If you are new to list building, you may not understand why everyone gives something away for free in exchange for joining their list. You may be concerned that building a list of “freebie seekers” will lead to weak sales and profits. By the way, that is a valid concern, it can and does happen.
After all, if you spend a lot of time and effort creating a fantastic piece of content, why should you give it away? Why not sell it? The answer lies in how the human brain works when you receive a gift.
If you have ever received something unexpectedly from someone else, even a stranger, you probably felt a sense of gratitude. You are thankful for that person’s actions. Studies show that this also engenders a feeling of respect and admiration for the gift giver.
Your brain is hardwired to respond in a favorable way. Subconsciously, without even knowing it, your brain will start looking for opportunities to repay that person. This is called the Law of Reciprocity. When you receive something, either virtual or physical, without having to pay for it in some way, you automatically feel like you “owe” that person something.
This is why you absolutely must give away valuable content, or physical products, to build your email list. You are starting off the relationship by giving away something for free, without asking for a sale or commitment. This is why people are more than happy to join your email list in return for something they see as more valuable than their email address.
It is up to you to make sure that that resource, e-book, checklist or physical product is extremely valuable. Yes, give away for free, your best stuff. Make sure it solves a big problem in your prospect’s life. Your new list member will feel a sense of gratitude and respect for you and will be more likely to reciprocate with a purchase in the future when you offer a problem-solving resource for free.
Don’t worry, valuable free resources and pieces of content are easy to develop. Remember, you are viewed as the expert. You probably know more about your market or niche that 99% of your prospects and clients. In a text editor like Word or OpenOffice, create a checklist, beginners guide or short report.
Make it relevant to your area of expertise, and save it as a PDF. If you can shoot a short video (keep it under 2 minutes for high viewability), even better. Integrate this with your autoresponder and web properties, and there you have it – a new, free product to give away to your list!