How to Set up a Subscriber Freebie and Grow Your Email List

The best way to grow your blog is to ensure that you have an email list and to have multiple optin opportunities for your readers to sign up for your list. You can slap a webform up in your sidebar but if you’re wondering why no one is signing up for your list, it’s because you haven’t given them a reason to. They can always come back to your blog to read your new posts. What will make them sign up for your email list? Add a subscriber freebie or incentive to help them become subscribers with no hesitation.

Need help gaining new email subscribers? These tips on how to set up a subscriber freebie with Mailchimp and Mad Mimi will save you tons of time. The best way to grow your blog is to ensure that you have an email list and to have multiple optin opportunities for your readers to sign up for your list.

Ideas for subscriber incentives

It doesn’t have to be a huge project, you can offer a checklist or anything that would entice your ideal reader.

  • short ebook
  • compilation of 5 posts
  • checklist
  • printable
  • report
  • list post – ie Top 10 reasons to use coconut oil daily

Whatever incentive you decide to create, be sure it is something that your ideal reader would want. If you have an educational blog but offer recipes, readers that want your recipes will unsubscribe once your newsletters arrives. They did not come to your blog to read about recipes, they want educational ideas. Stick to your primary blog topics. What do you write about often?

You can use Word or Pages for Mac to create your freebie. Before I had Indesign I used Publisher to create my printables. It doesn’t have to be flashy, it doesn’t have to be perfect, you just have to get it up on your site. Be sure to save your freebie as a pdf. I know in Word, under save as, you’ll see the option to save as a PDF document. This ensures that the formatting will stay consistent on all devices and it can be printable as well.

If you’re not ready to jump into a paid option to deliver your subscriber incentives like Leadpages, you can still do this with your mailing list service provider ie. Mad Mimi or Mailchimp.

How to add the subscriber freebie to your site

Upload the freebie via the media uploader to your site, click on the file, and make note of the file url which will end in a .pdf format.

post.php (2)

Create a new password protected page to house your freebie. If you don’t protect your freebie page, it can be found on your site via your search bar. You don’t want readers to be able to find this freebie on their own, it should only be for your subscribers.

I like to create an image of the freebie and then link the image to the media file, the url that you grabbed from the media library.

To create a password page, on the right hand side of the dashboard, if you click on edit beside visibility, you’ll see the option drop down that shows password protected.

post.php (1)

Add the link and password of the page you’ve create to the thank you email in your email list

In Mailchimp

  1. Create a new list – give a name and add your email info
  2. Click on Lists
  3. Click on the dropdown menu beside STATS and click on sign up forms
  4. Select General forms
  5. Decide what fields you’ll have in your optin form, I usually like to have Name and Email but you could have email only
  6. Select sign up thank you page from the drop down menu
  7. Add the url of the password protected page you just created
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Here you can edit the message your subscribers receive and add the link to your password protected page and include the password as well.

An alternative would be to link to the freebie in the media file or to your dropbox. I prefer to get readers back onto my site.

In Mad Mimi

  1. After you’ve created your list go to webform
  2. Click Edit
  3. Click on Advanced
  4. Click on Activation Message and add a personalize message including the password to your freebie page. Let them know that they’ll be taken there after the confirm their email.
  5. Add the url of your password protected page to the activation landing page
  6. Save it (1)

Hooray! You’ve now set up your subscriber freebie, you’ll need to be sure to add the webform to your site so that you can start to capture emails. Be sure that this works correctly by signing up for your own newsletter. You want to see what your readers see.

Also, read my posts on How to Increase Your Email Subscribers and look at the other posts in my series – Best Ways to Grow Your Blog.


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  1. Thank you so much for posting this! Also, I have a question and I know it might sound stupid but just so I don’t mess it up, to put your freebie on your website do you go to add a page or add a post? Or am I just missing something? But seriously, I’ve been looking for a tutorial like this as well and I am very happy to find it!

    1. You can do either, if you want to create a page where you just promote your email list, that can be a page. If you want to add a content that is a related to a post you have written, you can do that too. Up to you.

  2. So, I just set this up for my subscribers, and a friend of mine who is subscribed to my list emailed back and loved the resources, BUT she mentioned they were so good she was going to share the resources I just made for only my subscribers with some of her friends.

    How do you handle these situations? Do you just not worry about it at all? Do you ask the person who outright says this to instead ask her friends to subscriber since these resources were created as a gift for subscribers only?

    1. These are your resources, I would make sure all of your resources have your copyright in the bottom corner of each of your printables to ensure they cannot be shared without your watermark. You can tell her that you’re flattered and give her that landing page for your subscriber freebie so that they can sign up to your email list rather than her sharing your pdfs directly.

  3. Hi,
    Great post! I just have a quick question – what if someone has already subscribed to receive a freebie, but they want to access another freebie you offer later on? I found that if you have subscribed, you can’t then subscribe again, so while this would grow your email list, it won’t allow regular visitors to access all the offered freebies. How would you get around this issue?

    1. You’d set up an automation to deliver that freebie, in Convertkit they make it super easy to use the incentive email to deliver the freebie or you get create an automation with one email that delivers the pdf. I’d set it so it could run more than once so ppl could get it if they signed up again.

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