It’s 2014 and many of the old styles and methods of marketing just don’t work anymore. Many tactics that worked 2,3 and 4 years ago still work today, but if marketers don’t step up their game, potential customers are going to start to look the other way.
In this post we are going to talk about changing the game when it comes to your free offer or free gift you will use in exchange for collecting an email address. We are going to discuss how you can really add value to someone’s life and entire experience they have when they encounter what you have to offer. It is going to be really hard for them not to optin to your list with what we are going to show you.Trust me, not a lot of marketers are utilizing these highly effective strategies, so it will definitely set you apart from your competition.
If you are tired of the not getting the amount of optins you want and deserve, you will want to read this post and see what else you can do to get more people opting into your list.
In this post we are going to cover:
- The number one taught method of how to grow a list and why it might not be working anymore
- Why having more buy buttons and squeeze pages is a good thing (and how you can have them without a ton more work)
- The 11 alternative gifts you can offer other than the plain jane free report that everyone else is offering
- How you can get an instant connection with your new subscribers to gain instant trust
- Get new subscribers to see you as the expert and go to person in your industry
- How you can achieve all of this without putting in more work and using the resources you already have
So let’s get started…
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If you’ve been doing online marketing for even a year, you know you are supposed to give something for free in exchange for an email address. This is a process of how marketers (no matter what you sell) build an email list of subscribers to sell products and services to at a later time. If you’ve been doing online marketing for even a year, you are also well aware of the phrase “the money is in the list”….well, hopefully you are because it’s damn true. If you are doing any type of marketing online, you need to be building a list–again, no matter what you are selling. If you are just starting out and need to know some more specifics about how this process works, check out this post on Fearless Social about the essential components of a high converting squeeze page.
The Number One Taught Method
Many introductory (and non-introductory) marketing courses teach what kinds of gifts to offer to collect someone’s email address. The number one taught method is to give away a guide or a report. The really old school terminology is an “ebook”. Don’t get me wrong, reports, guides and ebooks (no matter what you call them) still work and still get the job done when it comes to collecting emails but if you are not seeing the results you want to see you may need to step up your game a notch.
The age old method many courses teach is to give away a PLR Report (Private Label Rights). There are PLR reports written about almost every topic out there. When you buy these reports, you can usually use them anywhere you want as information you can pass off as your own. You can find high quality PLR Reports and you can also find very low quality ones out there as well. PLR Reports are usually a good starting point but you need to add your own unique information to them and make them original and unique to you (that’s how they work the best). If you choose to not to add value and make them unique, then you are not going to get very far. I am not saying you won’t make money or get new subscribers, but if you want to be an authority in your niche and the expert when it comes to the topic you are selling in, you better put those dusty PLR Reports to bed and continue to read this post.
Please understand, I am not hating on a method that has worked for marketers for many years, but all I am saying is that potential customers are expecting MORE these days. They are looking for quality. They are looking for someone to make a positive change to their day or even their lives. Do you think an old dusty PLR report that 100 other marketers purchased for $17 (or less) is going to do that? I highly doubt it. You should be after trying to make a positive impact in someone’s life. You should want to help people. That’s how you will succeed.
Before we move on, if you are offering a guide that you have personally spent time on and you are proud of it and you are happy to give that information to people, then the more power to you to use that guide as your gift. Again, I am not knocking guides, I still offer them all the time. All I am saying is they have to be high quality and this will only make your likability stronger with your new found subscribers to your email list.
As a side note, if you are not in the “make money online” space, high quality PLR guides or guides that started as PLR and you added your own information (value) to make it unique, will still work well. For example, if you are selling a soap making class and you put together a guide on the benefits of making your own soap, then I am sure you would be able to find a quality PLR report of soap making as a starting point for the basic information you need for your report. Niches outside of the internet marketing / make money online niche are a little less jaded so you can get away with a bit more.
I want to make it clear that your free gift might be the first encounter your new subscriber has with you. Don’t you want that first experience to be amazing? Don’t you want to over deliver as much as possible? You should because that’s the secret sauce on how to maximize the earning potential of a list of subscribers.
Another fact is if you are offering something unique that people can’t find ANYWHERE else unless they put their email address in YOUR AUTORESPONDER FORM, you will feel damn confident in telling people what you are offering. The confidence will come across in your copy and your squeeze page and it will increase your conversions and get you the results you are looking for. It’s that simple.
Buy Buttons and Squeeze Pages – Less is Not More
When it comes to the number of buy buttons, squeeze pages and funnels that you have online, less is not more. You should have a few places where you are trying to capture leads. You can use the different strategies we are going to reveal in this post as different lead capture gifts. You don’t have to be a one trick pony (and you shouldn’t). You don’t have to put together guide after guide – that gets boring for you and potential customers / subscribers as well. So let’s get into what other types of gifts you can put together that will increase the chance of someone giving you their email address.
The fun part about this is you might find some of these methods are even easier to put together than the boring guides we were all taught about.
Get More Out of Free Gifts
Before we get into the methods, free gifts are not the only use for the assets you will be creating. You can constantly reuse the assets that you have created in other areas of your marketing, and not just for free gifts.
