One of my coaches is encouraging me to increase my engagement by offering something. You know, the ubiquitous “Free Download” that tons of people sign up for and almost no one reads. I know that almost no one reads these things because I have a computer folder filled with the free downloads that I think will be useful someday. Among other things, my nasty little inner voice likes to ask me what the point of such endeavors is. My inner voice, however, is not the story here.
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The point is to gain another email address for your LIST.
What’s the Big Deal with Lists?
As a business, blogger, or writer trying to be taken seriously by publishers, your list is the modern day equivalent of a popularity contest. Your list is composed of all the email addresses of people who have opted in – intentionally or not – to hearing from you. The bigger the list, the better.
Ever wonder why you’re getting newsletters, offers, or announcements from every business you’ve ever even contemplated working with? Because you gave them your email address and, nominally, agreed to receive their mailings. They don’t care if you read the emails or not, they got you on their list.
Even if you unsubscribe, you are still a part of the list because your email address is not removed; instead, it is tagged as one not to send to – presumably, so that the list owner cannot add you back without your active agreement.
Building the List
Not that it doesn’t happen, but technically, just giving someone your email is not permission to add you to their list. And, that’s a law that takes MANY complaints before it is enforced.
And, even if you put every email address anyone ever gives you onto your list, you will still not have a list worth much notice (if any). A good list has more people that you’ve never heard of, than ones you’ve actually met. And you get those people by having some way to capture their emails online.
How do you do that? The main way is to offer a trade. You join my mailing list and I’ll give you this free download.
So, what are you willing to give away? Actually, what knowledge are you willing to give away? Because the point is to collect emails without having to do extra work – like send something in the mail. What do you know, that you are willing to write up, that your people think is important enough to trade you their email address for?
Now, if you figure out how to download free chocolate, I suspect you’ll have a list well worth notice in a heartbeat of a hummingbird.
If you are looking to increase your following, a free download may be a path you want to consider. Something bigger than a blog, gives value to the recipient, and encourages them to come back to you for more – that they have to pay for.
(p.s. Just so you know, the Free Download is one of the things I help my clients create.)
This content was originally published here.