People love to receive stuff for free. Ever wandered through Costco in the afternoon? You can always spot the free sample stands by the crowds gathered round.
Our readers are no different. They love to get stuff for free and what better way to encourage or thank them for signing up to your blog posts than with a free e-book.
You may be unsure what content to include in your e-book. Ask your readers. I put a poll on my website asking what subject people would like to see more. This helped me decide what to write my e-book about. Take a look at your web stats; which posts have the highest views?
Once you’ve decided on your topic, start writing it. Keep it on the shorter side; it doesn’t need to be a full book length. Under five thousand words is a good guideline. Remember to offer new content in your book. Because it’s electronic, you can and should link to articles on your blog for further reading and value to the reader.
After your e-book is finished, save it as a PDF file and then upload it to your website. Keep it unassigned (for self-hosted WordPress) and copy the location.
I use Feedburner as my RSS and email subscription service for my website. I downloaded my existing email subscribers addresses to MailChimp and sent them out a free copy thanking them for being with me. You never want to forget your current readers in the search for new ones.
For new subscribers, I included the PDF link in the email they receive from Feedburner when they sign up for my blog. This allowed for free automation and instant access for the reader.
If you use Feedburner and have a sign up box on your website, I highly recommend customizing the sign up box. Even if you don’t have an e-book to offer yet, you should list the benefits subscribers receive when they sign up for your emails. Here’s an example of my homepage and subscriber box.
By using the Feedburner verification email to send out my free e-book link, I realize people don’t have to verify in order to get the free copy. But if they don’t like my free e-book and choose not to verify to get my posts, then they most likely would have unsubscribed anyway.
Have you ever bought something from a free sample? What makes you subscribe to a blog via email? Do you think having a free e-book has helped your blog numbers?