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The Best “Bribes” to Get Email Leads From Your Book

One question we get asked from a lot of authors is:

“What’s the best opt-in gift I can give my readers?”

If you’ve not heard the term “opt-in gift” before, it’s basically an ethical “bribe” you offer the reader of your book in exchange for their email address.

Here’s an example of an opt-in page inside a book:

(Notice how the author offers a free gift in exchange for an email.)

Now, you might be wondering: why would you want their email address?

Simple: So you can communicate directly with them, build a deeper relationship with them and ultimately, sell directly to them.

Building an email list is a critical part of any online business, and that stands true for authors.

If you’re not building your list (and communicating with them frequently), then start. Like right now.

Anyway, let’s get back to the question:

“What’s the best opt-in gift I can give my readers?”

Today I want to answer that for you, plus give you some actionable steps you can follow to start creating your first (or next) free opt-in gift.

The Rule of Opt-In Gifts…

First things first, there is no correct answer.

What’s best for one audience may not be best for yours.

So, the most important step in deciding what your opt-in gift will be is answering the following question:

What is the ultimate end goal I want?

Answering this is critical. It will help you decide what gift is going to help you get to that end goal most effectively and efficiently.

Here’s an example to help explain.

Book: The New Rules of SEO for Small Business Owners
Goal: Sell Author’s SEO Service

For this author, the goal is to take readers who’re interested in learning about Search Engine Optimization for their small business and ultimately convert them into customers of his SEO agency.

So, if he wants to achieve this he has to think strategically about what his opt-in gift will be.

He might brainstorm the following list of free opt-in gifts:

  • SEO Analysis
  • SEO Checklist
  • Quick Start Action Guide
  • Trial of his SEO Software

Now, each of these would be great opt-in gifts for the following reason:

  1. It’s of high-value to the prospect.
  2. It’s the natural next step for the prospect after reading the book and discovering the benefits of SEO for his/her small business.
  3. It provides real benefit to the reader and will help him achieve his goals.
  4. The prospect will get further indoctrinated into the author’s message and approach to search engine optimization.
  5. By positioning the free gift correctly, the author can show the prospect that it’d be a lot easier to just let his team handle it.

Do you see why this would be such a powerful free gift in this example?

Now, on the flipside of this. The author may have brainstormed these free gifts:

  • Audiobook copy of the book
  • Bonus chapter
  • Sneak-peek of his next book
  • Sign up to his newsletter

Do you see how these gifts, while valuable to the reader, do not lead to the point of sale as effectively?

That’s why it’s so important to know your outcome goal from the beginning.

You see, if the author’s goal was simply to grow his email list, then giving away something like a free trial to his software product, or a free SEO analysis is going to be a bad idea.

It’s time intensive. It’s not scalable. It doesn’t help his end goal (email list growth).

So, before you get started on creating random gifts, get clear on your end goal.

Some Guidelines on Choosing Your Free Opt-In Gift

As I said, there’s no correct answer.

However, we like to follow some basic guidelines which should help you get clarity too.

For every opt-in gift we create, we’ll brainstorm ideas then we like to make sure it meets at least X of the following X questions:

  • Is it a natural “next-step” for the reader?
  • Does it complement the information in the book?
  • Does it have a perceived value of at least $17?
  • Does it help the reader get closer to his/her end goal?
  • Is the information new.. or has it already been covered in the book?
  • Is it a scalable gift and can be given to thousands of people for free?
  • Can my prospect read the title/headline and instantly understand what the gift is?

If you answer these questions, you’ll be off to a great start.

The reason we run our gifts through this gauntlet is we want to find the bonus we can give away which will be most appealing to our reader at that point in time.

We’re looking for a gift that will have their greed-glands salivating. In short: a must-have gift.

This all comes down to properly understanding your reader’s desires and what’s already in the book. It’s about finding that sweet spot.

So, all this aside, I want to give you our favorite bonuses and free resources to give away in books.

Use this list to spark your creative juices, then run whatever ideas you have through the gauntlet of questions above, then it’s simply a case of content creation. In a later article we’ll discuss how to effectively position and promote these free gifts to boost conversions.

Our Favorite Opt-In Gifts… And Why…

#1 Audiobook

I first got (stole?) this idea from my good friend Chandler Bolt of Self-Publishing School.

It’s a really great gift to give away. With the recent explosion in audiobook popularity, more and more people are consuming their content on the go… giving away an audiobook fills the existing desire they already have.

Plus, given the cost of audiobooks, it’s also got a nice and high perceived value attached to it.

If you’re looking to get your audiobook produced, here’s some of our favorite options: ACX, Upwork, Voices. And if you’re looking for a cheaper option, Fiverr.

#2 The Checklist

Readers love checklists.

