Growing your email list may seem like THE magic bullet that will fix ALL the things wrong with your business, but what if you’re struggling with creating an opt-in incentive and getting it out into the world?
It feels hard and like you’re doing it all wrong.
But you need to grow your email list so you can make enough moola to support your habit of buying every book at Barnes and Noble on your Friday date nights (or is that just me?).
Your freebies are supposed to grow your email list, right? But what if they aren’t?
If you find that your email list isn’t growing, you might be in one of two boats:
Boat #1 – You have zero free offerings because you’re waiting for the lightning-strike moment of genius to create the perfect opt-in offer. So for the time being, you just have a generic form on your website saying something about “subscribing.” There’s nothing new and exciting that will get people to hand over their email addresses.
Or Boat #2 – You have a freebie that you think is the bomb dot com, but it’s not converting the way you thought it would.
As a creative, you probably fall into the perfectionism trap more often than not. You’re stuck and you want to get it right the first time, but here’s the problem:
Creating an awesome freebie isn’t something that usually happens on the first go-around.
It’s something that happens over time. It’s something that happens when you’ve launched the first ship, so to speak, and found the leaky spots…and then fixed them and launched again.
If you’ve made it past creating your first opt-in offer, and your email list still isn’t growing the way you’d like, you might be making one of these five mistakes with your freebie offer:
Mistake #1- You don’t promote your freebie enough.
It’s an easy mistake to make.
You don’t share the free offer you’ve worked on for countless hours for lots of reasons.
- Maybe you’re afraid that people will hate it and hate you (Friend, this is simply not true. If they hate you, they’re either a crazy person who will always be dissatisfied with anything you put out into the world, or they are just having a rough day and decided to take it out on you and your offering of love. Either way, you want to keep your head up because there will be other people who will ADORE what you’re doing. So share, share, share!).
- You’re worried that no one will download your offer and that you’ll feel like all your hard work and late nights have been in vain (This is why you have to promote your offer. Sure, you’ve put it up on your website, but that doesn’t mean that people know it’s there).
- OR… you’re afraid that people already think you sound like one of those sleazy used car salesmen because you’ve already shared it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram…once.
So you couldn’t possibly share it another time. Right?
Sharing a free offer shouldn’t make us feel spammy or annoying. It should make us feel like we are helping our audience to achieve their goals. Like our readers can conquer the world.
Lack of promotion means that no one knows your free offer even exists and this stunts your list growth.
I had a friend and mentor once tell me to share one of my offerings so much that I felt like I was annoying people. She knew that this would be hard for me because I felt that way Right AWAY. She also knew it would get me outside of my comfort zone and force me to share my offer enough to get more sales, though.
And you know what? It worked.
I’ve been trying to take this same approach ever since, but I do find myself shying away from sharing offers (even when they’re free!). I’m the person who’s afraid to sound salesy, for sure.
But by not sharing a freebie after I’ve spent the time to create it, I’m not only hurting my business, but I’m also not getting this free offer to people who need it.
So make sure that you’re promoting your free offers. You can create a landing page on your website and add an opt-in form for people to download the freebie, which will make it super simple to share.
Mistake #2- You haven’t gotten any feedback on your opt-in offer.
Sometimes we spend all of our time trying to make our freebie offer the best that it can be that we forget that a part of creating our opt-in is getting feedback on it from our audience.
What I’ve learned in the past year is to make a simple, free worksheet that will help with that ONE thing, and add it to my blog posts. I’m not looking to make the best e-book that ever existed on the topic because that’s probably not even realistic or possible.
Then I can see which of my offers people are signing up for the most. When they sign up for one particular opt-in more than others, I take that freebie and make it as the exit intent pop-up on my site (so it will get seen more often).
I also like to watch for feedback in my email box. When people love one of my free offers, they’ll write me an email about it. That’s when I know what’s working. Not before.
If you’re not getting feedback through emails, you can approach a few of your peers and ask them to look over your freebie too. Feedback from peers and mentors has helped me to take a “rough draft” to perfection…or close to it, anyway.
Mistake #3- Your freebie is too complicated.
My first free offer was 15 pages long. No joke!
Your free offer doesn’t have to be long for it to be good. You just need to help your audience to solve one problem or get them past their hesitation to buy your product.
It could be as simple as offering a 10% discount off their first purchase.
Tip from Kris, withakwriting.com
When I was a high school English teacher, assigning projects and papers, my students often asked me, “How long does it need to be, Miss?” My answer is the same for opt-in incentives as it was for term papers: “It has to be as long as it takes for you to get the job done right. And not one word longer!”
When I had to read – and mark – 300 term papers? Yeah, those extra, padded paragraphs only made me grumpy. Your readers don’t have time for fluff either, so don’t punish them with MORE work to do! Get them to their first goal simply, and then let them come back to you for more.
If it makes sense to your audience and it’s something they need, it will convert. There’s no reason to overcomplicate things (it’s probably another stall tactic from your perfectionism). Your readers are strapped for time. Help them by making the opt-in as easy and uncomplicated as possible.
Keep it simple, and everyone will be happy.
Mistake #4- People can’t find the form on your website.
You have to remember that not everyone is going to your Home Page. If they saw your recent blog post on Instagram, and they followed the link in your bio, they’re probably visiting your blog post, and not hunting for that one form. When you don’t have a form in that post, you’ve missed an opportunity to get them on your list.
If you only have one form on your site, add more!
By having opt-in forms in multiple places on your site, you’re making sure that there’s a higher chance of your readers seeing one.
Mistake #5- You’re putting all your eggs in one basket.
If you only have one opt-in incentive to offer, I’d try to mix things up and create a few more free offerings for your audience. If you keep them simple, then it won’t be too difficult to create a few more worksheets or another desktop wallpaper.
Think outside the box, and also think about something that can be made in an hour.
My favorite way to add new opt-ins is to create content upgrades and add them to my blog posts. This helps me to test the opt-in to see if people are responding by signing up for my list, plus it takes the perfectionism pressure out of things too.
Are you making any of these mistakes? Let us know in the comments below and then make a plan to fix it ASAP.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
This was really helpful Amanda! I felt like you were talking to me! :)
Amanda Creek says
Yay! I hope that it will help you to get more freebies out there. Your paintings are so beautiful and I feel like everyone should have one in their living room. :)
This was such a helpful post Amanda! I realized I’m in boat 2, and need to update some things. Thank you!!
And also….. “bomb dot com”
I love the way you wrote this!
Amanda Creek says
Thanks, Neesha! hahaha “bomb dot com” made it!
Let me know how it goes with your offer when you’ve made some updates. :)
Janice Sullivan says
Great info! I’ve been thinking on what I could promote in a Facebook add and you nailed it! My freebie. If that doesn’t work I’ll definitely add another opt-in :). Thanks Amanda!
Amanda Creek says
Oh! Good idea. I’d make sure to lead the people to a landing page, so it will convert better.
This was very helpful Amanda. As a freebie I have a resource library. That I continually update. I think I’m guilty of mistake #1, that could be the main reason my growth is static :s
Amanda Creek says
Really you have to try and post to where it feels like you’re annoying people. I know that when I tried to share that much, I didn’t have anyone get mad at me or anything (which is what I feared). I truly wasn’t posting enough. You can do it!
Ana Matamoros says
Thank you Amanda, Ive been having a hard time deciding on my freebie, and all I have to do now is simplify it to one page and get it done, and move on from there !!
Amanda Creek says
You can do it, Ana! :)