33 Irresistible Lead Magnet Ideas To Grow Your Email List Fast

"The money is in the list" – I know you’ve heard this a million times.

But it’s true!

You can’t build a successful niche website, or any sustainable online business for that matter, without a thriving email list.

And I’m not saying this without proof.

It’s hard to get your website visitors paying for anything online without winning their trust.

They should be confident that whatever you’re recommending or selling is not just another cheap good-for-nothing product designed to make you easy money.

You can’t build such a relationship without having an email list.

With people on your list, you can connect with them regularly and build a certain level of trust and credibility with them.

Once your readers start trusting you, you can sell them anything – ANYTHING!

Still not convinced about the importance of email? Here are a few stats for you.....

 

  • 66% of consumers in the US below the age of 15 made at least one purchase in the last year as a result of an email. (Click here to Tweet this)
  • Almost 88% of US companies believe that the ROI of acquiring new email subscribers is worth the cost. (Click here to Tweet this)

 

So basically your sales numbers have a direct relationship with email marketing (for which you need an engaged email list).

Which brings me to the real purpose of this post.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 34 ways to grow your email list click here or the image below)

 

What You'll Learn:

  • What you actually need in order to attract email list subscribers.
  • 15 ways to create irresistible email list incentives to grow your subscriber count like crazy.
  • Real examples of bloggers who're successfully using innovative email list bribes to build their businesses.

 

 

Why You Still Don’t Have Subscribers?

You probably have a cute little opt-in box in your blog’s sidebar saying “Get Free Email Updates”

Reality check – people are NOT interested in your blog updates.

Offer something valuable, something unique, something irresistible.

Something that blows them away with so much value that they’d gladly pay for it.

In simple words, create a mouthwatering incentive for your visitors which,

  • addresses one problem, one roadblock, one show stopper of your target audience and solves it comprehensively.
  • provides immediate and clearly actionable advice.
  • gives key information or crucial knowledge about a certain topic in very limited time.
  • facilitates the readers in achieving their immediate objectives.

The problem, however, with most bloggers is that they can’t come up with an idea that matches all these requirements and stands out from the usual boring email list bribes.

 

15 Types of Freebies To Attract More Email Sign-Ups

To get people on your list, you need to make sure your freebie stands out from the crowd and instantly convinces your visitors to sign up.

I’ve put together a list of 15 different email list incentives that you can use to get people on your list.

I recommend using multiple freebies as a part of your list building strategy.

Hopefully this’ll get your creative juices flowing and help you come up with your own irresistible freebie.

 

1. The Expensive Email Course for Free

An email course is one of the best ways to ease your visitors into your email list and give them a good taste of the value that your blog has to offer.

It’s much easier for your subscribers to digest the information shared in an email course since it’s usually spread across several weeks or even months.

However, the topic selection for your email course needs to be spot on in order to create maximum impact.

You need to target a topic that is deep enough to last for a few weeks, and is worthy of the subscribers time.

In my experience, email courses work really well when they address the fundamentals of your niche.

For example, if your blog is about freelance writing, you can create an email course on effective marketing techniques for freelance writers.

To make your course even more tempting, you need to highlight the monetary value it actually has.

Highlight the fact that you’re giving away exclusive knowledge for free which would cost the subscriber thousands of dollars anywhere else.

Neil Patel does this brilliantly while promoting his “SEO and Digital Marketing Email Course”

 

npcourse

 

You can also create an email series by compiling some of the most useful content on your blog and structuring it for emails.

But make sure your course has the right duration. Stretching it too long can turn people off and make it less attractive.

 

Basic Requirements

High quality content, eye-catching course cover design, email list integration and setting up an auto-responder.

You can try MailChimp or AWeber for configuring your auto-responder by paying a small monthly fee.

SendinBlue is another great email marketing solution with a free auto-responder feature for up to 9000 emails/month.

 

Neil Patel"Email marketing has one of the highest ROIs across  online marketing channels" - Neil Patel (QuickSprout)

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2. An In-Depth eBook

eBooks are the most common email bribes used by almost every other blogger.

Offering a free eBook used to be a much more tempting incentive a couple of years ago.

But with so many free eBooks on offer, it’s harder to attract subscribers with them.

But that doesn’t mean they’re useless.

In fact, when created intelligently, eBooks can still be a great way to attract subscribers.

The secret to creating a highly desirable eBook is keeping it extremely focused and actionable.

Find a topic that is either easily digestible, or is so complex that the average bloggers in your niche don’t know a thing about it.

The easiest way to find such topics is by using Quora.

It’s one of my favorite research forums where people from almost every field of life discuss different topics and brainstorm new ideas.

You can also analyze the leading blogs in your niche and find out their most popular content.

This will give you a fair idea of what you audience really wants. Use BuzzSumo to make your job easier.

You can also find some great ideas in this detailed post.

Although it primarily focuses on blogging ideas, you use the approach to generate eBook ideas as well.

A prime example of an easily digestible eBook, is Jon Morrow’s headline hacks.

He calls it a cheat sheet, but in reality it’s a detailed eBook created in an easily digestible way.

 

jonebook

 

Notice how Jon has narrowed the scope of his eBook to just the headlines.

This is the kind of immediate value which gets people interested in a freebie.

Neil Patel’s QuickSprout is, again, another great example to follow.

 

quicksproutemailist

 

Basic Requirements

A high quality eBook which focuses on just one topic, created in MS Word, Apple Pages or Open Office Writer and converted into PDF (you can do online conversion here).

You can get your eBook cover designed for as low as $5 on Fiverr.

 

ramsay"Offering a free eBook to email subscribers still converts better than offering nothing" - Ramsay (BlogTyrant)

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3. Eye Opening Checklists

If you’re like me, you hate reading 100 page eBooks and ultimate guides on your laptop or smartphone. And there might be thousands of your potential subscribers who feel the same way.

