A few days ago I showed you the #1 technique for growing an email list.
Here it is again: You need to create a lead magnet for EVERY blog post you write. Instead of having one universal toolkit or eBook, create a very specific bonus each time you write a post.
These bonuses are called lead magnets or content upgrades.
Content upgrades turn your readers into subscribers better than any other single tactic out there. I normally experience 20-30% opt-in rates on these bonuses and some have been as high as 62%!
For comparison sake, a popup that is optimized to the max has a 6-8% conversion rate.
Would you rather have a 6% conversion rate or a 30% conversion rate?
Here are a few friends that have started using content upgrades in the past 2 months.
1. Michael Hyatt
Previously, Michael had a list of 40 literary agents listed on this post. Now he has created a content upgrade in the form of an eBook that requires an email in order to access.
Once his reader enter their email address they immediately download the free information.
2. Noah Kagan
Content upgrades worked so well for Noah, that he went back and created one for every popular article on his site.
Problem is…most of you will never do this.
Why? Because it takes more time.
It’s already a struggle to publish high quality content.
So, when I tell you to spend even more time making a content upgrade your eyes glaze over and you immediately head off to Youtube to watch another cat video.
I know your struggle.
…and I have the solution.
I’m going to show you how to create a content upgrade in less than 30 minutes.
Over the past 7 months I’ve created more than 40 content upgrades and have collected over 4,000 email addresses from them.
Today, I’m going to teach you everything I know.
Today I’m going to show you 11 different ways to create a content upgrade in less than 30 minutes.
I also have a nifty little strategy to use these upgrades to double or even triple their effectiveness.
Ok, lets gets started.
11 Lead Magnet Ideas and How to Create them in Less than 30 Minutes
As you read through all 11 types of upgrades, don’t get overwhelmed. The key to getting started is to pick one. Start small and grow from there.
If you have any questions as you go through the process, feel free to email me OR (better yet) leave a comment below and myself and the entire Videofruit community can jump in to help.
1. Checklist version of the post
One of the easiest ways to create a content upgrade is by turning your blog post into an easy to follow checklist.
3,000 word blog posts are great but it’s really easy to get lost in them. By turning the post into a short checklist the information becomes much more actionable.
This is pretty easy to do.
In this example we’ll use the post, How did Pat Flynn get 100,000 Youtube views and 764 new subscribers?
Here is the process that I follow.
Step 1: Outline your action steps
In this article I analyzed how Pat Flynn used a free tutorial based video series to grow his Youtube channel. What I didn’t do in the post was tell you how to do the same thing.
That’s where the checklist comes in.
To create the checklist I quickly outlined the 7 steps I would follow to implement this strategy for my own business.
Tips If you feel stuck in creating your checklist, ask yourself these questions.
- If I were telling my 5 year old child how to do this, what steps would I give him?
- How can I make this extremely easy and foolproof to implement?
- Can I use pictures to make it even clearer? If so, use them.
If you’re still stuck, take a drive over to Wikihow.com and checkout some of there checklists. They are really good at boiling complex processes into easy to follow checklist.
Here are a few examples to get your juices flowing:
Step 2: Provide details on each step
Now you need to elaborate on each step of the checklist. I try to keep these short descriptions under 200 words.
Here is an example of a step description from the Pat Flynn checklist:
Step 3: Format and Finalize the Checklist
I use a program called SweetProcess ($) to create my checklist. They make the checklist process much quicker and the are well designed.
For more details on SweetProcess read my full rundown.
If you’re wanting a free option you can use Google Docs to accomplish much of the same thing.
- Write your full checklist inside of a new Google Doc
- Format it to look like you want
- Then click File > Save as PDF to export it
Bonus: I’ve included a pre-formatted Google Doc in the bonus section of this post (click here to download )
Time: Start to finish creating a checklist version of your post should take no more than 15-20 minutes
2. Package of Relevant Links
Suppose you have never cooked on a charcoal grill before and you want to learn. So, you do what anyone would do and Google “How to cook on a charcoal grill”
…and you run across this article How to Prepare a Charcoal Barbecue for Grilling.
