This post is the second in my free series on Landing Pages that Convert. Click here to check out Part I: The One Thing that’s More Important than Traffic – everything in this post will make more sense if you start there.
(Quick glossary note for this post: I say “opt-in content” while lots of other people say “freebie,” “giveaway,” “bribe,” etc. They’re all the same thing: some kind of content that I offer you in exchange for your email address, because we all know that a “get on my newsletter” call-to-action ain’t gonna cut it these days.)
Before you even start putting together a landing page, ask yourself this question:
“The free opt-in content I’m offering here – is it an aspirin or a vitamin?”
Just because your landing page has the word “FREE” on it doesn’t mean I’m necessarily going to bite. I’m on so many email lists now that my default answer is “no” when I’m faced with another opt-in form.
But if what you have to offer can alleviate some “pain” in my life or my business, then you’re basically handing me a free aspirin. And that’s exactly what I want: something to help the pain go away. (Cue those entrepreneurial tears!) So I’ll gladly
do whatever it takes give you my email address to get it.
That’s not always going to be the case, though. Maybe what you’re offering is really extraordinary, but it doesn’t jump out at me as the solution to a problem I’m dealing with right now. I can see how it might strengthen my business in some way, but I can live without it for now. (For example, this is how I feel about a website redesign at the moment.) In other words, your opt-in content is a vitamin: it’s a smart move to take it, but it won’t make the ache right behind my eyes go away anytime soon.
What kind of aspirin can you create for your target audience?
If you’re putting together what you hope to be a serious list builder, stop for a minute and consider this:
“Does what I’m offering truly solve an existing problem for my ideal customer?”
I strongly encourage you to take this question to other people; the hard work you’ve already put into creating this content may cloud your ability to answer this honestly.
Here are some examples of my own pain points in business and in life. I’d love to find an “aspirin” for:
- my overflowing inbox (it totally distracts me from getting far more important things done in my business)
- my shitty posture (which results in real pain)
- the lack of black beans and salsa in Buenos Aires
- comparison-itis (I actually don’t believe this can be cured without serious mindset work – BORING)
- my inability to find quality clothing where I live
Truth time: as I wrote out this list, each one had me thinking either “there’s no way anything free is going to solve this for me” or “I would pay someone big money to just handle this” (especially the salsa problem).
So keep in mind that people might be very skeptical about the effectiveness of your “aspirin.” You’ll need some great copy on your landing page to convince me (more on that later in this series).
“But Claire . . . everything I can think to offer people is more like an vitamin.”
If that’s what you’re thinking, then you’re being too hard on yourself. You started your business because you knew you had a product or service that people would LOVE. That means they have problems that you know how to solve and solve well! But what is true is that there’s no way to create something that EVERYONE will be chomping at the bit to sign up for.
My recommendation is to take your idea and see if there’s a way to make it extreeeeeemely specific. You don’t have to give me The Key to Success in a 3-page PDF. In fact, my Skeptic Alarm would probably start blaring if your landing page promised me that much. But if you can actually help me with one thing, even if it’s really tiny, I’m going to remember you for it. I’m also more likely to talk about you and your work when I come across other people who are struggling with the same thing.
One Man’s Vitamin is Another Man’s Aspirin
Don’t forget that you’re not in the business to make everyone’s headaches go away – that would be impossible. And even if your free content is unbelievably amazing, it’s simply not going to be perceived as an aspirin by every single visitor to your landing page.
Let me tell you about two dramatically different pieces of free content that have surprisingly impacted my life:
Becca Tracey’s “Uncaged Lifers” Facebook group.
The day after I was fired from my never-would-have-quit-it job, I was FRANTIC. And DEVASTATED. And completely lost about how I was going to pay back my student loans and afford my wedding just 6 months away.
I have no idea how I came across Becca’s site and her group, but it felt like a lifeboat. I clamored aboard and within 24 hours I had paid Becca $150 in a pre-sale for her product Hey, Nice Package. (<– FYI: that’s an affiliate link.)
Here’s the context behind this salvation moment: I hadn’t really discovered the Facebook-group-as-support-system thing until I joined Becca’s group. The only business-related group I was in at the time was attached to the company that had just let me go. I wasn’t about to start looking for help, friends or new clients in there.
So at the time, the Uncaged Lifers group was a big fat aspirin for me that helped ease some of the “holy shit what do I do now?” aches and pains.
Erin Stutland’s Free Workout MP3
Erin was my very first client in my Facebook ads side business. I stumbled upon her website, was impressed by the quality of her sales video, and I emailed her just to tell her how much I liked what she had going on. She was intrigued by my background and asked if I would help her with some Facebook ads. Everything took off from there.
But that initial email happened before I bothered to download her free mp3. Mostly just bored of sitting in my apartment all day, I put it on my phone and went out for a walk around my neighborhood. And soon I seriously couldn’t believe what was happening in my eardrums.
Erin’s free playlist is 20-25 minutes of fantastic, upbeat workout music overlaid with Erin leading you through mantras. I don’t work out almost ever, but if I do, I am always listening to this playlist. When I finally started saying the mantras out-loud during these workouts, I saw changes in my life almost immediately. I was a total non-believer in the power of manifesting, but Erin converted me to a crazy fanatical follower almost instantly. Her online workouts are amazing, too – check them out here.
This is an example of a “vitamin” that I was extremely reluctant to take, one that ended up solving some huge problems I didn’t even know I had. The quality of her free content turned me into a true fan immediately, and becoming a paying customer was a no brainer.
Get More Inspiration from Other Free Opt-In Content I Love
Here’s a short list of some of the best free content I’ve stumbled across on the web:
- Nathalie Lussier’s 30 Day List Building Challenge
- Hélène Scott’s Brand on Purpose
- Pernille Norregaard’s Ready to Write Meditation
- Makenna Johnson’s The Bliss Brigade (here’s a fascinating conversation about why this works so well)
- Fizzle’s Just Ship It Challenge
- Shawn Driscoll’s Trailblazer Quotient (this one was another game changer for me)
One Last Thing
I hope this goes without saying, but the quality of your free content is extremely important. If your landing page makes me believe that your free guide or MP3 or whatever is going to help me overcome a really serious obstacle in my life, I’m gonna jump at it and sign up. But then you gotta actually deliver on that promise.
You don’t have to give me an entire free course that you could sell for $200, but don’t entice me with a free training video with bad audio that’s vague and barely worth my time. Because I will not forget that you wasted my time.
Your free content is often my first impression of you and your business. Help to guide me through the Know, Like and Trust process by wowing my pants off. When I suddenly found myself in the ocean of full-time entrepreneurship, I immediately got my free guide to Facebook ads redesigned. Not only is it a free step-by-step walkthrough of your next Facebook ad campaign, but it’s also very pleasing to the eye. And now it gets shared all over the place, which is how I’ve managed to achieve pretty rapid growth in my business since then. (My go-to graphic designer and illustrator is Vanesa Souss. Get in touch and tell her I said hi!)
So spend some time and maybe money on your opt-in content – the right investment in this area of your business could pay off BIG time with a list that grows exponentially.