But free ebooks are not without their problems, least of which is that they take time or money (or both) to create. Even a short 10-20 page ebook needs to be written, edited, designed, and promoted, and those tasks take time, and you may have to hire people to help you.
Although I do still encourage you to give away an ebook to entice people to sign up for your mailing list, this isn’t your only option. Here are three other techniques I’ve successfully used to collect email addresses:
1. Offer content you can’t find on your blog.
Lots of people use their email lists to promote content from their blog, as well as to drive sales. There’s nothing wrong with either of these options, but you can also drive sign-ups by promising (and delivering) special content only available to subscribers.
You still have to create content this way. However, instead of the daunting task of writing an entire ebook, you can split that content creation into smaller, more manageable chunks.
What kind of content can you create? Here are just a few of your options:
- E-courses, distributed over multiple weeks
- Blog posts that aren’t found on your blog (or that are behind a membership wall)
- Outtakes or bloopers from videos you’ve created
- Additional questions and answers from interviews you’ve done
- Podcasts to go along with your blog content
Let your imagination run wild!
2. Give subscribers special access to you via email.
If you create great content online, you’ll start to get requests and questions from readers. Instead of giving away a free ebook, instead offer special access to you for anyone who signs up for your email list. Maybe you set up a forum for subscribers to ask you questions. Maybe you hold weekly or monthly conference calls with subscribers. Maybe you do a drawing every month and pick one lucky subscriber to receive a free consulting session with you. Again, get creative and think about what you have that is high value and that you can give away for free.
3. Offer a workbook that outlines your personal process.
We all have step-by-step processes for completing tasks. You can write a how-to for your blog, but also consider creating a workbook (or individual pages) for your readers. As opposed to an ebook, workbooks have a lot of blank space to give your readers space to record their ideas or complete tasks, so they aren’t as much work on your end while still being as long as an ebook.
If you don’t currently have an email list, I hope this post has inspired you to start building one even if you don’t have time to produce an ebook. You can get started with an email list right now and develop the ebook later.