20 January 2013
Comments: 1

Pros and Cons of Offering Freebies to Your Newsletter Subscribers

If you have an email list, or are planning to start one, you have to consider whether or not to offer people a free gift as an incentive to subscribe. This is a common practice, and one that has been used ever since email marketing began. Is it still effective, though? In this article, we’ll be looking at the benefits and drawbacks of offering freebies to your newsletter subscribers.

How Freebies Are Used in Email Marketing

The most common way that freebies are used is to get people to give you their email address in the first place. We’ve all seen ads that promise to teach you something, send you an ebook or perhaps an e-course in exchange for your email address.

Sign up newsletter

This strategy certainly makes sense, as it gives people an immediate reason to sign up for a newsletter. Yet, as we will see, there are disadvantages to this approach as well.

Another way freebies are used is to deliver value to your current subscribers. This can be useful to show them that you aren’t simply interested in promoting offers to them week after week. Mixing in some freebies also gives them a reason to open your emails, as they never know when they might find something helpful.

The Downside of Freebies

The main disadvantage of offering free gifts to people is that you run the risk of appealing mainly to freebie seekers! As you build your email list, your goal is to have a growing list of paying customers. If most of the people on your list are only there because of the free gift you offered, you aren’t getting much out of your efforts!

Some Internet marketers find that their free offer is successful at helping them build their lists. Afterwards, however, they find that they have a high unsubscribe rate. In other words, many people will subscribe to a newsletter simply to get the freebie and then promptly cancel their subscription.

There are also those subscribers who only wanted the freebie and who simply never read your emails after that. They may not bother to unsubscribe. Not everyone knows how to unsubscribe from a list, or they simply don’t think it’s worth the effort. If your email list has a low open rate, you may have a large number of subscribers who fit this description.

How to Make Freebies Work in Your Favor

As you can see, there’s a certain dilemma when it comes to offering freebies. Without them, it’s hard to motivate people to sign up for your newsletter in the first place. Yet you don’t want to attract people who are only seeking freebies either.

Here are some suggestions to help you make free gifts work in your favor when it comes to getting people to sign up to your email list.

  • Offer a Good Quality Gift

    While offering an eBook or other gift of high quality doesn’t automatically mean people won’t subscribe only to get the gift, it can help convince them that you have something to teach them. They may very well reason that if you sent them a great eBook right off the bat that you might have other content worth seeing as well.

  • Avoid Hype

    An offer that contain a lot of hype is more likely to attract freebie seekers. For example, if your niche is online marketing, an ad like “Free eBook shows you how to make $1500 per day without working” is likely to attract people who want easy answers rather than solid information.

  • Use Your Freebie to Presell an Offer

    You can get more leverage from your free eBook (or video) if you use it to presell an offer. You have to be careful about this, though, as people did sign up for a free gift. You have to give them some value for free, but you can still encourage them to order something else. For example, your free report could presell a longer course that you charge for.

  • Send Out Freebies Regularly

    Don’t only use freebies to get people to subscribe; also send them free gifts every so often on a regular basis. Let them know that they can expect this. You can, as mentioned above, use some of these freebies to encourage them to buy something but this isn’t always necessary. The point is to give people a reason to stay subscribed to your newsletter!

Using Freebies the Right Way

Offering freebies to your newsletter subscribers can help build your newsletter list. You have to do this in the right way, though, so you don’t end up with a whole list full of people who never want to pay for anything.

Keep in mind that on any list, only a certain number of people will become paying customers. Even people who never buy anything can add value to your list if they ever share your content or recommend your newsletter to someone else. At the very least, they can contribute to your blog by commenting too!

You can improve the quality of your list by testing different approaches. This will take time, as you have to track which type of subscribers turn out to be the best customers. Eventually, however, you can fine tune it so that you come up with offers that attract the best prospects.

The main point to keep in mind is that your free offers should be a good match for the people you want as subscribers. If you write up your offer to appeal to freebie seekers, that’s what you will get. On the other hand, even people who are willing to spend money for good products like to receive free gifts sometimes!

One response on “Pros and Cons of Offering Freebies to Your Newsletter Subscribers

  1. Jithin says:

    Make sure you offer them something valuable or at least make them feel like. And don’t bother them with junk mails. Do send mails at least three times a week. And make sure you send valuable posts. If you don’t have a something good to send, better not to send anything. Because if you are offering low quality content chances are high that your subscribers tend to unsubscribe from your mailing list. There are chances of them even report your mail id for spam.