Earlier this month, I covered why you need an email list and where to set one up. Now that you’re collecting email addresses, how do you get even more of them?

You have to give people something of value!

People are bombarded with emails dumping into their inboxes every single day. It never stops. And here’s a truth that some of you may not want to hear: When you’re creating opt-in forms on your blog for your email list, it’s not enough to just offer a subscription to your newsletter.

As Jon Morrow says in “Why You Shouldn’t Create a Newsletter (and What to Do Instead),”  offering a free newsletter won’t entice very many people to become subscribers. You have to give people a reason to hand over their email address. You need an appetizing offer, a tempting incentive, something that says, “I’m willing to let you into my life and inbox!”

This post from aWeber explains why an email incentive is so important for building an email list and the basics of what makes a good incentive.

Email incentives, or “freebies,” come in all forms. Ebooks used to be the standard freebie, but there are so many other formats to tempt potential subscribers. A number of blogging teachers I’ve been following actually suggest NOT giving away an ebook, and here’s why: Your incentive needs to be something that you can create quickly and painlessly. Ebooks are notoriously labor intensive. And for some bloggers, the idea of writing a book is just too big and intimidating, so your freebie never gets crossed off of your to-do list (and your email list keeps stagnating).

So I’d suggest looking at other (easier) formats for incentives. Here are a few links to get you started:

From SmartBlogger (blog post): 9 Irresistible Incentives That’ll Grow Your Email List Like Crazy

From ProBlogger (blog post and podcast): Create an Opt-In Incentive to Increase Your Email Subscriber Numbers

From Conversion XL (blog post): Lead Magnets: Email List Building on Steroids

Do you have an email incentive? Are you creating one? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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