A great substitute to writing long and boring eBooks, is to create an eye-opening checklist.

Checklists are meant to highlight the most critical elements of your niche and are tempting email list incentives since they give subscribers a lot of actionable value in very little time.

They help the subscribers find flaws in their strategy by listing down the essential elements they need for success.

A great example of an effective checklist is the “Managing Content Marketing – Checklist” by Smart Insights.

 

SMIfreebie

 

Other great examples to follow are Neil Patel’s Ultimate Content Marketing Checklist or the Technical SEO Checklist by WordTracker.

You can create something like that for your niche, convert it into PDF and use it to attract subscribers.

Basic Requirements

In terms of technical requirements, you don’t any specific tools other than the ones I mentioned for creating eBooks.

 

4. A High Value Webinar

Every other blog is offering text based freebies.

Why don’t you take a different route and offer a high value webinar as an email list incentive.

The popularity graph for webinars has been on the rise for the last couple of years and many of the top blogs have started integrating webinars in their overall content strategy.

Instead of asking your subscribers to read a 100 page eBook.

Take the burden off them and ask them to sit back and relax while you do all the talking in your webinar.

Moz has a great webinar series which it also uses to gain subscribers.

Webinars also give you an opportunity to attract subscribers through indirect sources.

For example, you can partner with another blogger and offer a free webinar for their subscribers.

During and after the webinar, you can promote your own content and get people on your list (here’s a great post on doing your first webinar.)

 

Basic Requirements

You can run webinars effectively using Google+ Hangouts on Air.

But to integrate your email lists, social media sharing and other useful webinar features, I recommend using ClickWebinar.

Also make sure your webcam and mic are working fine. Once the webinar is recorded, you can offer it as an email list freebie on your blog.

 

5. One on One Coaching Sessions

If you’re a freelancer or a niche expert, a great way to get people on your list is to offer free 10-15 minute coaching sessions.

To make it more tempting, and manageable, you can apply a question limit, for example “I’ll Answer 3 of Your Most Burning Niche Questions Live”.

This tactic works particularly well when you’re promoting a particular product or program.

It’s not as sustainable as the eBook or webinar freebie, but it gets a lot more attention as compared to the others.

Life and career coaches like Anthony Robbins use one on one coaching sessions for list building very effectively.

You can also use these coaching sessions to note down the burning questions of your audience and find ideas for future blog content or paid products.

 

Basic Requirements

You can use Skype or Google Hangouts for conducting one on one sessions.

Also make sure you record these sessions by using tools like the MP3 Skype Recorder.

 

adamconnell"The more relevant that your opt-in forms and opt-in bribes are, the better your conversions will be" - Adam Conell (BloggingWizard)

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6. Free Audits and Consultation

Offering free audits and consultation related to user content/products can help you gain tons of subscribers in very quick time.

This works particularly well if you’re in a services niche like SEO, web design etc.

But even if your blog is in a purely product based niche, you can still offer some kind of free product audits/reviews to attract subscribers.

Just look at this inviting “Free Consultation Offer” by Neil Patel

 

neilcall

 

This kind of freebie not only gets you subscribers easily but also gives you a great opportunity to convert them into leads and paying customers.

 

Basic Requirements

You can simply use Skype chat sessions or go for more professional solutions like ClickMeeting to schedule meetings and integrate them with your email list and social media accounts.

Such calls also give you the opportunity to promote any existing eBooks or content on your blog that users might find useful.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 34 ways to grow your email list click here or the image below)

 

7. To the Point Cheat Sheets

If you want to create a freebie that gives tons of knowledge and value to your subscribers in a very short time, try creating a cheat sheet.

Cheat sheets are like energy filled capsules that outline the key niche information, eye opening data insights and highly actionable shortcuts to success.

Cheat sheets attract lots of subscribers because they deliver game changing knowledge, while saving hours of valuable time.

For example, this set of cheat sheets will be an instant hit with corporate employees.

Similarly, Belinda uses cheat sheets on her copy writing blog to attract subscribers.

 

belindafreebie

 

Your cheat sheet doesn’t even have to be very good looking either.

It just needs to give your subscribers the value they’re looking for.

Just look at this simple, but very effective, cheat sheet Jon Morrow uses on his niche blog GuestBlogging.com

 

JMfreebie

 

Your cheat sheet can also be a quick and useful resource like this comparison chart of different eCommerce platforms.

It gives the readers a clear idea of the pros and cons of all the services compared.

In short, your cheat sheet should provide immediate value to the reader without taking too much of their time.

 

Basic Requirements

Technically, cheat sheets are eBooks, so you don’t need anything other than a word processor like MS Word to create them.

If you want to add flowcharts and diagrams to your cheat sheet, you can use online tools like Gliffy.

Alternatively, you can use default cheat sheet templates available on Cheatography.

 

8. The Credible Template

Templates are tried and tested models that can be followed confidently to achieve certain results.

Templates, as freebies, are tempting for your subscribers because they save them from all the hard work and provide a dependable framework that they can use.

If you’ve ever been associated with the IT industry, you’d know that Project Managers create templates for everything from project proposals and monitoring, to audits and reviews.

A great example is the invoice generator template by Shopify.

Which only requires the users to enter their invoice information, and creates a standard invoice on its own template.

 

shopifytemplate

 

The Bidsketch sample proposal template is another good example.

It helps users create winning client proposals with its well-crafted proposal template.

Smart Insights also offers comprehensive digital marketing templates to attract subscribers.

 

smartinsightsetemplate

 

The basic idea is to save your subscribers from thinking too much and giving them a ready to use template which they can just download and fill-in-the-blanks.

Basic Requirements

You don’t need anything other than a simple word processor like MS Word or Google Docs to create a template.

Convert it into PDF and offer it as a freebie on your blog.

