Freebie. Lead Magnet. Opt-in offer. They go by many names, but when you are attempting to grow your email list, you’re likely using some sort of freebie to get people signed up.

I get a lot of questions about freebies because my specialty is using Facebook ads to build your business, and one of the most popular ways to use FB ads is for list building.

If you missed last week's post on why list building is still super important (no, email marketing is not dead), be sure to check out that post here >>

So what makes for a stellar freebie? One that connects with your ideal client AND gets them clicking through your ads?

1. It should offer a super specific solution to a very specific market.

Your freebie should deliver on ONE big promise and not try to solve a dozen problems at once. Craft the content with your ideal client in mind. You’re not trying to help everyone here. Niche down and don’t worry if you’re leaving a sub-set of your audience out. You’ll be more successful by niching down than by being broad!

(And nothing says that you can’t have more than one opt-in, so if you’re afraid you’re ignoring part of your market with the opt-in, create a second offer for them – but don’t muddle up this one!)

2. It should speak to a KNOWN desired end result – this is the point of invitation for working with your ideal client.

Have you ever put out an offer that you knew was great – maybe it provided deep transformational work that you know your clients need – but it flopped? Sometimes people aren’t ready for what you know they ultimately need – you’re a few steps ahead of where they are at. You’re not meeting them at the point of invitation, and if they’re not ready for what you’re offering, they’re going to pass, no matter how much YOU know they need it.

So what do they want? What are they screaming for? What are they posting in Facebook groups about or mentioning on free consults? (If I could just figure THIS out, I’d be fine…)

If you can figure out that pressing, acknowledged need and offer them that in the form of your freebie, you can easily move them along the funnel to your paid offerings.

3. It should be short and sweet – easy to complete.

I admit, I learned this the hard way! One of the first freebies I put out to build my list was awesome (in my humble opinion) but it was also HUGE! I got so excited teaching about how to make your FB ads stand out and showing examples, that I let the freebie get really long. I even considered making it a tripwire offering it was so good and I knew it met an expressed need.

When I had people give me feedback before releasing it, everyone found it to be very valuable – so why wasn’t it leading to more sales of my $10 FB Ads for List Building class? It should have been a no brainer!

The problem was, when it was your first point of contact with me and you opened it up and saw how long it was, you might have closed that bad boy and forgotten about it – thinking you’d come back to it later. But you know how that goes.

The lesson? Don’t clog your funnel at the 1st step by giving them too much info. It shouldn’t take any more than 5-10 minutes to get through your freebie – whether that’s reading a PDF or watching a video. If it takes someone days or weeks to get through the content,you’re likely to lose them along the way.

I’m not saying that hour-long webinars, 4-part video series, and week-long challenges can’t work, but you will lose some people along the way. Why not do what I did and move these bigger offerings further along your funnel? I didn’t totally scrap that big guide, I just offer it as value-add content further down the line, and now it’s much better received and doesn’t clog my funnel so that I can get more sales.

4. It should have a high perceived AND actual value.

Now, I said the freebie should be short and sweet, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be GOOD! Like, really good! Your freebie is your first impression with a new subscriber, so it makes sense it should be a great first impression, right? Because if you don’t make a great first impression, you’re not likely to get a second chance.

If I see your free offer, grab it and I’m totally underwhelmed, why would I buy from you when you offer me something else? On the other hand, if you over deliver and give me some amazing, actionable advice that provides me with real value – and this is just your free stuff – I am going to assume this is how you operate. You have great content that can help me and I’m going to be open to checking out what else you have to offer.

This is delivering actual value. Perceived value comes into play with the look and feel of your content. Now, some will argue that aesthetics don’t matter, but I think they matter more than you might want to admit. Yes, if the content is great you might be able to overlook a bland looking PDF, but if the branding is truly awful, there are typos and the doc is generally just a hot mess, don’t you think that will impact how you feel about the value of the freebie?

I’m not saying you have to hire a high-priced designer, but at least take the time to put together something a little more polished using a tool like Canva rather than sending out a boring Word doc. (Or if you’re truly dreadful at anything artistic but on a tight budget, at least grab someone on Fiverr to help.)

5. The best freebies will pre-frame them to work with you.

As I covered in point #2, your opt-in should meet them at the point of invitation and give them what they’re out there looking for. It should also be a natural lead-in to working with you in your paid programs. After they’ve learned something from the freebie, what’s the next step? What do they need to do or learn next? (The solution should be the first paid offering in your funnel.)

And very importantly, do they know that that’s the next step? Did you educate them well enough in the freebie so that they can see the journey they are on, and what they need to do now to make the progress they wanted when they grabbed your freebie?

This can be done in the freebie itself and also in the email series you send out after the freebie is delivered. The freebie doesn’t have to do all of the heavy-lifting – you’ll want to develop a strong series of emails that nurtures the lead, provides value, educates them and grows the “know, like and trust” factor that turns subscribers into buyers.

Do you have a freebie to grow your list? Does it meet these 5 criteria?

If you are ready to finally figure out not only the perfect freebie to grow your list, but the journey you want to take your subscribers on from lead to customer, then I would love to invite you to check out the FB Ads Incubator program. Doors are only open 4 times per year and the class sells out fast, so jump on the waitlist at https://sociallyaligned.leadpages.co/the-fb-ads-incubator/


  1. […] Also be sure to check out the second post in the series, all about how to create the perfect opt-in offer. {Read Now: 5 Keys to a Stellar Opt-In Offer} […]

  2. Nicole Holland on December 11, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    Fabulous post, Julie!!!

    • Julie Lowe on December 12, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Thanks so much! Glad you liked it, Nicole.

  3. […] a lot lately about why list building is important and how you can take someone from cold lead, to subscriber, to customer and why this is important if you’re trying to build a business […]

  4. Melissa Aiudi on December 16, 2015 at 12:31 am

    You are so right about information overload, Julie. If i see too many words on the optin page, I click out. I like it when they can Tell me short and sweet how they can fix my problem!

    • Julie Lowe on December 16, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      Glad the post resonated with you, Melissa!

  5. Dee on December 20, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Truly appreciate this post Julie as I am still struggling to find the perfect (or at least acceptable) opt in! Thank you.

    • Julie Lowe on December 21, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      I’m so glad it helped, Dee! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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