Why your content upgrade sucks (and how to fix it!)

content upgradeSo by now you would have heard from me (and most of the Internet) that offering some sort of opt in bribe or content upgrade on your blog (as a way of building your email list) is pretty important.

Hell, as far as most experts seem to be concerned it's right up there with breathing (if building a successful blog or online business is what you want to do).

But what you probably didn't know, is that creating an opt in bribe or content upgrade JUST to grow your email list is actually kind of a massive waste of time.

It's like buying (and building) a flat-packed treadmill, and never using it.

And it's also the reason so many opt in bribes do not get the results that most bloggers want.

Because think about it.

What you want isn't more subscribers.

What good are email subscribers? All they do really is make your Mail Chimp fees more expensive.

No, you don't want subscribers.

You want readers, or better yet fans, or even better again... customers.

Right?

But if you create your opt in bribe or content upgrade with the aim of just getting people on to your email list, you run the risk of either filling up your email list with the wrong sort of people (which gets expensive!), or missing out on the awesome opportunity to connect, engage and convert these 'slightly interested' readers into life-long, raving fans.

Because they've taken the first step, they've dipped the toe and shown a little interest in what you have to offer by offering up their email address in exchange for your goodies.

Now you need to not choke, and make sure they get the right kind of experience and value in return so that they keep on coming back again and again.

So, how do you make sure your opt in bribe is the kind that doesn't just attract a bunch of freeloading non-openers?

Well, you make sure you pick the right kind of freebie to match the bigger picture outcome that you want.

Certain types of content upgrades are really awesome for creating community, others work really well at driving sales, and then there are some that are just designed for making your content go viral.

So step one, is sitting down and figuring out what the #1 end-goal is for your content upgrade.

And step 2, is picking the best content upgrade option from my list below to match.

If your goal is... to get traffic

If growing your traffic is your goal, then you really can't go past the almost magically-magnetic (and very viral) powers of a quiz.

I mean, just look at sites like Buzzfeed.

They wouldn't exist if people didn't like to "find out" about different aspects of their personality, lives, jobs or circumstance (and then share those results with everyone they know!)

Things likes;

  • What kind of friend are you?
  • What is your work style?
  • Which types of excercise will work best for you?

And creating one of those quizzes is actually not hard at all (you can use this plugin, or this site), plus they have the added bonus of providing you with lots of amazing insights into your readers as well (which is all incredibly valuable stuff!).

Plus, if you are one of those clever cookies who understands behavioural tracking, tagging and list segmentation (if not don't stress, it's pretty advanced stuff!), then you can use all these awesome insights to make sure the content and offers you are sending to your readers is tailored to suit them.

If your goal is.... to increase engagement and community

If the number one thing you want more of on your blog is lots of lovely comments, and die-hard, repeat visitors. Then you my friend need to make your opt in bribe a value-packed challenge!

So just think about one key pain point of your readers, something that you can help them to over come (but some thing that can realistically be improved in 7-14 days!), and create a challenge around that thing.

And the best part of challenges is that you can keep re-running them over and over again if you create one that people like. So you keep reaping the rewards of your hard work over, and over again (you can even set them on auto pilot via an email automation if that works better for you as well!).

If your content upgrade goal is.... to sell an eBook

This should be pretty self explanatory, but hardly anyone does this so i am going to assume it's actually not.

But the best opt in bribe (if you want to then sell your new subscriber an eBook), is a sample chapter of that eBook.

And not just any old sample chapter, this chapter has to do two things.

1 - It has to solve a small problem in it's own right.

2 - It has to hint at the bigger problem that will be solved, or greater benefit they will get from reading the whole book (and then make it really easy and enticing for them to click and buy they real thing.)

If your goal is... to sell a bigger product or service

Then you're going to need to spend a bit more time creating this one (but the benefits will well out-weigh the hassle so it's all worth it trust me!).

Because the best way (right now) to sell a higher priced product or service, is with a free workshop or video course.

So this could be a live workshop you run each week, or it could be an evergreen recording (totally up to you).

But the reason that these work so well for not just helping to grow your list, but then also for turning those subscribers into sales, is that they give you the time to tick quite a few boxes in the sales process.

1 - They get to "meet" you, and get a real feel for who you are.

2 - You get to target people who are looking for the solution that your product or service offers (by creating your workshop around a similar theme)

3 - You get show them how rad you are, buy teaching them a few first steps along the way to solving that problem. This shows that they can trust you, and helps them to see that you can really help them too.

4 - You get the time to properly explain what your product is, how it helps people, and to personally invite them to join you if they think it's a good fit.

Runner up: If you're still a bit too chicken to jump right into running a live workshop or webinar, having a pre-recorded video workshop is also quite effective (just not AS effective). But it can be a great way to dip the toe, and when you are feeling more confident you can dive into the big, bad world of webinars later on.

TIP : Can't decide which on you should create? Then I would probably suggest the challenge. Because when you create an engaged community, the rest of the stuff (aka growing your traffic and selling your products and servies), is much, much easier too!

So? Over to you! What is your number one priority on your blog right now? And which opt in bribe is going to work best to help you reach that goal??

And PS - If you'd like a bit of help with how you set all this stuff up, we've just added a whole bunch of trainings, templates and tools on this very thing to the Blog Squad community. So make sure you click here so you can join us! 

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Showing 5 comments
  • Lauren
    Reply

    Ah! So
    Many good ones! I could see trying them all!

  • Lisa
    Reply

    Nicely broken down. Now I see how I’ve missed out on extra ebook sales – using the wrong opt in bribe.

  • ganesh
    Reply

    nice. i have missed also.thanks for this post.

  • Sarah
    Reply

    Perfect timing Kate this was my big challenge to think about for this week, this is a really helpful article. Thank-you

    • Maggie SBB
      Reply

      Love this, Sarah!

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