Inside of the article is every step you need to follow in order to cook on a charcoal grill.
Now suppose at the end of the article was a downloadable list of recommended equipment to buy in order to get started
It would contain:
- 4 different grills (all at different price points)
- 3 types of briquets
- 5 different chimney starters
- And a package of lighters and lighter fluid
…literally everything you need to start cooking. All you have to do is click the link and enter your credit card information.
Would that be helpful?
The good part for you (the content creator) is all that ‘list’ has to be is a link to the product listing on Amazon.
Spend 10-15 minutes. Throw them in a Google Doc (see instruction on that in the previous step) and export it as a PDF.
Here is an example:
Recently I wrote a post called: How to go from one Facebook ad to $197 in less than 60 seconds.
In the post I described an advanced technique for creating a one click upsell (for all of the details go read the post).
In the bonus section, I included links to the support documentation of that describes exactly how to setup thich technique in 4 of the most popular shopping cart programs.
This specific content upgrade converted 42% of all people that read it.
Here is a list of 5 different types of links you could include in your content upgrade:
- Links to support documentation
- Links to a Youtube video that goes into more depth
- Links to other relevant blog posts on the topic
- Links to equipment or software that would aid the implementation of your post
- Links to a checklist or a template that someone else created
3. How-to Video
This is my personal favorite. There is nothing more helpful for me than to read a blog post that teaches a new concept and then to jump over to Youtube and see that concept in action.
Think about it, would you rather read a long post or watch a 2 minute video? What if you could do both?
Here is an example: How to create a high converting pop-up in 5 minutes
The idea of creating a how to video for each blog post can sound intimidating, but once you see the process I think you’ll change your mind.
Here is how to do it:
Step 1: Set your expectations
Don’t feel like the production quality has to be high, it doesn’t. This isn’t a paid product you are making it’s a free giveaway.
You never want publish something that looks terrible AND isn’t useful.
Just remember, the point is to be helpful – not to win an Emmy.
Step 2: Outline your content
The key to creating a how to video in under 30 minutes is your outline.
In the above example I quickly jotted down a 4 part outline before I started recording.
This was my outline:
- Intro Greg
- Examine site in Buzzsumo
- Choose a template
- Customize template
Step 3: Record the video
I use Camtasia to record all of my how to videos. It allows you to record your screen and webcam at the same time.
Two things to keep in mind when recording:
1. Do it all in one take.
Don’t psych yourself out with this part. Make your outline, know your content and just start recording.
People like raw. My most popular videos are ones that were off the cuff, with dead airtime and were not edited at all.
Your readers are looking for actionable information, focus on that
2. Use your iPhone headphones as a mic
An easy way to immediately make your videos better is to use your iPhone headphones when recording. This makes your sound quality MUCH better than recording from your computer mic.
Again, don’t obsess over this but it’s a really quick way to instantly improve your video.
Step 4: Trim and Upload
Up to this point you have outlined your video, put on your headphones and recorded the tutorial.
Now, trim off the beginning and end of the video. Usually I’ll have 10-15 seconds after the video starts recording where I’m fumbling around and getting everything setup.
Use Camtasia to trim this section off. Also, fast forward to the end of the video and trim off any dead space there too.
Then…upload it to Youtube and embed on your bonus page (details on how to deliver the bonus to your readers).
Time: Start to finish this should take no more than 15 minutes.
The KEY to this is to do it in ONE TAKE. Don’t obsess over it.
4. Q&A Video
This is similar to #3. However, instead of recording a how to video you are going to record an answer to 2 questions related to the topic of your blog post.
Your readers will always have a few questions after reading your post. Anticipate and answer these in advanced.
Record a quick video of you answering two of these questions and offer them as a content upgrade.
One easy way to come up with questions to answer is Quora.
Step 1: Enter your keyword phrase into Quora
Let’s go back to our “How to cook on a charcoal grill” example.
