Grow Your Email List With A Free Gift – And Digioh

This is a guest blog post from Rishi Shah, CEO of Digioh – an AWeber add-on that allows you to easily collect more email subscribers on your website.

Do you want more subscribers on your email list?

Most website owners think the best way to grow their subscribers is by adding a “Subscribe to My Newsletter” form to the sidebar of their blog or website. Trust me … I know! I had 5,000 people viewing my blog on a monthly basis but it only resulted in 10 new people joining my email list. Ouch!

How Do The Pro’s Grow Their List So Fast?

I asked around for some advice on how web savvy companies build their email list so quickly and what I discovered is that you need to GIVE SOMETHING TO GET SOMETHING.

“Download my FREE eBook and become a Millionaire Tomorrow!”

Who wouldn’t want to give you their email address to download an eBook that teaches you how to become a millionaire? Of course, it has to be something believable.

I believe YOU actually have something that is better than the millionaire title above … because you know your web visitors really well.

In my case, I took a step back and looked at my blog readers. Most of them were coming to my blog because they wanted to learn how to start a web business. So, I decided to create an eBook called “10 Paying Customers in 10 Days” and give it away for free. I changed my “Sign Up for my Newsletter” form to “Get my eBook for Free by Signing Up for My Newsletter.”

All of a sudden I started getting hundreds of sign ups a month (a 10X increase). I went from a couple hundred subscribers to over 3,000 in less than a year!

On Instant Gratification

You need to give a compelling reason for someone to want to give you their email address. Most visitors don’t really want to join your “newsletter” because it isn’t instant gratification; they usually have to wait a while until you get around to sending your next newsletter.

By giving your readers something for free like a PDF on a topic you’re an expert in, they can get something instantly.

Why This Works

Think about all the newsletters you are currently subscribed to. How many of them did you subscribe to because you simply wanted to get their newsletter and how many were because you signed up for a free service, webinar, free white paper, a coupon, a case study or an ebook?

I did this exercise and found out and that out of the 27 newsletters that I am subscribed to 23 of them were because I wanted the free gift! Most them were free ebooks or services. (I know 27 sounds like a lot – I get a lot of newsletters.) For example, Groupon is a newsletters I get because I signed up for their service.

I hope by now that I’ve convinced you that you need to offer a free gift to get more subscribers. But, now you’re wondering on how to exactly do it! Follow my steps below exactly and I will walk you through it.

Step 1: Figure Out Your Free Gift

The reason the free ebook giveaway worked so well for me is because it is related to my blog and something my new visitors want. You need to brainstorm and get in the mind of your prospective visitors to figure out what they would want.

3 Gifts that Work Well to Get More Subscribers:

1.

If you sell an informational product, I suggest giving away a free bonus chapter, video or webinar.

2.

If you sell a service, I suggest giving away a free ebook, PDF or 15 minute consulting session.

3.

If you sell a physical product: I suggest a downloadable coupon.

If you are struggling to figure out what your free goodie should be, post your website in the comments and I will offer you a few suggestions for free.


Jane Smiley Web Form Example

A free PDF or ebook is the best thing to give away, because it:

  • Makes you look like an expert
  • Doesn’t devalue the product you are selling.
  • Lets you upsell your paid service towards the end of the document.

Do you think writing an ebook orPDF is a lot of work? My 3 best quick and dirty tips:

  • Take your most popular blog post, paste it into a Word document and save it as a PDF.
  • Buy a PDF that you can license from a company like Forrester Research.
  • Record yourself talking about a favorite topic with a friend for an hour. Then listen to the recording and write it out. Presto magic – you just made your first PDF goodie!

Step 2: Set Up Your Free Giveaway On Your Website

Create a landing page, upload your file to your server, and put a link to it inside your AWeber confirmation email. This way as soon as someone joins your newsletter they can easily download your free gift.

Or, Use Digioh, No Technical Skills Required

If you want an easier way to host your file and have an automatic landing page built then check out Digioh – the easiest subscriber-attracting tool. Simply create your account and upload your PDF/ebook to our website.

After you upload your file, you will get a link that you can paste anywhere: your website, blog, Facebook, etc. Anytime someone clicks on that link they’ll be prompted to enter in their name and email address.

Digioh handles all the file delivery and will also send you an email notification when your file has been downloaded. All new emails collected will be automatically synced to your AWeber account.

Click here for more step by step information on how Digioh’s integration with AWeber works or view a quick video here.

Step 3: Enjoy More Subscribers

More subscribers mean more people interacting with your brand. Enjoy the power of having a bigger distribution network.

