7 Opt-In Freebie Mistakes Plus Tips on How To Avoid Them

7 Opt-In Freebie Mistakes Plus Tips on How To Avoid Them

You probably know that you should be creating opt-in freebies if you want to grow your email list, right? It’s the first step in email marketing.

You may hear these referred to as lead magnets or content upgrades. In either case, it’s simply a freebie you offer in exchange for someone’s email address. It could be a PDF guide, a video tutorial, or a helpful checklist. The main goal of a lead magnet is to capture leads so that you can eventually sell them your products or services.

Your lead magnet is one of the most valuable things in any online business. Whether you sell courses, digital products, or services, it will turn readers into subscribers and ultimately lead to more revenue!

Sadly, many business owners aren’t making the most of their opt-in freebies. And as a result, they miss out on a lot of potential customers and sales.

In this blog post, I share seven of the most common opt-in freebie mistakes I see. By avoiding these mistakes, you can create a lead magnet that’s effective at generating leads and boosting sales.

7 Opt-In Freebie Mistakes Plus Tips On How To Avoid Them - featured image

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link. For more information, see my full disclaimer here.

Mistake #1: Not Making Your Lead Magnet Relevant to Your Target Audience

Your lead magnet should be relevant to your target audience. That means it should be something that they would actually find useful and be interested in. So, for example, if you’re targeting new moms, then your content upgrade could be a PDF guide on how to get your baby to sleep through the night.

If your lead magnet isn’t relevant to your target audience, then it won’t be effective at generating leads. People won’t bother handing over their email address for something that they don’t think is valuable.

So make sure your opt-in is relevant to your target audience before you start promoting it.

How To Make Sure It’s Relevant to Your Target Audience

1. Figure out what your target audience wants

The first step to creating a relevant lead magnet is to figure out what your target audience wants. You can do this by conducting market research or surveying your potential customers.

Consider both the content and the type of freebie that will appeal to your target market. For example, if you’re targeting busy moms, then a helpful checklist or printable PDF would probably be more appealing than a long video course.

Or if new bloggers are your audience, then a short video series on how to start a blog would be relevant, while a guide to Facebook advertising might not be.

Once you know what your target audience wants, you can create an opt-in freebie that provides them with the information they are looking for.

Related post

If you want to know about researching your target audience, this post will help.

2. Make sure it’s specific

Another way to ensure that your content upgrade is relevant to your target audience is to make sure it is specific. If it’s too general, it won’t be as effective as one tailored to your target audience’s particular needs. So, be sure to include specific information that will be of value to your target audience.

For example, if you’re targeting people who want to get up earlier, then your lead magnet could be a checklist with tips on how to set up an evening routine.

Mistake #2: Not Having a Clear Business Purpose

Another mistake is not having a clear purpose for your opt-in freebie. Many businesses create opt-in freebies simply because they think it’s something they should do.

However, without a clear purpose, it’s tough to produce an effective freebie. Make sure that you have a specific reason for creating your opt-in freebie before you start working on it.

What do you want your new subscriber to do next? Does this opt-in help move them further along in your sales funnel?

Your lead magnet should have a clear purpose that aligns with your overall business goals. For example, if your goal is to increase digital product sales, then your freebie could be the first step in an email funnel leading to your digital product.

Mistake # 3: Not Making It Valuable Enough

A common mistake businesses make is not making their opt-in freebie valuable enough. Remember, your goal is to give away something your target audience will find useful. If your freebie isn’t valuable enough, people will likely just ignore it and never use it.

How To Make Sure Your Lead Magnet Is Valuable

1. Make it pretty

One way to increase the perceived value is to make it pretty. As one of my old bosses used to say, “appearance matters.”

The way you present your freebie can make or break it. If people are going to perceive what’s in it as valuable, then it needs to look good. So, if you’re offering a PDF guide, make sure the design is professional (templates are my favorite way to do this!).

One of my favorite tools is Canva. You can create beautiful visual content without having to be a professional designer or knowing how to use complicated design software (hello, Photoshop, I’m talking about you).

Ready to get started? Here are some free Canva templates that you can use to create your own content ugprades.

2. Make it actionable

Your lead magnet should be something that people can actually use. It should be actionable and provide value to your target audience.

For example, if you’re targeting businesses, your lead magnet could be a checklist or template they can use to improve their processes. If you’re targeting individuals, your lead magnet could be a guide that helps them solve a specific problem.

Also, keep in mind that valuable doesn’t mean bigger or longer. A lead magnet can be short and sweet and still be valuable.

Keep in mind that valuable doesn't mean bigger or longer. A lead magnet can be short and sweet and still be valuable.

Which takes us to mistake #4. . .

Mistake #4: Making It Too Long or Complicated

Another mistake businesses make is making their opt-in freebie too long or complicated.

