Tell me what’s the purpose of a good opt-in/freebie?

Get the damn email address so that you can sell them later. That’s it. Right?


It not the ONLY purpose.

The concept of freebie or opt-ins is based on the principle of psychology called ‘Reciprocity’.

The Principle of Reciprocity is mentioned in the popular book ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’ by Robert Cialdini.

A freebie has deeper benefits than just capturing their email addresses

In this article, you’ll get some amazing email list building tips that you can implement right now.

Before I tell you the 7 mistakes you unknowingly make with your opt-in/ freebie let’s find out the full potential of a freebie.

1- You Can Ask a Favor Immediately

How did you like our new shampoo?

Do you remember big companies giving away small sachets of shampoo or that free scoop of ice cream in the ice cream parlor or the guy approaching you for your details for an opportunity to win the ticket to Paris?

These are the freebies/ lead-magnet (whatever you call) based on the principle of reciprocity. refers to an auto-trigger in our brains for paying back the favor one receives. 

The Principle of Reciprocity says that if you make a favor to someone then the other person is bound to return the favor. 

This principle is one of the strongest principles of the psychology of persuasion that is hard to avoid or breach.

So, if you think you have done a great job at helping your visitors solve a problem, then asking small favor at the end is no harm.

This is how Meera Kothand ends her freebies.

You can ask them to share/ send their queries or any other action of your choice.

2- Free Taster

Your freebie is not a lame trick to snag their email ids for your benefit.

Let me share a small story here-

Once I received three small pouches (free sample) of a new shampoo in the market. Not just me, but my whole family and friends were amazed to see my hair after I used that free sample. But, the quality of the shampoo that I received after paying money was not as good.

Still, I did not dump the product.

 You know why?

Because of the Principle of Commitment and Consistency.

This principle says that ‘we tend to be consistent with what we have already done. Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with the commitment.’ 

And, Commitment is a valued trait. People do not respect those who change their stand often.

This is not something we do intentionally. It is ingrained in our value system and DNA.

I was an 11-year-old girl at that time much younger to think about the principle of commitment and consistency knowingly. It was natural.

So, there are super-high chances that they will stay with you further if the first impression is good.

This is your first chance to woo them and awe them. Therefore, your freebie should be no less than your paid products.

3- Trust and Authority

You build trust and authority with a good freebie.

Your freebie is the first micro-commitment from your readers- their first ever transaction on your site, make it flawless. 

The five-step buyer-interaction-framework explains the various touch-points of your site.

If you overdeliver the first time they’ll see you as an expert and this is how you’ll start building trust.

Email List Building Tips: 7 Reasons why your email list is not growing?

1- You have E-Book as a Lead Magnet

I am starting with a controversial one.

Many gurus recommend having a professionally designed in-depth ebook as a lead magnet.

You put in a great effort, overloaded it with information, made it beautiful and shine, just to find that no one is downloading it.

It WILL NOT convert unless you’re an established authority in your field and people fall for your content.

Reason being 

1- There is enough information on the internet which is free and doesn’t require their email. Inbox is supposedly the most sacred space we religiously check every morning. I personally do not compromise my email address if I think I can do without it.

2- It becomes overwhelming for the user and difficult to consume

Instead of bombarding them with information and knowledge think of a small-win.

Just one thing that they can quickly do and solve ONE problem. 

It could be as small as an SEO checklist or a small worksheet where she can plan out her blog posts. Simple, but practical and helpful (more than just information and knowledge).

2- Your ONLY Focus is Conversion

Common don’t hide this. I’ve been tracking conversions too. 

What’s wrong with it?

Nothing, if it is NOT the ONLY focus.

Out of many freebies, the one which was converting the best on my site wasn’t moving a needle for me.


You came to know that a particular type of freebie converts rapidly you created a similar one for your audience. Guess, what it worked! So, what’s the problem?

Problem comes when 

  • It is not connected to any of your categories and the paid offer
  • You attract freebie hoarders

Focus on creating a freebie that is tied to any of your blog categories. 

You can see how to plan your categories and subcategories.