So, what do you think? Is this a strategy you will use to grow your list like crazy? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

37 Comments

  1. Lauren

    10/17/2012 1:33 pm

    Great post! This a powerful marketing concept that has been used for years to persuade potential customers. Just give something away for free and they will feel the need to give you something in return (hopefully their business!).

  2. Randall Magwood

    10/17/2012 3:14 pm

    I’ve been using free gifts alot in my aspects of my internet business. I typically find this strategy to be more effective in very small niches – but not in highly competitive niches. My results only. I do like the idea of growing an email list with a free offer. Sounds very good.

  3. Howie

    10/17/2012 9:05 pm

    Do you have any example links to show how Digioh works?

  4. Rishi

    10/18/2012 1:08 pm

    Hi Lauren and Randall.

    Thanks for the comment!
    Yes – totally agree with you. Giving something for free to someone is a powerful persuasion tactic.

  5. Rishi

    10/18/2012 7:34 pm

    Hey Howie,

    Rishi from Digioh here. Here is a sample Digioh link to show you how it works:
    http://digioh.com/em/3196/1287/4scnbdbvkg

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks,
    Rishi

  6. Sandi Givens

    10/18/2012 8:53 pm

    Hi – thanks for this post – and yes, I’d love your thoughts on freebies I could give after looking at my site – many thanks! Sandi

  7. Rishi

    10/19/2012 12:36 pm

    Hey Sandi,

    Your website is awesome! I really enjoyed the video – totally warm and engaging.

    My biggest suggestion would be to put your Free Download “Women on the Move” behind a subscriber wall. This way in order to get your free book you have to join your newsletter.

    After they download your Free eBook you can follow up with them (via email or phone) and ask them what they thought of your book and why they were interested in downloading it. After you figure out what they want you can sell them one of your packages!

    This is super simple to pull off with Digioh. Let me know if you need any assistance.

    Rishi

  8. Rick Fysh

    10/19/2012 8:50 pm

    I believe, I truly do! But I haven’t had much success creating email lists. I’m going to take you up on your offer…

    “If you are struggling to figure out what your free goodie should be, post your website in the comments and I will offer you a few suggestions for free.”

    Please help. I am currently teaching guitar for a living and I must say it’s going pretty well. But the hardest part of this business is duplicating myself. I would like to put together an email campaign to start teaching lessons in groups so I’ll be able to teach 10 students in the same time it would take me to teach 1.

    I would like to thank you in advance Amanda for your help!

    Sincerely,

    Rick Fysh

  9. Lisa

    10/20/2012 3:36 am

    Hi, Rishi, thanks for posting this. I am working on some marketing as we speak for introducing a new fashion line in Canada and this applies very much. We need to consider things like promo codes, contests, give aways just to keep up.

  10. Adrian Jock

    10/20/2012 4:02 am

    There is a big difference between “subscribing” and “subscribing AND reading”. I am subscribed to some newsletters too but … guess what newsletters I’m READING…

    If I WANT to get a certain newsletter, then I READ it when I get it. It’s obvious… I WANTED it, right?

    However… If I want a certain ebook, NOT a newsletter, and that book is offered free by some list-building guy, I get it. But… I NEVER READ that newsletter. I NEVER WANTED it.

    People WANT something if they have IN ADVANCE good info about it. You CANNOT WANT something you know nothing about.

    Adrian

    P.S. The comment above doesn’t claim that offering a “free gift” in exchange of subscribing to a newsletter doesn’t work fine under SOME circumstances. By the way, what is a free gift? A gift you receive without paying as opposed to the gifts you receive after you pay for them? Extreme marketing… LOL

    =======
    My comment refers to:
    “Think about all the newsletters you are currently subscribed to. How many of them did you subscribe to because you simply wanted to get their newsletter and how many were because you signed up for a free service, webinar, free white paper, a coupon, a case study or an ebook?”
    =======

  11. Ovidiu

    10/20/2012 12:15 pm

    Hi,

    First of all, nice article!

    A free gift in exchange for the e-mail is great but you should also give gifts to your existing subscribers as well. The best gift is the one for which you’re not asking anything in exchange.

  12. Rishi

    10/22/2012 2:38 pm

    Hi Rick,

    Thanks for the comment!

    Nice work on getting your business running.

    I like your approach on trying to teach more people at once. I do think the first step is building an email list.

    I checked out your website: http://guitarlessonslondonontario.com – It totally rocks!

    I would start off with putting your campfire tunes behind a subscriber wall. In order to get your list of “Campfire Tunes” you have to subscribe to your newsletter. http://guitarlessonslondonontario.com/campfire101.html

    Also, a lot of my own friends download a ton of Guitar Tabs. If you can supply some free Guitar Tabs – I know a lot of people will join your list just to be able to download those.

