16 Ideas For Free Products That Will Double Your Subscribers & Leads

November 24, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

One of the best ways to gain new leads for your blog or website is to come up with a free product of some sort. It can be anything from a free ebook to a free t-shirt depending on your specific niche. What you then want to do is offer your free product to interested users who will opt in to your email list to get it. You can easily set this up using Feedburner RSS by Email or an email list service like Aweber. People respond extremely well to incentives so this is a very effective method to significantly increase your subscriber base. If you don’t offer a free product for new signups, you’re leaving a lot of quality leads on the table.

So now you understand the benefit of free products for new leads, but what do you possibly have to offer? The most important thing to remember is that people seek value. If users have nothing to gain from your product, they won’t opt in to your list to get it – even if it’s free. Understand your users and what they want. Then create something that they simply cannot resist.

Below are some ideas for free products and incentives to get you started:

1. Collection of your best blog posts
If you own a blog, offering an e-book that contains your best articles is a good way to increase your subscriber base and to showcase your best content. Much of your top work is buried in the archives of your blog, so a collection would help to increase exposure and attract new readers. John Chow offers a “Make Money Online” ebook which is simply just a mashup of his past posts but it has single-handedly brought him thousands of new subscribers to his email list.

2. Detailed how-to guides for your industry
The main advantage of creating a how-to guide for your industry is that it becomes the face and anchor of your site. People initially read your guide and develop a relationship with you and your site as a result. For example, Yaro Starak of Entrepreneur’s Journey offers the Blog Profits Blueprint to visitors who subscribe to his email list.  It’s a great guide for newbie bloggers that feeds new leads into his Blog Mastermind membership program and keeps people coming back to read articles on his blog. Caroline Middlebrook does something similar with her Bloggers Bible.

If you do decide to create a comprehensive guide, be sure to make it interesting with a catchy title. For example, headlines like “Ultimate Guide to Black Friday Shopping” or “How to Save 50% on Black Friday” would work well for a shopping site.

3. A big list of [blank]
Everyone loves a good list. They’re usually interesting and easy to follow and provide a quick top-level overview of a particular subject. For webmasters looking for a new product, they’re easier to create than comprehensive guides and yet still have the potential to attract a lot of attention. The project that I’m currently working on is a big list of ideas revolving around Internet marketing. You should see it released in the next couple of weeks.

4. List of resources
Don’t have the knowledge or skills to create something on your own? Create a big list of the top resources in your niche. For example, Tamar Weinberg of Techipedia made a list of the top Internet marketing articles of 2007 and it has generated a ton of pageviews and links (including this one). Same thing with my IM Top Blogs list. You don’t necessarily have to be an expert to see success. There’s a lot of value in being a facilitator.

5. Case study
I don’t know about you, but the best way I learn new concepts is through examples. Case studies are useful because they provide real-world applications while telling a unique story. If your niche is saturated and other sites have already covered the guides and lists, writing a case study is a good way to differentiate yourself from the competition. For example, if you own a tennis e-commerce site, you can offer a free case study of your experiences with three of the most popular rackets. People love to relate to others and a case study might be just what you need to attract new visitors.

6. Other exclusive premium content
As you’ve seen in the previous examples, there are plenty of opportunities to create information products that will lure people to your site. Be creative and think of new formats that would be appropriate for your industry. Some additional ideas include ebooks, reviews, business white papers, mind maps, tutorials, manuals, rankings, catalogs, samples of paid resources, etc. What would your readers find valuable?

7. Newsletter or membership
Another effective method to gain new email subscribers is to distribute an email newsletter related to your industry and market it as premium content. Email list services like Aweber make distribution extremely easy and people are always willing to get updated information from trusted sources.

8. Interviews with industry leaders
Another method to create high-quality content without doing much work yourself is to conduct interviews with leaders and experts in your industry. You’ll benefit greatly from the name recognition and most of the content is given to you on a silver platter. Of course, most experts are difficult to get a hold of for interviews so you’ll probably have to work out some sort of deal to make it worth their while.

