How To Build Your Mailing List with Freebies and 15 Ideas to Get Started


Having an email list is so so SO important. I talked about why and how to get started in this blog so if you haven’t read that start here!

So you set up Convert Kit, but now it’s time to actually get people on the list here’s how you can do it.

  1. Post About Your Newsletter

    Letting your audiences on social channels know that your mailing list exists is a great way to get started. I’d recommend getting clear on exactly what the benefits of your list are and using those as your selling points. Will your subscribers get early access to content? Will they get unique content? First dibs on new products? Exclusive discounts? You get to decide what goes into your newsletter but make sure it’s worth while for someone to hand over their email address because that is a big commitment! It’s like second base of your online connection.

  2. Set up a Subscription Box on Your Website

    This doesn’t have to be anything fancy! Usually you have to insert a bit of code that your email service provider will give you. You can put the subscription box on your home page with a call to action such as “join the list”, “free tips weekly” or “subscribe for _____”. This way anyone coming to your site will see right away that you have a mailing list that they are going to get some benefit from and hopefully sign up!

  3. Create A Freebie

    A freebie is something that they can download or have access to that will entice them in exchange for their email. It may also be referred to as a lead magnet. There are lots of different forms of free downloads and lead magnets so I’m going to run through some examples with you. Some of these options definitely require more work than others so just start with where you will comfortable! I’m going to break it down into 4 lead magnet categories - PDF, Video/Audio, Graphic and Other.


PDF Freebies

Generally simple, text-based documents

i) A Step-by-Step - A 1-2 page pdf that walks them through exactly how to do something step-by-step.

ii) A Mini Ebook - A 7+ page ebook with valuable content that makes sense for your audience. Maybe recipes, or a detailed how-to document

iii) A Checklist - These can be anything from grocery lists, to a list for cleaning the house. I have one called a Personal Branding Photoshoot Checklist for example

iv) Case Study - This would again be a 1-3 page document that introduces your case, outline the plan you put in place and then highlights the results

v) Worksheet - A fill in the blanks page to help your viewer take action right away!

vi) Resource List - A simple 1 page list of tools or resources that have improved your life in some category whether it’s in business, in the kitchen, or in organization for example.

vii) Cheat Sheet - This is your Cole’s notes version of something you learned. Because you are getting straight to the point it requires the reader to take trusting action. But it also takes the guess work out of it for them. You are going to lay out exactly how you did something so they could blindly follow it with no other knowledge and get similar results.


viii) Mini Video Training Course - you can send this out through a series of emails or host it on your website protected by a password that they will receive through email.

ix) Exclusive Audio Training - If video isn’t your thing try recording a few 5-7 minute lessons and using those as your lead magnet.

x) Live Training - A live training also known as a webinar can also be a great lead magnet especially if you have a product or service to sell at the end that relates to the free training. These require a lot of work in advance so just keep that in mind!

xi) Free 15 Minute Call with You - Consultation calls are an amazing way to build rapport with a potential client. They get to hear you speak first hand about your services and how passionate you are about them and you get to set the tone for what it’s like to work with you.


xii) Stock Photos - If you’re a photographer and you’re always shooting things that never even seem to see the light of day because you tuck them away in a file on your computer but they aren’t actually client photos then stock photos could be an awesome option for you! I’d create a bank of 10-25 photos that makes sense for your ideal customer. If you do female branding shoots for example then I’d curate a folder with desk flatlays and coffee shop set ups. By showing your audience what you can do and giving them some free content to up their Insta game they are sure to work with you!

xiii) Wall Paper - Desktop and iPhone wall papers are so fun! Encourage your audience to sign up for your list in exchange for a weekly or monthly wallpaper that you’ve photographed or designed!


xiv) Wait List - Wait lists are great for a product that is going to be released in the future. You’ll want to segment these people within your mailing list as a way to make a note to yourself that they are looking for more information about the product when it launches so don’t forget to set that up on the back end!

xv) Quiz - Last but definitely not least is a quiz! Quizzes are fun! I know you’ve been scrolling on facebook and then you see a quiz for “Which Friends Character Are You?” or “Which Pizza Represents Your Personality” and before you know it you’re Rachel Green and you’re running out the door to live your best Jennifer Aniston life with a slice of ham and pineapple in hand. As far as a lead magnet goes using a Quiz helps you gather valuable information about your audience. Once you have the results you can segment people based on how they answered the questions. In exchange for their email they get the answers to your quiz.


Tips for a Good Lead Magnet

So I just gave you 15 ideas for a lead magnet! That’s a lot. Start by picking one that makes sense for your business and then keep these things in mind.

-You want your audience to say “wow this is so good I would have paid for this”, or at least be very satisfied with the information you’re giving them.

-You need to create a landing page that is easy to follow with no distractions, you don’t want any other links back to your blog or to your Instagram, just focus on the freebie

-And lastly, make sure it aligns with your product. You want this to be a stepping stone to someone buying from you!

Okay let’s summarize:

Step 1 - Get set up with a mailing list, like I mentioned before I use Convert Kit

Step 2 - Decide what the biggest plus to being on your newsletter list is

Step 3 - Talk about it on social

Step 4 - Decide on 1-2 freebies that make sense for your audience and product and create them!

Step 5 - Set up a landing page that doesn’t have any other links on it, just a CTA for the freebie

Step 6 - Make sure the people who download your freebie are being segmented in the back end of your ConvertKit or MailChimp etc. so you know who downloaded it and you can retarget them

Step 7 - Send people to you Free downloads consistently through Pinterest, your IG bio link, blog posts and maybe even a Facebook ad if you really have things on lock down!

Lead Magnets do take a lot of work in the beginning but once you have your systems in place you will continue to reap the benefits over and over and build out that list!

Go get em tiger!



Johanna Adriaansen