How do you convert blog visitors into regular visitors? Do you publish blog posts daily, do you ask them to “come back tomorrow”, or do you leave their return visit up to chance?
Part of your content marketing strategy is to show your wealth of knowledge. As bloggers, we work hard to give valuable information and insight to our audience, in the hopes that they like what we share and come back for more.
How to Use Free Reports and Ebooks to Grow Your Business
One type of content marketing is giving away freebies. Free reports and ebooks can build your business fast by helping you spread your knowledge, establish your expertise and most importantly, collect email addresses for your mailing list. Because, hands down, email marketing is still the most effective method of online marketing.
Make It Laser Targeted for Your Audience
Be careful about the reports and eBooks you create to give away for free. It’s imperative that they are highly targeted toward your audience.
You only want to attract the right audience, the people that would be interested in your related products and services.
Creating freebies that appeal to a wide audience can leave you with a growing email list of people that aren’t really in your audience. A broad, general list is not as valuable as a smaller, laser targeted list. So, be very particular about the content you create so that you get the right people on your list.
Consider the products and services you want to sell, then create freebies based on those topics.
For example, if you want to sell a “How to Blog” ebook, then you might create a “10 Things to Do Before You Start A Blog” cheat sheet. If you sell a monthly digital magazine, then your freebie might be a popular article from a previous issue, or the entire issue so they can get an idea of your content.
Make It Easy for Your Audience to Obtain
Don’t require your audience to jump through too many hoops to get your free report or ebook. At most ask for an email address, and first name. Once you get them on your list, you can always get more information later. But, you don’t want to turn them off from the start.
When designing your opt-in page for the freebie, be sure to make the freebie the focus of the page. For example, if your blog usually has a sidebar on all the pages, you could remove the sidebar from the optin page so the visitor has a singular focus.
Keep the content short and direct, and include the title in a large, bold font, along with images of your cover. Including a brief video on the content of your ebook and why it’s of value is even better!
Make It High Value and High Quality
Your freebies should be of the same quality as the paid work that you create. Don’t make something half-way just because you know you’re giving it away. The free item should be something that makes your audience want your paid information, products or services. It should serve as an example of what you can do.
Make It Branded So It’s Obvious Where It Came From
On every report and ebook that you create, whether free or not, make sure that your branding is on it. Without your branding, they may forget where they got it. Some people download things to read later so the branding, links, and information about your business is an important part of the freebie so that they’ll know where to go to get more.
To brand your ebook/report, you can add your logo to the bottom of each page, but it should be small and not obstruct the viewer from the content. I am a fan of adding my url as the footer of each page. I find it easier and less obvious, but the branding is still there.
Include Affiliate Links That Make Sense
Free reports and ebooks are a great way to make money in more ways than one. You can get people on your email list, so that you can market to them later, but you can also recommend products and services within the ebook. Include affiliate links where they make sense, and it can help you earn additional money off each eBook or report that you give away for free.
Include the Upsell for Your Next Level Product/Service
Your free eBook or reports should also always include a call to action to buy your next level product or service. It’s the perfect place to add an upsell or cross-sell item, even another freebie. The more information you can get into their hands, the more likely they are to buy what you’re offering.
Introduce Them to Your Other Products and Services
One of the pages of your ebook or report should list all the related products and services that you have created, free or paid. That way they can easily find more information and sign up for other offerings, as long as it’s within the same niche.
You never know when someone is ready for more information, or ready to buy! Include the page of your paid offers (with a brief 1-2 sentence description) to be sure you don’t miss the opportunity to make a sale.
Once They’re on Your List, Over Deliver
Now that you have your target audience signed up for your email list, it’s important to deliver the value you’ve promised – either explicitly or implicitly. You can set up automatic emails to go out through your auto responder, and then mix in some more current information for your list for the best results.
Using free reports and ebooks to build your business is a tried and true method of content marketing that gets results. Just make sure that your freebies are highly targeted toward your audience so that you get your products to the right people, and get people who want what you have to offer beyond your freebies.