One of my blog-related goals this year was to figure out a simple way to offer readers and/or subscribers a free gift via a system I wouldn’t have to manage directly. I’m happy to report that I found two – one requires an email address, the other offers a free download to all. Either can be used to give away sample chapters, tutorials, freebies of all kinds. I’ll explain how both work in this post.
Add a download link to any website page or post
The simplest way to offer a free giveaway is to add a download link to any website page or post. Drawback: You won’t be building your mailing list. Benefit: More people will probably take you up on the offer. This might be a great way to find new readers: try offering a free short story or interview .pdf. Here’s how:
- Create a new post, or access the page where you want to add the downloadable file.
- Upload the .pdf to your media library.
- Insert the .pdf OR an alternate image into your post or page. Note: you can also create a .jpg image from your .pdf file and link the .pdf to it.
- Go to the .pdf’s media library upload page. Highlight and copy the file’s URL. If you use an image in your post or page, add a caption that says, “click on the image to download.”
- Back in your post or page, link the .pdf file’s URL to the verbiage or image you inserted. (Open in a new window!)
Use MailChimp’s opt-in process to offer a free download
My move to MailChimp provided an easy-peasy way to thank each new subscriber with a free download, and best of all I can do this using my free account. If you use MailChimp as your blog’s email subscriber tool (and this is just one more reason why you should) you’re going to love this.
When a subscriber opts-in to receive your blog posts, it’s pretty cool to offer a welcome gift, and it may also serve as an added incentive to subscribe. Like most bulk email vendors, MailChimp doesn’t allow you to send an attachment to any email, but they do let you upload a file to their servers that new subscribers can access and download. All you need to do is create a link to the file in your “final welcome” email, and MailChimp will take care of the rest.
Since my Twitter posts are fairly popular, I’ve opted to gift new subscribers with my Twitter Tip Sheet in. pdf format. I used InDesign to create my tip sheet, but you can use Word and export the document to .pdf.
Note: Per MailChimp: “We will host .pdfs, html documents, word documents, text files, vcards, images, and music files < 10mb. Avoid .exe or .dmg file types.”
How to ENABLE MailChimp’s final “welcome” email to new subscribers:
- Access your MailChimp dashboard, go to your Lists page, and click on the List you want.
- Click on Signup forms in the top menu, then choose the General forms option.
- In the “Forms and response emails” drop down menu, select the final “welcome” email (last entry under the first heading, “Subscribe”).
- In the next screen, be sure the box next to “Send a final welcome email” is checked.
Now you’re on the Build It tab and ready to add a link to your gift in your final “welcome” email:
- Scroll down and click inside the red dashed lines of the sample email template to access the edit tool.
- Add your text. Highlight a word or phrase and click on the link tool in the menu bar to link your gift file.
- You’ll be prompted to browse for the file and upload it to the MailChimp servers using this sequence: Insert/Edit link > Choose “File” from the drop-down menu > Click on “Browse for a file” > Click upload > Click Save now.
Test your work
To test the email and verify that your file is downloadable, you must go through the opt-in process yourself – that means subscribe to your blog. You can do this on your website, or use the link to your signup form provided on your MailChimp dashboard (Go to your Forms Page, Click on General Forms, then Click the Share it tab (far right mid-page above editor).
NOW, you need to place a message on your blog announcing your freebie. I use the WordPress “Notification Bar” plugin (scroll to the top of the page to see it), but you can simply add your text to a text widget. Here’s the message that appears at the top of my website: “Subscribe to my blog and get a FREE “Twitter Tips” sheet! Enter your email address here:”
Readers, do you have any suggestions about other options for offering a free giveaway? Please leave a comment and share!
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