There are tons of posts that talk about how to create your perfect opt-in freebie but they are all missing this one crucial detail. They focus more on the designing process and not enough on the initial creation.
And while the designing process is important, it is not a topic you can learn in one single blog post. It’s because there are so many factors that go into designing a freebie.
Having a good-looking lead magnet though isn’t enough. Before you even get to the design part, you need to first figure out what purpose it will serve.
When creating an opt-in freebie, you need to consider why you are creating it. Other than building an email list, what made you choose this specific opt-in incentive.
That’s why I recommend that you brainstorm and outline your idea first before you starting making it.
To determine if you are on the right path the email opt-in needs these four essential components:
- You know exactly the pain-point you want to solve.
- Enticing enough to set you apart from the competition.
- Provides a quick fix.
- Leaves your subscribers wanting more.
If you have these details then you are off to a great start.
Why Should You Even Invest Your Time In Creating A Blog Freebie?
The answer is that an email list is critical to monetizing your blog. And a freebie is the easiest way for you to grow your email list. Most people simply won’t give you their email.
Access to their email is a privilege and one that is protected. Many don’t like to get useless emails in their inbox daily.
If you ever heard someone say that email marketing is dead, then stop listening to them. At least about email marketing. It’s not dead.
In fact, it is alive and getting stronger every year. More than 90% of people in the U.S. use their email. This includes teenagers.
Think about it. Almost everyone has a smartphone, which is essentially a mini-computer. We do everything on it. From watching tv shows to editing documents, our lives revolve around cell phones in some way. Whether we like it or not.
And with every cell phone is an app to access your email.
That’s why you want to build an email list. You want to be able to build a relationship with them whether it is on or off your blog.
How Do You Collect Subscriber’s Email Addresses?
This is the semi-tricky part if you don’t have an email service provider (ESP). If you are currently using a personal email (like @gmail.com or @outlook.com) then I recommend you stop right now.
You are putting both your blog and yourself at risk. The biggest reason is that you could unknowingly be breaking the law. Staying up to date on legal requirements for email can be tasking and an ESP will remove that problem for you.
But What is an Email Service Provider?
The basic concept of an ESP is that they provide you a way to collect and send emails. But it is so much more than that.
With an ESP, you are able to track what link people click in your email, their open rate, creating different kinds of opt-in forms, and much more. Even if you consider your blog a hobby but are wanting to build an email list, this is the way to do it.
There are both free and paid plans available depending on the ESP you decide to use. The three that are constantly being promoted by bloggers are:
All three do have a free plan available but out of the three, MailerLite has the best one. I might be a little biased but I do want to state that I have used all three of these ESPs.
If you are a new blogger or one who doesn’t have the budget, then MailerLite is what I recommend. Their free plan comes with so many features. The biggest one being automation.
The automation tool will let you set up a simple welcome series to help you connect with your new subscribers.
If you want to learn all 10 reasons why I recommend MailerLite, then check out this post here.
Blogger Tip: If you are unsure which ESP will work best for you, you can set up an account for each. Only do this method with services that offer a free plan. You don’t want to be paying for multiple accounts.
This way you can try each out to see what fits your needs. This is how I have tried all three of those ESPs.
What Do You Need To Set Up An Account With An ESP?
To set up an account you will need three things.
- Professional domain email address (mine is email@example.com – you usually get a free one for those with a self-hosted WordPress site)
- Mailing address (if you plan to use ConvertKit, then they allow you to use their address – otherwise you will need to use your personal address or a P.O. Box)
- Your company name (as a blogger I usually use my blog name)
With these three details, you can easily sign up for an ESP in minutes.
Once you have your ESP figured out, it is time to begin the process of creating your perfect opt-in freebie.
Step 1: Figuring Out Your Freebie
I know a lot of people talk about doing market research to finding that perfect freebie. I’m here to tell you the opposite.
I don’t want you to do that right away. That comes later. Instead, we first need to answer a few questions.
- Is this a niche or post freebie?
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- How can you solve that problem?
- Are there any other problems similar to or associated with your chosen problem?
- What makes it unique?
As you can tell, most of these questions revolve around a central problem or pain point. But let’s go through each to figure out what freebie you need to make.
Question #1: Is This a Niche or Post Freebie?
I found that there are two different kinds of freebies that bloggers use. One is a niche freebie that encompasses the overall focus of a blog. The other is a post freebie that is made for particular blog posts.
If you want to learn more about the difference between the two, check out this blog post here.
Understanding which type of opt-in incentive you want to use plays a part in how it will be used and promoted on your blog.
Question #2: What Pain Point Are You Trying to Solve?
