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How to grow your email list with a free opt-in

Why growing your list is important

I’ve talked quite a bit recently through our newsletter and through this podcast about the importance of growing your newsletter list. I think it’s one of the most critical things to do in the process of starting your business and here are some of the main reasons why:

Email is personal and friendly

Social Media can be crazy and filled with lots of different things from a lot of different people and posts there are generally very broad and you never know who is seeing your content.  An email newsletter is a great alternative to social media because your emails are very personal and friendly and geared directly to the people who have entered their email because they want to keep in touch with you.  At the beginning of this year, we began sending out newsletters once a week and I have to say it’s been a huge game changer for us and how we connect with our customers.  They appreciate getting a little behind-the-scenes glimpse at what might be going on in our lives and they appreciate knowing they aren’t alone in whatever they might be struggling with.  I can assure you we would never get this type of response from posting on social media.

You own your list and maintain control over it

We all know by now that Facebook and Instagram are always making changes to their algorithms and it’s very hard to reach the people who have hit that little follow button without paying money for advertising.  Without an email list at your disposal you’re left with only reaching your “people” through social media, which is volatile at best. Having an email list gives you the opportunity to provide relevant information to your subscribers.

Your list is your target market

Because the people are signing up by entering their name and email, they are already familiar with your business and they want to hear from you and what you have to offer.  This list is directly aligned to your revenue for your business!  Don’t believe me?  Most people, if you’re handling your email list correctly, will see a 3% purchase rate from the amount of subscribers on their list at the time of a launch. Mind blowing… I know!

How to come up with the perfect freebie idea

So now we understand the importance of having a newsletter list, but how do we get people to sign up?  The best thing to do is offer a freebie directly to the people visiting your website. This gives people something you created for free in return for their email address.  In fact, you should never be giving anything away on your site without collecting their email.  So how do we decide what freebies to offer?  Well this depends on your audience but let’s cover a few ways to come up with the perfect idea for your business:

Solve a problem

What problem can you solve for your readers/customers right from the start? Let’s say you sell wallpaper on your site. A potential problem you could solve is “How do I apply wallpaper correctly?”.  This would be a helpful guide to someone who is looking at installing wallpaper and helps them through the process of applying it the right way.  This freebie idea also pushes them into buying your wallpaper because you’ve just helped solve their problem (and fear) of applying wallpaper.

What questions do you get asked a lot?

Are you getting the same questions over and over in your email box?  Stop answering that email individually and turn this into a video or PDF guide to help answer the question.

For a long time our most popular question received was “I need this, this and this… which theme would work best for me?”.  Well, this is a really great question and one that is difficult to answer for everyone, so I turned this into a free guide and printable worksheet to help choose a theme that would work best for their business.  We’ve since had over 3,000 people sign up for this freebie and we hardly ever see this question in our inbox any longer.  This guide has also resulted into more revenue because ultimately we are answering this question for them and pointing them directly to potential themes for their business.

Challenges to making a purchase

This sort of goes with the above section as well, but do you see any areas that your customers may be struggling with in order to make a purchase on your site?  For us it was simply choosing the right theme.  But for you maybe it’s something about “How to choose the right branding designer?” if you’re a branding designer.  Something like this example will immediately answer the questions your clients might be having before deciding to hire you and also establish a lot of trust between you and your potential client right in the beginning.

Where is your audience heading?

Another question to ask yourself is “Where is your audience heading”?  Are they heading into a direction of remodeling their home?  What potentially might they need when beginning that journey? Are they simply trying to get their lives organized?  Maybe that person needs some specific help about how to organize their pantry?

You see where I’m going here?  What is their end goal and what might help them along the way?

Freebie Optin Ideas

There are many many different freebie ideas, but here are just a few to get your creative juices flowing:


We have a “How to start a website” ebook that can be downloaded and printed so the reader can go through it as they want.


In our “How to choose the right theme for your site” we have worksheets that people can print off and work through to make certain they are buying the right theme for their needs.

Resources Guide

Share all the resources you use in your business or for one area of business in a resources guide.  We have a collection of over 100 different resources of things we use all the time to help someone in starting a business.


In our freebie library we have printables available for people to print and frame in their homes.  This is a great freebie option for a home decorating type site!


We have a free Convert Kit template that people can download with instructions to implement and use directly in their own Convert Kit account.

Email Course

Have something you want to teach your readers through a series of days or weeks?  A great example is when you sign up for our “Goal Settings Worksheets” you’ll receive a 5-day mini e-course on setting and achieving your goals.

Freebie Library

Want to share multiple things?  Create a freebie library of resources that only your subscribers get access to.

Freebie Library Block Collection

Do you want to grow your newsletter list? There is no better way to get people on your list than offering a Freebie Library!

With our easy to customize Freebie Library Block Collection you can easily grow your list without having to keep up with tons of different opt-ins! Keep all your freebies organized in one place for your subscribers to quickly access upon subscribing.

Private Community

Want to invite your readers to a private community or Facebook group?  This is a great way to build a list very quickly!

How to set up your freebies

At this point we more than likely have our freebie idea, but how do we put this on our site and get people signing up?

Create your freebie

First things first.. you’ll need to create your freebie first! Whether this is writing up an email sequence or creating a PDF file.  You’ll need to pull all the pieces together for what you’re going to be offering your customers.

Create a link to your freebie

If you’re creating a PDF file or some type of Printable, you’ll need to create a link to your freebie so you can link to it in your email.  In WordPress you can upload this file directly to your Media library (Media>Add New) and then get the link once it’s uploaded.

Add your freebie link to an email

Once you have your link ready you can link to it within your email in your newsletter software.  We recommend MailChimp or Convert Kit depending on your needs.

Add the form on your site

Lastly you’ll add the form to your site once everything else is set.  See this post to create your form with Mailchimp or this post to create your form with Convert Kit.

I’d love to hear what you decided to put on your website in the comments below!

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How to Offer A Freebie for Your Site

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  1. Thank you for this!!!! I am honestly terrified of doing this:-/ It sounds so technical and I am so not good at that stuff:-) I am really thinking about the private Facebook group!!! I LOVE the community idea!

    1. Thanks, Jillynn! Growing your email list and connecting with others can be intimidating at first because often times you feel like you are bugging them. Once you start truly connecting it gets so much easier!

    1. You can create a freebie library by using a password protected page right on your site. You can directly add pdf’s to your media library and link to them within the page. Let us know if you need more help!

      1. This is of interest to me as well. How does the password protection work – I can see the checkbox for it in WP but is there only one password allowed or does each customer have an unique one associated with their account in order to access it? I’m thinking that an easy password known to a few moms could easily be given out to their friends who are not subscribers and thus, defeat the purpose of having a freebie library to subscribers only. I like the idea but am unsure about how to make the password beneficial??

        1. Hi Joy,
          There’s only one password for the page. This is a fairly standard practice among bloggers that have a resource page or are storing the freebie on the site.
          Another option is to add the freebie to Dropbox or Google Drive and then share the link in the thank you email.
          Hope this helps!

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