If we enter that keyword phrase into the Quora search bar it returns back dozens of questions that people are actually asking about that topic.
Step 2: Make a list of two of the most relevant questions
Jot down two questions from the search results that are related to your topic.
Sometimes you might not know the answer and that is the beauty of using Quora. You can click on the question and get the answer in seconds.
Let’s say you wanted to answer the question: “What fruits taste particularly delicious when grilled?”
Just click on the question, read the 8 answers to the question and formulate your own response.
Step 3: Record the video
Follow the exact same steps given in the “How To Video” section above. However, most of the time with a Q&A video you do not need to record your screen, just your webcam.
Toggle the webcam option off and start recording.
Time: Total time start to finish (including research) should be no more than 20 minutes
5. PDF version of post
I didn’t like this idea at first. Then I tried it one time and the feedback from my readers totally changed my mind.
I thought that copying the post and putting it in a PDF would be kinda…lame.
But I learned blog posts are hard to implement from.
Think about this blog post. You read (skim) the post. Decide you want to use this method on your site. But in order to do that you have to bookmark this page, remember what folder you saved it in, and then scroll endlessly down the page to find the instructions for the content upgrade you want to create.
Then when you get to actually implementing you have to constantly flip back and forth between this article and the one you are writing. It’s a pain.
Blogs are great for teaching in a linear fashion but they are NOT reference books.
By putting your blog post into a downloadable PDF format you accomplish two things:
- Increased perceived value: What’s more valuable a ‘blog post’ or an ‘eBook’?
- Increased efficiency: I can save a PDF to my Desktop or even email it to my Kindle. Much easier than remembering the URL of your article.
This is how you make a PDF version of your post.
Step 1: Create a new Google Doc
Step 2: Copy and paste your entire article into the Google Doc
Step 3: Fix all formatting issues (images sizing, chapter divides etc.)
Step 4: Export as a PDF
Here is a quick video tutorial on how to do that:
Time: Start to finish this should take no more than 10 minutes.
6. Mini Video Course
This has the highest perceived value of all of the content upgrades that I have tried.
A mini video course is a combination of the Tutorial Video and Q&A Video upgrades previously covered.
Here is an example of a mini course that I created (38% opt in rate): The High Jump Formula: Mini-Course
To create a mini course follow this outline:
- Video #1: Tutorial Video (2-3 minutes long)
- Video #2: Tutorial Video (2-3 minutes long)
- Video #2: Q&A Video (2-3 minutes long)
For example: If we were making a mini video course on “How to turn a blog post into an eBook” our mini course might look something like this:
Video #1: Topics Covered (Tutorial)
- How to create a new Google Doc
- Setting up the margin properties in your Google Doc
- How to create a title page
- How to create the table of contents and link to chapter divides
Video #2: Topics Covered (Tutorial)
- How to get your blog post content into the Google Doc
- How to properly format the content
- How to link to your website from the eBook
Video #3: Q&A (Tutorial)
- How can I get a cover professionally designed?
- Is it possible to put my eBook on Amazon?
This type of upgrade has the highest likelihood of going over our 30 minute time limit.
However, it’s definitely doable. One way to cut down the time spent creating the video is to make one long video that you then cut up into 3 separate videos inside of Camtasia.
Press record, shoot all of your footage, then cut and paste the footage into three different projects.
Techsmith (makers of Camtasia) have an extensive library of how to videos to help you learn how to do this: Tutorial Videos
Time: 30 minutes.
7. Exact Scripts
Many topics that I teach lend themselves to being asked questions like: “What was the subject line of the email you sent?” “What did you say to them when you cold called?” OR “Can you share the source code of the sidebar you used?” “What headline received the best response rate?”
Your industry may or may not lend itself to similar types of question.
However, I would encourage you to explore how you could give your customers exactly what they want in a script format. These have been among the most demanded bonuses that I’ve made.
To get your juices flowing on how you could use this in your industry ask yourself these questions:
- Is there a common formula I use that I could share with my readers?