9. Podcasts
Audio is useful for your site because it gives you a competitive advantage and another channel for distribution of your content. Not only that, but the perceived value of a podcast is higher than that of a text article. Giving away free podcasts is a great way to increase your exposure and to establish yourself as an authority in your niche.

10. Videos
Similar to podcasts, videos are highly effective marketing tools that force viewers to drop everything and pay attention to your message. For maximum effectiveness, be sure that your videos are entertaining, informative, or both. A creative way to get people to opt in to your lists is to offer the first half of your video for free and then require users to sign up in order to watch the second half. Works like a charm because viewers are left wanting more.

11. Plugins & tools
Wordpress plugins and tools are all the rage right now. If you can create something useful that will make bloggers’ lives easier, you can bet that you’ll get a lot of attention and new signups. For example, SEO Book works this angle very well by giving away some awesome SEO tools that every marketer should use in their search marketing campaigns.

12. Themes & designs
Premium themes and skins are always high in demand because webmasters frequently search for new and unique site designs. You can leverage theme directories for more exposure and include links in your themes for SEO and traffic benefit.

13. Free samples
Do you have a paid product for sale on your site? Give away free samples or a “lite” version to attract new leads. Users are more inclined to buy something if they’re able to try it first.

14. Coupons
When I was searching for restaurants to eat at, I came across a few sites that were offering free coupons for signing up to an email list. Everyone likes getting discounts so visitors like me are more than willing to deal with emails to get a good deal. Not only that, but if customers use your coupons and like what you have to offer, they could very easily come back to do business with you at full price. The price you pay in offering coupons is well worth the number of new leads you gain.

15. Entries into contest
If you’ve followed Winning the Web for the past year, you know that a big part of my success comes from popular contests. Basically what I did was offer free chances to win big prizes by opting into an email list and/or RSS subscription. This method works extremely well and I recommend it to webmasters running any sort of promotion on their sites.

16. T-shirts & tangible goods
It’s amazing what people will do to get their hands on a t-shirt. This can be said about almost any tangible good distributed online. A free figurine, notebook, coffee mug, desk lamp, etc. For some reason, people love to get goodies in the mail, sometimes more so that expensive digital products. Shipping costs may be high, but you may find that it’s worth it to attain new leads.

After going through the list above, were you able to brainstorm new ideas for a free product you can offer on your site? What else can you give away that will catapult your email lists and leads to new levels? Start working on your irresistable offers now.

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Posted in Articles, Internet Marketing
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33 Responses to “16 Ideas For Free Products That Will Double Your Subscribers & Leads”

Bruno Auger on November 24th, 2008

Interesting today where I see a second blog post on giving away something free like a newsletter, ebook or whatever.

This goes along with what I just did myself. I just put my own ebook and newletter on my site as a give away. I guess a few of us are all having the same ideas. haha

Affiliate marketing program on November 24th, 2008

Wow, that’s a great post. I have been utilizing some of the things mentioned on the list, but I really like your suggestion on turning blog posts into free reports to build a list.

It shouldn’t take me long to do it.

FreePersonalizedTShirts on November 24th, 2008

I have tried giving away free online eBooks with site registration and the return has been less than expected. I think content on the front page of a site gets a lot more attention than a free eBook offer.

Dennis Edell on November 25th, 2008

It’s definitely a combination of the two. Especially if you want subscribers to stay after they download the freebie. 🙂

Ben Pei on December 6th, 2008

Yup I agree with dennis here.. You have to be all rounded..

Wayne Liew on November 25th, 2008

Hi Gyutae,

I have to agree that freebies and free products such as those listed above will definitely boost the number of leads that a list builder will get. For a blogger, this is definitely great as building a large list is a way of building consistent traffic to the blog and I have to say that the 16 ideas will help breed new ideas for list builders.

From a marketer’s perspective, however, building a list using freebies as an attraction can be a killer because all the people that you have on your list will be freebie seekers and these people will be hard for the list builder to sell his/her products or to promote something to the subscribers.

