5 irresistible content upgrade ideas and how to use them to grow your email list
You may be asking yourself, ‘what is a content upgrade or email opt in and how will it benefit my blog/business?’
Or perhaps you may already know all about opt in freebies a.k.a. content upgrades, opt in bribes, lead magnets etc, and now you’re looking for some kick-ass real-life email opt in examples that you can grab and use on your blog.
Sadly, a lot of people know all about these beautiful things but still are not using them effectively as a way to grow your email list. Or perhaps they’re not using them at all. This is a huge mistake.
The best way to begin building your email list is with an introductory offer, something that people cannot wait to jump on your email list for – this is where your brilliantly effective opt in freebie comes in (and if you don’t have one yet then why not use one of our email opt in examples below!).
Think of browsing through the supermarket and suddenly someone hands you a giant scoop of cookie dough ice cream. What a day to be alive! You were already going to get ice cream on your way out, but now you’ve just fallen in love with this new brand, partly because it’s free and partly because it really was that good. Your taste buds are now loyal customers and it was so good that you forgot you were lactose intolerant. Yumm.
This is how any of our email opt in examples below should make your readers feel, when done right (especially if you are wanting to grow your email list).
An opt in freebie should be something you create with your readers in mind. This is where a lot of people can go wrong. Just because YOU would absolutely LOVE a checklist of the Latin names for various plants that can be found around New Zealand as an opt in does not mean that your readers would. So when considering what to offer your readers, think of them and also how the freebie will relate to your brand and your mission.
Of course, you want subscribers who are not only interested in the initial freebie but are engaged, reading your future emails and ultimately purchasing your product or service. Read more on the exact style of freebie you should create to attract your ideal subscribers in our post here.
While reading through my 5 ideas for creating money making, opt in freebies below, think about how each might fit in within your niche. Maybe jot down some ideas that might come to you as you’re reading through and hopefully by the end you’ll have a kick-ass idea for your perfect opt in freebie. At the end of this post, I’ll also share with you the 5 ultimate elements a money making, opt in freebie.
Here we go.
5 best email opt in examples to grow your email list
Best content upgrade ideas # 1 – A Printable eBook
Never underestimate the power of a great eBook. If you don’t consider yourself a great designer then you can use a tool like Canva, which actually has free eBook templates you can use and customize to make them your own.
The content inside your eBook is important but ultimately, you want to put a lot of focus on the cover and the headline, as these are the two aspects that will determine if someone will opt in for your freebie.
It has to have a catchy title, the cover should be colourful but not too busy and the colours should align with your brand.
Of course you want the eBook cover to stand out on your website (if it appears in a sidebar for example). But let’s say your blog’s colours are beige and light pink, and your eBook is black and lime green – then chances are people will be more confused than intrigued by it.
Also consider how your eBook might appear if printed, and perhaps suggest to your readers that they can print it. Not enough bloggers do this, and more and more people are treasuring their technology-free time, so try to take advantage of this by suggesting it. Definitely make sure all the images and other elements within it will be high enough resolution to print and also that the pages are the correct size for printing.
You can certainly repurpose your older popular content for your eBook and make sort of a “best of” collection. Or if you offer an eBook for sale you can also give the first chapter away for free as an opt in.
Here is a FREE, gorgeous and totally easy-to-customise Planner Download that you can now update and use as an opt in freebie on your own blog.
Best content upgrade ideas # 2 – Mini eCourse, Video Series + Audio Series
Offering a small taster of your course content, as well as your teaching style can be a great way not just to grow your email list but also to get people to sign up for your paid content. Here is the brutal truth – when people purchase your course, it is as much about you as a person as it is about your offer.
It’s true; people buy from people they trust.
If they don’t like your teaching stylem or you haven’t developed that necessary sense of trust between yourself and your audience, then they may find a solution to their problem elsewhere. A mini course is a fantastic way of building that rapport and demonstrating your skills. It should pack a lot of value but not so much that they wouldn’t upgrade to your paid content.
This is very dependent upon your niche. If you are not offering a paid course on your blog then offering a “free course” may not be relevant for you.
However, a free video series can ultimately be very similar to a mini course just under a different name. For example, a lot of travel bloggers offer free videos that just teach people how to pack for a longer trip effectively, or talk them through what it’s like to live out of a backpack. Whatever it may be, if it can be done in video form then definitely try to do it. People’s attention spans are getting shorter so get as visual as you can!
Also definitely consider offering a downloadable MP3 version of your video series for people to listen to on the go. Think about if you want to do this before recording your video content as it might mean that you won’t be able to use visual aids or will have to be more descriptive for your audio-only audience.