You might think that a 50-page ebook would be perfect, but in reality, people are much more likely to opt-in for a 5-page report or workbook.

Remember, people are generally busy and don’t have a lot of time to waste on something that isn’t easy to understand or use. If your freebie is too long or complicated, people will likely give up and never use it.

So keep it focused. Don’t try to stuff too much information into your lead magnet. Instead, pick one specific topic and stick to it. The more focused your lead magnet is, the more valuable it will be to your target audience.

And keep it simple. The more complex your lead magnet, the less likely people will actually use it. So again, keep your lead magnet focused on one specific topic and avoid adding too much unnecessary information.

Mistake #5: Not Promoting Your Lead Magnet Enough

Once you’ve created your lead magnet, you need to start promoting it!

Unfortunately, a lot of business owners make the mistake of assuming that people will naturally find their lead magnet and sign up for it. But unless you actively promote your lead magnet, that’s not going to happen.

There are a few different ways that you can promote your lead magnet. For example, you can add it to your website using an opt-in form, promote it on social media, or even run ads for it. The key is to test out different promotion strategies and see what works best for your business.

Mistake # 6: Not Testing the Tech

Before you launch your opt-in freebie, it’s important to test your opt-in form first to ensure it works as intended. There’s nothing worse than launching a new opt-in freebie only to find out later that it has major problems.

First, make sure the opt-in form displays correctly on your website. If they have to click a link for it to appear, make sure the link works.

Then, complete the form yourself and make sure everything flows correctly. Make sure your tools are communicating as they should. For example:

  • Is the form connected to your email service provider?
  • Does the correct thank-you page display?
  • Is the freebie actually delivered?

It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s critical to double-check everything before you launch. Otherwise, you risk losing potential email list subscribers. So it’s better to work out the kinks at the beginning.

Mistake #7: Not Following Up With Your Leads

Finally, one of the biggest mistakes I see business owners making is not following up with their leads after they’ve signed up for their lead magnet. Just because someone has subscribed to your email list doesn’t mean they’re going to buy from you right away. In fact, most people need to be nurtured over time before they’re ready to make a purchase.

The best way to nurture your leads is by sending them emails with valuable content.

Create an automated email series (aka welcome sequence) that goes out to new subscribers. You can send them helpful information and links to resources (even affiliate links!) over the course of a few weeks.

By staying in touch with your leads, you’ll be more likely to convert them into customers down the road.

Another way to nurture leads is to provide access to a subscriber-only Facebook group. This is an excellent way to stay in touch with your audience and build a sense of community with potential customers.

Seven Opt-In Freebie Mistakes-blog list

Bonus Tips To Create Effective Opt-In Freebies

Give It an Irresistible Title

Your title should be catchy and accurately reflect your lead magnet’s content. A good title will make people want to click through and read your lead magnet, even if they’re not fully sold on signing up for your email list yet.

Include a Call-to-Action

Your lead magnet should have a clear call to action, telling people what they need to do next. For example, if the next step in your funnel is a product purchase, you can include a call-to-action page that makes the offer.

Or maybe you want them to connect with you on social media. You could include a link to your Instagram and ask them to tag you in a post.

Whatever the next step is, make sure it’s clear to your reader.

Write a Clear, Compelling Headline for Your Opt-In Page

In addition to an irresistible title for the freebie itself, you also want a clear headline for your opt-in page (or form). Your headline should be clear, concise, and to the point. It should accurately reflect the content of your lead magnet and make people want to sign up for it.

Make It Easy To Understand

Lastly, make sure that your opt-in freebie is easy for people to use.

That means using simple language and clear instructions throughout. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that people might not understand.

And be sure to proofread your freebie before making it available to ensure there are no errors or typos.

Avoid These Opt-In Freebie Mistakes

Hopefully, this post has helped clear up some confusion about lead magnets and how they work! Remember, if you want your lead magnet to be effective,

  • make sure it’s relevant to your target audience,
  • promote it actively
  • and follow up with your leads after they subscribe.

Avoiding these common mistakes will put you one step closer to a successful email strategy for your business!

Don’t forget to grab these free Canva templates that you can use to create your own content ugprades!


What are some opt-in freebie ideas?

If you’re not sure what kind of opt-in freebie to create, here are some ideas to get you started: eBook, checklist, cheat sheet, resource list, and templates. For a comprehensive list with examples, check out this post: 29 Content Upgrade Ideas.

What makes an effective lead magnet?

An effective lead magnet is relevant to your target audience and provides value. It should be something that they can use in their business or personal life. Additionally, it should be actionable and have a clear business purpose.

How can I promote my opt-in freebie?

There are many ways you can promote your opt-in freebie. First, include a link to it in your email signature. Add links to your popular blog posts. You can also share it on social media and run ads for it. If you already have an email list, you can promote it to your subscribers. And finally, you can reach out to influencers in your industry and ask them to promote it to their audience.

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