Whether you’re a small business owner, blogger, or digital marketer, you probably already send newsletters to your target audience. While e-newsletters are a tried and tested method for gaining valuable new subscribers, getting them to opt-in as a subscriber has become more difficult than ever. With so many marketers fighting for their attention, today’s customers are always spoiled for choice.
So, what’s something special you can do to make sure your email recipients not only read your newsletter but also hit that subscribe button?
Offer them freebies.
What Are Opt-In Freebies?
Opt-in freebies are gifts that you give to entice your customers to sign up for your newsletter. In other words, you incentivize them with a free gift so they become your subscribers.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?
The reality is you have to put a lot of thought and research into picking an opt-in freebie though. You cannot go for random gifts that suit your budget and convenience. The freebie has to appeal to your target audience, so much so that they would be compelled to give you their contact information and click on the subscribe button.
Ideally, the freebie you offer should be something that excites your audience because it solves an immediate or long-standing problem. The freebie could also be something that helps them do something better and saves time. And since audiences vary from one industry to another, there is no one-size-fits-all approach you can take when deciding on freebies.
Why You Should Create a Freebie for Your Email List
You should give freebies some serious thought because they can grow your email subscriber list by leaps and bounds. What a dated “Join for Exclusive Updates” pop-up fails to do is create a sense of urgency and anticipation in your audience. They are largely indifferent to it because of the sheer volume of marketing emails that urge them to take the same action.
But a freebie entices them. It lets you engage with your target audience in a meaningful and intimate way. They realize that you are not making an outrageous claim for sales purposes. You have something of value for them.
Over time, opt-in freebies help you increase your subscriber list. As your subscriber list grows, so does your outreach. Regardless of the scale of your business or marketing budget, you will always benefit from increased outreach.
Since it’s possible to achieve greater visibility by adding a freebie to your newsletter, why not use it to your advantage?
All you have to do is focus on finding the best freebie for your opt-in offer so it matches the interests of your audience.
5 Ways To Find Ideas for Freebies and Opt-in Offers
You might be wondering how to find the best freebie that works for your audience. Here are five hacks that you can rely on to get gift ideas that will prompt your recipients to sign up for your newsletter:
Turn To User-Generated Content
You need to know what your target audience wants or needs to come up with an idea for a free gift. User-generated content (UGC) is one of the best places to look for what your audience really wants. They may be discussing their needs in the comments section of your social media posts so take a hint or two.
Another good method for finding freebie ideas is to look at exchanges your customers may have had with customer care personnel. You can review data from chats and calls to identify the pain points of your audience and craft a solution as a freebie.
Look at Your Most Popular Blog Post
If you have a blog, you can identify your best-performing blog post. If it’s about products, you will have a ready-made list of stuff to choose from. Even if it’s not, you can always bank on the topic of the blog post to come up with a freebie idea that ties in with the main subject.
Offer Upgrades as Freebies
Alternatively, you can also offer upgrades as an opt-in freebie.
For example, if you run online yoga classes and offer memberships to your clientele, upgrading them from one level of a membership program to another can be a lucrative freebie idea. The best thing about this is you have so much to play with—you can offer a membership, a subscription, an exclusive one-time deal, and so much more.
Find Out What’s Popular in Your Niche
Another surefire method is to do some research on what’s trending in your industry or niche. It could be anything from an intangible asset to a specific product, lifestyle advice, etc. You can also take a look at what your competitors are offering as freebies. Get a few ideas from a few different competitors, and think of a way to improve on what they’re offering their subscribers.
Hold a Contest
Or, you could ask your customers what they expect from you. It’s easy to put up “Tell Us What You’d Like To See More Of” posts in this age of social media. You can utilize such posts to gauge the sentiments of your audience and come up with a freebie idea that matches their expectations.
You can also use this data to fine-tune your current offerings.
How To Make a Successful Newsletter Freebies
Now that you know how to get started on your opt-in freebie idea, here are a few tricks that you can implement to make your newsletter freebie a success:
1. Listen To Your Audience
Since the freebie is for your prospective customers, you need to know what they want. To make that happen, you must listen to your audience. Discover their preferences, grievances, and expectations. This tip will help you ideate an opt-in freebie that truly catches your audience’s attention.
2. Offer Value
Stand out from the crowd by offering a freebie of exceptional value. Make sure your offering is unique and cannot be offered by anyone else. It has to be something that your target audience remembers long after they have used it. Giving them something of value will also help you build your brand and make your subscribers remember you in a positive way.
3. Time It Right
Always schedule your freebie newsletter campaigns at a time when there’s a high probability that recipients will open the email. An opt-in freebie is no good if the email is not opened.
Research says the best time to send emails is at 10 AM or between 3 PM to 4 PM. So, timing your emails right is non-negotiable if you want your freebies to work.
4. Find the Perfect Fit
Don’t go offering discount coupons for fast food to fitness enthusiasts. Similarly, don’t provide cosmetic products that are not cruelty-free to animal lovers.
Know your audience before choosing a freebie—finding the right freebie idea is what differentiates a successful one from one that’s not. The freebie you offer should align with your business goals and help your subscribers achieve something at the same time.
5. Keep It Simple
Don’t make the mistake of going overboard or overcomplicating your opt-in freebie. Remember, a simple offer has greater mass appeal. Focus on quality instead of quantity and you’ll be golden.
