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.
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.
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.
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.If you like this post, subscribe to the RSS feed. Get the latest updates delivered straight to your email or news reader.