People love free stuff. Want proof?
Just visit your local Costco superstore on a rainy Sunday afternoon and watch as men, women and children encircle sample booths with voracious impatience, poised on edge while defenceless employees scoop individual potato chips into industrial-sized buckets of ranch dip and disperse each portion, one by one, into shallow paper cups. Observe the sheer stealth of those hungry shoppers as they swoop in to nab the loot and pace quickly to the next booth, leaving crumpled napkins in their dust.
The offer of “free” has a potent influence over human behaviour. And that’s why “free” works online, especially when it comes to building mailing lists.
Mailing lists allow you to contact people (subscribers) interested in you and your services or product directly at any time via email. As we mentioned in our last post, mailing lists can be used to increase traffic back to your blog and inform customers about upcoming promotions and new products.
But first, you’ll need subscribers. Enter the free incentive.
Offer A Free eBook
eBooks are affordable to produce and provide subscribers with something of real value; something they’d be willing to trade their contact information in exchange for.
And hear me out on this one: producing an eBook is not as daunting as it may seem.
1. You’re going to write what you already know
eBooks are a great format for repurposing blog content, addressing a frequently asked customer question in greater detail, and providing tutorials and how-to’s for your products or services.
Added bonus: Your eBook can help establish authority in your industry and give you an edge on the competition by providing customers with insightful, valuable information they can’t find anywhere else.
2. It doesn’t have to be outrageously long
Nobody expects you to give War and Peace a run for its money. Think 20-30 pages, with images, headlines, CTA’s, an About Us or bio page, a table of contents page and chapter titles. Boom.
As The Blog Squad founder Patsi Krakoff says, “It doesn’t have to be complicated, long or elaborate. It does have to offer valuable information that is helpful to your readers.”
3. You can type it up in Microsoft Word
Whether you choose to share your eBook as a PDF document or outsource a programmer to format it for eReader platforms such as Amazon’s Kindle, your first steps start in Microsoft Word. How empowering is that?
With no complex publishing programs to learn, you can dive in and start piecing your eBook together right away.
4. You might require help, but not much
Your eBook represents your business, so professional quality should be a priority. Don’t forget the following elements:
- Cover design
- Perfect grammar and spelling
- Compelling visuals
- Logo and branding
If you don’t have the help on hand to complete these tasks, outsource. You can stay within budget when you keep the design of your eBook simple and professional.
5. Extremely handy eBook-writing resources are available for free
There’s that f-word again.
But seriously, if you want to produce eBooks to not only entice users to sign up for your mailing list, but also engage their curiosity and compel them to learn more about your products or services, you’ll want to know what works and what doesn’t.
And thankfully, the information you need to craft killer eBooks is largely available for free online.
Here are three solid examples:
Yes, an eBook about writing eBooks. Give this a read for the insta-confidence boost you need to get started!
Use this post to help structure a realistic time schedule for writing an eBook. It takes the step-by-step guide approach to the next level!
Copyblogger has numerous articles dedicated to crafting killer eBooks, so add the blog page to your bookmarks and dig in on the daily.
Outlines several great ideas for taking what you might consider “boring” information for an eBook and making it vivid and interesting.
Keeping it free and easy.
You don’t have to be an award-winning novelist or a Coca-Cola-sized brand to craft valuable eBooks for your email subscribers. The process is less daunting than it may seem, and the rewards are definitely worth the effort.
Remember those Costco shoppers: “free” offers can have a powerful impact human behaviour. I dare you to harness that impact for your mailing list.