Want to sell more books? Give away free stuff.

build your list with free stuff

Everybody loves to get something for free. You should love to give away free stuff, too. It’s the best way to build your mailing list. I call this a freebie, a lead magnet, or an ethical bribe.

Facebook fans and Twitter followers won’t do you any good unless some of your followers take the next step and become customers. Conversion is the next logical step in the marketing process. Give your followers a sample of what you can do for them by giving something away. In exchange for that ebook or tip sheet you’ve created, ask for their email address.

Don’t be afraid to give away some of your best content. Consumers are wary of getting on one more mailing list unless it’s to get something that they really want.  What’s a free ebook giveaway if it nets you an ongoing paid customer? To get the right prospects to join your mailing list, you need to have the right bait. For topics, think of the questions your customers ask you, common problems that you help solve in your business.

What about format? Make sure your freebie is (a) electronic and (b) easy to deliver via your email marketing system. Your freebie could be a —

  • Video? (Your autoresponder would include a link to a website page where they can watch your video.)
  • A mini course? Delivered by email autoresponders, mini courses are easy to set up in most email marketing services.
  • An ebook? (also easy to deliver via a link in your autoresponder.)
  • A tipsheet or a checklist that shows how to do something. Create it in Word and make it a pdf. Easy-peasy.

How do you know your free stuff is getting a response? Easy. How are you promoting your freebie? Use social media analytics – such as Facebook insights and Twitter analytics – to see if anybody is responding to your posts and clicking through to your offer. Secondly, is anybody signing joining your list?

To start, get a subscription to Constant Contact, Aweber, Mail Chimp, or another email marketing service. Their systems make it easy to automate your giveaway and avoid getting branded as a spammer. When you set up your account you create a form for signups that you add to your website.

When someone signs up for your list, their information is automatically added to your list on your email marketing service and an email is generated that says “you have asked for information. We just need to verify that you want to be added to this list. To verify, click this link. You click the link, which triggers another email that says “here is your freebie” and a download link. It sounds complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy to set up.

The purpose of social media is not necessarily to sell products from your social media profiles; it’s to get people to join a mailing list. Once someone is on your list, you are free to market to them. Too much overt selling on social media only turns off followers.

If, for some reason Facebook decides they don’t like your page or you run afoul of their rules and they shut down your page, those followers are gone. But, if those people have joined your mailing list, you can continue to market to them.