A pain point is a specific problem that a person is struggling with. Your blog is the resource they will use to either overcome or solve that problem.
Understanding why a person is coming to your blog is super important. That means you need to understand what you hope to accomplish with your blog.
Are you wanting to help fellow moms not feel so alone or disconnected from the rest of the world? Or maybe your goal is to help those building a strong career gain confidence to ask for what they want.
Once you know the overall goal of your blog, you need to figure out a pain point that your blog solves.
For example, with my email opt-in, the pain point is how difficult it can be to figure out where to start when creating opt-in freebies. That is why I include resource lists, brainstorming worksheets, and tools to make the process easier.
Question #3: How Can You Solve That Problem?
Now that you have identified a pain point, you need to figure out how you will help your subscribers solve it. There are over 30 different types of freebies that you can make.
If you want to check out the list, then download my FREE Printables Kickstart Toolkit. One of my resource lists has all the different ideas you can use such as a video series or template.
I recommend writing down at least 3-5 different ways you can solve the problem. Be creative and think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to try something different, even if another blogger hasn’t done it before.
In fact, that’s what you want. You want to stand out and find news way to entice readers to become subscribers.
Question #4: Any Other Problems Similar or Related With Your Chosen Problem?
As you are brainstorm all these incredible ideas, I also want you to think about similar problems. This is so you can create a bundle. As a new blogger, it is difficult to build a strong email list in the beginning.
And it’s because you are new. To make up for this fact, it helps to form a problem-solving bundle.
For those who are not new bloggers but are still struggling with creating that irresistible opt-in, you want to consider these other problems because it can help make your offer more enticing. People may not be clicking on it because there isn’t enough there to want it.
Let me show you an example. Many new cooking bloggers are usually giving away their recipes for free. Which is great because they are unique to you. But I can also find a ton of recipes for free online at any time.
To entice subscribers to click that download button, offer other tools that are associated with cooking. This could be a meal planner, digital grocery list, printable recipe cards, kitchen wall decor, or a private video series showing how to make a super top-secret recipe of yours.
There’s plenty more that you can think of to try but the point is that one single freebie isn’t enough anymore. You need to bulk it up. Make it enticing.
Question #5: What Makes It Unique?
Once you have answered all the other questions, I want you to take a step back and consider what makes your freebie different than all the other bloggers in your niche.
The difference doesn’t need to be anything monumental. It could be small and simple, like fun wall art or a word search printable.
Right now, there are many bloggers in almost every niche trying to achieve success. And while bloggers should be supporting other bloggers, you also need to be different.
Different is now the new cool!
Why would someone choose your blog over another blog? What are you helping your readers solve that others are not?
Step 2: Market Research
The reason market research is the second step is because you don’t want outside details to influence your decision in the beginning. People to be influenced by what we see and read.
So take that out of the equation.
This also prevents you from feeling imposter syndrome, because all the ideas you came up with were before you looked at what’s out there.
For your market research, I want you to see what freebies are being offered that might be related to your niche or the problem you are solving. This will make sure you don’t have any gaps.
With my first blog, I made a maternity hospital bag checklist as my freemium. I thought it was perfect but after a month with no one downloading, I decided to do some market research.
What I found was my list was built with only the moms in mind. Others created lists for mom, dad, and baby. Those were more enticing because it covered more information.
By not doing some extra research, I missed a crucial opportunity of creating a great resource. Which meant no one wanted it.
How To Market Research Your Freebie
There are two places that I go to do my research they are:
- Google Search
Simply type your freebie idea into the search console or if you have keywords associated with it use those. Look at the results (at least the top 5 but you can do more) that fit your email opt-in. Write down the main points (not the finer details) that will fit with your freebie.
Update The Details To Your Freebie Brainstorm
You did your research, now go back and update your outline or brainstorm worksheet. The market research is meant to make sure you are creating an opt-in freebie that meets or exceeds similar ones.
A Word Of Caution:
When doing this market research, don’t steal other people’s ideas. So for like the maternity checklist, I should have used the idea of creating checklists for the whole family but in the research, I would avoid looking at what the original creator put within their checklist.
Be respectful of other’s ideas. You would hate it if someone took all the details of your idea.
Think of it as when you are writing a really good blog post. When doing your research, you are not taking all the details another blogger wrote. You are probably, writing down the headlines to get an idea of how to structure your post. And that is perfectly fine.
Do the same this when you are researching your freebie idea.
Step 3: Make Your Opt-In Freebie
Now we are at the fun part. It’s time to get your creative cap on and start the actual design portion. There are a ton of graphic design tools to choose from. Many of them have free plans.
