For businesses targeting parents who wish to build an email list to market to, a very effective way of list building is to create a free something that parents download in return for giving you their email address. Here’s how to go about Creating a Freebie for Parents to Capture Email:
#1. Research the Subject
Research to decide what subject your freebie will take. Ask parents, customers, prospects, social media fans to narrow down a shortlist.
Think about your particular area of expertise and what problems your product or service is solving, can you write something useful around that?
In our experience, content that does one of these 5 things is content that parents are likely to want to read:
- Engages emotion
- Solves a problem
- Adds value
Then settle on the final topic and title of your Freebie.
For Mykidstime we use a Lunchbox Ideas ebook that we created which has lots of ideas for lunches for kids in it.
Tip: use TweakYourBiz Title Generator to help come up with some nifty title for your Freebie.
#2. Decide on Format etc
There are three key things you’ll need to decide on for your Freebie.
a) what format are you going to use? Is it an ebook, a free cheatsheet, a checklist, a spreadsheet, a word doc etc.
b) how long are you going to make it? Is it a short thing like a checklist or cheatsheet, or do you want to write something longer and more comprehensive?
c) depending on length what structure will you need around the content? Will you need chapters, will you need bullet points, etc.
We went for a PDF for our Mykidstime freebie as it was simple to upload on our website and simple for parents to download, plus whatever device they used to read it would handle that format. It has 9 pages so we used a column format to divide up and structure the text inlaid with drawings and our logo.
Tip: PDF is one of the easier formats to use and portrait works well for ebooks.
#3. Decide on Your Content
Now that you have decided on format, length and structure, you should be able to get going on writing the content for the freebie. Some things to bear in mind:
Make sure it is value content not sales content. You want the content to be of value in some way to parents in order to build brand trust. After all they gave you their email, so return that trust by giving them something helpful or of value.
Are you going to need any visuals for it? You want your freebie to read well and look good so you’ll at least need a front image. If you have a designer that you can use to help format the freebie in your brand colours with your logo, or use something
Tip: The last page can have a little bit about yourself, contact details and anything else you’d like to suggest as a call to action.
#4. Create Your Freebie
Save your final freebie and then have someone look at it with fresh pair of eyes to proof and give you feedback if the content is good.
Show a draft to a trusted customer or to a prospect and ask them if this is something they would find useful enough to give their email in return.
Save it as the format the parent will download e.g. pdf format.
Tip: Don’t forget to spell check!
#5. Uploading Your Freebie
You will need to host the download on your website so you will need to get the freebie onto your website so you have a link you can give to the person who requests it.
Here are some instructions if you use WordPress
- create a draft blog post
- click Add Media and browse to where your Freebie is on your laptop/mac/desktop and upload as if it was an image and insert into the post
- where it has inserted onto the draft post click on it and click the link icon to copy and save the link. (you can delete your draft post for now)
Tip: save your Freebie’s download link in a file somewhere handy to keep for landing page or emails.
#6. Creating a Landing Page
Create a landing page with a sign up form. You will find this useful for social media posts to send them to there to put in their name and email address.
On WordPress you can create a sign up form, then go to create page and on your new page insert your form (untick title and description so that only the form fields show).
Have some intro text on your page that tells people what the freebie is going to do for them and what’s in it – a few bullet points are good – along with a picture of one of the pages or the cover so they get an idea what it is.
With GDPR coming in May 2018 covering Europe you’ll need to be very clear about what you are going to do with people’s email addresses if they give them to you. So if you plan to do more than just give them the freebie, e.g. email them regularly then you need to tell them that and you need to ask them to give their consent.
Keep the form very simple, as the more you ask people to complete, the less likely they are to complete the form. Usually all you need is Name and Email and a checkbox that they consent to giving you their details.
Then make sure you link your form with your mailing software so that it automatically adds the new email address to your mailing list. How this is done will depend on what form software you are using, your website, and your mailing software, but this should be fairly straightforward to do.
Tip: it’s nicer to have the submit button say something a bit different like “Yes I’d love the Freebie”
Recommended Reading: Why You Need Landing Pages For Your Business
#7. Creating a Thank You Page
Create a Thank You page where you insert the link to download onto the page along with an image of the front cover of your freebie and some text about your Freebie.
You can then either use this landing page to send to people who request your freebie, saying e.g. Click here to download your free X or use an automated sequence (see next step).
#8. Creating an Automated Email Sequence
If you are using an automated email sequence, you can put either the landing page or the direct link to the item into your first email that goes out once they give their email address.
Tip: Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign both offer email sequencing, you do have to pay a subscription but they are both very easy to use to set these emails up.
#9. Add the Freebie Call to Action to your Website
Add something to your website to show the freebie opportunity. You might:
- add a slider image to your home page
- put a widget in your sidebar
- use an exit intent pop up that offers the freebie. We use OptinMonster which has a monthly subscription but Hubspot has a free one available if you sign up for their Hubspot Marketing Free account.
Tip: create a bit of call to action text that you also add into recently popular blog posts on your website as well as brand new blog posts that you create, somewhere near the top. E.g. Grab our FREE X here and link to your landing page.
#6. Test the Process
Now take a step back and test the process from start to finish pretending you are the parent requesting the freebie.
- Was it easy to sign up for?
- Did I get a thank you for signing up?
- Did I receive a thank you email with the link or was I sent to a landing page to download the freebie?
- Was the process smooth and easy to do?
- Did my test email address go onto my mailing list?
You should now be ready to market the fact that you have this freebie so you can send out your message via email and social media. Next steps will be to create your sales funnel once you have your freebie in place.
Now that you’ve read this, I hope it’s given you a clearer idea on how to go about creating your freebie.
Over to you now? Have you been thinking about creating a freebie for parents for your business? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.