Are you looking to build your online business? You do know it all starts with an irresistible opt-in offer, right? The giveaway you use to entice people into handing over their email address in exchange for something truly valuable you offer.
You might have heard different names for it: lead magnet, freebie offer, opt-in offer, or an ethical bribe. These are all used to describe a piece of content (or something tangible like a gift coupon or a discount for physical products) whose sole purpose is to build your email list.
You ask people to fill out a form with their name and email address with the promise of sending them something so irresistible that it makes for a no-brainer offer. So how do you actually create something like that? Well, glad you asked. This post will take you through my fail-proof process which has turned many business owners into very happy business owners. And when you apply these guidelines, you will be happy too.
#1 Identify the problem you want to solve
The whole process starts with identifying what you want to deliver to your audience. You want to know what is it that they will find to be highly valuable. This is a two part question. Firstly, you have to identify who your ideal audience is. If you think you can serve just about everybody then you don’t know who your target market is yet so define it first.
Are they primarily male or female? How old are they? What do they do? What problem are you solving for them in general? Find out some of the things that keep them up at night. The more specific you get, the easier it gets to come up with an offer that will be irresistible to this group of people.
The second part involves knowing what to offer. If you are not sure ask them. Do a survey, ask on your Facebook, email your existing audience – the people on your list. Drill deep to uncover their pain points. And then create something that addresses them.
#2 Make it specific and actionable
The easiest way to make your offer irresistible is to promise a clear result. And the way to promise a clear result is to make it specific and actionable. How to lose weight is generic but How to lose 5 kgs for your wedding is specific. Reduce clutter in your life is generic whereas Clear your office space in hour or less is specific – and actionable.
People often balk at the idea of creating something this specific but it is actually much easier to create one that is hyper focused rather than one that is a big, overarching topic.
Think about it for a second, what is easier? A 100 page ebook on buying your first home or a 5 page guide identifying the 10 biggest mistakes you need to avoid while investing in your first home.
Not only is it easier, it speaks directly to your audience. It tells them instantly that it will help them save time or money, or make more money, improve their health in anyway, or some impact on a specific area of their life. Do yourself a huge favour and choose a topic that is both specific and results-driven. You won’t regret it.
#3 Infuse your personality and branding
Another thing to keep in mind while creating your opt-in offer is to infuse your personality in your content. Because the next step for people to take is to buy one of your products or decide to work with you (and I’ll talk more about that next), get your people used to what’s it like learning from you.
For this reason I don’t recommend that you outsource this task. Don’t ask someone else to create a white paper, a report of an ebook for your business. Your readers will feel the disconnect after.
When there is uniformity of voice in your squeeze page copy, when the branding works with the rest of your website, people find it easier to transition. Compare that to a pdf as an opt-in where the written voice is totally different. When you follow up with these people, there will be jarring effect and you might even see people unsubscribe leading to low over all conversions.
#4 Make sure it takes people on your sales path
As I was mentioning earlier, your opt-in should be strategic so it takes the people who sign up through your sales funnel.
They opt in and receive the freebie. Then you take them through a sequence of emails (via autoresponder) where you make an introductory, low dollar offer in the end. This way they will enter your sales funnel and you can upsell more higher priced or premium offerings later.
If they don’t buy, you can start the follow up sequence and/or make another offer soon. For all of this to work, make sure your opt-in is something that gets people closer to doing business with you. If it doesn’t, the conversions don’t mean anything.
#5 Choose the right format
Often people don’t give much thought to the format. They don’t understand that they actually have a number of options to choose from.
For example, you might offer an ebook, a PDF report, an email course delivered straight to your reader’s inbox via your email service provider – and these are some of the more obvious choices. You could also do cheat sheets, checklists, workbooks or printables. Finally a list of tools or resources, a case study, your personal swipe file, a quiz or access to Facebook group also make great lead magnets.
People don’t realize that they can also do an audio or a video format so an mp3 recording of an interview or a podcast, they can do a webinar or a video tutorial or a quick one-on-one call. You might even offer a live event recording.
The most important thing is to know what format your audience responds to you the most. And also the format you are most comfortable offering something in. If your audience digs your blog content, stick with the first set of options (written format). If they prefer audio or video, consider the second set. As long as you stay relevant to their needs, you’ll turn it into a compelling offer.
