One of my personal blogging goals this year was to increase my blog subscribers via email, and I recently launched an series of freebies as an incentive. I love finding freebies on other websites, and I’ve found that they are one of the most effective ways to get readers (including myself) to opt in to a blog newsletter or email subscription. Some of my favourite examples are free e-books, worksheets and extra blogging tips because they do something to help the reader.
For me at least, I consider email to be one of the most important methods of following a blog, because it guarantees that your subscribers will always at least see what you posting as they scroll through their inboxes. Up until recently, I had never offered anything extra for my email subscribers. And I wanted to change that.
I’ve created and launched a program for my email subscribers that allows them access to a library of fantastic free blogging worksheets, resources, cheat sheets, and graphics. The best part? It is always being updated and new freebies will often be added. Doesn’t that sound amazing?
The minute that you subscribe via email (see the sidebar), you should receive an email to confirm your subscription and provide the link to the freebie library. I’ve also switched to a different email provider so if you are already following Bookish Serendipity, you can resubscribe OR shoot me an email so I can send you the link.
Want to create your own incentive for readers to opt in to your mailing list? Here is how:
Step 1- Choose what your freebie will be.
How it can work for you: First of all, who is your intended audience? It’s important to know who is reading your blog when you are making decisions like these. If you are unsure, try glancing at your comments section or see who is engaging most with your posts in social media. Once you know your audience, you can make a freebie that is suited to them. Will it be free worksheets? A list of book recommendations? A sample chapter of your new e-book? It is up to you to decide.
How it worked for me: I knew that my audience is mainly comprised of bloggers themselves, so I knew that my freebies would have something to do with helping bloggers. I started off with a list of 100+ of my favourite blogging resources, but I knew that I wanted to give something more to my reader. I considered my favourite types of freebies (worksheets, cheat sheets, etc) and decided to create an exclusive library full of bonus content, and to continually update it. It was my way of continually rewarding my subscribers.
Step 2- Create that freebie!
How it can work for you: Depending on the type of freebie, this can take varying amounts of time. If you are writing a short e-book, this can take weeks or months, but if you are just creating a quick checklist, this can be done in less than a day.
How it worked for me: I worked on my free content over the course of a week. Some of these took longer than others (ex. Gathering a fantastic list of resources for bloggers) while others didn’t take more than an hour or two. I used Microsoft Word for the worksheets and Easel.ly for the infographic.
Step 3- How will you deliver this freebie to your subscribers?
How it can work for you: Depending on your email subscription provider, there are many different ways to do this. If you are using a provider that allows you to attach documents to your confirmation email, that would be great! Otherwise, you can upload your file to a service like Dropbox or Google Drive and send the link to that folder.
How it worked for me: I used Google Drive and created a folder to store all of my fantastic freebies in, and generated a public link to it. Now when you receive your confirmation email, you will be able to go directly to the folder and use whatever you like.
Step 4- Set it up, and send it out!
How it can work for you: Now you can actually write up your email confirmation email, and add a subscription widget to your sidebar so that people can see it easily. Prominently display that you are giving away blog freebies to email subscribers on/ around the widget as well, and don’t forget to test that it works!
How it worked for me: After uploading all of the files to Google Drive, I copied the link and included that in my confirmation email. I uploaded the widget to my sidebar and created a feature banner directly above it. You can see this in my sidebar right now. Then I activated the service!
Step 5- Promote it!
How it can work for you: This stage is incredibly important. If you don’t tell anyone about it, how will more people know about it and want to subscribe? You can share the news on social media, and let existing subscribers now about it, if possible. If you’d like, you can even do a post about the benefits of subscribing!
How it worked for me: Like I suggested above, I did share it on social media. I also created an image dedicated to it (see it on the right) and displayed it in my sidebar as well. It has definitely helped!
There you have it: my simply 5-step process to creating and setting up freebies for your blog! There are many benefits to creating a special freebie for your subscribers. Not only is it a way to interest readers in subscribing to your blog, but it is also a way of giving back to the community.
If you are offer email subscription as a way to follow your blog, I highly recommend creating some sort of freebie as an incentive. It doesn’t necessarily have to be very complicated, and it definitely pays off in the end.