How to Use Free Reports and Ebooks to Grow Your Business

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.

How to use free reports and ebooks to grow your business

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.

Miss Kemya

How do you use free offers to grow your business?


About Miss Kemya

Miss Kemya Scott Digital Marketing Strategist and Social Media Manager for Small Business at Marketing Sparkler Kemya L. Scott, Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategist, teaches her clients how to build a digital presence, increase revenue and create a more successful business. Known simply as “Miss Kemya”, she uses a results-focused, “how to” approach in implementing simple, customized strategies so clients enjoy tangible results quickly and easily.


28 thoughts on “How to Use Free Reports and Ebooks to Grow Your Business

  • This post is right on time as I am currently creating free content to share with my audience. I know that it’s the best way to develop trust and share knowledge at the same time. Thank you for sharing!

  • This is one of the best blog posts on creating freebies that I’ve read. For the longest time, I left my web traffic return visits up to chance. The best thing I did was to add a targeted, free report to my site.

  • Great advice and tips on giving a free product. Yes, branding is very important. Having your own logo is very important. I have two giveaways on my site. An ebook as well as an e-course. That is another tip. I have the e-course in the sidebar and the ebook on top bar pop up. Giving value to your visitors is your introduction to you and your business.

    • Absolutely Nina! The free offer can be an ebook, checklist, ecourse, etc… as long as it’s a valuable resource for your audience. That’s the goal!

  • I have a free eBook currently, but after reading this, I see there is a bit of revamping I need to do to it. LOL 😀 I’ve been marketing it through my Twitter account and then those that sign up also go on my newsletter list, but there isn’t any upsell in the book.

    • I refresh my optin offers, but I haven’t done a good job of this lately. When I wrote this post I realized I’m due for an updated offer myself!

  • Thanks for these tips and the reminder to always over deliver once the person is on the list. I am a big fan of content marketing. With email opt-in freebies, it’s a win-win. You get to create a relationship with potential customers, and they get a taste of your teaching style to see if it’s compatible.

  • I swear by free ebooks! You are so right about being very targeted. The more you know your audience, the easier it is to market your offer to them and get them on the list. Email is by far the best way to build relationships, and communicate with people who have qualified themselves. Awesome tips, Kemya!

    • You said it Tamyka, “people who have qualified themselves.” These kinds of free offers make it that much easier to build relationships with the people you’re targeting. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Rhonda Moore

    I am stuck on what to email market to my clients.. I have a blog and a website but both are fairly new and I am at lost as what to offer to people.. I have two direct sales entities that I am in AVON and Bella Ornamenti and those both are things that offer great value but people need to be interested and what I think may interest them may not.. I like your posting and will dig deeper into what action I need to take to get the ball rolling on more email marketing materials. Learning from the best is what makes me happy.. thank you.

    • I can see how you could get stuck Rhonda. After looking at Bella Ornamenti (never heard of it, had to look it up), you have a couple options. Off the top of my head, you could share gift ideas, ways to make jewelry transition from day to evening, beauty suggestions, what to look for when buying beauty and fashion jewelry (quality, for instance), etc. Of course a few doses of motivation and inspiration are always a hit with women. You don’t have to think of the companies as 2 separate entities, think of them as serving similar markets, at the core you have women. Hope this helps!

  • Rosella LaFevre, Business Coach

    Great tips for those new to the idea of a lead magnet!

    It’s great to get as much information — email address, first and last name — as you can in the beginning, though I’ve certainly seen opt-ins that only ask for an address. But that makes for awkwardness when you try to personalize your emails to your peeps.

  • This is one area that I am focusing on this year. I have taken the time to create quality freebies but never promote them and have been inconsistent with my email follow up. My goal is to get my autoresponders ready for next month and get this finally checked off my list. Great tips.

    • Hey Vanessa! I haven’t been focusing on this as much as I should. So now I need to create an updated freebie AND promote it. We’re working on the same things 🙂

  • great post ! So many people forget that email is the king of communication as thats a direct link to your potential customer. Stop spamming and deliver real value and then your marketing list will be more likely to buy from you as you have a relationship and trust.

    • My gosh Liron, yes! You said it, “stop spamming and deliver real value.” People put too much emphasis on how many times they email their list instead of providing valuable content, which is why we don’t bother to open all the emails we get.

Comments are closed.