 

6"Nothing is as potent as a large, targeted, responsive email list of engaged followers" - Jeff Bullas

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9. The Well-Rounded Toolkit

Who doesn’t like free tools and applications (especially when all the tools are top quality)?

The toolkit bribe is one of the most effective ways to get subscribers on your list.

But for this to work well, you need to have an existing set of high quality tools, worksheets, eBooks, exclusive content and other stuff that you can package together.

Niche leaders and influencers like Copyblogger and Adam Connell, BloggingWizard, offer exclusive toolkits to their subscribers.

 

adamfreebie

 

Toolkits are MUCH more valuable than the conventional eBooks and cheat sheets.

Because they offer solutions to a wider range of problems and give your subscribers the necessary tools to solve them.

They also help you strengthen your brand image and connect better with your subscribers.

Loz James, Content Champion, is another one who comes to mind when it comes to offering free toolkits.

 

lozfreebie

 

Over the last one year, Loz has intelligently branded himself as an expert

Podcaster and interviewed some of the leading names in his industry.

He offers exclusive podcasts and content marketing tools in his toolkit.

 

Basic Requirements

You need to have several high value tools to create a really tempting toolkit.

Try creating a combination of eBooks, a few exclusive plugins, worksheets, templates and list specific content.

Bundle them together in a ZIP or RAR file (use WinRAR) and offer as a freebie to your blog visitors.

 

10. The Dependable Blueprint

If you want to help your subscribers achieve a very specific objective and or want them to progress towards a certain milestone, create a well-crafted and highly actionable blueprint for them.

A blueprint is essentially a guideline of how your subscribers can reach a certain goal.

It covers a broader strategy and breaks it down into actionable points.

Depending on the length of the subject your blueprint is covering, it can be anything between 5 to 50 pages.

Usually blueprints are effective if you’re sharing something that you’ve already done yourself and want to teach your subscribers how to replicate your success.

The Definitive Blueprint for Lead Management by HubSpot.

And the Content Marketing Blueprint are great examples of how an effective blueprint looks like.

Another good example is the “Step by Step Guide to Starting a Blog” by Matt Banner

 

stebystep

 

Basic Requirement

Like several other incentives on this list, blueprints are also in eBook form so you only need a word processor to create the content, and PDF conversion service to create the final document.

 

11. The Fascinating Case Study

Do you like telling stories?

If yes, offering an engaging and well-crafted case study might just be the email list bribe you should create.

Most case studies are success stories of common people who made it big somehow.

You can take the conventional route and create another success based case study in your niche.

Or, you can take alternate route and create a case study on how someone destined for success messed it up and lost everything.

Most of the times, the negative titles, warning the readers about something, work better than the positive ones.

Whichever route you take, case studies give you a great opportunity to not only attract subscribers, but also tell them in detail how you played your part in someone’s success.

It allows you to take your subscribers backstage and show them the hard yards that you put into your work.

This strengthens your brand image and the relationship with your subscribers.

Single Grain, a leading digital agency, uses case studies to attract subscribers.

 

singlegrain

 

But if you’re just starting out and do not have any case studies of your own, there are several other ways you can create enticing case studies that your visitors would gladly sign up for.

  • You can interview niche leaders on how they made it big in their niche.

 

  • You can conduct audio or video sessions with multiple people in your niche, compile their advice and offer it as an email bribe.

 

  • Pick one successful product launch in your niche, and interview the product owner about the strategies they used to achieve success

There are countless other ways you can create a highly desirable case study.

The secret to success, is to create a case study that shows your subscribers how someone achieved the same success your subscribers crave for.

Just see how inviting these case studies look.

 

quicksproutemail2 quicksproutemail3

 

Basic Requirements

Depending on the nature of your case study, you can use a simpler word processor like MS Word, Skype chat or Google Hangouts for audio/video interviews (use the Skype recorder I mentioned above).

 


sujan"It’s 2015 and it’s clear that email marketing still works"
- Sujan Patel

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12. The Stylish Video Course

Visual content consumption is at an all-time high right now.

In the age of smartphones, tablets and high speed internet connections, watching HD videos is not the pain it once used to be.

That is why some of the leading global brands are aggressively integrating video in their content marketing strategy.

You can take advantage of this growing trend and really set yourself apart in your niche by creating a high value video course.

Video courses not only look stylish, but are also much easier to consume for your subscribers.

A great example is the QuickSprout University which has dozens of video courses on different content marketing topics.

Users need to sign up in order to watch these videos.

 

quicksproutuni

 

Your video series doesn’t always have to feature you either.

You can also create video course with a screen cast and keep your voice in the background.

You can even go for an animated video series, but that, of course, would require a significant investment.

 

Basic Requirements

You need to have a high quality camera and mic system in a well lit room.

For video editing you can use Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro X on the Mac.

Or you could just go to Fiverr or Elance and hire someone to this for you.

 

13. The High-End Online Tool

Do you really want to WOW your visitors and get tons of subscribers every day?

This might cost a bit more money than the conventional text based freebies, but creating a high-end online tool will guarantee you more subscribers than any other form of email list giveaways.

Not only do they attract subscribers, they also get dozens of backlinks to your website because people all over the web start linking to your tool.

Your tool can be anything that effectively solves a problem of your potential subscribers.

A great example, once again, is QuickSprout.

 

qsprouttool

 

This tool appears on the homepage of QucikSprout.

It analyzes domains for their SEO strength and identifies potential improvement areas in their overall structure, content and other important elements.

But it requires people to log in with Google, which gives it access to their email addresses.

It has attracted thousands of subscribers to Neil’s list and has given him insights on numerous domains.

Shopify also released their own Business Name Generator tool that not only generate business names but also instantly checks domain availability for the suggested names.

 

shopifytool

 

Of course, these tools cost a lot of money. So they’re not an ideal example for you if you’re just starting out.

But for companies or established blogs looking for innovative ways to attract subscribers, this is certainly worth trying.

