FREE GIFTS FOR YOUR SUBSCRIBERS
This suggestion is probably not new to you, but it's worth looking into a little further.
To sweeten the "subscribe" offer, many top bloggers promote a freebie – an additional something nice that the new subscriber will receive.
The idea is to give potential new subscribers a specific and immediately obtainable reward ("Get My Top Five Most Beloved Dessert Recipes") – rather than the promise of future, vague goodness ("Stay in touch," "Never miss a new recipe, etc.)
To be clear, this free gift can be a PDF, with special, exclusive content just for your subscribers.
You could also offer something other than a PDF. More on that in a minute.
You want your offer to motivate visitors to subscribe in that moment. If your offer is weak or namby pamby, people will leave your site without signing up. Who knows if they'll ever return – let alone ever join your list?
Let's look at some freebie offers from top blogs in the food space...
One of our all-time favorites is from Hello Spoonful – where blogger and nutritionist Elizabeth's subscribe inducement is . . . "5 Reasons Calories Are Stupid And Why."
You had us at "calories are stupid!" We want to know more.
Minimalist Baker gives signer-uppers a "49-Page Fan Favorite eBook with 20 recipes we think you'll LOVE." That sounds like a lot of value – and of course it's free. We like that the recipes are promoted as "fan favorites." We want to know what foods are exciting other people – and we want in. FOMO!
Recipe Tin Eats gives new subscribers not one but three free eBooks. Pretty cool!
"Free 5 Secrets Email Series"
is the freebie from Jen at Once Upon A Chef. But more than that, her subscribe area says: "Join over 200,000 others and receive my weekly new recipe newsletter. 200K is really a lot of people!" Seeing that honestly makes us think, well, if two hundred thousand people are reading Jen's recipes, we better, too...
One more example for you, from Shelly at Cookies and Cups: 5 Baking Secrets That Will Change Your Life. We like this one a lot. Yes, it uses "secret," like many others, but life-changing secrets – now we're talking! Shelly's strong and funny phrasing caught our eye – and got us to sign up!
Yes, cool. But is this going to be a lot of work?
These days, it's easier than ever to make these PDFs. You can use Slides from Google. (A free tool.) Believe us, no technical or art school degree is needed.
The process of emailing out the freebie can be automatic of course. You want it to be automatic (you don't want to think about it). Host your giveaway PDF on your site, and include a link to it in your welcome email to subscribers.
Idea: What can you do to stand out from the pack? What can you offer that nobody else does? We're specifically wondering what you can send that isn't a PDF. Don't get us wrong – there's absolutely nothing wrong with sending content in PDF form. But everyone does it.
What about a link to a special video, in which you share your best, secret chocolate chip cookie recipe? You can easily upload this video to YouTube as "unlisted" – meaning that it's available for people to access as long as they have the link you give them. (You could do this in addition to the PDF, of course.)
Outside the recipe blogging space, we have seen some marketers offer actual, real books for free. The new subscriber just pays shipping. This strategy may involve more work and a greater cost, but it certainly is a way to be different.
Another idea – and maybe some of you are doing this now – are surprise freebies. Like, what if you sent your current, existing subscribers a PDF ebook of top ten Thanksgiving recipes in the first week of November? Maybe that would keep readers appreciating your emails and opening them up to see what you're sharing.