Here are 2 other top ways you can utilize these assets and make a lot of money doing so:
1) Add Ons – You can include these gifts as part of a package you are selling with anything online to add value.
2) Bonuses For Other Things You Are Selling – These assets work GREAT for bonuses as they will add tons of value when presenting the right bonuses with the products you are selling.
11 Free Gift Alternatives to Increase Optins
Here are some other alternatives to using a report or guide as a free gift, they are not in any particular order. Keep in mind you can also add these free gift alternatives to the gift you are already offering to provide even more value. Subscribers will love you for it!
Checklists are great for people in specific niches.
Let’s go with the soap making example. If you provide a checklist of all the steps someone would have to go through to make soap, that’s very valuable. Make sure the checklist is printable (make it a pdf) and make it an actual checklist with a box so people can actually check the box when they’ve completed the step. You’d be shocked at how much this comes in handy for people.
Many times the checklist could come out of the initial report you’ve already made for people. Just pull out the different steps and condense it to a checklist. You’ve just created value…like magic.
People love shortcuts. I’ve made a lot of money this way. Finding or even creating a shortcut and then sharing it with people adds tremendous value.
Example: The Speed Boat Method
Here’s a strategy I’ve put into place that made me a lot of money selling someone else’s product.
What you need to do is go through the entire product. Create your own Speed Boat Method. This means that you have a condensed method of everything the person would need without going through every detail of the entire course. Say something like, “I’ve taken 5 hours of training and condensed it to 45 minutes of everything you need to know without the fluff.”
Offering something like this is very unique. The interested buyer would HAVE to buy from you because you would be the only person offering this.
If you are using this as a gift strategy, then you would condense it even more and offer one or two critical elements that are highly overlooked that you have found to be helpful.
3) A Secret or Little Known Method
What’s great about secrets and little known methods is that a lot of the time time they are short and sweet but insanely valuable. If you know a way to do something quicker than most, you can share that information and get an optin for it.
Example: Increase Productivity with Video
I found many ways to increase productivity when listening to training courses. There are a lot of courses out there and many of them are video. These videos sometimes run over an hour and I found several ways (both free and paid) to speed up videos (for desktop and mobile) where you can still understand what the person in the video is saying but double your productivity because you are getting through the material 2x faster. Obviously, this method is not for everyone…Some people thought the methods were too fast and ridiculous, but most loved the tips and tools I provided.
PS: I’ve gotten so good at listening to videos fast I can now understand them at 2.5 speed! It’s great!
Many people opted in because they all had that same problem. They know that many training videos can drag on and on and the methods I showed saved people a bunch of time!
4) Done For You
Done For You gifts will get you a lot of optins. Basically, the concept is that you are doing something for people that they won’t have to do themselves. People love having work done for them because it makes their lives easier, it saves them time, and it allows them to do other work, or not even have to do work at all. Whenever you can provide someone with something they don’t have to do themselves, it’s pretty much a home run.
Here are some examples:
1) An Aggregated List – (a list of particular outsourcers for a certain task, a list of places to find free images, a list of the best backlinking sites). If you could round up information, you could freely give that information away and trade it for an optin.
2) PLR – HAHA – I know – we talked about PLR above about how not to use it, but it’s actually a great thing to sell because people buy it all the time (and unfortunately use it the wrong way). If you have a done for you report that you let people use, it will get you optins all day.
3) Templates – Templates are another great one. Giving someone something they just have to plug information into is very valuable. Ad templates, image templates, squeeze page templates are all great examples.
5) Something You Found / A Better Way
I really like this one because if you find something that is a better way to do something, you can use this to your advantage. The reason why this one is so awesome is because the better way does not even have to be something that you have created – it can be someone else’s creation!
Example: The 45 Minute Training Video That Wasn’t Mine
A while back I was teaching publishers how to publish to a difficult platform where formatting was a nightmare. I stumbled across a 2 part video that explained everything in detail that I wanted to share with publishers. The video wasn’t mine, it was someone else’s. I had a choice. Should I recreate everything in these videos, or do I strategically put together a package that happens to contain this information (the videos) inside of it? The videos were YouTube videos that were available to the public, btw. I chose the latter and gave credit where credit was due. It just made things so much easier.
A few things to keep in mind when using this method:
1) Don’t lead with the information you don’t own – Do what I did and include the information in a package instead of leading people directly to another person’s material.
2) Give Credit to the Person – Don’t pass it off as your own material. Give the person credit because you are using their information and it’s only right and fair. And obviously, don’t steal someone’s information to get an optin. If it feels wrong doing something, it probably is.
3) Some People Might Call You Out – Just ignore them. As long as you include your own material, perhaps include the important parts like, “Pay close attention at the 5 minute mark because this is the most important part,” people will be thanking you and loving you and the haters will always hate.
6) A Training Replay
Training Replays are another great gift. If you’ve done work and you have a ton of value to offer someone in your training, then use that as bait to get optins. As marketers, we have tons of trainings on our harddrive, so it’s great to be able to re-use information at a later time. These are all assets in your business that you own and can continue to use to profit from. Don’t let anything go to waste.
