This post is based on episode 69 of the ProBlogger podcast.
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Last week I talked about newsletters, and what you can do to increase your email list subscriptions.
One of the tips I suggested was to offer your readers some kind of incentive for them to subscribe (also known as an ‘opt-in’ or a ‘lead magnet’). And today I’d like to talk about the kinds of things you can offer as an opt-in.
Why you need an opt-in
Obviously, having an opt-in will help you grow your email list. After all, who can resist a freebie? But with the right offer you can do a lot more than just increase your subscriber numbers.
For starters, you can show your readers that you know what you’re talking about. Giving them something that could change their life or solve their problem shows that you’re a credible source of information.
It can also build trust and goodwill with your readers. Not only have you created this product for them, you’re also letting them have it for free. It shows that you care more about them than your bottom line. And that can make a lasting impression on people.
Finally, it can go a long way towards turning your readers into customers. You’ve proven that you can produce a quality product packed with useful information. So when one of your paid products catches their attention, they’ll be far more inclined to buy it because they know it will be just as useful.
A note to established bloggers
If you’ve been blogging for a while then you may already be using an opt-in on your blog. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. It might be time to create one that’s more up to date. Or you could create a second opt-in that targets a different type of reader. You may even want to create one specifically for a post that’s getting lots of traffic. So don’t think you can sit there like the smug kid who finishes their test before everyone else. You’re not done yet.
What you can offer your readers
Now that you know why you should have an opt-in, it’s time to talk about what you can offer your potential readers.
Ideally, your opt-in should help your reader solve a problem relatively quickly. It gives them not only a quick win, but also an incentive to subscribe because you might be able to help them again.
Of course, to make this work you need to know what problems your readers having. And to find out you may need to do some research. What are the most common questions your readers ask you? What are people searching for when Google sends them to your blog? You may need to create a poll, or look at your Google Analytics data. But it will be worth the effort to find out, as you’ll be able to create an opt-in that gives your readers that quick win they’ve been looking for.
How to deliver your opt-in
So how can you give your readers the information you’ve promised them? The most common opt-in bloggers offer is a PDF of something they’ve written – an eBook, a report, a guide or a white paper. It could also be a cheat sheet, checklist, template or sample document (e.g. a sample contract).
But it doesn’t have to be a written document. You could offer them a mind map, an infographic, a blueprint or a process you use.
And these days you can offer audio recordings and even videos as your opt-in. Maybe you have a series of podcasts that explain a process from beginning to end, or even a series of videos.
The advantage of having a series is you can set things up so your series is delivered one instalment at a time over multiple weeks. This will encourage people to stay subscribed so they don’t miss out on any of the steps.
You could over something like a ten-minute consultation over Zoom. However, you may want to limit this to the first ten subscribers, or you could find yourself facing hours upon hours of video chats.
You could give away software such as Lightroom presets or WordPress plugins. You could offer the first chapter of your eBook. Or you could give them membership to your Facebook group of forum.
The choice is yours.
How to promote your opt-in
Once you’ve created your opt-in, you need to tell everyone about it. We covered this to an extent in last week’s post, but it’s worth repeating.
Tools such as SumoMe and LeadPages can help you get your opt-in noticed. But you should also be promoting it regularly on your social media accounts.
Make sure you mention it in your posts, particularly those that are closely related to what you’re offering. You may even want to mention it in your newsletter in case your subscribers forward it to their friends.
And if you’ve got the budget, you might want to consider advertising your opt-in on Facebook, Twitter or another social media platform.
Over to you
So now you know what you can create as an opt-in, how you can package it, and how you can tell your readers what’s on offer. So what are you waiting for? Have a go at creating your first (or perhaps your next) opt-in, and tell us how it all went in the comments.
Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash