23 ideas for your email list opt-in freebie

One of the most popular ways to grow your email list is to offer an opt-in freebie. The idea is to offer something of higher value than the information that’s readily available on blogs and social media — something so irresistible that people are willing to share their email with you in order to receive it. Opt-in freebies or opt-in offers are also referred to as “ethical bribes,” which, when you think about it, doesn’t really sound ethical at all. I mean, why should I bribe people to join my list, right? But it doesn’t have to be yet another sleazy marketing tactic.

I like to think of it as a more formal introduction to your brand — a way to show people what you’re all about, up front, so they can quickly decide if they want to continue following you. The best opt-in freebies offer a preview of what people can expect from your email list, and the rest of the content you provide. For most people, the goal of an opt-in freebie is to get people on your list, but I would argue that the true goal is to help the right people decide to stay, and the wrong people unsubscribe (or never opt-in in the first place!). That way, you’re not paying for subscribers who just aren’t that into you. Plus, when you’re ready to sell similar products to your list, you’ll get better results because the people on your list already really like what you do.

So you know you want to create an opt-in freebie — but what should you create? Consider your number one goal for your email list. What are you selling? Who are your best customers/clients? How can you offer them a preview of your work before they buy? Here are 23 practical opt-in freebie ideas to get you started, organized by purpose.

Think of your opt-in freebie as a preview of your work. Here are 23 ideas to get you started!Click To Tweet

23 opt-in freebie ideas to help you grow your email list, for bloggers

1. Share your best work

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’re probably sitting on a gold mine of information that can be repurposed for your opt-in freebie. Your opt-in freebie is a great way to introduce yourself, so show off your best work! After all, new subscribers likely have not been reading your blog for a long time, and so they are probably missing out on that great post you wrote last year that perfectly represents the work you do. Even if they have been reading your blog, they won’t remember every post you’ve written, and you may just choose the post they needed to be reminded of the most. Plus, with some new experiences to refer to, you may have new insights to refresh that post. Here are some ideas for repurposing your work:

  • Expand on a popular blog post
  • A collection of your top blog posts
  • A collection of your favorite emails, if you’ve had your list for a while
  • A preview of an ebook you sell
  • Turn a blog post series into an ebook
  • Turn a blog post series into an email autoresponder series
  • Turn a blog post series into a video series
  • An ebook answering reader questions
  • An outtake from a photo shoot they can use as a stock photo
  • A printable quote from a blog post that they can hang on their wall
  • A desktop wallpaper inspired by a blog post
Your opt-in freebie is a great way to introduce yourself, so show off your best work!Click To Tweet

2. Get people to hire you

If your work is mostly 1:1, then your opt-in freebie is the perfect opportunity to remind people how they can hire you. It’s your chance to tell people what you want them to know about your industry, and specifically about the work you do, before they reach out to hire you. That means you’ll be getting the best leads for your business, and you’ll also be at the top of people’s minds because you helped them before they even hired you. Here are some ideas for getting people to hire you:

  • A behind-the-scenes look at your process
  • A list of questions you ask your clients to prepare for their project
  • A guide to hiring the right whatever-you-are
  • What you wish people knew about what you do, before they hire you
  • Myths about your industry
  • A list of your favorite resources
  • A worksheet
  • A simple exercise to apply your work to their own lives

3. Position yourself

What if you’re already known for one thing, but you want to be known for something else? Your opt-in is a great opportunity to position yourself in a new way. Here are a few ideas:

  • Answer a question you wish people would ask you
  • An ebook on the thing you want to write about the most
  • A beginner’s guide
  • Everything you know about a specific subject

There are plenty of opt-in freebie ideas here to get you started, but don’t be afraid to get creative! Remember: your opt-in freebie is most likely the first big interaction someone will have with your brand, so think about the impression you want to make. How do you want to be remembered? What makes you unique? And of course, if you’re struggling to get started, go back to the list of repurposing your old content. It’s the quickest and easiest way to create an opt-in freebie, since you’ve already done the work! You can always create something new later.

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P.S. Don’t have an email list yet? Start here.

Your opt-in freebie doesn't have to be yet another sleazy marketing tactic. I like to think of it as a more formal introduction to your brand — a way to show people what you're all about, up front, so they can quickly decide if they want to continue following you. What should you create? Here are 23 practical opt-in freebie ideas to get you started.

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