Tip: Often, you can use these trainings to give away as a free gift even if you are selling the information somewhere else. It is unlikely that the 2 properties will not cross paths. Will you lose out on some sales? Probably, but it’s going to be a very rare occurrence. Don’t worry about small percentages like that.
7) A Video Series
This is one of my favorite methods for many different reasons. A video series is giving people step by step tips in a series within a span of x amount of days (you choose how many you want to provide – 5 to 7 is the sweet spot). Each day, the person receives another video in the series while still having access to the previous videos you’ve provided them earlier. So basically, you are giving people snippets of information and breaking it down into however many days you want to make it last.
One of the “rules” of the video series gift is you have to be on camera for one or more of the videos in the series; preferably the first couple. The reason is because video makes an instant connection with the new subscriber. Remember, many times, this is going to be someone new who is joining your funnel. Think of how powerful it is to establish a deep connection with someone right from the beginning when they are introduced to you. The new subscriber will feel like they’ve met you and they are more likely to open your future emails and the future videos in your series. I’ve used this strategy and continue to use it because it works.
The way this works best is your videos are sent in a consecutive amount of time (like 5 -7 days). This will let people know to look out for your email the next day. Be sure to tell people what they will be expecting the next day. Say it in your video and in your email to them. This means you actually must have a plan in place of each video and what you are going to say.
The reason why I love this method is because video is so powerful. It’s different than a written report or a written anything for that matter. It is important to establish a relationship with someone right from the beginning because it will dictate how that person will interact with your emails at a later time. Will they ignore your emails, delete them or even worse, unsubscribe? The chances are less likely for them to do that if they know who you are….and video gets that done quicker.
8) The Mini Membership Site
The mini membership site is another favorite of mine for the end user’s experience. This method will piggy back off of the video series method, #7.
This method is powerful because again, this will create almost an instant relationship between you and your new subscriber (if you deliver the value and the goods).
If you are giving people a video series as we talked about above, you can set up a mini membership type site where subscribers have access to the previous videos you have given them. The experience should feel like they are getting such valuable information and they are shocked they didn’t have to pay for it.
Don’t make the site too big. It should be small and contain only 5-7 videos for the email series.
Example: How to get copywriting clients
If you are a copywriter and you are looking for clients, set up a video series about copywriting. Talk about the importance of a great headline one day, talk about bonus stacking another. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to a new subscriber and it presents you as a top expert in the industry. Try to do all, if not most of the videos with your face on the camera.
Over-delivering will give you big time brownie points.
Stick all the videos inside of a membership site. The membership site really doesn’t even have to be officially protected – just hide those pages from Google’s index.
This method will also allow you to charge more for your services. Overall, it’s a great gift and a great way to introduce yourself to a new subscriber.
Cheatsheets are great. They are just shortened versions of reports. They could be:
- cliff notes
- bullet points
You get the point. Anything long that you can take and shorten it, that’s a cheatsheet. People want to get the quickest way from point A to B. They want to get the quickest way to money and successs. You can make that happen for them with cheatsheets!
Software is a really great gift because a lot of people love software. If your software tool does something simple that automates a tedious task or does a lot of something with a couple of clicks, then access to your software for free is going to be a wonderful trade for an email address. Software is also a great bonus to a product you are selling, whether it’s your own product or you are selling as an affiliate.
Example: Get your Site Indexed in Google within hours
A few years ago, our good friend E. Brian Rose had a tool that indexed a new website with Google in like 2 hours (I can’t remember the exact time frame, but it was very quick). For the tool to work, all the person had to do was put in the domain they wanted indexed and register the software….with their EMAIL which was EBR’s aweber list…(it only worked with aweber at the time). He got a lot of signups…and without Facebook Ads (there were none at the time).
I’ve used this method in my marketing and it has worked well for product bonuses. People love tools…and if it is free, even better!
If you don’t know much about software, we can’t really get into much detail right now, but I am sure we will later on 🙂
11) Free Trails
Free Trials are another excellent way to get subscribers. You will probably have to tie in some kind of payment system which will force the person to commit slightly more than free, but if you are up front and let the member know they can cancel at any time, you shouldn’t hit too many rejections or cart abandoners.
Example: The online yoga class
This method will work in a lot of circumstances, and for the online yoga studio it’s brilliant. Yogaglo.com is the example here.
When I was looking for an online yoga class solution, Yogaglo gave me like 15 days to try it out. How can I turn that offer down? Of course they have done nothing to try to get me back since not continuing the free trial, so they should definitely be in Dr. Ben’s Membership like you are!
There’s the list of 11. I hope you can see that some of them are really easy to implement, some of them are way out of the box and others take a bit of time to prepare…and might need a bit more experience too.
Go ahead and try one or even a few of these methods. See which ones work the best for you. I’ve used many if not all of these methods and they have worked very well for me and my business and not only that, it got people really loving my stuff and listening to what I had to say…and we at Fearless Social want the best and the same for you.
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