7 freebie ideas to grow your email list with engaged subscribers

Email marketing is a key component of growing most businesses. Both e-commerce and service-based businesses use email marketing extensively to connect and communicate with customers.

That said, a lot of business owners struggle to grow their list — meaning their subscribers — to implement a successful email marketing strategy. Some try requesting the visitor’s email without offering anything in return, which probably won’t get you far. And others have a hard time creating something that truly hooks the viewer, so people don’t sign up or unsubscribe quickly.

This is where freebie ideas come in: To grow a healthy, engaged list, you need a lead generation strategy. 

But what does that mean? Lead generation means getting contact details from potential clients who could be interested in your services. This is the first interaction between you and them, and it usually involves some type of free download for them in exchange for their email and name.

What your freebie should — and shouldn’t — do

Your freebie needs to give users a sense of what it’s like to work with you from the very first interaction. 

It also needs to be crafted around the service you’re trying to sell. Otherwise, you’ll end up with subscribers who don’t really want your offer. And your marketing won’t be effective because they don’t need what you do. 

With this in mind, here’s what you need to think about for your next freebie idea.

Your freebie needs:

  • Thoughtful design: It needs to be on brand and provide a real sense of what your services are like. A beautiful, carefully crafted PDF or video can go a long way to build trust with your subscribers.
  • Real value: Your freebie needs to truly offer a solution to the problem you’re addressing. While it won’t be the same as hiring a pro, it should give users a real benefit or tools to DIY a makeshift solution.
  • High quality: Along with the previous two points, just because your freebie is free, it doesn’t mean you can just send whatever. This could be your only chance to connect with a viewer, so you want to present something you’re proud of. After all, this download sets the tone for the rest of your relationship.

Your freebie should never:

  • Be a sales pitch: In a similar vein to the previous points, your download is not an invitation to sell to them. Instead, it’s a DIY solution for their problem. Your reader knows that they can book you if they want. Your freebie isn’t the place to sell. That’s what email sequences are for.
  • Promise one thing and deliver another: Fulfilling your promises is step one in earning subscribers’ trust, and later, their business. So if they download a DIY calendar, that’s exactly what they should get. And the same applies with any type of freebie.
  • Leave things unfinished: Freebies aren’t the place to try a cliffhanger. You want to help your subscriber close the loop and achieve a win. Your freebie should scratch an itch. A freebie is almost like an instant lottery ticket in that your subscriber should close the doc having gained something from working with you.

So how do you make the best impression with a stellar download? These 7 freebie ideas will get your wheels turning.

7 freebie ideas to grow an engaged email list 


Do you have a long-ish tutorial or video series? If so, you can easily turn it into a mini-course to be delivered by email. Or give users limited access to your course portal.

3 mini-course ideas for your freebie:

  • A sample of a longer, full-priced course
  • A step-by-step tutorial of how to DIY something
  • A skill or tool that’s adjacent to what you sell

Video series

Video series are effective marketing for trainers and coaches. They give your viewers a small sample of what’s to come and entice them enough to hire you. A recent example I came across is Heather Robertson’s 12 week workout, a fully laid out workout plan for those working out with minimal equipment.

To start, your video series could be:

  • A weekly workout routine you can do at home
  • Watercolor tutorials: How to paint flowers
  • How I launched an Etsy store on my own
Example: Nesha Woolery’s Masterclass


This is another great freebie idea for coaches or trainers. But it’s also great for shorter-term projects. If you’re a social media manager or writer, this could be a good freebie idea for you.

You can design a challenge around:

  • 7 core workouts you can try at home
  • Set up your IG presence in 7 days or less
  • 7 days to an organized closet
Example: Batch Working Challenge by Boss Project

Insider Tools & Resources

This freebie idea works wells for providing your niche audience with assets or resources that could benefit them or their own business! A lot of times, your audience is turning to you as the expert and looking for insight on how to level-up or make smart moves related to building their own brand.

Topics for this freebie can include:

  • Must have tools & resources to grow your wedding planning business
  • Tops tools you can utilize for your design business
  • Favorite products that will streamline your morning routine
Example: Resources for Wedding Pros by Candice Coppola


Most of us love a great checklist to get things done! This freebie idea can work great if you:

  • Plan trips for a living, create a backpacking checklist for digital nomads
  • Provide consultancy for new parents, you can offer a hospital bag checklist
  • Work in personal finance, offer a must-have budgeting checklist
Freebie ideas - homepage checklist

One of our freebies is a guide to writing high-converting copy. Check it out here!


This is one of the best ideas as a freebie because people are looking for an easy way to get things done. You can use templates as a freebie in nearly every industry:

  • Graphic templates in Canva that people can duplicate and customize
  • Performance or planning trackers as a spreadsheet
  • Writing templates for website or social media copy

Shareable Digital Wallpaper or Print

Prints and wallpapers are easy and a good alternative if you’re a photographer or designer. Try launching a bundle or handful of themed options like:

  • Flowers and nature
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Geometric patterns or cityscapes

Effective lead generation turns your viewer into a client

Many people launch freebies that don’t quite connect to their offer out of fear of not appealing to enough people. But capturing a lead with a freebie that’s not related to what you do means that the person is probably not going to buy from you, which is the whole point to start with.

A successful freebie is one that captures someone with the potential to become a client. As such, it should help subscribers achieve the desired result that’s similar to one of your services.

This way, the next time they’re in the market to hire a pro, you’re top of mind and have already established your trust, so they’ll come back and buy from you.

Are you ready to turn your offer into a best seller? Shop the sales page builder now

Launch a high-converting sales page and start converting casual browsers into clients now. 

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