There are two camps when it comes to what Seth Godin calls the “ethical bribe”.
Some people believe that by providing an incentive for people to sign up for your list, you attract the wrong crowd: those in it just to receive the freebie, and nothing more.
Others (the majority) believe that, if done right, your sign up incentive significantly increases the odds that a new visitor will take the tentative–but all important–first step in investing in you and your content.
Reading your posts, sharing them with their following, or leaving a comment on your blog are all small ways that your reader is confirming their interest and your relevance.
But handing over an email address is a bigger commitment to you and the work you are sharing. By allowing you direct access to their inbox, your reader is affirming that a certain level of trust has been established and that they are willing to hear more.
The “right” opt-in
- removes a barrier to action (“Should I trust this person with my email address?”)
- reduces the potential risk for your reader (“Wow, she’s giving this away for free?”)
- and persuades people to take the next step: joining your community.
Here on YWP, I waited about a year before I created my email sign up incentive. In hindsight, that was probably about 9 months too long. 😉
Within the first three months of starting this site, I already knew what would be an ideal incentive, because every second or third email I received was from writers asking this basic question: “I know I need to build my writer platform, but where do I start?”
I had been steadily growing my list over that period, but once I finally took the time to create and make available the free ebook, The Quick Start Guide to Building Your Writer Platform, my email list sign ups have almost doubled! That’s thousands of email subscribers lost because I was dragging my feet.
Do you see how important it is to start now rather than waiting? [Read more…]