Once upon a time, email newsletters gained a bit of a bad rap by appearing to be nothing more than electronic junk mail. There was nothing in it for the receiver and everything to gain for the sender. I confess that even I disliked email newsletters until I had to create them for clients.
It’s through creating email newsletters for other people that I discovered readers needed more than just good advice and coupon codes; there needs to be an element that hooks them and keeps them opening that email time after time, instead of deleting. For many newsletter subscribers, that hook is the freebie.
The Return on Investment for the Reader
As I mentioned before, advice and information is great; coupon codes and exclusive sales to places I like to shop are even better, but the email that offers something free with no strings attached? That’s the email I’ll open more than all the others in my inbox.
Answering to what your Readers Need
It’s a great privilege to make it into your readers’ inbox time and time again. In order to keep that relationship going, you must ask what your readers want from you. Is there a problem you can solve for them or a question that needs answered? Odds are the answer is yes – a little research to discover what they need from you will keep you in their inbox and out of the trash bin.
Once you’ve learned how to help your readers, it’s important to keep on helping them; even when they don’t know they need it. A freebie is often a solution or tool they didn’t know they need until you provide it.
Offering a freebie to your readers is as simple as a BOGO offer in the grocery store. You’re already there for what you need but it’s a bonus to get something additional for free. Everyone likes free stuff. However, free stuff has to have value in order for your readers to take notice.
A freebie also lets your readers know you’re grateful that they open your email daily or weekly. It’s your way of saying thank you for being part of your community and a loyal fan or a customer.
Making a Freebie Worthwhile
I read several newsletters. The ones that keep me from hitting delete are the ones that offer something I want or can use. As mentioned, the key is giving them something they didn’t know they needed until you offer it to them.
For instance, a company that sells cookware or kitchen gadgets sends out a monthly newsletter. It’s filled with great information on the products and sales. The freebie for the company might be a printable pdf of common substitutions in cooking or a holiday dinner checklist. Something the reader could download and print and then save or refer to when needed.
Not only does the freebie entice readers to keep purchasing the products but they give them an added value item for free. It’s a win-win situation for the reader and the cookware company.
Types of Useful Freebies
Freebies can be any number of items:
- Printables – Be it a checklist, chart, or form, printables are one of the highest converting offers. Creating a graphic with a free service like Canva is easy and fun.
- Ebooks – an ebook, report, or a short guide to help your readers learn something new paints you as the expert they don’t want to miss new information from.
- Subscriber only video or newsletter courses – Teach your subscribers something that’s worked for you and they’ll continue to look to you to help them answer their questions.
- Subscriber only giveaway – This one, while effective, can skew your subscriber list because many may join the list just to enter the giveaway. However, it’s a fast way to grow a subscriber list.
Customize your execution of the freebie offer
How you set up your freebie is up to you. Using your regular newsletter or a social media post announcing the freebie are two of the most popular. If your freebie is something you offer to entice people to sign up for the newsletter, then consider creating an opt-in page or landing page on your website. Don’t forget to take advantage of link space on Twitter or the call to action button on your Facebook page.
Share the offer often, especially when it comes to social media. Followers who check during the day won’t see it if you post about your freebie offer at night and vice versa. Encourage your readers to share the offer to sign up with their friends.
Regardless of what you choose to offer your email newsletter subscribers, the most important thing to do is be consistent with your readers and build the relationship you have with them. Having a reader’s email address is similar to be invited into their home to visit. Don’t abuse their invitation and make your visits count so you’ll be invited back again and again.
Do you have an effective newsletter freebie? Share a brief explanation of it and link in the comments below!