15 Freebie Ideas To Drive More Newsletter Sign-Ups
Here’s a list of 15 opt-in newsletter freebie ideas that you can consider for your upcoming email campaign:
1. Create an Ebook
A special edition and highly exclusive ebook is a great idea for a freebie because it delivers value. Your ebook could be a compilation of your best work, practical advice, tips and tricks, or your unique insights into a relevant topic. Make sure the content and design are evergreen so that your audience will find it useful many years down the line.
2. Offer a Membership
A free membership to your book club, gym, or other online community that comes with exclusive perks for its members works well as a freebie. Memberships provide a sense of belonging and make your customers feel like they’re part of the organization.
3. Create a Course
If you’re a lifestyle coach or have teaching skills, create an exclusive course to offer as a freebie for your target audience. Courses have a definitive appeal because they help your target audience upskill without paying a single penny. A free course is also an excellent opportunity to introduce your new subscribers to your more elaborate paid courses or products.
4. Put Up a Challenge
You can also offer free participation in a trending challenge as an opt-in freebie. This type of freebie will work really well if your niche is fitness, health, or performance-related. You can urge your recipients to perform the challenge and send in video entries. You can also offer them a prize for securing the top spot.
5. Organize a Webinar
Another interesting (although somewhat effort-intensive idea) is to offer a webinar as your freebie. You could tackle topics like financial planning, cyber security, new income opportunities, and much more. The opportunities are endless because you can host a webinar on almost any topic under the sun.
6. Offer Downloadable Printables
Although somewhat generic compared to the other ideas so far, a downloadable day planner, schedule, daily water/calorie intake chart, or even a pet poop tracker are useful freebies. You can customize it per your niche and whip up a quick design online.
7. Share a Gift Card
If you want a freebie that’s easy to use and simple, go for a gift card with a fixed value. You can even partner with the merchant where the gift cards can be redeemed so the recipients get special offers like a discount or membership to a loyalty program. This is a great idea because it can help you get more subscribers while allowing another business owner to gain additional sales.
8. Assemble a Product Bundle
This is a good idea for beauty bloggers or content creators. You can create a bundle of your favorite products and offer it as a freebie to those who sign up for your newsletter. Just remember that you will also have to bear the postal costs in addition to the money you spend on purchasing the products and packaging them.
9. Offer Discounted Subscriptions
Another easy-to-execute but lucrative freebie idea is to offer a special discount for subscriptions to things like podcasts, streaming platforms, or meal delivery services. You could partner up with one or more providers so you don’t end up spending too much out of pocket.
10. Send a Planner
If you’re going to send your newsletter around Christmas, New Year, or New Year’s Eve, you could send a planner as your freebie. Most people make use of planners even in the age of automated reminders so it’s a good idea to send one as a free gift. You could customize it in your brand colors and even advertise your products/services by adding a few extra spreads in the planner.
11. Invites To a Workshop
Here’s an exciting idea for those of you who want to go that extra mile. Share a free invite to a workshop with your email newsletter. Everyone who signs up for your newsletter gets invited to attend your event.
Workshops may take more time, effort, and money to host, but they also provide you with an opportunity to interact one-on-one with your audience.
12. Editable Templates
Graphic designers and artists can also create a portfolio of editable templates as a freebie. You can even categorize your templates by season or occasion. Regardless of how you go about it, your recipients will like having something handy at their disposal.
13. Pre-mixes/Homemade Food
Are you a home chef or someone who runs a restaurant business? If you belong to the food or catering industry, you could offer pre-made mixes for cakes, cookies, and muffins in assorted flavors as your opt-in freebie. Even homemade granola, energy bars, and similar food items that have ample shelf life are a good choice.
It’s a very attractive gift for stay-at-home parents or anyone who wants to eat homemade food without the hassle.
14. Customizable Digital Calendars
Another interesting freebie idea is a customizable digital calendar that your customers can download and use. You can show off your design skills with this one while providing something that has high utility to your recipients.
15. Resource Library
The last idea on this list is possibly the most useful. Depending on your specialization, you can create a resource library for them and offer it up as a freebie.
This could be anything from a directory of vets, paravets, pet ambulance services for pet owners to parenting resources for new parents. A resource library is something that your users will thank you for.
Opt-in freebies are an excellent way of engaging with and enticing your prospects to sign up for your newsletter while increasing your subscriber list. However, it takes a considerable amount of effort, research, and brainstorming to come up with a freebie idea that’s viable.
So, to make the process easy, you can cut down on the effort of making the newsletter and go for pre-made templates that look professional.
Mailtrack provides free email tracking for campaigns sent from Gmail or Outlook so you can gauge the success of your e-newsletters. You can take advantage of exciting additional features by opting for paid plans and even integrate email template builders into your inbox for easy execution of your newsletter campaigns.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a freebie offer?
A freebie offer is a promotional product or service that you give to your existing customers and prospects. As the name suggests, a freebie is free of cost and incentivizes your customers to sign up for your newsletter.
Do I need a freebie strategy?
While opt-in freebies are a surefire way of getting more conversions than a simple message-based pop-up, you need to find the right freebie for your audience. You also need to consider how much time, effort, and money you will need to invest in the process.
Because of this, you need a freebie strategy that takes all these things into account if you want to achieve your business goals.
Why do freebies work?
Freebies work because a good opt-in offer has a definite appeal to the customers. A good freebie is useful to your target audience and helps solve a problem. By luring them in with a free offer, your audience will opt in to your newsletter instead of dismissing it as just another marketing email.
Opt-in freebies also help instill a sense of trust in you or your brand.