Growing an email list isn’t easy. You can’t just expect people to sign up because they feel like it. Instead, you need to offer something of value. Something that will encourage them to hand over their email address. That something is a lead magnet, also referred to as a freebie.
By offering a freebie, you’re increasing the odds that your audience will sign up for your list. After all, you’re giving them something they want in exchange for their email. But what freebie should you use? If you’re unsure what to offer, you’re in the right place. Below are 13 types of freebies you can offer you audience in order to grow your email list. Take a look at the different options and see what will work for you and your audience.
One of the most popular freebies you can offer your audience is a guide or ebook. Why? Well because it’s a great way to provide value and it’s fairly straightforward. Think about a topic that your audience needs answers for and get writing. Write a guide that provides the solutions to their pain points.
Now I know the word ebook can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Essentially a guide/ebook can be just a few pages. It doesn’t have to be some super in-depth book that’s hundreds of pages long. Think of it like a bonus blog post or even a detailed list.
Or better yet, you can repurpose some of your blog posts and put them together to form one ultimate guide. Yes, the content is still available on your blog, but by putting it together in one guide you’re making it easier for people to access the content.
Example: Sarah of XO Sarah offers a free guide on the 10 tools she uses everyday to run her blog and business. It’s a great example of a guide that is packed with value, but isn’t 100+ pages long.
Another great freebie idea is to create a worksheet or workbook. They can be incredibly quick for you to create, but they can provide a ton of value for your audience. The key to creating a great worksheet or workbook is to think about what solution you are providing your audience and then create a workbook that helps them step by step.
This can be done via asking questions that really make your audience dig deep or it can be done via providing them with a place to collect their answers. For example, if your freebie helps them track blog growth, you just need some spaces for them to write down their numbers. Again, it doesn’t have to be fancy.
Example: Melyssa Griffin offers a free blog business plan workbook. It shows that a workbook doesn’t have to be boring and remind you of homework.
I like to think of a checklist as a cross between a guide and a workbook. It’s kind of the best of both worlds. And what’s even better is that you can create a checklist that’s as in-depth or simple as you want.
For example, a packing checklist will be pretty straightforward — just a list of items to pack. But a checklist that walks you through increasing conversions on your website can be a lot more detailed. Each checklist item can include instructions and more detail on how to complete that step.
Example: I offer a website conversion checklist that lists all the steps you need to take to optimize your site in order to grow your email list.
If writing isn’t your thing, you can always use video. In fact, video is a great way to introduce yourself to your audience and start building know, like, and trust.
One way to do a video training is to just speak with your audience face to face about a particular topic. This method works well for general info as well as providing encouragement. An alternate method is to do a screenshare. This method is great for showing people step-by-step how to do something.
Depending on your niche, one method will likely work better than the other, so it’s important to think about what value you want to provide and figure out how best to present that info.
Example: Melanie of melaniestclair.com offers a free purpose training that walks you through everything you need to know to build a solid foundation for your purpose-driven brand. She could have offered the info in guide form, but because of the subject matter, it translates well to a video training.
Similar to a video training, an audio recording is a wonderful way to connect with your audience. But unlike a video training, an audio recording offers a bit more convenience. People can save audio recordings to their phones and access them on the go. So definitely think about the best way for your audience to consume your content. If they’re busy and always on the go, an audio recording might be a good solution.
Example: Marie Forleo offers a free audio training on how to get anything you want. She covers 3 helpful strategies, which can definitely be done via a guide or even a video training, but here an audio training works well for her audience who are probably busy building their own empires.
Please tell me I’m not the only one obsessed with Buzzfeed quizzes. Yes, they’re stupid and don’t provide me with value, but they’re just so addicting!
You can harness this quiz-taking addiction and use it to your advantage for your freebie. But unlike the useless Buzzfeed quizzes, you can actually provide value to your audience. The key is to create a quiz that better helps your audience understand themselves better. But you can’t just stop there. A quiz works best when paired with another freebie that is tailored to their results.
So rather than just providing results and calling it a day, you’ll want to add in a guide, video training, etc that matches their results.
Example: Kayla Hollatz offers a free quiz titled “What is your brand voice style?” In this quiz, she uncovers your brand voice, then delivers information on how best to use your voice for your brand.