 

Basic Requirements

You can’t create such tools yourself (unless you’re an application developer of course).

So you’ll need to hire a web developer from oDesk or Elance and get the whole thing created for your blog.

 

14. The Call to Arms Manifesto

Sometimes the best way to attract people to your list is by inspiring them with what you stand for and what you believe in.

A loud and clear announcement of your values can often help in attracting like-minded people to your blog and developing a community around it.

This is where manifestos are so useful. By definition, “manifesto is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government

A blog manifesto is just that – a bold and clear statement of your intentions with your blog, what you wish to achieve through it, and what values you stand for.

LeavingWorkBehind, by Tom Ewer, was one of the first manifestos I saw when I started blogging.

And I still see it as a great example to follow.

 

manifesto1

 

Jeff Goins also has a writer’s manifesto aimed at breathing life back into depressed and failing writers.

 

manifesto2

 

Basic Requirements

You need to identify certain core values for your blog and your strategy needs to be consistent to those values.

There’s no harm in taking the unconventional or controversial route either.

Other than that, MS Word or Google Docs should be enough to help you create a manifesto.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 34 ways to grow your email list click here or the image below)

 

15. The Mind-blowing Resource Freebie

This is where you simply create a freebie that is so full of in-your-face value that no visitor on your blog can bear the temptation to sign up.

You don’t teach anything to your subscribers in this freebie. You simply give them what they desire the most.

A great example of such a freebie is the “1781 Hot Niche Markets” by Stuart on this very blog.

 

nichehacksfreebie

 

Stuart has done all the hard work for his subscribers and is offering them a ready to use resource to build profitable niche websites in more than 1780 niche markets.

This is the kind of value that no subscriber can deny.

Another great example is the “$10,640 in Blogging Gigs” freebie by Sophie Lizard.

 

sophiefreebie

 

In this resource, Sophie has handpicked 64 blogs that pay $50 to $1000 per post.

It is an extremely tempting email bribe for anyone looking for freelance writing gigs.

 

Basic Requirements

You need to do all the hard work in creating this freebie.

You can’t just tell your subscribers how something’s done.

You’ll need to do it for them, and offer it as a freebie.

Your resource can be anything from an eBook to a direct discount coupon for a high-value product.

 

16. The Laser Focused Content Upgrade

Do you want to skyrocket your subscriber count?

Start using content upgrades as a regular part of your content marketing strategy.

Bryan Harris of VideoFruit saw an immediate increase of almost 70% in his monthly signups when he started creating post specific lead magnets.

Brain Dean went even further. His email signups went up by almost 785% because of content upgrades.

The reason is simple.

Unlike other generic lead magnets, content upgrades are closely aligned with the piece of content a reader is already interested in.

Plus, content upgrades are placed in the body of the content which makes it easier for the readers to click on them.

 

 

Creating a content upgrade doesn’t take much time either.

You could simply create a checklist from your article or create a bonus tip that readers can download.

If you’re just starting a new blog, you should ideally look to create a content upgrade for every new blog post.

But if you’ve been blogging for a while and already have a few dozen blog posts, the smarter approach is to identify your most popular posts in terms of pageviews (check your Google Analytics account) and create content upgrades for the top 5 posts.

 

Basic Requirement

You can use the free version of SumoMe to include content upgrades in your blog posts.

The List Builder app in SumoMe has a feature called “Click Triggers” which can be used to create links that turn into opt-in popups when clicked.

You can learn more about it in this detailed guide.

 

17. The Copy & Paste Swipe Files

Can there be a more tempting lead magnet than a collection of proven resources that your readers can simply copy and start using right away?

Of course not.

And this is why swipe files work so well in generating new leads and subscribers.

For example, you could offer a swipe file that contains your best performing email scripts for every stage of the funnel.

Or a collection of your most popular social media posts that users can copy without changing anything.

 

 

Looks tempting, I know.

To create one for your audience, compile your best resources in a PDF eBook, place it on a landing page and offer it for free.

 

Basic Requirements

You can offer a swipe file as a PDF document or a PowerPoint presentation.

 

18. Free Membership

Thousands of marketers are using membership sites to offer premium content to their readers and make thousands of dollars in the process.

But I want you to take a slightly different route.

Create a membership site but use it as a lead magnet to build your email list.

You’d still be able to make money by offering additional features, but keep the basic membership free to build your list.

Leading content marketing publications like Copyblogger and MarketingProfs use this strategy to great effect.

 

 

Look how they’ve leveraged social proof and played with their readers’ FOMO (fear of missing out) by highlighting their existing subscriber base of 600,000 marketing professionals.

Copyblogger does the same

 

 

Memberships, even when they’re free, have a much higher perceived value than a PDF eBook or checklist.

However, you need to have multiple free resources like eBooks, worksheets, blog posts etc. to make your free membership more tempting.

You can keep on adding new content on a weekly or monthly basis.

 

Basic Requirements

You can set up a basic membership site using any free WordPress membership plugin.

In most cases, a free plugin would be sufficient for your needs.

But in case you need more advanced features you can go for premium WordPress membership plugins as well.

 

19. Invite Only Facebook Groups

Most Facebook groups have low user engagement and are full of spam posts and irrelevant messages.

But when you know how to use them properly, Facebook groups can be goldmines for traffic and lead generation.

For example, the NicheHacks Facebook Mastermind group sends us more than 10% of our total monthly traffic along with hundreds of social shares.

But how do you build an email list from a Facebook Group?

By making it exclusive and invite-only.

Just like membership sites, the perceived value of an invite-only Facebook group is much higher than an open community.

 

 

Which is why they are such effective lead magnets.

Instead of allowing anyone to join your group, make it an exclusive community for only the best and the most valuable members.

 

Basic Requirement

You just need to create a Facebook Group and select “Closed” in its privacy settings.

Then set up an opt-in form on your blog, promote your group and send its link to anyone who signs up.

