I’m tackling one of the biggest topics I hear related to list building: how to create a freebie for your email list. Don’t miss part two where I share how to deliver that freebie!
One of the easiest ways to grow your list is to give something away in exchange for a subscriber’s email address. Entrepreneurs call it a lead magnet. Bloggers call it a freebie. Authors often call it a reader magnet.
Sounds easy, right? But creating it can often hold people back. It doesn’t have to be a pain! Let’s break down how to easily create a freebie for your list.
How to Create a Freebie for Your Email List
Before you can think about HOW to create a freebie, you need to think about the kinds of freebies. (And when it comes to delivering them, you can read this post.)
THE PERFECT FREEBIE FOR FICTION AUTHORS
In the past, it’s been recommended to write a whole book to give away for free as a reader magnet. Which… you can do. It still does work. You can utilize sites like Bookfunnel and Story Origin that help deliver the book to people’s Kindles and also have group promos for authors by genre.
Because people are so overloaded with FREE, you can also consider writing something shorter that would be a draw for readers. You could write a prequel novella or short story, introducing main characters or giving a back story. This works well for discoverability AND at the end of a book for sale.
You could also create bonus content, like a chapter from the book told from another character’s perspective. Or a bonus epilogue showing a future event. These work best for readers who have already read your book, so this can work well at the back of a book.
- Find out more about your author newsletter in this post: CREATING YOUR AUTHOR NEWSLETTER
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a solid example of your writing with a professional cover. They work best when related to your paid books, so consider creating a story that ties in and has a matching cover to your series.
Here’s an example of my novella, The Dragon Heir, which leads into my series Supernatural Reform School. It tells the back story of a main character we meet in book one.
So, to sum up, here’s the formula for the perfect freebie for authors:
a story related to your paid series with a professional, matching cover = PERFECT FREEBIE
The Perfect Freebie Formula for Nonfiction, Bloggers, Entrepreneurs
There is no shortage of things that you can use as a freebie. But you can use a formula to create an effective freebie.
If you are a blogger/entrepreneur/nonfiction author, consider: what your people want/need, what you know, and what you want to be known FOR.
Often people get the first two right, but miss the last one. I know that I have! I once created a freebie for my subscribers that did not at ALL show them what I was about in the big picture or what I wrote about in my weekly emails. It was simply convenient. I liked it. But it wasn’t compelling and didn’t contain what I wanted to be known for.
Think in the big picture. What do you want people to come to you for? (Consider what they are ALREADY coming to you for and what you’re passionate about.)
What can you offer that solves a problem related to this area? Later you can work on content upgrades (freebies tied to a particular post), but for a main freebie, start with this formula:
what people need/want + what you know + what you want to be known for = PERFECT FREEBIE
Kinds of Freebies You Can Create for Nonfiction
With the formula in mind, the sky is the limit in terms of the kind of freebie you can create for email subscribers. Don’t overthink this. And don’t overDO it. Take some time to brainstorm the perfect freebie (using the above formula) until you have a few good ideas. Then consider the kinds of formats that would best suit that idea.
Don’t box yourself in during this step! You may want to trade out your freebie once or twice a year! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Resource Guide (ex: checklist of tools you use to create a podcast)
- Checklist (ex: what you need to do to launch your first blog)
- List of common mistakes (ex: what you might be doing wrong with your email list)
- Planner (ex: epic blog planner)
- Swipe File (ex: the exact emails you used in a book launch so people can see your example and customize their own)
- Case Study (ex: specific details & numbers to show how you used Facebook ads to grow your list)
- Printables (ex: chore charts for kids or meal planning resources)
- Free course (ex: my Free Email Course, teaching people something over a series of automated emails)
- Video Series (ex: three videos on how to set up a Pinterest account)
- Webinar or workshop (This is more something you could offer monthly if you do it live, or use a replay as an evergreen freebie–but be sure to SAY it’s not live. Don’t fake a live webinar. That’s gross.)
- Access to a content library (ex: a page on your site that has a number of freebies & downloads)
- Access to a private Facebook or Slack Group
- An audio file (ex: an audio training people can download and listen to)
- An unlisted YouTube or Vimeo video (ex: how you set up your kitchen for food photography)
- A free book (ex: a cookbook featuring your favorite recipes from your blog)
- Sample chapters of a book
- A short story
If you think of something that isn’t on this list that would fit in the perfect freebie formula, DO IT. Why not? This list is not exhaustive.
You can create any kind of freebie if it would fit what your people want, what you know, and what you want to be known for.
How You Can Create a Freebie
This brings us to the tech side of things. How do you actually create a freebie? Clearly that list has a lot of different formats. One post couldn’t cover them all, but here are some tips and resources for creating a PDF, which is large percentage of the list.
Pages for Mac – This is my go-to. I love love LOVE Pages. I use it for ebooks, both printable PDFs and creating files for Kindle. Obviously it works for MAC, not PC. If you download my free planning guide, you’ll see what kind of PDF Pages can create. I’ve got a tutorial to help you get started below!
Beacon – Beacon is another tool with free & paid options. It can easily export content from your blog into a PDF format. You can use other content too, but repurposing blog content is a SNAP with this tool.
You don’t want to spend SO much time worrying about the tech that you don’t ever actually create the freebie. CREATE THE FREEBIE.
Get it in people’s hands. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
I do think that visually appealing things make a difference in how people respond to your content. But that doesn’t mean you should get hung up in the creation phase. You could also hire out this whole thing to someone who creates graphics or PDFs. Do what it takes to get the freebie up and running.
Now that you know how to create a freebie for your email list, you need to worry about delivering that freebie. Don’t worry! That’s a breeze. Find out how HERE.
For more, I love this post on Creating Your Perfect Freebie!
Questions? Thoughts? Ideas for a freebie? Comment below with your two cents!