- How can I give my reader exactly what I wish I had when starting out?
- Is there a mantra, quote or common saying I use in my business that they could use?
Once you have come up with the script, simply put it into a text file and offer that text file as a download in exchange for their email address.
Here is an example of how I did this: How to get a $3,000 monthly contract (with exact scripts)
Time: Start to finish less than 10 minutes
8. Swipe File
A swipe file is more common in marketing and copywriting but can be expanded to many other industries as well.
Traditionally a swipe file is a tested and proven collection of advertising headlines.
If you were writing a headline for your magazine article, you would reference your swipe file first and draw inspiration for your headline form a list of 50 other headlines. However, they have many more applications than just advertising headlines.
Here are a few from a variety of industries:
- Recipes (cooking)
- Workout sheets (fitness)
- Landing Pages (marketing)
- Prayers (religion)
- Speeches (Public Speaking)
Once you have identified the contents of your swipe file, you need to package it into an easily deliverable format.
I’ve found that for most written mediums Evernote works extremely well.
Here is a quick tutorial on how I use Evernote to manage my swipe files:
My readers absolutely love templates. A template is like Swipe Files meets Exact Scripts.
I gave away three templates in this post and got a 36% opt in rate.
Like the previous two content upgrade types, depending on what industry you are in – you’ll need to put on your thinking cap to come up with a template appropriate for your audience.
Here are a few ideas to get you started
- Writers: The template you use to write blog posts (example)
- Religion: Prayer Templates (example)
- Web Design: Full website templates (example)
- Marketing: Popup Design templates (example)
If you need help coming up with ideas on a template for your business, leave a comment below the post and we’ll all try to help you come up with an idea!
10. Software Giveaways
Software giveaways can be extremely effective. Appsumo built an email list of over 700,000 subscribers by hosting giveaways and providing major discounts on popular software products.
I’ve done this three different times on Videofruit and it has worked moderately well. I’ve averaged a 23% conversion rate.
There are two steps to hosting a giveaway:
Step 1: Identify relevant software for your audience.
One of the easiest ways to find relevant software in your industry is to do a quick Google search for “[keyword]” + software
For example: If you run a fitness blog you could search for…
From these search results you can identify the high priority software companies to focus on.
Step 2: Run the deal
The temptation is to approach the software company and get them to go in with you on the promotion. Don’t do that. It will slow you down and at this stage you don’t know if your audience will resonate with the offer.
Noah and his team at Appsumo have found it’s easier and quicker to simply front the cost of the initial giveaway, judge response and THEN double down on the offer that is the most effective.
Here is an example of how Appusmo did this recently with a free Lifetime account of Buffer.
Time: This should take no more than 20 minutes to implement (hint: use this software to host your giveaway)
11. Time with you
Last but not least…
Time with you.
Call it coaching, mentorship or masterminding…it’s the #1 thing that your readers want.
So, give it away.
You can do this in the form of a Skype or phone call. You can even host a Google Hangout and include more than one person.
How to Double the Effectiveness of Your Content Upgrade
There you have it…11 killer ways to build your email list with content upgrades in less than 30 minutes.
Now you have no excuse for not using this strategy.
My challenge to you is to try it once. See for yourself.
I’ve put together a swipe file *wink wink* of every content upgrade lead magnet that I have published on this blog.
This is a great resource to get you kick started to creating your content upgrades.
• See how bad my initial ones were (hint: they still worked really well)
• Study how I put together my videos
• Reverse engineer my entire sales funnels I used to turn these free giveaways into paid products.
Alright, I mentioned a technique earlier in this post for doubling (or even tripling) the effectiveness of your content upgrades.
I used this technique last month and collected 503 email addresses from ONE article.
But I’m at 3,700 words in this post and I’m an hour past the time I was supposed to be finished writing.
So, lets get to that next week.
Be sure to grab the swipe file: You can download that entire swipe file here.
PS: Do you have another type of bonus that you’ve tried and would like to share? Leave it in the comments section below