 

20. Exclusive Gated Content

Don’t have the time to create a lead magnet but still want to build your email list?

Content gating is just the thing you need.

Instead of giving away all of your content for free, you can block or gate certain sections of your articles that users can access by entering their email address.

MarketingProfs is a good example

 

 

Needless to say, your content needs to be really good to generate enough interest in your readers to enter their email address.

 

Basic Requirement

There are several WordPress plugins you can use to create gated content on your site.

 

21. Offer Free Book + Shipping

Ok so this might not be an option for everybody, but if you’ve written an eBook or have published a lot of articles on the web, you can publish them as a book and ship it to anyone who subscribes to your list.

Your subscribers get a real book in their hands for free (they pay the shipping), and you get a new subscriber.

Russel Brunson, the founder of ClickFunnels, has given away thousands of books like that.

 

 

I know it sounds like a lot of work to get an email address, but this approach has several benefits.

First of all, a physical book has a much higher perceived value than an eBook or any other digital resource.

Secondly, this approach gives you red-hot leads, not just subscribers, because these are people who actually took out their wallets and paid the shipping charges to get your book.

You already have them paying you.

All you need is another convincing push to turn them into paying customers for your high-end products.

 

Basic Requirement

There are dozens of on-demand book publishing services, for example, Create Space by Amazon, you can use to turn your eBooks or digital resources into physical books.

Most of them also take care of the shipping.

You do, however, need to handle some of the publishing costs so this method might not be ideal for beginners.

But if you’re willing to invest in it, you’ll get much more qualified subscribers that can easily be turned into paying customers.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 34 ways to grow your email list click here or the image below)

 

22. Limited Product Access

Have you created any digital products?

An eBook, a video course, a tool, a WordPress plugin or any piece of software?

If yes, you can use it to build an email list faster than most other people.

Digital products sell like hot cakes.

When they’re given away for free, people just can’t resist.

But you don’t want to giveaway everything for free, of course.

Just offer a limited version of your product to turn your website visitors into subscribers.

For example, if your eBook has 10 chapters, give them the first one for free.

If your course has 10 videos, give them access to a part of your best video.

If you have a tool, give them access to limited features.

Here’s an example from Nesha Woolery’s freelancing blog

 

 

 

Basic Requirement

You need to have a ready-to-use premium product to create a limited version of it.

If you’re not sure how to do that, read this detailed product creation guide by James.

 

23. Transcripts of Video Content

If video marketing is a part of your content strategy (it should be), there are several ways you can use your videos to generate more leads and subscribers.

People love to watch videos, but sometimes they prefer reading the transcripts because of a slow connection or any other reason.

Use this as an opportunity to turn your viewers into subscribers.

Offer your video transcripts as PDF files for free in exchange for email addresses.

James Schramko does this on his blog SuperFastBusiness

 

 

Ideally, you should be creating transcripts for every video anyway, but if you aren’t, you can use services like Rev or Trint.

If you don’t want to spend money on this, I’ve got a really smart hack for you.

Use the Google Keep smartphone App, place your phone near the speaker of your laptop, enable the voice to text feature of Google Keep and play your video to create a transcript for free.

It won’t be perfect and will need to be edited for final use.

But it’ll save you money and time.

 

24. Audio Recordings of Blog Posts

Now let’s turn this the other way around.

People have more time to watch or listen to content rather than reading it.

So when you write an in-depth article, which takes 15-20 min to read, you’re likely to lose most of your readers midway through the post.

Why not create an audio version of this post and turn it into a lead magnet?

This would make the content easier for your blog visitors to consume and help you build your email list.

JeffBullas does something similar on his blog

 

 

Although he doesn’t use the recording as a lead magnet, but there’s no reason why you can’t.

 

Basic Requirement

You can record the post yourself using your smartphone recorder and simply embed the audio file in the WordPress post editor

 

25. Survey Your List and Share the Findings

If you already have an email list (even a small one), you can use it to attract even more subscribers.

Not sure how? Let me explain

People love industry insights.

You already have a list of people with some common interests (the interests that led them to your list in the first place.)

Simply survey your list on a very specific topic, compile the findings in a report and offer it as a lead magnet.

Other like-minded people would love to join your list just to read those insights.

Need examples?

Payoneer, a leading payment solution for thousands of freelancers around the world, surveys its members every year to create a report on the average income of freelancers around the world.

They offer the report as a lead magnet to anyone interested.

 

 

This approach can be replicated in any industry.

For example, if you’re in the weight loss niche, you could run a survey asking your subscribers about their top 5 biggest fears about being overweight.

Or the top 3 tips that helped them lose weight.

Or anything similar.

When you offer this as a lead magnet, people would love to sign up.

 

Basic Requirement

You need to have a list of at least 500-1000 subscribers.

You can create free surveys with Google Drive or use a tool like Survey Monkey to gather all the insights for you.

 

26. The Bold Prediction

Who doesn’t like staying ahead of the curve and take the early mover’s advantage?

That’s why articles, eBooks and resources that predict the future of a particular industry usually get a lot of attention.

People just love to hear what the future holds so that they can adjust their strategies accordingly.

Use this as an opportunity to build your list.

Based on your experience and expertise, create a small resource with your top 5 or top 10 predictions for the coming year.

For example, Content Marketing Institute releases industry benchmark reports every year that not only contain results from their existing surveys but also predict what the next 12 months would be like.

 

 

 

Basic Requirement

You need to have some data backed evidence or trends to back your predictions.

An alternate technique is to study what all the different experts and make a judgment based on their predictions.

 

27. Share Lessons Learned

Have you successfully ranked a new blog in Google Search? Have you lost weight faster than others? Have you failed at a business idea?

Save your audience from reinventing the wheel by sharing the lessons you’ve learned doing anything that they care about.

This eBook by Sarah (The Fit Niche) is a good example

 

 

The success of your lessons learned resource as a lead magnet depends largely on your topic selection.

