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4 Keys to a Free Product That Grows Your Mailing List

If you are selling products and services on the Internet you are probably very aware of how valuable a list of subscribers is.

Periodic, relevant information is the main way to build the trust and credibility needed for customers and prospects to take action:

* to click the Buy Now button

* to pick up the phone to schedule an appointment

* to complete an application

* etc.

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of creating trust-based relationships in business. This is what periodic emails to your list allow you to do.

If your business is relatively new to online marketing, building a subscription list can feel pretty daunting. I've had many conversations with small business owners who are love the idea of email marketing and inevitably the question, "How do you get all these subscribers anyway?"

And that is the question I'm going to answer in this article.

Why Building Your List Can Be a Struggle =============================================

I know when I began my ezine, after the initial signups by folks in my immediate circle, adding new subscribers was a painfully slow process.

I received some glowing complements from subscribers and a couple marketing experts whose opinion I valued. And everything I read insisted that content is the most important component to succeeding in the online marketing game.

So I had good content; where was the rush of subscribers?

Simple: I was competing with thousands of other requests to subscribe.

People need a good reason to subscribe to your ezine. Why they should choose your ezine rather than the hundred other on the same topic.

One way to make your ezine the best choice is to give your subscribers something they can immediately use and get value from.

This is why a free product you give people when they subscribe to your ezine is so important.

Providing Some Relief =============================================

A lesson I learned from my coach, Mark Silver, is the importance of providing prospects some relief from a problem they're struggling with.

After all that's why most people are at your website to begin with yes? They have some sort of question or problem and they're looking for help. Whether they found your website doing a Google search or through a link on someone's blog, they're wanting help and they're hoping you'll provide it.

Free products that they can quickly download from your website are ideal for meeting this need.

In addition, when they use your free product and get some relief there is no better way to build your credibility! People are far more likely to purchase from you when they've already gotten a demonstration of the difference you make.

What's the Best Free Product to Offer? =============================================

The one question that comes up more than any other around the free give-away is "what should my give-away be?"

4 Keys to Choosing a Free Product (with Subscription) =============================================

Key #1 Easy to Get Online

Remember whatever it is you offer, you want to make it very easy for your prospect to get online.

Fortunately, it's cheap and simple to create a product that is easy to download. I recommend:

* An article, report, or how-to guide people can download as an Adobe Acrobat file (.pdf)

* An audio recording they can listen to on the Internet (mp3 is currently the most popular format)

* A video they can watch from your website (many computers now have a built-in camera making it easy to create short videos)

Key #2 Solves a Problem Most of Your Ideal Customers Struggle With

When I was trying to decide what free product would be best to offer with my ezine, I initially chose a report on getting more referrals from customers.

How to get referrals is a hugely popular topic among small business owners for very good reasons. But there were a couple drawbacks to this product:

(1.) You need a few satisfied customers who will refer you to others. This can be difficult for many new businesses.

(2.) Referrals are largely an in-person phenomenon. Referral programs work best when you offer local, in-person services. This isn't to say that an online business can't leverage referrals but it takes a lot longer because you don't have the non-verbal cues that naturally come from live contact.

Instead I decided to offer a how-to workbook showing business owners how to create an "audio-logo"--a simple, conversational introduction they could use in situations in which they might be meeting prospective customers.

Most business owners I know struggle with introducing themselves in a way that tells the other person "this is who I help" without sounding like they're reading their "elevator" script.

Voilla, this is how my free workbook came about.

Key #3. Is a first Step (Not the Entire Solution)

It's important to offer a solution that is appropriate to the level of trust and commitment your intended user has with your business. It's meant to be an appetizer; not a meal

One of my clients offers money management services for people working in the arts many of whom find the topic of money boring, painful, and distasteful.

Rather than immediately ask them to get into the numbers, she created a fun, easy to do Money Beliefs Assessment. The assessment is light-hearted and empathetic AND anyone who takes the assessment will learn something important about how their money beliefs may be getting in the way of their success.

Key #4. Easy to Use So People Get Results

The reason you want to offer a first step to solving a common problem is you want to give your client an easy win.

Remember, the purpose of your product is to provide relief. If it doesn't help the person get some relief you hurt your credibility.

A product that gets used and produces results is more valuable than any claim you could make in your advertising.

When they get results what happens? They come back for more. They begin to trust you to help with their more complex problems. They feel safe to invest more time, effort, and money to work with you.

Bottom Line =============================================

If you are trying to build your email list, offering a free product with the subscription will help you attract subscribers faster than if you were offering the subscription alone.

The best product to give away with your subscription is one that:

* is easy to get online

* solves a problem that is common to most of your clients

* addresses the first step to solving that problem

* and is likely to produce a positive result

Judy Murdoch helps small business owners create low-cost, effective marketing campaigns using word-of-mouth referrals, guerrilla marketing activities, and selected strategic alliances. To download a free copy of the workbook, "Where Does it Hurt? Marketing Solutions to the problems that Drive Your Customers Crazy!" go to www.judymurdoch.com/workbook.htm You can contact Judy at 303-475-2015 or [email protected]

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