I recommend choosing 2-3 that you enjoy using the most to create your opt-in freebies. I have four favorites and they are:
- Google Drive
Not all graphic design tools are made the same and that is why I use these four. Each has different strengths and weaknesses. All but PicMonkey have a free plan available.
I recommend that you play around with each graphic design tool so you can get comfortable with it. Learn the unique features available and how to use them.
Don’t delete a design you made if you want to try a different look. Instead, duplicate or open a new page. This way you can compare the two (or more) designs to see which one you like best.
What Do You Do After You Make Your Freebie?
Well, the next step is all about adding it to your blog on any and every blog post or page that you can. Then getting out there and promoting it until you are dizzy.
If you don’t actively promote your blog, then it will take forever for people to find you. Which then means it could take even longer to find the people who will join your email list.
If no one knows about it, then they aren’t even going to know what they are missing. Get your blog seen and grow that email list. If that means spending 10-15 minutes every morning hustling, do it.
In the long run, it will pay off. But like all good things in life…it takes time. So just because you may not see huge growth, doesn’t mean you aren’t making good progress. Keep realistic goals for yourself.
Related Post: Top 5 Ways To Promote Your Blog Freebie (in 2020)
3 Tips For Creating Your Opt-In Freebie
Tip #1: Put Effort Into It
Don’t create an opt-in freebie that you didn’t put much thought or work into. I promise it will reflect. So take the time to work through each step.
This email incentive will be the first stepping stone to building a strong following that will eventually grow your business. If your freebie is rushed and not well thought out, then there is a chance that it won’t get good reviews.
Good reviews lead to strong testimonials, which will eventually lead to sales. Think long term with every product you create, even the free ones.
Tip #2: Be Willing To Update Your Design
Your first draft may not look at that good and that is perfectly okay. Another freebie I made with my previous mom blog was a travel checklist. And my first version sucked. No one even blinked an eye at it.
The problem was the design. Here take a look at the two versions.
The only detail that changed between the two versions is the design. Version 1 was much too dark and didn’t look good. I look at it now and wonder why I ever thought someone would want it.
Whereas version two was much bright and printer-friendly. I also upgraded by making it an editable PDf. So my subscribers could use it on their phone.
The overall message I want you to take with this tip is that it’s okay if you need to revamp your freebie. Do it. Your creative eye is growing all the time and what design style you like will change with it.
Tip #3: Use Your Brand Colors
This is super important because it forms a connection with your blog. Branding your blog isn’t only for your blog. It goes with all your products as well.
But don’t think you need to add the brand colors everywhere. Pick 1-2 details and add them there. Great places are:
- Title Text
- Your blog name or web address
If you need some help deciding brand colors, then take a look at Canva’s color tools. It has three tools to try: the color palette generator, color palette ideas, or color wheel. This is what I used to find inspiration for my blog’s color combinations.
Tip #4: Bulk It Up
When I say bulk up your freebie, I mean you need to make it more enticing. The goal is to make it so that when a person sees it, they stop and download it.
If the plan is only to use a single checklist, make sure it is thorough. That it covers all the steps and then some.
You can always edit and remove elements. But the initial goal is to get people to join your list and build enough traffic to your website. Traffic is key to a successful blog.
Related Post: How to Bulk Up Your Blog Freebie to Entice Subscribers
Tip #5: Make It Useable For Phones
Everyone is using their phone constantly. People are attached to them and I am no different. So take advantage of that.
I recommend that every printable you can make a digital counterpart to, you should. That means if you designed a printable worksheet, make it so that a person can do it on their phone while heading home from work.
Related Post: How to Make a Digital Checklist
Final Thoughts On Creating an Opt-In Freebie
I know there was a ton of information in the post but take one step at a time. I went through 5 versions of my niche freebie before I settled on what you see today…the Printables Kickstart Toolkit.
It’s okay if you are having trouble zeroing in on one idea. My best recommendation is to just start. Put something together and then add everywhere you can to your blog.
You always have the ability to change your freebie. Don’t feel like you are stuck with it for life.
Quick recap on creating an opt-in freebie:
- You have a pain point that you can solve quickly.
- It’s unique and different from similar freebies.
- You are using an email service provider to collect emails.
- Creating your freebie with a graphic design tool (like Canva or PowerPoint).
Now To You!
Did this post help you figure out how to come up with that one incredible email opt-in? What are you struggling most with creating your freebie?
Tell me about it in the comments below or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Days –
Hi, I’m CaitieJ. I’m a quirky lady married to the love of her life and raising two wonderful little boys. I’m also the nerd who loves everything about creating printables and opt-in freebies. This blog is all about helping fellow bloggers learn how to create unique freebies that will grow an incredible email list. Check out more about me and my blog right here!