For that, promoting a list by taking away the word “FREE” will be much more effective. One can also build a list by offering products with discounted prices or by offering high value information that are persuasive enough for someone to subscribe as authority will be incorporated along the way.

Just my opinion as someone have done it the other way round, which is to turn a freebie seeker into a buyer by building the relationship via newsletters that are going to be sent out.


Matt Gio on November 25th, 2008

Great article, I skimmed through the headlines quickly but I saved it to my Delicious account. I will def. be using these tactics! Thanks a million


Thank you for the list Gyutae. I learnt a lot from that list and I’m going to be using some of those ideas for some of my blogs that I’m going to launch. I was thinking about some ideas for resources to give away and your post just fired up the ideas! Thank You.

Tom - StandOutBlogger.com on November 26th, 2008

Fantastic list! I was just in the process of planning something similar to a case study for my new aweber mailing list. But it’s always good to be a little bit different 😛

Mr Javo on November 27th, 2008

Hey Gyutae nice list! I think that giving away something for free is one of the best strategies to get new subscribers.

And you are totally right, it can double your subscribers! When I launched my ebook I had like 230 subscribers, now I handle like 450…

ZK@Internet Maketing Blog on December 8th, 2008

thats an awesome number on the email list

watson on November 27th, 2008

Here is the fantastic Oppurtunity for those who are looking for FREE web promotion. They can register with out any investment but a lot of returns. Free SEO Services

Stanil Dobrev on November 30th, 2008

Great article again Gyutae!

I will add a note for your tip 13.
I’m using it giving my site visitors free scripts and lite versions of the scripts i sell. Just as you suggest.
Somebody may miss that so i would like to add it – you get not only leads but backlinks to your site too. Just on the footer of the script (or actually the template behind the script) i put something like “powered by ScriptName”, where ScriptName is link to my site or directly to the full version of the script.

Peter on December 2nd, 2008

Thanks for the ideas — a handy blog mashup could be a good incentive, I hadn’t thought of that before. Awesome.

blender reviews - mandy on December 3rd, 2008

wow, this is a nice list, very comprehensive, I haven’t start any mailing list yet, but if I do someday I will make sure I use one of your 16 ideas to capture leads and subscriber.

SEO Stuart on December 5th, 2008

Excellent list Gyutae, that good that I think you have just created a great example of your point 4. “List of resources”, I’m sure you could easily think of a way to use this post externaly from Winning The Web, maybe as a great little ebook or email article that would be linked for more useful resources and info to WTW. 🙂

Ben Pei on December 6th, 2008

We know we have to be a resource to others before others will come back for more..

Jacques @ SEO Tools South Africa on December 9th, 2008

That’s why I started frequenting your blog, Ben!

Ned Carey on December 8th, 2008

Good list, it get the creative juices flowing. Case studies is one I can really work on.

ZK@Internet Maketing Blog on December 8th, 2008

Interesting list, I need to grow my numbers 🙂

Freeware Software on December 8th, 2008

No 1 and 14 are a fantastic ideas and very easy to do.

Cheap Mobile Calls on December 10th, 2008

Many good ideas listed here, mostly cheap ways too. Thanks for the post. Blog mashup is a great idea.

Jorge Delgado on November 28th, 2009

In my experience a list of “something” (Top 10 of …) works amazing,

Talk soon,

Robert Lönn on December 6th, 2009

This is a great list of ideas. I really enjoyed reading it, thanks.

At the start, when you talk about people seeking value and you say: “Understand your users and what they want. Then create something that they simply cannot resist.”

I find it very valuable to simply ask the customers what they want and what they value.

I suggest creating a form specifically for this reason(Great example here..http://www.caroline-middlebrook.com/blog/software-project-update -release-dates/)

or why not make a contest of it.(I am tempted to enter a smiley here but I will not since I don’t know you well enough:-))

Keep up the great work Gyutae

hafriyat on December 7th, 2009

wow, this is a nice list, very comprehensive, I haven’t start any mailing list yet, but if I do someday I will make sure I use one of your 16 ideas to capture leads and subscriber.

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