Sometimes the content you want to share with your audience can be lengthy and overwhelming. If that’s the case, an ecourse is a great way to package it up. By breaking the content up into small chunks of content (aka lessons), you can provide tons of value that can easily be consumed.
Plus, you’re not necessarily limited to one format. You can offer one lesson as text and another as a video training. You can even add workbooks and other types of content to give a well-rounded experience.
Example: Nesha Woolery offers her audience a free course that teaches them how to use Asana to streamline their systems and be a more productive freelancer.
Another way to break up content and deliver it in smaller chunks is to create an email challenge. An email challenge is usually similar to a course, but by presenting the content in a challenge format, it encourages the subscriber to take action right away in order to see results.
Example: Nathalie Lussier has created a value packed email challenge titled the 30 Day List Building Challenge. Every day over the course of 30 days, subscribers receive an email with one task to complete that will help them grow their list and see results.
Can’t decide on one freebie? What about putting together a few? By offering a kit on a particular topic, you can provide immense amounts of value. It’s important to remember not to just throw together several freebies and call it a day. Instead, you want to make sure that the freebies all complement each other.
So for example, you can offer a video training with a workbook and a checklist. In the video training, you can go over a certain topic, then in the workbook you can provide space for people to work through what you just went over in the video. And then if there are a set of steps needed, that’s where the checklist comes in handy. Get creative and see what freebies you can combine for one all around awesome kit.
Example: Jordann of Healthful Prescriptions offers a free starter kit for those dealing with high blood pressure and/or type 2 diabetes. Included in the kit is a guide, recipes, checklist, tracker, and cheatsheet. These are all things that work together to help someone just starting their health journey.
When you think of a freebie, you probably think about something that you have to actually create, right? Well that’s definitely not the case. If you have a Facebook group, Slack group, etc, you have the perfect opt-in freebie!
Communities are by far one of the most valuable freebies you can offer. Why? Well because they’re a great way to provide support and networking opportunities. People crave connection and communities are great for that. And as an opt-in freebie, all it requires is creating a group and facilitating discussion. Most of the work is done by your community members.
Example: Liz White encourages her audience to sign up for her email list by providing a community for business owners to connect and collaborate. By signing up, subscribers get a link to her free Facebook group, Money Making Mavens.
Another solution for giving away multiple freebies is to create a resource library. Usually a password protected page, a resource library houses all of your freebies in one, easy to access location.
A resource library is especially helpful if you offer several freebies throughout your site. You can offer them on a post-by-post basis, but then also offer the group of them as a library, thus getting more bang for your buck so to speak.
Example: Marieanne of Design Your Own (lovely) Blog has an awesome freebie library filled with guides, checklists, and worksheets.
If your business is product-based, a discount code is a great way to grow your list. I’m sure you’ve given your email address to plenty of retailers in exchange for a discount or free shipping. I know I’m not alone.
Online shops often use this as a lead magnet because it works. After all, who doesn’t want to save some money? While this freebie works well and is ridiculously easy to offer, I definitely would use this one with caution. Offering discounts is a slippery slope. You don’t want to get in the habit of offering a discount all the time, otherwise people will come to expect one.
Example: Many shops offer discount codes in exchange for your email address. For example, May Designs offers a 15% discount when you sign up.
Something Unique to Your Niche
If none of the above options work for your business, that’s okay! There are still plenty of options available, many of which are niche specific.
For example, if you run a food blog or some other food related site, what about giving away a set of recipes? Or if you’re a fitness pro, you can offer a workout plan. Some other ideas are graphics, stock photos, and even desktop/phone wallpaper. You can even give away a Trello or Asana board template if productivity or organization is your thing.
The key is to think outside the box and figure out what would be valuable to your audience. Then offer that.
Example: Elle Drouin, who runs the Styled Stock Society, gives her email subscribers a set of free stock photos. This works perfectly as a way to give her audience a taste of her product.
Now that you know the 13 types of freebies you can give away to your list, it’s time to get to work! What freebie works best for you and your audience? What can you offer that will absolutely wow them? Using the above types of freebies, brainstorm some ideas and then get creating!