They are quick and easy to understand, they complement the book perfectly.

Sticking with our SEO example from earlier, the author could give a checklist on: “The 10-Point Checklist Your Website Needs to Rank on The First Page of Google”.

This tickles the reader’s curiosity “I wonder how many my website has?”, it also puts a little bit of fear in their head too “Oh! What if I don’t have all 10… will my website rank?”, and most importantly… it gives a lot of value as the reader can see a snapshot of his performance and areas of improvements.

If you’d like to see an example of a checklist we frequently use, click here for The Epic Book Launch Checklist.

#3 The Cheat Sheet

The cheat sheet is so powerful because it promises the reader the best of the book without them reading it all again (or at all)!

Most people don’t want to slog through a book to solve their problem. They want the work done for them. They want the cliff notes. So give them what they want via a cheat sheet.

Pull out the key concepts and action items in your book and create a simple 1-2 page document.

Another great idea is turning your cheat sheet into an infographic. Here’s a great example of that:

#4 The Book Guide

This is almost a combination of the cheat sheet and checklist.

It’s a reduced down version of your book that highlights the key action steps for the reader to take. These work excellently when the book is covering a relatively expansive topic and you (the author) want to help the reader understand it in simple, follow-along terms.

My favorite part about the book guide is that it has all the benefits of a cheat sheet and checklist but the perceived value is much, much higher.

#5 Bonus and Secret Content

A simple way to create a powerful free gift is by simply pulling out a chapter from your book and making it available to email subscribers only.

By taking one important lesson or piece of information and masking it in secrecy, you can drive your readers into a frenzy of desire. If you position it correctly and tease it effectively, your prospects will need to get their hands on it.

Advance Opt-In Gifts

These are two of the most powerful freebies you can give away.

However, they take a lot of time and effort to create.

We usually only suggest these for experienced marketers who’re looking to drive sales to their business. If not, the time and effort that goes into creating them is usually not worth it.

Advanced Gift #1 The Free Video Training

You can do this live via webinars or by pre-recorded videos delivered automatically.

Either way, the free video training is powerful. Very powerful.

Create a bonus training series or video where you expand on the topic covered in your book. You take the reader deeper into your world, into what you do, and show them how to do it for themselves.

What’s best about the video training is you have the opportunity to present a sales pitch at the end of your presentation… and you can sell high-ticket items here. It’s very difficult to sell a $997 product via an email or sales page. It’s a lot easier on video.

If you’re looking to drive a big cashflow injection from the back of your book, this is the most powerful way to do it.

Advanced Gift #2 Free Trial of Software/Product

Giving away a free or $1 trial to your software or product is a great lead capture point.

The book that does this best in my opinion is Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson.

Throughout his book Russell delivers incredible value, shares actionable content and reveals why marketing funnels are so powerful. He also frequently mentions he has a software product to help with this… he is never forceful about it… he just lets you know it’s available.

Then, as the book comes to the end, he has a short chapter which is just a sales pitch for his software ClickFunnels, where he offers you a free 2-week trial. After that, you’ll be billed 97$/month.

It works so well, it’s scary.

Final Thoughts And Answers to Questions…

There you have it.

Those are the “ethical bribes” we find work best in taking a reader of your book and bringing him into your email list.

In a future article, we’ll discuss how to write the copy and design the page that actually completes the transaction, but for now, it’s important you just start thinking about what you’ll give away.

Now, after sharing this, we always inevitably get asked two follow up questions:

  1. How Many Opt-In Gifts Should I Have?
  2. How Many Opt-In Points Should I Have and Where Should I Put Them?

Ideally you should have just one gift.

If not, it can get confusing. That said, if you do have multiple gifts, the best thing you can do is bundle them up. It drives the perceived value through the roof and the reader doesn’t get confused as to what he/she is getting.

And the final question on opt-in points, we usually suggest 4:

  • Beginning of book
  • End of the book
  • Throughout the book

When placing your opt-in points throughout the book, be subtle.

Don’t just have a page in the middle that breaks the flow of the book, instead let the book naturally flow to that point.

Anyway, that’s all there is to it.

So get out there and start creating your opt-in gifts.

Build that email list. Grow that business. Sell your book.

For a detailed look at how to use your book to grow your business, click here to download your free case study.

In this case study, I reveal:

  1. How I turned my “hobby” into $106,127 in 30 days by launching a #1 international bestseller.
  2. Five common mistakes that are preventing you from achieving a successful book launch, scaling your business to 6 figures or beyond and becoming the lead authority in your space.
  3. The exact step-by-step process that has generated 16,000 email leads in 10 days, produced multiple #1 bestsellers and created 7-figure entrepreneurs.

Your friend,

Austin G. Netzley
Founder, Epic Launch