasional discount ONLY to people who are already on your list to make them feel like valued customers. (This is also a classic strategy when you need to make some sales fast!) Of course, you don’t have to have your own product to do this, it works well for affiliate marketers, too.
9. Share Recipes. Obviously, if you’re a food blogger, this is pretty clear cut – but what about something like “The Recipe For a Successful Blog” or “A Recipe for Early Retirement Savings”. When you think of a recipe, you think of something that has set “ingredients” and clear, easy to follow steps – people LOVE when things are clear and easy, and all they have to do is follow the steps to success.
10. An E-Course. If you use an email marketing system like AWeber or Mad Mimi (both of which I have used and recommend!) you know that you can “drip” emails out to your subscribers. Preload a series of emails that teach a course. I have used this on my iguana care website – a 5 email course on caring for iguanas that went out over 5 weeks. It works because not only is it information the subscriber wants, it also gets them in the habit of opening emails from you.
11. Video Downloads – Video is often seen as higher value than written or audio content. A video tutorial – or even a short series of them – can be a powerful incentive to sign up.
12. Checklists and Printables – Downloadable checklists or printables are great freebies! They’re easy to read and provide excellent value by making something easier for the reader. Something like an “Air Travel with Your Toddler” checklist, listing all the things that need to go on the flight with you would be an amazing giveaway.
13. A Product Preview – this works really well with books or learning courses. If you’re selling an ebook you wrote, give away the first chapter… and you’ll get them hooked so they want to buy the whole thing. Or give the first video in a coaching series, and leave them with a cliffhanger to find out what the next video has.
14. Plugins, Apps or Tools – if you create your own tools, plugins or apps, give a simple one away to your new subscribers. It’s a powerful subscribe incentive, and it also showcases your talents making them more likely to purchase products later.
15. Contest Entry – You can use a giveaway as a way to entice new subscribers. Your giveaway can be most anything – a membership, a copy of a product; because only one person is winning, it can be of higher value than something you give to everyone who signs up. Just be forewarned – you’ll get more signups with a contest, but many of those people will be significantly less engaged; they’ve only signed up for the freebie, then they never open your mail again.
16. Reference material. This is similar to sharing a case study, instead of only one detailed sample, you share 10 or 12 examples with a little less detail. For example, Jon Morrow over at Boost Blog Traffic gives away a book with 52 headline hacks, and he explains why each one works so well.
17. A Slideshow Presentation – You can take a piece of your older content that has done really well and turn it into a slideshow. It’s something fun and different that gets attention.
18. In-Depth Problem Solving – What’s the biggest problem people in your niche face? Write an in-depth answer on solving it.
19. Printable Tracking Sheets – Use a spreadsheet to create tracking sheets for a specific task: Weight loss, miles run, back links created, pages written… Whatever it is that people in your niche do. Works great when you include some tips for success.
20. Planning worksheets – This is another one that works for so many different niches. You may have meal planning worksheets, organizational worksheets, or homeschooling worksheets for just a few ideas.
21. A Free Consultation – If you do any kind of training or coaching, this is an awesome way to connect with your readers, and a very persuasive gift to encourage new subscribers.
As you can see, there are many things you can offer people in return for opting in to your blog newsletter. And all those same things can be awesome gifts to give your current subscribers, too – after all, once they learn that your emails sometimes have gifts inside, they’re going to be a lot more likely to open them.
Your goal should be to always provide massive value to your readers and to your subscribers with your content; blow their socks off with what you give them for free.