You’ve probably been told, “the money’s in the list.” It’s one of those phrases that’s thrown around so much I think it loses its effect. But, the money IS in the list. And this fact should be in the front of your mind in everything you do in your business.
You’ve probably also heard that social media is all about building relationships. Another true statement. But what do you do with that relationship? After all, the point of your business is to make money, not build the biggest list of friends.
So, as you are building relationships, you also need to be thinking about building your client list. Not that every relationship you build is about selling to. There are many people that will become colleagues, partners, or mentors. But, your primary focus is on turning your social media connections into customers.
And the best way to do this is to move them from being your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ follower, to a member of your email list. In the earlier days of online marketing, getting people to sign up to receive your newsletter in their email inbox was relatively easy. A statement on your blog that said “Sign up to receive free tips and important updates!” was often enough to convince people to give you their name and email address, and their permission for you to send your newsletter to their inbox.
Today, so much is done by email. Everyone’s inbox is full. And, the time people have to actually read what shows up in their inbox is decreasing. Which means you need to give people a reason to sign up for your list. This reason is called your opt-in offer, or free offer.
In other words, if they will give you their email address so you can send them your newsletter, you will give them something of value – for free. As people get more selective about what they have time to read, your hook to get them to choose you has got to get better.
How to create an effective free offer is a whole course, and obviously more than we can cover here. There are however 3 questions you can answer that will get you started on the right path to having an effective opt-in offer. That is, one that people will sign up for!
1. What should my free offer be about?
If you want people to sign up for your free offer, it needs to be about something they’re interested in. Obviously, huh? The best way to develop the content for your free offer is to think about the biggest problems those in your market are looking to solve. If you listen to what your market is saying on social media, you’ll know the answer to this.
For example, if you’re in the health and nutrition market, people want to know how to find time to exercise. Or how to know whether the vitamins they chose are worth the money they’re spending on them.
Your opt-in offer solves their problem. And for some reason, giving people a specific number of ways to solve their problem is appealing to them. So, “5 Fat Burning Exercises You Can Do in Just 15 Minutes,” might be a good free offer for you. Or, “The 7 Ingredients Your Daily Multi-Vitamin Must Contain,” could solve your audience’s problem of getting the most value for their dollar.
2. How long should my free offer be?
Once you’ve identified the problem you’re going to solve, you need to think about how long your free offer is going to be. Your first consideration is that you want this newest member of your list to feel like they’ve gotten value in exchange for giving your their email address. And not that they’ve been duped into giving it to you.
So you want your opt-in offer – whether it be written, audio or video – to be long enough to provide real value. I remember signing up for a list once in return for “a free report valued at $59.” What I received was basically 1-2 pages of information in the format of an email. I felt taken advantage of and unsubscribed immediately.
On the other side, you don’t want your free offer to be so long that your list doesn’t have time to read it. It’s best to give them something they can read, listen to or watch right away. This way they can immediately see that you have good stuff for your list.
Generally speaking, 7-15 pages is good if you’re delivering a free report. 20 minutes is about as long as you’ll want an audio or video to be. You can increase the length by breaking your free offer up and delivering it one section at a time over a certain number of days.
3. How do I know if my free offer is good?
It’s easy to just focus on getting your free offer done and up on your website so you can check this task off your “to do” list. But remember, the level of value you deliver here can make or break your relationship with your new list member. So, don’t make this completely a “set it and forget it” thing.
Obviously, if no one is signing up for your list, either the title of your opt-in offer is off, or it’s a subject matter than your market isn’t terribly interested in. If you aren’t getting daily opt-ins to your list, try tweaking the title. If that doesn’t work, go with a different subject.
Like most things in marketing, you need to test. Rotate two different offers and see which does best. When something new or big happens in your market, change your free offer to address it. For example, if your market is social media, when Facebook rolled out its new Timeline it may have been wise to put up an offer on “5 Ways the New Timeline Will Help Your Business Growth Explode.”
The main lesson here is to always be monitoring your free offer to make sure your market is responding to it, and that it is providing timely and valuable information to your audience.
I hope these tips have helped you in thinking about how to maximize your free offer. I’d love to hear other ideas you have for developing an offer that will grow a loyal and happy list. Please share in the comments below.