    Now, that you have people on your list you can sell pre-made video lessons depending on their difficulty level.

    Let me know what you think of this approach. Happy to advise further πŸ™‚

    Rishi

  13. Rishi

    10/22/2012 2:40 pm

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for the comment. Excited about your Canada Fashion Line Launch.

    People love discounts on fashion. My bet is with a discount on a popular product and the right press push you will get a ton of email sign-ups.

    Good luck to you and let me know if I can help you out.

    Rishi

  14. Rishi

    10/22/2012 2:43 pm

    Hey Adrian,

    Thanks for the comment. I totally agree with you.

    The free offerring has to be aligned with what the customer/visitor NEEDS or WANTS. The customer will most definitely opt out of your newsletter if your eBook and newsletter doesn’t attach the same problems your customer has.

    Rishi

  15. Rishi

    10/22/2012 2:45 pm

    Hi Ovidiu,

    I really loved your comment.

    Whenever you write a new eBook or have a new goodie to giveaway. You should offer it to your existing subscribers as well as enticing new visitors on your website to join your list.

    Keeping subscribers is as important as getting new subscribers.

    Rishi

  16. AC

    10/25/2012 9:22 am

    Thanks for the great post. Definitely will consider it some time in the future when my site grows

  17. amy

    10/30/2012 2:07 am

    Freebies always get you noticed

  18. Curtis

    11/13/2012 2:48 pm

    Rishi ~

    Nice article! You’re so right – free things in a newsletter offer makes it so much more tempting to take that person up on their offer.

    And on that note, I would love to take you up on your offer to recommend a good freebie to add to my signup form.

    My website is: http://www.scanyourentirelife.com

    My trouble has been trying to come up with something that will appeal to not only my subscribers that are into scanning their old analog photos (prints and slides etc), but also those that are interested in help to organize just their digital camera pictures.

    I am afraid anything just “scanning” related would turn off the whole other group (possibly even larger??) I have or am getting.

    Thanks!
    Curtis

  19. Mike

    11/13/2012 4:06 pm

    The audio on the Digioh demo video is way too low…

  20. Deborah

    11/13/2012 5:18 pm

    I have a scrapbook website. My signup has “Join our newsletter & receive a 10% coupon to your email that you can use right now!”, but I hardly ever get any signups any more. It used to work, but now I’m stuck. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!

  21. Donna G Harris

    11/13/2012 6:33 pm

    I am not getting the traffic or the list that I feel I should be getting. I have had my blog for a couple of years now but with little results.

  22. Marianne

    11/14/2012 3:32 am

    Hi Rishi,

    Interesting article. Digioh sounds useful; I’m definitely going to check that out.

    And thanks for offering to take a look at our websites – I would appreciate it if you could take a look at my website and offer suggestions for what and where a free offer could be.

  23. Rishi

    11/19/2012 1:08 pm

    Hi Curtis,

    Thanks for the comment!

    I checked out your website http://www.scanyourentirelife.com I think you should offer a FREE DIY Scan Your Own Photos Guide. You already have a lot of that content on your awesome blog.

    At the end of the eBook they will trust you more and also realized that it is a lot of work to do on their own so they will just end up hiring you.

    Let me know what you think.
    Rishi

  24. Rishi

    11/19/2012 1:53 pm

    Hi Deborah,

    Thanks for the comment.

    A 10% coupon is a good idea but only people that want to buy something will actually subscribe.

    You need to change your free offering so that it is targeting people that won’t buy something – those are the people that you want to stay in communication with so they will become a customer later on.

    I would offer one of your Fun Projects as a free PDF download. Looks like they are seasonal… which is even better! People love being able to download and print a Fun Project to work on with their kids. In the PDF you should plug how they can buy another kit from you.

    Let me know what you think of this strategy.

    Rishi

  25. Rishi

    11/19/2012 4:15 pm

    Hi Donna,

    Looks like you are doing all the right things on your blog and now you need some traffic.

    I highly suggest building more traffic by doing guest blog posts and offering your free “Estate Recovery Report” at the end of the guest blog post.

    It looks like you already have some great content but instead of posting it exclusively on your blog reach out to other high traffic blogs and ask if you can do a guest blog post. This will help you build your email list and increase SEO!

    Let me know what you think.
    Rishi

  26. Rishi

    11/19/2012 4:28 pm

    Hi Marianne,

    I’d love to offer some some suggestions!

