You can’t read anything about growing your email list these days without hearing about content upgrades.
That’s because the humble content upgrade enjoys universal acceptance as the 100%, hands down, best ever way to improve your email list opt in rate.
A content upgrade is a post-specific freebie that adds value to your blog post. Some examples include:
- a checklist (like on my post How to Launch Your Blog With a Bang)
- Swipe file
- Anything you can think of that adds value to your blog post.[/box]
But, as more bloggers use this method, are readers getting annoyed that you are effectively holding content to ransom in exchange for their email?
Remember the side bar opt in form? It’s practically invisible now.
Try 3 people in 1000 might click on it.
(So if you’re using your sidebar to house, well, anything… its wasted space).
A Guaranteed Way to Annoy Your Readers with Content Upgrades
Promise “25 ways to do X”. …only put 5 in your blog post.
Have the other 20 available to download as a PDF in exchange for your readers email.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t do content upgrades wrong! If you promise 25 ways to do X, deliver. @thismamalearns” quote=”Don’t do content upgrades wrong! If you promise 25 ways to do X, deliver. @thismamalearns”]
There’s nothing inherently wrong with adding ‘bonus’ ways to a downloadable PDF, but if you promise 25 ways, deliver.
Add another 5 ways as your bonus.
This is a true story by the way.
Happened to a friend.
Content Upgrade Delivery
I’m a blogger.
But I’m a reader too.
And I can tell you, I’ve seen a LOT of content upgrades and a lot of ways of delivering content upgrades.
I can say for certain that I prefer not skipping between screens to access my email and confirm my subscription just to get the freebie.
Here’s the thing: a content upgrade is meant to be bite-sized and fuss free. The more work I have to do to get it, the more reward I expect.
How would you rather get a freebie (as a reader)?
OPT IN >>>> FREEBIE
OPT IN >>>> EMAIL >>>> EMAIL >>>> FREEBIE
Best Practice for Content Upgrade Delivery
Here’s some fantastic reader-centric ways to deliver content upgrades:
Give Them Away
The first way is to not require any opt in at all. Just give them away.
You thought this was about building your email list?
Yes, you do miss out on grabbing your readers email address right then and there but, building your list for the sake of having a big list is kind of pointless.
Laura The Badass Business Mum has an awesome post about The Problem with Blog Content Upgrades that No One Ever Tells You.
Laura is firmly on her reader’s side – she’d rather you sign up to her list because you want to, not because she bribed you into it.
Redirect to Download Page after Email Capture
This is a smooth way to deliver your content upgrade and definitely streamlines the experience for the reader.
Bryan Harris of Videofruit is a fan of this method.
It doesn’t require the reader to interrupt their engagement with your content and you still get their email address. Win, win!
It’s really simple to implement this too, especially if you have LeadBoxes.
Use a Content Locker
This is my favorite method of the moment. Have a look at my post from the other day – How to Launch Your Blog With a Bang.
There are two content locker opt in forms in that post,
When the reader signs up, they immediately gain access to the download right on the page. It’s a very neat option.
I’m using the Elegant Themes plugin, Bloom, which makes this super simple.
Wrapping It Up
Content upgrades are an important piece of the blogging puzzle and each blogger needs to find the balance of what they give away free, what they keep back and how they deliver it.
Have you started using content upgrades yet? If you are using content upgrades, have you given thought to how you will deliver them?