#6 Create a squeeze page
Gone are the days when anytime a blogger put out some free content, people were rushing to get their hands on it. Now the scene has changed and there is so much completion out there that you have to sell your free offer. Yes, you heard me right. You have to really sell people on taking you up on your opt-in offer.
You can’t just slap something together and expect people to line up for it. If you are life coach, there are thousands of other life coaches trying to woo people with their offers. Same goes whether you are a writer, designer, yoga teacher, therapist, career coach or any other service provider.
Create a simple squeeze page to encourage people to sign up to your list. Invite them in with a big, bold, benefit laden headline. You cannot afraid to be meek or play small here. And once you get their attention, you have got to keep it until they respond to your call to action.
After the headline comes your list of teaser bullets. These give details of what to expect from your offer itself. Really flesh those out and sell your reader on it. Finally finish with a call to action and the sign up box for them to fill out. Hopefully by this time they are dying to hear what you have to say. Well done!
One more tip: try adding a solid testimonial or as-seen-on logos on your squeeze page. Build up your credibility, especially if you are driving cold traffic towards it and it will be magic!
#7 Don’t ask for unnecessary information
Make it really easy for people to get on your list. Don’t be like those companies who ask you your name (first and last), your street address, the size of your company, the number of employees, your annual income, etc. Unless you are a company who sells physical products or have a very good reason of asking. You don’t want people jumping through hoops to get on your list.
Double opt-in or not? Jury is out on this one. Go with your gut. For me, when I am spending money on Facebook ads or getting paid traffic, I don’t get people to confirm their email address. They have clicked on the page, filled out the information, why make them check their email and go through one more step, especially when you are paying for each click. And don’t forget there is chance your confirmation email might end up in their spam folder.
On my website though, I stick with the double opt-in to weed out spammers and bots. Works for me.
#8 Display your opt-in form on the right places
Finally the easiest way to supercharge your opt-in is to place the sign-up forms in all the right places. And what are those right places? Glad you asked.
Firstly, you want to put up a sign-up form somewhere near your header banner where it is nicely front and center. When people arrive on your website, this is the first thing they see so it’s really easy for them to subscribe. You do need someone to code this one in for you. If you can’t do that then consider adding a hello bar at the top.
Secondly if you have a blog-style homepage, add a sign-up form on top of your sidebar. Your goal is that people should have a place to sign up without having to scroll down. So at least one form above the fold.
Add sign-up forms to the about page, any other landing pages and after every blog post because not everybody will see your homepage first. Also, for somebody to finish reading your blog post, the likelihood of them signing up has now gone up tremendously.
#9 Attract the right audience
Drive the right kind of traffic to increase your conversions. If you are engaging in guest blogging, be careful about the kinds of blogs you choose. First think about the kinds of places your ideal audience hangs out at and make a list. Go to alltop.com and look for new blogs that these people might be reading.
Targeting these blogs mean you are getting in front of the perfect audiences. When you link to your freebie offer, you will see the highest number of clicks and the warmest traffic coming over to your site.
If you are running Facebook ads, be strategic about the copy, the image and the call to action. Webinars are great for promoting on Facebook using Facebook ads, but really you can promote any kind of opt-in offer whether it is a cheat sheet, a checklist or an ebook.
When you right super targeted traffic to your website, your conversions go through the roof. This is when you know you are doing a phenomenal job.
#10 Test your offer
By testing I don’t necessarily mean split-testing which is to say don’t worry about testing this button colour vs that button colour, or this headline vs that. Unless you are getting traffic in hundreds and thousands, these things generally don’t make that much of a difference to your bottom line.
By testing I mean test different offers. If you create an offer, and it doesn’t do that well, don’t feel like you have to stick to it forever. You are allowed to change it. Experiment with the content. Maybe there are too many offers similar to yours in the market already. Maybe your audience just wants something different to what everybody seems to be offering.
Experiment with the format. Maybe they want a video tutorial rather than an mp3. Maybe they want something short and sweet like a cheat sheet and not a 7-part email course. You can actually have different opt-ins on different pages. The opt-in police won’t come and grab you.
Leave me a comment and tell me about your opt-in offer.Have you got one? What it’s about? How well is it converting for you? If you don’t have one, why not?
Nobody has ever been able to convince me yet why not offering anything is a good idea (unless you are Marie Forleo, because by that time you can get away with not offering anything). But until you are at that stage, I want you to entice your visitors with something.
So tell me then, what have you got?