    I really like what you are doing. A very important and niche website that can help millions of people deal with pet loss. Kudos on having a business that can make a difference.

    You asked two important things “Where” and “What” to offer.

    The “Where” is an easy one. Where ever you get the most traffic. For example you have a blog and a store. One which pages do you get more visitors? By placing a “Free Gift” option on your most trafficked page you will easily increase your conversions.

    “What” is a little more complex but luckily you already have a lot of great content created due to your blog. I would offer a Free Download right in your store that is related to your products. For example “5 Free Things You Can Do for Your Pet’s Funeral”.

    Thanks,
    Rishi

  27. Jayne Hayward

    2/3/2013 3:30 pm

    Hi Rishi
    What do you think??
    We cater for all industries, schools and also the general public (family first aid)
    Courses could be booked for individual places or groups.
    I thought about offering a voucher – but note your earlier comment.

  28. Rishi

    2/6/2013 7:29 pm

    Hi Jayne,

    Thanks for the comment – I think a simple PDF that goes over Family First Aid is a great thing to offer. For example “Download my Free family First Aid Checklist”.

    Rishi

  29. Victoria

    2/20/2013 4:01 pm

    I’ve found this article very helpful. I’m trying to grow my mailing list and it’s hard!

  30. Donald

    3/21/2013 7:57 pm

    Hi Rishi,
    I myself am kind of a beginner online. I have found a few money making techniques that have worked for me and decided I wanted to help others do the same. The problem is that people are very hard to convince that you are trustworthy when you are involved in this niche. I am fully aware that building a list helps break through that barrier so long as you treat your subscribers right.

    With the struggling economy I worry all the time not just for myself and family but, for my country as well. I know I can help a lot of people if I can get them to opt in to my list so I would love to take up on your offer for any suggestions for a free gift for opting in. My site is at http://affilatebusinessopportunities.info/ Thanks

  31. rishi

    3/22/2013 7:47 pm

    Hi Donald,

    Thanks for the comment. I checked out your website http://affiliatebusinessopportunities.info/ – In my opinion you are doing a lot of things right. I like the 7 free reports and your blog posts.

    I think you will be able to gain more trust by changing a few design elements on your website. If you want a more trust-worthy looking site, I would remove the Google Ads and Viral Nugget widget. I would also remove your picture and add a logo.

    I hope this helps!

    Thanks,
    Rishi

  32. Becky

    6/28/2013 9:49 am

    Good article. I agree that free offers help when marketing a product. I am just now launching an informational product for homeschooling parents on how to talk to their child about sex and a 7 1/2 course for teens on the risks of sex.

    I am trying to decide what I could offer for free before I send them to the video sales letter. Free PDF on the top 10 mistakes parents make when talking to their teen or a 15 minute sample of one of my videos? Any suggestions would be great! Thanks.

  33. Rishi Shah

    7/2/2013 7:18 pm

    Hey Becky,

    Great idea. I like “top 10 mistakes parents make when talking to their teen” but something I like even better is “Top 10 Things You Should Know before Talking to Your teen about Sex”.

    The 2nd headline creates a sense of “Missing Out” that gets people to want to sign up.

    Good luck to you!
    Rishi

  34. sophiecussen

    7/4/2013 8:17 am

    This is such a great article. Didn’t think of writing up a PDF before. I’m struglle to determine my overall blog appeal but it would seem most reader that have been on my site like the ‘growing’ guides so perhaps I could put this into a PDF? Problem is though – can’t they just get this online anyway for free? It doesn’t sound very unique.

  35. Rishi Shah

    7/5/2013 1:33 pm

    Hi Sophie,

    Great comment!

    You are also giving your PDF away for free…. just in exchange of an email address.

    Giving a free PDF away is the best way to turn a website visitor into email subscriber.

    Thanks and Good luck!
    Rishi

  36. GS&F

    9/18/2013 10:25 am

    This is so awesome. I’ve been trying to grow my list, but been unsuccessful so far. I’ve been to a ton of sites that have this type of offer, but didnt’ know what sort of plugins they used. I’m glad you guys have one that ties right into your program. That’s incredibly helpful

  37. Ahulani

    6/25/2014 6:44 pm

    Thank you so much for this article.
    I am a total beginner with my handcrafted WordPress site running with AWeber. I have a gift offer of 3 audio recordings for signing up for my newsletter.
    What do you think about using audios/videos as gifts? Sounds like you suggest it would be better to transcribe the audios to a downloadable pdf.
    Is one more useful down the line than the other?

    And now to look really dumb, how do I deliver those audios. I think I set them up with AWeber, so will get on that.
    Thank you so much for your help.