Scroll through the threads of a blogging Facebook group and you’re bound to see a question on opt-in freebies.
Maybe you’ve posted one yourself.
An opt-in freebie seems to be that defining thing that’s going to propel your blog’s success…
…And get you a whole lot of subscribers.
It’s that one thing that the experts say you absolutely need to have.
You want to deliver something tangible and exceptional…
Something of value…Something that will really help people…
We can all agree on that.
But if only it was as easy as it looks.
It’s difficult knowing how to approach your opt-in freebie when you could go in a million different directions right?
Whether you’re about to create your first freebie or thinking of rehashing an existing one, this post will give you clarity by answering the most common questions solopreneurs and bloggers have about opt-in freebies.
Click on any question that calls out to you first:
#1 How do you know what to create?
You would have heard about finding out your audience’s pain points to determine what opt-in freebie to create.
It’s all well and good to have a freebie that addresses a pain point, but it has to be part of a larger vision.
It has to tie in with your blog and business strategy. It has to be intentional.
There are 3 steps that need to come together to decide what opt-in freebie to create. These are:
I like to reverse engineer the process. Rather than think about pain points immediately, I think about the place of that opt-in freebie in my blog. Because what’s the point of creating an opt-in freebie about social media when social media isn’t one of the pillars of your blog?
If your freebie is not aligned with the direction of your blog or where you want to be, then that’s not a good freebie to have.
Once you have some ideas, validate those ideas. Is this something that people are talking about? Do they need it?
What’s the place of your freebie in the market?
Is it unique?
What words will you use that will create a connection with your audience?An intentional opt-in freebie is one that's aligned with your blog's strategyClick To Tweet
#2 How many should you have?
As many as you need to fully convey the offerings on your blog.
Let me break that down for you and there are different ways you can approach this.
- You can create one opt-in freebie per category of your blog or
- One opt-in freebie for every service or product that you currently have
That opt-in freebie has to act as a primer or sampler and give your reader an insight into your teaching with regards to that topic.An opt-in freebie has to act as a primer for a product or serviceClick To Tweet
#3 How do you create it?
It does not have to be designer-ready.
Yes, it has to be decent. But coming from someone as tech challenged as me, I do not create my freebies in photoshop or Adobe.
I wish I could. But that’s not my strength. If it’s not yours, that’s ok.
I use Pages for Mac to create most of my opt-in freebies and content upgrades.
Here are two examples of cover pages done using Pages.
Your design shouldn’t get in the way of your content. Lots of white space and a clearly defined structure is key.
This is another tool that I was using. It converts your blog posts into PDFs instantly and has formatting presets that style your PDF for you.
RELAY**(aff link) is tool that I discovered when I was struggling to create social media graphics for my own opt-in freebies and blog posts.
It has close to 800 layouts, categorized according to the different social media platforms. The sizes are already done for you so that you don’t have to search for anything. They also have automatic image resizing and overlay options.
If imagery is one thing holding you back, Relay is a good tool to have in your tool kit.
#4 How do you get eyeballs on your freebie?
1. Facebook groups
Rather than share your blog posts on promo threads, share your opt-in freebie.
Write a short description to your opt-in freebie and connect it to your landing page. Create a separate graphic for your opt-in freebie as well.
Here’s an example of one of my opt-in freebie promos in a Facebook group.
2. Twitter lead generation cards
No, you don’t have to pay for this at all.
You can promote your list and lead magnet through lead generation cards without paying a single cent.
This gives people the opportunity to sign-up right there on twitter rather than go to a different landing page.
Here’s how you set-it up.
Click your profile on Twitter > Then click Ads
Ads > Click on Creatives > Click on Cards
Choose lead generation card. You need to make a graphic that’s at least 800 px by 200 px (4:1 ratio)
This is how mine looks like for this course.
You can choose the call to action (CTA) you want. ‘Get the ebook’, ‘Get the free download’, ‘Join the list’ – Mine’s ‘Get the first lesson’.
When someone clicks on it, their email addresses get loaded to a CSV file and you can then transfer the email addresses into your email service client.
If you have a direct integration, like mine does for Convertkit, they get stored automatically.
Make a separate vertical pin for your opt-in freebie and connect it to your landing page.
Here’s an example of a pin that leads directly to a landing page and not a blog post.
5. Social media bio
Instead of putting a link to your homepage in your social media bio, have a link to your opt-in freebie landing page.
If it’s too long, use bit.ly and shorten it before putting it up there.
#5 How do you know if your opt-in freebie is working?
If you use an email service provider like Convertkit, it’s really easy to track how many subscribers you have from your opt-in forms.
You can also easily set-this up in Google Analytics.
I show you to do that in this post .
I have seen conversion rates from 43.5% to 80.9% across my landing pages. Find out what’s your average and try to better it. Have a swipe file of landing pages that you like. I also show you how to optimize a landing page and headline formulas you can use in my eBook opt-in blueprint.
Invite your subscribers to reply back to you with feedback. Include a P.S or line in your email to share your opt-in freebie on social media.
If you’re getting a good number of shares, feedback and subscribers, that freebie’s a keeper. But you should always refresh your freebie at periodic intervals.
#6 Content upgrade vs opt-in freebie. Is there a difference?
A content upgrade is the same as an opt-in freebie but only more specific.
Content upgrades are usually offered together with a blog post as an ‘upgrade’.
They give the reader extra information about the topic of the post they’ve just read. These should be easily consumable and offer the reader a quick win. Think cheat sheets, printables, spreadsheets and checklists.
#7 When (or if) should you kill it?
Before you decide that your opt-in freebie isn’t working, ask yourself if the following elements are met.
1. Do you have a landing Page
- Are you sending traffic to your landing page rather than your homepage?
- Are you promoting your landing page?
2. Is your landing page optimized?
- Do they know within 5 seconds from reading your headline, what the opt-in freebie is about?
- Is your headline specific?
- Did you break down your freebie so that they can see what exactly you’re offering?
3. Are your opt-in forms optimized?
- Did you include some form of social proof?
- Have you plugged your leaky website? Have you ensured that you have opt-in forms in all the right locations?
If your answer is no to any of these, then it may be too premature to decide if your freebie is working or not.
You may want to optimize your landing page, website and opt-in forms before making a decision.
Your opt-in freebie doesn’t define you
It can be nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time to put something ‘out there’.
Your opt-in freebie is after all one of the first touch points someone has with your brand.
But rarely does someone get their opt-in freebie right the first time. Behind every success story of an opt-in racking in hundreds of subscribers in weeks, are several failed ones.
Think of your opt-in freebie as a work in progress. Tweak, test and optimize before settling on one.
Want to dive deeper into creating a high-converting opt-in freebie? Check out my ebook Opt-in Blueprint