Go for a very specific topic rather than a broad one.

 

Basic Requirement

Lessons learned resources are similar to case studies. So you need to have real examples, data evidence and snapshots to make your resource more valuable.

 

28. The Ultimate Audio, Video and Text Bundle

If you’ve been blogging, vlogging or podcasting for a while, you must have a lot of archive content that doesn’t get much attention from your readers anymore.

Why not revive this content and turn it into a lead magnet to attract more subscribers?

Simply group together all your articles, videos and podcasts on similar topics and turn them into a downloadable bundle.

Mention, a leading social media monitoring platform, uses bundles to grow its email list.

 

 

You would, however, need to edit all the components of your bundle slightly so that they naturally align with each other and don’t appear disconnected.

 

Basic Requirement

The more variety a bundle has the more attractive it becomes.

Ideally, your bundle lead magnet should have more than one type of content to make it more appealing to your prospects.

 

29. Create an Expert Roundup

This is one of my favorite lead magnets because it delivers a ton of value in a very short time and is much easier to create as compared to some of the other email list bribes.

People love to hear from expert and influencers on different topics.

By creating a round-up resource of some of the most well-known figures in your niche, you can generate hundreds of subscribers in no time.

Venngage used this exact strategy to generate hundreds of subscribers

 

 

An additional advantage of expert round-ups as lead magnets is that most of the experts featured in the round-up share it with their social media followers and, in some cases, email subscribers.

This exposes your lead magnet to a much bigger audience and builds your list much faster.

 

Basic Requirement

Experts and influencers are busy people so don’t approach them with a dozen questions.

Instead, limit your round-up post to just 1 question from every expert.

Ask all of them the same thing, compile their answers in a PDF file and offer it as a lead magnet on your site.

 

30. Take a Quiz

Most people are curious about where they stand in their industry.

Smart marketers are now using small, focused and targeted quizzes to turn curious website visitors into email subscribers.

For example, the primary audience of JefBullas is interested in social media and content marketing.

So he made a 7 part quiz which not only attracts his readers but also turns them into subscribers

There are no restrictions on starting the quiz.

 

 

But once a user completes it, he’s required to enter his email address to see the results.

 

 

Naturally, most people have no problem sharing their emails one they’ve spent 4-5 min on the quiz.

 

Basic Requirement

Create your quiz on a very narrow topic and try to limit the number of questions to 5 or 7 at most.

You can use tools like TryInteract or Qzzr to create quizzes and embed them to your blog.

 

31. Create a Challenge

Bloggers share knowledge with their readers and teach different strategies that their audience can implement.

But most people are lazy and never take action despite reading hundreds of articles on a topic.

One way to make your readers take action, and grow your email list at the same time, is by starting a limited time challenge on your blog.

A challenge means you’d pick a very specific objective, share it publicly with your audience, set deadlines and go for it.

You’d update your readers regularly with your progress and invite them to join you in your challenge by pursuing the same objective themselves.

Other readers who’re interested in the challenge updates can sign up to your email list.

Many leading marketers have used this strategy to great effect.

For example, Patt Flynn started the Niche Site Duel which became so popular that many other bloggers replicated his process.

 

 

Spencer Haws, the founder of Long Tail Pro and one of the most popular niche marketing bloggers, has his own Niche Site Project challenge in which he starts new niche sites with complete newbies and turns them into money making businesses.

Neil Patel started a challenge in 2015 to create a niche website from scratch that would earn at least $100,000 per month. The challenge continued for more than 2 years

 

 

Basic Requirement

Starting a challenge will get you lots of subscribers, but it’s a long-term commitment and should only be started if you can afford to be transparent about everything you do.

Because failure to do so can result in negative branding as well.

There’s a difference between a challenge and an experiment.

Only take a challenge that you have achieved yourself in the past.

This way you can give value to your subscribers and improve your brand image.

 

32. Invite Only WhatsApp Groups and Broadcast Lists

With more than 1.2 billion users, a staggering 70% of which use it every day, WhatsApp is the world’s most popular chat application.

But surprisingly, very few bloggers leverage this traffic and subscriber goldmine for their businesses.

You can be different.

WhatsApp can be a great place to create exclusive marketing mastermind groups for your blog visitors.

You can create invite only WhatsApp groups that your readers can only join when they share their email address on your blog.

Once they opt-in to your email list, send them an automated message with your WhatsApp number and ask them to get in touch with their name and location.

Don’t ask for their number directly, let them contact you.

Once you get a message from them add them to your group where you and other like-minded people can discuss ideas and strategies.

You can also leverage WhatsApp broadcast lists to market your latest content.

Since most smartphone users use WhatsApp, they are much likelier to read your latest posts sent through WhatsApp as compared to your email list.

 

Basic Requirement

WhatsApp is a traffic goldmine, but since it’s primarily a one on one chat application, it does consume more time.

So be mindful of this fact when starting a new WhatsApp Group or list.

 

33. Host AMA Sessions

Did you know you can also crowdsource content for your site’s lead magnet?

This is one of the smartest techniques I’ve seen marketers use because it has a dual effect.

Let me explain.

First of all, you announce an Ask Me Anything Session on your blog.

Of course, visitors would need to sign up to your email list to get notified about your AMA Session.

So that’s one lead magnet for you.

Now conduct the AMA Session on Twitter by giving your subscribers a particular hashtag to use with all of their questions (for example #AskYourName)

Respond to as many Tweets as possible and use this session to promote your content as well.

Once you’re done, compile all the best questions and answers from your session as a PDF document, send it to your existing subscribers and offer it as a lead magnet on your blog to convert more visitors into subscribers.

 

Basic Requirement

This strategy is ideal for you if you already have an email list, a few hundred subscribers and a small community around your blog that considers you an expert. I wouldn’t recommend it for complete newbies.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 34 ways to grow your email list click here or the image below)

 

How To Create a Lead Magnet That Attracts Leads Not Just Subscribers

So how exactly do you create a relevant and effective lead magnet that attracts subscribers who’re willing to buy from you?