Enjoying list building tips? I’m sure you’ll definitely enjoy 

11 Content Marketing Mistakes that kill your blog before you launch it

See How these Mompreneurs are successfully monetizing their blogs

If you’re a newbie, you’ll love this post –

6 hacks (you can implement today!) to rank higher on Google.

3- Your Freebie is Hidden in Dust and Ashes.

Have you heard of banner blindness?

Yes, it is real. People are blind to banners. 

We put one in the sidebar one in the footer, one at the top. Right?

Here’s how we see a webpage- 

See how Crystal Paine from Money saving Mom put her freebie right in front of your eyes and focus. It’s hard to miss.

This is not the only place where your freebie will get noticed. Here are some places where freebies convert well.

In the post

Mention it at several places in the blog post- as an image, content box, text-link.

In one of my posts, I have a checklist as a content upgrade. Not only I have an image for it but I have also included two/ three text nudges inside the post.

In ‘About Me’ Page

Disclaimer: shamelessly presenting one more example from my own site. 

Your ‘About Me’ page is one of the most visited pages especially if you are in a growing phase. Make sure to optimize it with your freebie.


Above the fold

Okay, enough of narcism. Let’s look at some good examples. you can place it above the fold (the area of the website visible without scrolling down). See how Elna has it BOLD and CLEAR on her site. How can you ignore this? 

Top header and an exit popup work equally well.

We discussed banner blindness, right? But that doesn’t mean you can’t have your lead form in the sidebars. What it all means is don’t rely completely on the sidebars, navigation, and footer.


See how Melyssa Griffin uses it twice on a sidebar on her blog. 

In the header

Yes, you can have it in the main menu. Many bloggers have a resource library link in their main menu.

Still hungry for some more list building tips? Read on.

4- No Authority in that Niche

Imagine how will a finance-management website selling diapers look?

Even if you had to buy diapers you’ll not be able to have confidence in her words and bet your money on her suggestion.


Because she did not show any subject matter expertise on the website (even if she knew in real).

So, have a broader theme of your website and all the categories and sub-categories should sink in one. If you have just one freebie then it can be from the main theme or any one of the niches.

5- Your Freebie does not Solve a REAL Problem.

I know it’s hard to hear, but I’ll fail in my duty if I do not put in front of you.

What type of pain your freebie is solving?

Is it an aching head or a bleeding neck?

If it is something they can choose not to do anything about, then you are not solving a problem.

Here’s one from SmartMomBlogger. The very basic reason one starts a blog and for that matter any online business- earning money. It pains when one fails to make a single penny even after putting in many efforts. Candis provides affiliate marketing tips on her blog and her freebie title is so tempting! I believe she’s solving a real problem.

6- Trying to Kill Two/Three/Ten birds?


Your freebie is not the place to flaunt your diverse knowledge and portray yourself as a one-stop solution to all their problems.

‘ A comprehensive guide to cooking, parenting and saving money while traveling.’ – I will not mention the blogger, but this is something I can’t buy.

This is wider even beyond what I meant by killing multiple birds at the same time.

Think of just ONE specific problem and try to help them achieve their goal with it.

Eg, The Ultimate guide to growing your Pinterest followers by 1000 in one week.

The day e-mail course to creating feminine blog post images in Canva.

7- Not Promoting it Enough

This is another big mistake. We promote the post that has a content-upgrade but not the freebie separately.

I create separate pins for my freebies that are hosted on a landing page. You never know what picks up when. One of my freebie pins suddenly picked up and in no time got saved by 16 ppl. If your audience has enough followers even one pin-share can get you hundreds of website visits.

This brings me to the next point-

Pro Tip: No Landing Page

You don’t host your freebies on a separate landing page.

Before I tell you ‘why’, let me say, you don’t need to host every freebie on a landing page but the ones that are doing good. They definitely deserve this special treatment.

I recommend hosting your freebie on a landing page because a landing page is free of distractions you have enough space to convince the visitor and there is just ONE Call to action that she cannot miss out.

I use Convertkit to create beautiful landing pages in minutes. In this article, I have shared my personal story of switching from MailChimp (that ONE reason that made me take the decision in a jiffy).

To Conclude:

I’m sure you have enough email list building tips that you’re ready to implement today. Do share in comments if you have any queries or wins. I would love to hear them. 🙂