Hey there, I’m so excited that you’re joining me today. This is episode three in our email marketing series. And today’s all about choosing your opt in freebies. Whenever TPT sellers talk about email marketing, one common question that comes up is how to choose a good opt in freebie to help grow your email list. Now, I have definitely made lots of mistakes in this area. But that means I’ve also learned a lot about what works well for email list building. So today, I’m sharing three mistakes that I have made with my own opt in freebies, and how to choose the best primary opt in for building your list.
Let’s start with talking about the difference between primary opt ins versus secondary opt ins. And you may have both within your email marketing strategy. Primary opt ins are those that you put the most attention on. These are opt ins that you will share all over your social media and Pinterest, you’ll probably run ads to these to try and grow your list. Some sellers might have just one primary opt in, or you might have a handful of primary opt ins. But either way, these are the freebies that you actively promote.
Now your secondary opt ins might be smaller freebies, little one off checklists and things that might go along with a blog post. Or maybe they live in your free resource library. These are ones that you have because you know that your subscribers will like them, or that they’ll add something to a specific blog post. But you’re not actively promoting these outside of where they naturally are discovered. So keep in mind that as I am talking about choosing opt in freebies, today, we’re really talking about choosing those primary opt in freebies, the ones that you’re going to spend the most time creating, refining and then promoting to try and grow your email list.
Alright, let’s dive into three mistakes that I have made. While I was growing my own email list. Mistake number one is choosing a freebie that anyone can use. Now I know that might sound a little backwards, maybe you think the best way to grow your list is to make a freebie that’s going to appeal to tons of people. And that is a way to grow your list, huge and sometimes quickly. But it doesn’t always grow your list with the right people.
A couple of years ago, I created a back to school digital photo frame that I thought was such a good idea. It was really cute. And it turns out a lot of people thought it was a great idea too, because I added 1000s of subscribers to my email list that back to school season. But here’s the problem, my niche is upper elementary, and I was getting preschool teachers, high school teachers, moms, people all over the place. This opt in was way too generic. As you’re building your email list, keep in mind that you want to build a list of people who are ideal customers for your products, not just a huge list of people who may not be interested.
The second mistake I made was participating in a freebie collaboration. Now, don’t hear me saying that freebie collaborations are bad, they can be amazing. And I’ve participated in some since then that were perfect. And I really helped grow my list in a good way. But in this case, I participated in a collaboration with the wrong group of other TPT sellers. Now they were good people. Some of them are still friends of mine. But our audiences were way too different. And what happened again, is that I built a list of people who weren’t interested in my products, because they told other grade levels or outside of the United States, or something like that. And it just wasn’t an ideal group of my target audience.
Mistake number three is building your list with freebies that are unrelated to your products. I’m sure we all have that blog post that does really well and you’re not quite sure why. Well, I had one and I really wanted to capitalize on it. So I added an opt in that was related to that blog post. Now this is usually a super solid strategy. The only problem is this particular post has nothing to do with my niche. It’s one of those random posts that took off and you wonder why on earth this took off when the ones that feature your resources, maybe don’t get so much traffic. This particular post was all about activities for indoor recess. Now, if I were a seller who sells some sort of product with indoor recess games, this would have been an amazing opportunity. But I don’t, most of my resources are ELA related a few math things, but nothing for indoor recess games or anything like that.
So here again, I created an opt in that built an audience of people who weren’t interested in the type of products that I sell. So if you’ve been listening carefully, you’ve probably noticed that these mistakes all have the exact same root problem. All of them were successful opt ins in terms of adding loads of subscribers to my list, probably 10’s of 1000s between the three of them. But those freebies were not attracting the right people.
Let’s talk about how to choose an opt in freebie that attracts email subscribers who actually want to purchase the products that you sell. First step, make the product or the freebie relevant to your primary niche. So if you sell ELA resources, don’t build your email list with a bunch of free science activities. Now I know that probably sounds pretty obvious. But how many times do we come up with a cute idea and we think, Oh, this isn’t related to my niche. So instead of selling it, I’ll just make it a freebie. Choose freebies that are related to the products that you sell. And if you sell for multiple subjects, or multiple grade levels, try to have at least one primary freebie that kind of covers all of them.
Number two, don’t try to attract everyone. And I know that can feel a little counterintuitive, to try and limit who your freebie is for. But it really is better to build a smaller list of teachers who actually want the types of resources that you offer, than it is to build a giant list of teachers who aren’t interested. And keep in mind on most platforms you are paying for every subscriber who is on your list. So make sure you’re spending your money on the right people. Strategically choose those freebies that appeal only to certain grade levels or niches so that you’re attracting the right people and not attracting the wrong people.
Much like Goldilocks, you want to choose a freebie that is not so broad that anyone would want it. Even non teachers like that back to school freebie that I shared. But you also want it just broad enough that anyone in your target audience would want it. So if your target audience, like mine is approximately grades three through six, then your primary opt in freebie is probably not going to be a sixth grade specific activity, because that is not going to attract your third, fourth and fifth grade teachers, you want to choose something that attracts all of them.
Or another option, if you do you have great specific resources would be to create a landing page for an opt in freebie and have a version of that freebie for third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade. I’ve done that with one of my products and it works really well. So that is an option if you are grade specific and you want to use a one primary freebie that reaches your whole grade level span.
Now let’s talk about some examples and non examples. If your niche is upper elementary math, then free multiplication fact fluency games might be a really good opt in freebie for your group, because it’s math related. And basically anyone teaching upper elementary math has students who either don’t know their multiplication facts, or they could use a little extra practice now and then just to keep their skills sharp. So that would be a great freebie idea for someone in that niche.
One freebie I would not use is something like a generic teacher calendar. I wouldn’t use that as a primary opt in unless your niche truly is planning and organizing for all the grade levels. And the reason I wouldn’t use a generic teacher calendar is that it’s too broad. Any teacher from preschool up to 12th grade, maybe even daycare teachers could use a generic teacher calendar and think that it’s cute and enjoy it and they might sign up for your list. But that’s not helping you build a list of people who are truly interested in what you offer if your niche is say high school science.
If your niche is something like middle school reading and maybe you sell a lot of novel studies, then a planning guide for teaching novels might be perfect, something that they can use with any novel. But it is something that’s going to attract only teachers who are teaching novel studies. And since that’s what you sell, this is a perfect audience for you.
Keep in mind on all of the rules and examples that I shared today are for those primary opt ins, the ones that you’re using and Facebook ads and promoting all over the place to try and build your audience. You can certainly continue to offer those more generic freebies sometimes, these can be really great as opt ins on those related blog posts. And things to drop into a free resource library, but I wouldn’t recommend using them as your primary list building opt in, because you’ll most likely build a list of people who aren’t interested in making a purchase.
So to recap, there are two main things to keep in mind for your primary email opt in. First of all, make sure that it falls in that sweet spot right where it is specific enough to rule out people who are not in your target audience. But it’s broad enough to appeal to most everyone who is in your target audience. And then secondly, choose an opt in that aligns with the products that you sell. This way you’re attracting the perfect audience for your paid resources, courses, memberships or anything else that you want to sell through your email list later on.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, don’t forget to share with your TPT seller friends. Take a screenshot of this episode on your podcast app, share it to your IG stories and don’t forget to tag me at @KristenDoyle.co
Talk to you soon!