For starters, your lead magnet needs to grab attention, and for that.

It needs to be different from the usual “7 Ways To Do XYZ” kind of eBooks that every other blogger is giving away.

Here are some of the other qualities your lead magnet should have.

 

It Needs To Offers Immediate Value

You want your subscribers to become fans and advocates of your expertise.

So your freebie really needs to give them a few “aha” moments and get them hooked immediately.

You also need to make this value pretty clear when you’re inviting visitors to subscribe to your list.

For example, here’s a lead magnet by Bryan Harris with a very clear and immediate value proposition. There’s nothing confusing about it.

 

value1

 

The moment you look at it, you know the value that’s on offer – 100+ proven landing page templates for FREE.

The bullet points further elaborate the value of the freebie

And this approach isn't new either.

It's a proven method that online businesses have been using to drive different actions on their sites.

Smart internet marketers have just applied the same to list building.

For example, here's how AreaVibes, a portal for finding accommodation in the US, uses a similar format on its homepage.

 

areasvibes1

 

The formula is simple, communicate the value of your offer in clear terms without confusing your prospective subscribers.

 

It’s a Sample of Your Paid Offer

I’m stating this point again just to make it stick to your mind.

If you want to build an email list of qualified leads, not just subscribers, your freebie needs to create the buying intention in your subscribers from the first day.

That happens when your subscribers,

- Trust you

- Consider you a niche expert

- Believe that your paid offer will have value based on the knowledge shared in the freebie

To achieve that, create a lead magnet that aligns closely with your paid product.

Even if you don’t have a product yet, you should have a good idea of the kind of products your target audience wants (based on your research).

So make sure it gives them a taste of your paid product.

For example, if you’re a content marketer and your target is to sell video trainings on different content marketing topics, you can share a strategy blueprint or a strategy guide as your freebie.

Jon Morrow does that on his site GuestBlogging.com where he sells training courses to writers and bloggers who want to feature on high traffic blogs as guest bloggers.

 

value2

 

Another super effective freebie that Jon shared with his subscribers was a comprehensive list of the editorial contact details of hundreds of high traffic blogs.

 

value3

 

Visitors downloaded it immediately and signed up as subscribers.

They had the contact details of their target editors, but they didn’t know how to create guest posts that matched the editorial requirements of their target blogs.

The result? Jon had a list of hundreds of potential students for his premium GuestBlogging training classes, most of whom had the buying intention.

 

It Targets a Single Pain Point of Your Subscribers

Your lead magnet needs to be super targeted to get your visitors’ attention.

Don’t try to create an “Ultimate Guide of Ultimate Guides to Creating Ultimate Guides”……you got the point, right?

Focus on one problem and deliver a tangible, specific and clear solution to it.

The free report on 1781 profitable niches, that Stuart offers, is a great example.

 

value4

 

He’s not promising you traffic, not teaching you how to boost website performance or design a conversion optimized site

And not even telling you how to write great content for your niche site, no.

He’s just giving you a ready to use report that has 1781 profitable niches researched and done for you – just download and use.

That’s how you target a pain point of your audience.

 

It Doesn’t Consume Much Time

And finally, your lead magnet shouldn’t be so long that it takes months for your subscribers to just go through it.

That is why short guides, checklists, strategy blueprints and ready-to-use tools are some of the most effective lead magnets.

They deliver quick value in a short time.

Aim to make your freebie similar.

 

 

Bryan Harris

"Instead of having one universal toolkit or eBook, create a very specific bonus each time you write a post." - Bryan Harris (VideoFruit)

Click Here to Tweet This!

 

 

Creating Your Lead Magnet and Setting It Up for Success

You know what a great lead magnet looks like. Now it’s time to create your own.

 

Find Out the Answers Your Audience is Looking For

There are a ton of places where you can start researching ideas for your lead magnet. The more research you do, the better.

But I want to save your time.

 

a) Look at Your Competitor’s Best Products

The easiest way find out freebie ideas that your visitors will download like crazy, is to search for the best performing paid products in your niche.

People are already spending money on those products.

They’d love it when you offer something similar for free.

Start your research from your closest competitors.

Most of the high traffic blogs in your niche already have a huge audience.

And in all likelihood, they’re selling products as well (look for the page Store, Products or Shop on their site)

 

shop1

 

You can get a fair idea for your lead magnet by looking at your competitor’s best performing and entry level products.

If replicating or creating a freebie similar to their best performing product demands too much work, you can tone it down and create a smaller version.

In short, when people are buying from someone else, they’re likely to grab it free from you as well.

 

b) Get Ideas from the Best Performing Content in Your Niche

Another great way to find ideas for your lead magnet is to look at the best performing content in your niche.

BuzzSumo and Ahrefs are both great tools to do that.

Search your main topic on these tools and they’ll give you the list of content that has performed best on social media.

 

buzzsumo1

 

You can even use BuzzSumo to search specifically for giveaways.

 

buzzsumo2

 

You might not find all the results relevant to your site, but it’ll give you pretty good idea of the kind of content you can create for your lead magnet to attract subscribers.

 

c) Look for the Top Performing eBooks on the Kindle Marketplace

There are thousands of eBooks on the Amazon Kindle marketplace.

You can literally find dozens of great and proven ideas for your lead magnet by looking at the best performing eBooks related to your niche.

Just head over to the Kindle marketplace and search with one of your primary keywords.

 

amazonkindle1

 

Sort the results by average customer reviews so that you can see the best performing eBooks first.

Dive in, and find inspiration.

 

d) Take Inspiration from the Best Performing Udemy Courses

Udemy is one of the world’s largest portals for video courses and trainings.

Thousands of trainers have uploaded video courses on all sorts of topics, and people pay for them happily.

