Giveaways: How to Create an Irresistible Incentive to Join Your Email List

Getting that opt-in to your email list is much easier when you offer an enticing incentive in exchange for an email address.

But what should you create? And how will you ever find the time to make it? And what if no one wants it?

This week on Hit Publish, I’ve invited three Copyblogger experts to share their best advice for creating irresistible giveaways: the kind that have people clamoring to sign up just to they can get their hands on them.

Tune in to hear from Sonia Simone, Chris Garrett, and Robert Bruce, as we discuss:

  • How to get the best giveaway content — the stuff that’s currently in your head — out into the world
  • How to make putting together your giveaway easy (hint: it’s all about doing what you do best)
  • How to make an educated guess about what opt-in incentive your audience will like best

The Show Notes

Giveaways: How to Create an Irresistible Incentive to Join Your Email List

Pamela Wilson: In an earlier episode of Hit Publish, we talked about opt-in pages — how to set them up so they attract people to your email list.

Remember, your email list is where you will stay in contact with your prospects and customers. It’s the foundation of your online business.

But in order to motivate people to sign up to your list, you have to give them something in return. That’s where an opt-in incentive comes into play.

Some people call them ethical bribes.

For today, we’re going to call them giveaways. They are the content you create that is so irresistible your visitors can’t help but put themselves on your email list just so they can get their hands on it.

Welcome to Hit Publish, where I cover simple ways to get better results with your online business. This is Pamela Wilson of Copyblogger Media.

This week I’m bringing in Copyblogger team members to share their answers to your online marketing questions, and show you how to build a business that grows your profits.

I want to thank you for downloading this podcast and I want to thank Rainmaker.FM for hosting it. Are you ready to create a giveaway that works? Let’s Hit Publish.

How to Get the Best Giveaway Content —the Stuff that’s Currently in Your Head — Out into the World

Pamela Wilson: Today we’ll start with Sonia Simone.

Sonia has created dozens of giveaways, both for her Remarkable Communication website and for Copyblogger Media. Sonia has seen what works, and she’s here to get you excited about creating a giveaway that will have folks clambering to get on your email list. I thought Sonia would be the perfect person to define this topic for us.

What exactly are giveaways and how can we create them?

Sonia Simone: They are very useful. I think the strictly online businesses, a lot of them know about this idea. It’s funny because a lot of the offline businesses don’t, or the more traditional businesses don’t, but they are a great tool and very, very handy to have.

In a nutshell, these giveaways should be something that you can produce as many of as you need to. So that’s what’s great about something like a PDF, a checklist, a little audio report, something like that, because it’s digital — it will cost you the same to make a million as it does to make ten.

Pamela Wilson: You make one, upload it and you are all set, right?

Sonia Simone: You are all set, as opposed to something like more traditional businesses use, which is like a 20 minute consultation or a free call, something like that. Obviously you can’t scale that, so with your giveaway you want to try and look for something probably digital that you don’t worry about if you get lots of people who want one.

And the way I like to frame these is, think about (and you know, you’ve heard me say a million times and I know you are going to hear it a million more times) your business needs to be really about what problem you solve for your customers.

So you know, they need a cute pair of shoes for a hot date this weekend, or they need help with their neck and back pain, or they need to get more fit, whatever it is you help them solve. It doesn’t have to be life-threatening problem, it just has to be something that they want to be different.

Think about how you help your customer get the things that they want, and then your giveaway should relate to that. In a wonderful, perfect world, your giveaway will help them solve a little bit of their problem.

So a giveaway for a nutrition coach might be, “Five easy dinners.” Five easy, super-healthy delicious dinners that you can make in 20 minutes or less and have healthy home cooked food that you can make after work. You could just put that into a little ebook and that is a great, great giveaway because everybody wants that.

Pamela Wilson: It sounds like you are giving them something that they can see some results from right away.

Sonia Simone: Yeah, exactly. You get them at least a couple of steps toward where they want to go, and then it’s real easy to make it clear, “Now if you want to work with me in my product or my service, we can get you further down that path.” But you get them started because an object in motion will tend to stay in motion.

If you can get them having a little bit of a result toward where they want to go, they are about a gazillion times more likely to choose you as the provider that they want to do business with.

Pamela Wilson: It’s like you are creating a fan.

Sonia Simone: Yeah, exactly. You can do it for a plumbing business. Every business, every endeavour in human experience you could create something.

If you are really stumped and you don’t know, just create a top 10 checklist. Or a top 10 tips. Checklist or tips are really easy.

If somebody comes to you at a dinner party and corners you, and grills you on what you do, what are ten things you could tell them that would get them quick results and would get them off your back? Or even three things, depending on your business. Those are the things that make great giveaways and they are usually really easy for us to create because they are the kinds of things we are doing with clients or customers all the time.

Pamela Wilson: It sounds like they’re usually answers that we already have in our heads.

Sonia Simone: Right. This is not the place for you to be doing some high-level, deep, original research, you know, going to The Mayo Clinic. This is the low-hanging fruit. If you think about that, it’s low risk for you to create, and it’s easy for your person who’s got to opt in to your list to consume.

Pamela Wilson: Consume and get results from. That sounds like great advice. Thank you so much Sonia.

Sonia Simone: Oh you are so welcome. Thank you.

Pamela Wilson: Sonia shared some easy ways to get your giveaway out of your head and into a form that you can share. Before we continue with our other guests, I want to let you know about our Authority Rainmaker event, which is coming up so soon, I can taste it!

Authority Rainmaker is a different kind of conference. It’s a conference with a curriculum.

