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Freebies, Opt Ins, Lead Magnets - what they are and how they can help you grow your business

Updated: Jan 20

What’s a freebie? Why do you need one? How can it be used to make you money? How to promote it?

If you know me then you know I love email marketing so much more than social media, and I highly recommend having a freebie to help you grow your email list and overall business. But the topic of a freebie is a topic that I get lots of questions about.

So today I'm answering those questions. I'm talking all about freebies and how a freebie, opt-in or lead magnet (whatever you want to call it) can help you grow your yoga business, when to change it if it's not working for you, and how you can determine the best freebie for your specific business.

I’m so excited to share this with you. Let’s dive in and talk about freebies!

**This was also a podcast episode (episode #136). Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.

What is a freebie?

A freebie is something of value that you offer for free in exchange for someone’s email address. This can also be called an opt-in or a lead magnet.

No matter what it’s called, it’s the same thing: Something you use to grow your email list as a business owner. You’ve seen this in many forms:

  • Discount codes

  • Newsletter sign-ups

  • Downloads of PDFs, audio files or video files

  • Free challenges

  • Access to a private community

Why do you need a freebie?

You’re here reading because you’re curious about how to use marketing to to grow your business - and that’s what a freebie can help you do.

Most marketers (myself included) will tell you that “your email list is the most important asset you have in your business” and it’s true. You own that list! You don’t own your followers on social media. When social media crashes or goes away, how can you communicate with your students? The answer is email. You need their email address.

What type of freebie should you have?

Sure, you can have “sign up for my newsletter” on your website but think about that for a second…would you sign up for that?

This can work for some but unless your audience is just dying to hear your updates about life, this is not going to be intriguing enough for them to put their email address into that box. That’s why you want to give them something in exchange for their email address. And the great news is that it doesn’t need to be complicated at all.

Great news here: I’ve recorded an entire episode on this topic to walk you through the process. Please listen to episode #88 to walk through the two questions that will help you identify the best freebie for your business.

Overall, you want to get specific with this based on your dream student because that will help you grow your email list with the right people for your business.

How can a freebie be used to grow your business?

Now that you know what a freebie is and why it’s important for you to use one, let’s talk about how this can help you grow your business.

Nurturing your email list by sending regular emails is how you get to know your audience and let them get to know, like and trust you.

When I say sending regular emails, I mean whatever ‘regular’ means for you. Once a month, twice a month, once a week. Regular simply means that you are consistent with whatever you set as your frequency. And yes, you can take breaks intentionally or unintentionally because life happens. Simply miss it and move on. Come back from an email break by sending an email and not apologizing for your break. My favorite way to come back after an email break is to give something for free - whether it’s a new piece of content like a video tutorial or even a new freebie. Simply send an email and say “hey, I created this for you, here you go” and that’s it. You’re back!

Sending regular emails will help your audience learn from you which helps gain their trust and it helps you understand what they want to learn from you too. It’s all about giving, giving, giving so that you learn what they want, then you can offer them what they want. And that’s how you grow your business.

How to promote a freebie to grow your email list

This is the question I get more than anything…how can I promote my freebie, Amanda?

I’m going to share lots of ideas with you here but overall: Get creative and remember that it’s FREE so you definitely want to promote it!

Send your freebie to your existing email list

Yes, they are already on your email list but you still want to give them the thing you created. Send it to them first and let them know they can share it with others. Remember, your current students/email subscribers are your best referrals!

Put your freebie in lots of places on your website

Don’t hide your freebie once you’ve created it. Put it everywhere on your website. In the navigation, on the home page, on the about page, in your blog posts, in the footer. This thing is FREE and valuable, don’t hide it. Share it in many different places so that there are many opportunities for someone to sign up and get your super helpful tool.

Create content that leads to your freebie

I just mentioned putting it in blog posts and that’s where this starts. Whether you blog, create videos on YouTube or go live in your Facebook Group on a regular basis, wherever you’re creating content, make sure you can put your freebie in there often too. Again, your content will feel cohesive if you have a constant theme of what you talk about so creating a freebie that aligns with your dream students needs is critical and makes this easier to do.

Tell people about it in person

Whether it’s before or after a class or at a coffee shop, if someone asks you about the topic of your freebie, tell them about it. You can simply say “I get this all the time. I’ve actually got a free tutorial on my website that will help you. Here’s my business card with my website, go to the home page and you’ll see it.”. This is another reason you want to pick a freebie that answers a common question that you get because it gives you more reason to talk about it!

Share about it on social media

If you choose to use social media, make sure you share about your freebie on there too. My suggestion is to promote it in some way once a week. If that makes you want to cry, make it at least twice a month. But you will have to remind yourself of this because it’s really easy to forget. Set a reminder, schedule posts about it ahead of time, whatever you need to do to ensure that it happens. You can do this through post like this:

  • Did you know I have a...

  • Struggling with...? I’ve got a free resource for you!

  • I created this for you and it’s free!

  • Title of your freebie

Borrow other people’s audiences

This is when you get in front of someone else’s audience and share something of value related to your freebie. This is most common as being a guest on a podcast or guest blogging for someone. But this can also be any opportunity when someone allows you access to their audience.

To be super clear, you don’t borrow someone else’s audience to ONLY promote your freebie. That doesn’t work. But what you do is share something of value with that person’s audience so that you earn the opportunity to invite them to learn more about you on your website. Then once they go to your website they will see your freebie. Every now and then you will have the opportunity to promote the actual freebie but most of the time it will be pointing them to your website so ensuring your freebie is on your website in multiple places is critical.

When to change your freebie?

Once you’ve created a freebie the most annoying thing you’ll run into is this: You spent all this time creating the thing and you aren’t gaining new email subscribers.

So you’ll think “I need to change my freebie”. And that might be true but it might not be. Here are two questions to ask yourself when you run into this:

Have you promoted it enough?

Meaning have you consistently talked about your freebie, in many places, on a frequent basis (weekly) for at least 3 months?

If yes, then move on to the next question.

If no, you need to actually give the freebie a chance. Keep promoting it.

Is it providing something your dream student needs?

Meaning, if you’ve promoted the heck out of this thing and no one is taking you up on the offer, it’s likely that it either isn’t providing what they want OR you haven’t described it in a way that is resonating with your audience.

If it is providing something they need or want, change up the messaging and keep trying.

If it’s not providing something they need or want, it’s time to change it. Listen to episode #88 again and think through a new freebie idea.

There is one other time you would want to change your freebie and that’s when it’s actually working well, but not getting you the “right” person.

If you have a freebie that’s helping you grow your email list but then your email list subscribers aren’t converting to your paid offerings, then you’ve identified a different issue. This issue is that you’re solving a problem for people but it’s not the problem that your paying students are experiencing.

Your next step

Promote your freebie today!

Write a post about your freebie.

Write and send an email to your list letting them know you have it on your website.

Tell someone about it in a class today.

All it takes is 10 minutes to promote your freebie and help someone today so go do it!

If you don’t have a freebie yet, I want your action to be to start episode #88 so you can figure out your freebie.

Until next time, give yourself permission to use a freebie to grow your business and grace along the way.

Get More Done with Less Screen Time with Shailla Vaidya

"You don’t own your followers on social media. When social media crashes or goes away, how can you communicate with your students? The answer is email. You need their email address." - Amanda McKinney


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