 

udemy1

 

You can find courses in the relevant categories and then sort them by popularity or the number of reviews.

You can also click on any course and see its complete outline along with a few preview videos.

This can give you a pretty good idea for the content of your lead magnet.

 

e) Ask Your Target Audience

The most obvious way to find great ideas for your lead magnet is to directly ask your audience.

And you know what, people actually do respond when you ask them to help.

Just tell your blog readers that you want to create an awesome resource for them, and need their feedback to decide what they’re most interested in.

If you’re just starting out, and don’t have an audience yet, just go to your competitor’s blog and study the comments on their most popular posts.

You can head over to Quora, LinkedIn Groups and Reddit as well.

Try finding relevant discussions and see what people are looking for. Or create your own thread and directly ask for ideas.

 

 

ramsay"Offering a free eBook to email subscribers still converts better than offering nothing" - Ramsay (BlogTyrant)

Click here to Tweet this!

 

 

Make It Easy for Visitors To Download Your Freebie

Creating a lead magnet is one thing, but in order to attract signups, you also need to place your lead magnet intelligently.

Just putting it in the sidebar doesn’t work that well.

Proactively take it to your audience and tell them why they need it.

Here are a few ways you can do it.

 

Use Pop-ups, Sign Up Bars and Sign Up Screens

NicheHacks uses all three of these techniques to promote lead magnets and collect emails.

My personal favorite tool for doing this, is SumoMe. It has some awesome paid features, but even the free version gives you all the tools you need to build an email list.

 

Sumome1

 

You can use Hello Bar to add the welcome sign up bar to your site.

Both these tools integrate with your email service and provide you detailed subscriber stats as well.

 

Use Content Upgrades in Combination with Your Lead Magnet

Content upgrades are post specific lead magnets that provide additional content to the readers in exchange for their email address.

Stuart uses them here on NicheHacks regularly.

 

contentupgrade

 

Many other leading marketers like Neil Patel, Brian Dean, Bryan Harris etc. also use them in all their posts.

In fact, Bryan Harris reports sign up rates of 20-30% on his content upgrades.

But even if you achieve an opt-in rate of around 7-8%, you should be pretty happy (you can always improve, of course)

Content upgrades are so effective because they’re closely related to the content of the post.

For example, in the snapshot above, the lead magnet “Instantly discover 101 high paying affiliate niches” is closely related to the topic of the post “Lessons Learned from Making $44,775 in Affiliate Sales”.

The reader is already interested in the post and wants to know how Stuart made that much money  how he came up with the right niche to promote his products.

The content upgrade provides exactly what they’re looking for.

 

You’ve Created a Mouthwatering Freebie….What’s Next?

Phew! That was exhausting.

Now that you’ve done the hard part and created an irresistible email list bribe, you need to identify ways you can promote it and get people to sign up for it.

Stuart did a brilliant post on getting more email list subscribers that goes into the details of how you can use different strategies to promote your freebie.

I strongly recommend you take the time to read it.

There’s another detailed post on WPKube about email list building plugins and how they can be configured. I recommend you read that as well.

And last but not the least, you’ll need some traffic on your blog so that people can find your freebie in the first place.

For this, go through this post I did here on NicheHacks a few months back.

That is just about it.

This is all you need to create a mouthwatering email list freebie, and then attract the right subscribers to it.

As I said at the start, you can’t get people to sign up for your list unless you offer them something so valuable, for free, that they’d be happy paying for it.

If you’ve read this post carefully, I’m sure you already have a few ideas for your next irresistible email bribe.

Do you have any other innovative ideas for an irresistible email list incentive?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

Jawad Khan
Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant and a freelance blogger for hire. Follow him on his blog, WritingMyDestiny, Twitter and Google+

Comments (12)

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  1. Theodore says:

    A well laid out post Stuart,
    Indeed, the money is the list but this also depends on the kind of list you built. Offering high valued Incentive is certainly the easiest way to get people into your email list as well but with so many different types of free gifts flying all over the Internet today, it has really become difficult to get them signing in except and only if yours is a top notch.

    This is the main reason why it is advisable for one to take his time before deciding on the kind of incentive he want to offer. Yours need to really stand out if you want people to be enticed by it.

    However, all the different types of incentive you've laid out here are very ok especially the online course. I was among those to opted into Neil Petals list when he launched his advance guide to SEO and content marketing.

    Thanks for sharing man. Enjoy your weekend.

    • NicheHacks says:

      Your freebie should solve your audiences #1 problem and then people will bite your hand off to get it. Random freebies on the other hand will mean low opt in rate.

  2. Most bloggers don't leverage the possibilities that exist to grow their lists. It's great to see you offering them over a dozen ideas they can use and implement on their sites to do this.

    Great resource!

  3. Irene Anum says:

    Many thanks Stu, for this article. Ive gotetn several ideas for an appropriate freebie for my site.

  4. Irene Anum says:

    Many thanks Stu, for this article. Ive gotten
    several ideas for an appropriate freebie for my site.

  5. Amar kumar says:

    Hey Jawad,

    Email is the most scalable way to make sales with new customers and build deeper relationships with better customers. Lead magnets come in all shapes and sizes.
    The type that will work best for you depends on your business and your prospective customers interests. Free training videos are incredibly popular across many industries to grow email list. Thanks for sharing these valuable tips with us.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

  6. Sourabh says:

    I have started email collection usint hellobar(Free) + aweber and I got 100 plus emails. The problem which I am facing is email confirmation from subscribers. Around 60% of subscribers doesnt check and confirm.
    How to solve this issue.

    • NicheHacks says:

      Make it clear by telling them they have to confirm after opt in. Have a thank you page that tells them what to do. Or turn confirmed opt in off in Aweber.

  7. Slence kurtz says:

    Beautiful, awesome and most in depth article on a very, very important aspect of online marketing. Thanx a million

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