When you attend you’ll get everything you need to build a firm foundation under your online business, from design, to content, to traffic, and conversion.

It will all happen in Denver, Colorado this May and I would love to see you there. Join us at

How to Make Putting Together Your Giveaway Easy (Hint: It’s All About Doing What You Do Best)

Pamela Wilson: Our next guest is Copyblogger’s Chris Garrett. Chris is a big fan of Minimum Viable Products, and I knew he’d be the perfect person to talk to about what you can do to make giveaways easy to create.

So I asked Chris, what types of giveaways are easiest to put together for beginners?

Chris Garrett: The easiest is what you already have. If you can repurpose something, that’s always going to be easier than creating something. And we all have that moment of resistance when we see a blank screen, so if you can edit something or repurpose something, do that. If you are starting from absolute zero, then use whatever comes easiest to you.

I’m not very good with scripted, as you can probably tell — I try to improvise, rather than read from a script. So audio or video for me is better live, so I’ll do a teleseminar or a webinar based on an outline. I find it easier to write, so a PDF or an autoresponder series is easier for me.

Other people find it really easy to write some notes out and then do audio. They are talkers, where I’m more visual and I think about things too much to be able to read from a script.

So what works for you? What’s the mode of delivery that would work best for you? But as I said, I can do a webinar from an outline, I can do a teleseminar from an outline and then I can repurpose that. One of the free offers I did, I actually took those free webinars, which were initially a really good giveaway anyway, webinars and teleseminars have urgency and scarcity, but then I repurposed the video. I repurposed the audio.

So start from where you are. Do you have something that you can repurpose? If you do not, what comes easiest to you?

Sonia finds it very easy to do audio. Robert finds it was easy to write. I find it easier to do webinars and teleseminars.

Pamela Wilson: So basically you are building on your own strengths.

Chris Garrett: You are building on your strengths, but also you are removing any barriers to procrastination and resistance, because if it’s something that you struggle with, then it’s probably not a good fit and it might even come across in the quality.

Pamela Wilson: That’s fantastic advice. That would be me with videos!

Yeah, I think that’s great. Build on what you are comfortable with, and then go from there.

Chris’ advice? Pick a giveaway topic that you are already familiar with and create a quality giveaway that meets your audiences needs.

How to Make an Educated Guess About What Opt-in Incentive Your Audience Will Like Best

Pamela Wilson: Our last guest today is Copyblogger’s Robert Bruce. One of the things people struggle with when they are creating their first giveaways with opt-in incentives is figuring out what topic to cover. So I asked Robert, what’s a reliable way to pick a giveaway topic?

Robert Bruce: Yeah, here’s a good idea. Rather than trying to come up with something out of the blue, take a look back into your archive, the archive of your website or your blog, and pick out the most popular work.

This could be your most popular articles, your most popular blog posts that you have done, or podcasts or infographics, or whatever it may be.

Basically the ones that your audience responded to the most.

Then take a look from many different angles how you might be able to repackage that, expand upon it and build it out even more, to make it more valuable than what it is.

I mean this is a good idea in general to go back and do a content audit at least once a year on the articles in your archive, but if you look at what’s already worked in the past, and what your audience already responds to, grab that, repackage it into this giveaway for your opt-in. I think that’s absolutely the best way to start and probably the easiest for you.

Now you might be asking, “What if I don’t have an archive? What if I’m just starting?”

If you don’t have a body of work that you are already looking back into, look to some of the best work that’s in your market.

Now, the key thing here is, do not steal anyone else’s work. I don’t think we need to say that, but just in case. You are not to go and find somebody, and copy or steal wholesale what they have done, but take a look in your market at some of the most popular stuff out there, the things that similar audiences or the audiences that you would someday like to reach are responding to. Why did that article do so well? Take a look at why that is and try to reconstruct and maybe even give your own take on it for this giveaway, for your opt-in page. You can expand upon it. You can have your own take on it, so on and so forth. I think you get the idea.

Pamela Wilson: So look at the content and then give it a different angle.

Robert Bruce: Yes and sometimes this will be really easy because you are just doing something different than what that publisher is doing.

Sometimes it’s a little more difficult, because again, you don’t want to steal anybody’s work but a lot of these ideas, most of these ideas, if not all of these ideas that you see out there, that are working, they were done 100 years ago anyway. So it’s about using your personality, your experience, and thinking about the audience that you ultimately want to reach, in this case, to repackage, repurpose, expand on those things that are out there.

Pamela Wilson: And that’s what I was going to say is, chances are your audience is slightly different than that person’s audience as well, so that’s an easy way to find a different angle or different approach to your giveaway topic.

Robert Bruce: Yep.

Pamela Wilson: Sonia, Chris, and Robert all recommend listening closely to what your audience needs and meeting those needs in your giveaway. The medium is flexible — you might create an ebook, record a screencast tutorial, or create an audio series. Do what’s easiest and feels most natural to you.

Here are my questions for you:

What will you create to give away in exchange for an opt-in to your email list?

And then when will you get it done?

Set a deadline and mark that deadline on your calendar.

And don’t be afraid to hit publish on what you create! You can always tweak it and improve it later on.

This is Pamela Wilson. I want to thank you for being one of the many super smart Hit Publish podcast subscribers.

Take a look at the show notes for more information on today’s topic, and if you liked what you heard, take a moment and leave a review for Hit Publish on iTunes.

Leave a rating, say a few words — that’s going to help other people to find this podcast and I would also love to hear from you.

Until next time, take action and Hit Publish.