For every small business owner and entrepreneur your email list is the lifeblood of your business.

If your list is full of your ideal clients and its continuing to grow on a weekly basis then you are doing the right stuff.

But if your list is not growing and your ‘giveaway’ is not enticing people to sign up to your list then a rethink might be in order.

Creating a freebie that tempts your ideal client to give you their email address is really easy to do.

So why do so many ‘giveaways’ fail to do the job they were created to do?

Could it be that we have over complicated things?

When starting work with a new client, they often ask me to review their ‘giveaway’. I can immediately tell when they have spent hours crafting their ebook or producing their video series.

And in the majority of cases the material is full of valuable content.

So why isn’t it working?

Time and your ideal client

Your ideal client is bombarded with messages all day every day.

And the truth is, we all have a limited amount of time to engage with any communication whether that’s an email, blog, video, radio, podcast or TV.

At some point it all becomes about selection whether we will do this, consciously or subconsciously.

So when you create your freebie don’t forget to do your sums at the beginning of planning your content.

Work out how long it’s going to take your ideal client to read, listen or watch or use your giveaway.

For example, an ebook consisting of 3,000 – 3,500 words will take around 60 minutes to read and digest. You will always read it quicker than someone coming to it with a fresh pair of eyes.

A video that is 3-4 minutes long never takes 3-4 minutes to watch.

Firstly, you have to connect with the internet and it really does depend on the speed of your broadband and if there are any problems with the server in downloading the video it could take a considerable amount of time.

Then if it’s packed full of great content, which I know yours will be, your ideal client is probably going to need to watch it more than once to take on board your messages.

Suddenly it becomes a 10 -15 minute video.

And when you multiply that by the other 3 videos you have in the rest of your series – it becomes a much larger investment of time.

But Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey and Brendan Burchard have long videos so why can’t I?

And here’s the thing when you’re an Oprah Winfrey or a Tony Robbins, people will listen to your videos and read your ebooks regardless of the length of time involved.

But would you read a 10 page ebook from someone you don’t know well but their Facebook advert happened to catch you attention or you heard someone mention their name in passing?

The truth is, probably not.

You might download their ebook, you might skim through it and save it to your Dropbox folder.

But the probability that you will go back and read it anytime soon is quite low.

So what’s the answer?

A terrific amount of research is undertaken by companies like Lead Pages in the US on these subjects and it turns out that the best ‘giveaway’ is a list.

Just to quell any anxieties you might be feeling at this moment, I want to confirm that you don’t have to scrap your ebook or video series. Phew!

It just means that you need to warm up your ideal client first and get them engaged before expecting them to invest a chunk of their time in a much larger communication you have created.

A freebie list has some or all of the following attributes:

  1. It’s no longer than two A4 pages and because it’s a short document it downloads quickly.
  2. It takes no longer than 10 minutes to read. In fact, if you skim read the document you can probably get through it in about 60-90 seconds. This means the key information is easily digestible.
  3. The list comprises of 5, 7, 10 or 12 tools, insights or tips.  It does not go above the number 12. This is about keeping it short and engaging.

For example: Top 10 free social media tools for CEOs, Top 5 strategies for getting a pay rise, Top 12 list building techniques etc.

One point to highlight, your freebie list is not a blog, this is a giveaway and there is a real difference in how you handle it.

So where do you start?

Step 1

Firstly you need to really understand what your ideal client’s problems are.

So often I see business owners write down a list of problems or challenges they believe their clients are facing.

What is actually happening in most cases, not all, is that they are trying to create a communication that will either directly or indirectly link to their services or the products they sell.

This is not going to make your ideal client sign up to your email list.

It has to be something that your ideal client values.

And if you are unsure, ask your clients, survey them, speak to your ideal client when networking, read they blogs and articles they read and look at the comments in those blogs and articles to help inform your thinking.

Step 2

Your next step is simple. Create your ‘top tip’ list which relates to one of the challenges your ideal clients are facing.

The probability is that you will need to create between 4-5 top tip lists to cover the main challenges your ideal client considers important.

Some of them may not be related to the services that you offer but your aim is to drive traffic to your ‘opt-in’ form.

And, if you already have an ebook or video series ready to go then create a top tip list relating to them. Because the people who downloaded your ‘top tip list’ are the ones who will have more interest in your ebook or video series.

You then follow up 3-4 days later with an email to those people promoting your ebook or video series with the option to down load.

Remember your contacts need warming up first and this is what your list does.

Step 3

You want your list to look good so if you are not a whiz with PicMonkey or Photoshop get someone to design your document. Fiverr and Fivesquids provide really cost effective designers as well as People Per Hour.

Step 4

Promoting your freebie list

  1. A good place to test your freebie top tip list is with your existing list no matter how small your list is. So send them an email and include a link to your list.
  2. Check your analytics and see how many people have downloaded your document. The average open rate for most industries is around 2% so anything above that and you are good to go.
  3. Then you want to start throwing your net a bit wider. Promote your list via social media and monitor how many people sign up to it via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
  4. Include a link to your ‘giveaway’ in your blog post.
  5. If you guest blog include a link to your ‘giveaway list’ in your bio.
  6. Consider Facebook advertising as a way of getting people to sign up to your email list by offering them your ‘tip tips list’.

Step 5

Monitor your analytics across all platforms to see how successful your list is in attracting sign-ups.

You will need to review your analytics over a period of time and you’ll probably find that some lists do better than others.

If you are new to this approach then work with one ‘freebie list’ to start off with and when you feel more confident you can use different lists on different platforms.

For example your Facebook advertising campaign can be used to promote one list and the bio you use when guest blogging can promote another list.

Remember if you want to get more clients you have to nurture your leads through your sales funnel.  You can’t expect your potential client to do all the work. Sometimes getting a new client to work with you or an existing client to invest further is easy.

But most of the time it’s a lot of hard work to get a new client on board.

As your reputation builds that groundwork becomes less arduous but until then make sure that you put those processes in place to help move your clients through your sales funnel.

If you have any questions or comments you would like to share about how you grow your list, I would love to read them so pop them in the box below.

And if you’ve found this post helpful, please share the inspiration with your friends on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+



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