Best content upgrade ideas # 3 – A Sample Of Your Bigger Offer
This is similar to a mini course, but in the form of downloadable content. You may have seen websites offering a paid monthly subscription, which gives you access to licensed photos, giving you 10 free photos when you first sign up. This type of offer is fantastic because it, just like the mini course or video series, gives your reader an idea of what they’re in for if they sign up to the paid content.
As a result, they’re much more likely to become a paying customer if they enjoy the initial free opt in offer. If you go down this path then it’s equally as important to make sure your paid content then matches or better yet exceeds your customer’s expectations. Don’t put all of your effort into your amazing downloadable eBook template and then offer paid templates that don’t match up to it. Consistency is key!
Best content upgrade ideas # 4 – A Kickass Webinar
This again comes under the ‘trust’ aspect. A live webinar, where people can have all of their questions about your product answered before buying is invaluable. You should use this webinar to answer questions that you get asked a lot by your readers. Therefore they will know it was created with them in mind.
It’s also a great way to create urgency by mentioning there will be no recording posted of the live session therefore they have to attend it to see it.
Make sure to take into account where your audience is located so you can pick a time that works for most time zones and perhaps offer two webinar session times as well.
You can also offer this webinar to existing subscribers who, perhaps, have been toying with the idea of purchasing your product but still have questions they’d like answered.
After the webinar finishes, make sure you send those who attended an email thanking them and giving them a call to action.
Best content upgrade ideas # 5 – Challenge + Access To An Exclusive Networking Community
This is a great way to get your readers involved and create a sense of community. This really does work for almost any niche plus it gives you a reason to invite them into your ‘exclusive’ Facebook group so that they can share their challenge wins with others who are also doing it.
Challenges are also great for social media because people can post what they’re up to and tag your brand. This can be as simple as challenging your readers to cook using a new recipe every day (one you provide for them) for 10 days and post their photos in the group.
Or perhaps you have a travel blog and start a challenge for people to complete 5 acts of kindness over a certain period and share their stories from all over the world.
You can get incredibly creative with this, but try and create something that you think your readers would get into. If your blog is for introverts then maybe don’t start a challenge for them to do stand up comedy in front of large crowds.
Also, consider creating a custom hashtag for your challenge that people can use on social media. And let your readers know if they get any printable materials when they sign up, like checklists that will keep them on track during the challenge. Again, people love printing stuff!
Whatever your content upgrade ideas, it should have the following 5 ultimate elements:
It should be so valuable that people can’t believe you’re giving it away for free. As I’ve said before, you need to make sure that it’s not so good that people don’t buy your paid content. But ideally you almost want your readers questioning whether it really is free because it’s so good, but make sure to reassure them that it is!
It should be simple and result in a quick win for the reader. I was recently sent a 75 page free eBook as an opt in freebie. This was incredibly valuable but far too overwhelming and I didn’t make it past the first 3 pages. You want to find a sweet spot between value and simplicity. You’re also much better off to send 5 smaller freebies over a few weeks than one giant one right up front. Keep the people wanting more!
It should offer a solution to one aspect of your reader’s lives instead of trying to solve all of their problems with a 5 page pdf. This definitely goes along with simplicity, but deserves its own category as it’s a mistake a lot of people make by trying to add a lot of value but end up confusing their readers instead.
It should be consistent with what they were already engaged with while reading your blog. That is to say if they’re reading your post on the ‘10 cutest summer outfits’ and come across an opt in freebie for ‘5 ways to save at tax time’ then they might not sign up simply due to inconsistency. This is especially relevant if you’re going to be interrupting someone’s reading with an pop up opt in freebie. In this case it really needs to be almost a continuation of what their brain was already focused on to avoid confusion.
It should be followed by a welcome email series and a regular newsletter. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make with their freebies.
They spend all of their time and energy creating an amazing opt in and get so excited to get it out there into the world so they set it live without considering the follow-up. The problem is that they then get too busy with other things and forget that maybe their readers haven’t received anything from them since their freebie a few months ago. By the time they realise this, their subscribers may not know who they are or forget they signed up and mark their emails as spam.
The best way to avoid this is to set up a welcome email series that will be triggered when someone downloads their initial opt in freebie. This way, you’re guaranteed to stay fresh in your subscriber’s minds even if you haven’t sent out a regular newsletter in a little while.
The best thing to do before creating your opt in freebie, is to research other successful blogs within your niche, and subscribe to their email list. It doesn’t mean you have to do exactly what they’re doing, but it will give you a good idea of what works for them and also a starting point for what could also work for your business.
I hope that this helps you in creating finding your perfect content upgrade ideas for your business. If you’d like a few more tips, check out our post on exactly how to create a pop up opt in that people won’t hate here. Or of course check out the “Freebies” section of katemckibbin.com to check out some of our very own email opt in examples!
Do you have any email opt in examples that have worked really well for helping you to grow your email list? Please let us know in the comments below!!