How to set up a freebie for your subscribers

How to set up a freebie for your subscribers

If you haven’t set up a tantalizing offer yet, it’s time you learn how to set up a freebie to get more subscribers! I recently helped a client with this very issue and for some reason I’ve been seeing this question pop up all over this past week:

How do you set up a file online for your followers to download (a.k.a. a freebie) — and what do you do if it’s too large and WordPress is being a temperamental jerk?

It’s a whole world of mysterious file size limits, unintuitive WordPress functions, and email management system frustration — or is it?

Here’s the dealio: You’ve made a stunning PDF or audio file, let’s say, that you want to give your followers in exchange for signing up for your email updates.

But what’s the process? And you gotta upload the freebie to either your email management system or WordPress, right?

Uh, actually, you shouldn’t be uploading your freebie to WordPress.

Say what?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Keep reading for the essentials you need to know on how to set up a freebie to get more subscribers.

How to set up a freebie for your subscribers

1) Choose a place to host your bribe. I mean freebie file.

You’ve got a few options in terms of where to upload your file:

  1. Your website
  2. The cloud (Dropbox, Amazon S3, etc.)
  3. Your email management system (MailChimp, Aweber, ConvertKit, Klaviyo, etc.) – this would allow you to send people a file as an attachment in the email. If your file is 10MB or larger, your email management system probably won’t let you upload the file to host it there, so you’ll need one of the other options.

I recommend that if your file is larger than, say, 30kb, you don’t upload it to your website. This is because the more stuff you have on your website, the heavier it will be, the slower it will load, and the more people will impatiently click away before you have a chance to win them over with your fantastic-ness.

So my go-to for storing freebies tends to be cloud storage. I’ve mostly used Dropbox and Google Drive, but Amazon S3 and others are also fantastic options. Pick what you like best.

Done? Sweet! Now grab the share URL for the file you just uploaded.

2) Create a Thank You/Download page from which your followers can download your gift

This page can either be on your email management system (which means you can probably customize some fonts and colors but it won’t be fully “branded”) or you can have it on your website (so you can keep the look & feel of your brand on it).

If you’re using your email management system, you can either create the page on there or on your website. If on the former, you’ll probably have to create the page, create a hyperlink (an image/button/word with a link in it that takes you to another page — like this — or links to the file itself so you can download it), and as you create the hyperlink, the email management system will allow you to upload your file.

Then, when your followers are taken to the Thank You/Download page after signing up, they’ll be able to click your hyperlinked text/image/button to download your file. Huzzah!

If, instead, you want to have your Thank You/Download page on your website, then create the page on your website (being careful to exclude it from your navigation). You’ll then — either with text, a button, or an image — create a hyperlink and link it to your file (if using an image, make sure the image says that clicking on it will let people download the file).

When you set up your follow-up emails with your email management system, you’ll be given a choice to create a Thank You page with them or have your followers be taken to your Thank You page on your WordPress site, and that’s where you’ll enter the link to the latter. Another huzzah!

You can also use both methods to make a file downloadable from your newsletters. Super cool, amirite?

Note: If hosting your file on WordPress, be careful to protect it so that search engines don’t index it. This will keep people from finding it via Google and downloading it without first signing up through your opt-in. Because they will. Bunch of savages in this town. (If you’re impatient like me, fast-forward to 2:20.)

3) Test it, son!

As always, remember to test the process from start to finish before launching it to the world.

I hope this post on how to set up a freebie helps you share a ridiculous amount of terrific free content with your readers!

Go ahead and tell me: what are you offering and what is your go-to system to share files with your readers?

7 Responses to How to set up a freebie for your subscribers

  1. I’m working on an ebook to help people organize their course content.

    It’s almost complete, and I believe I’ve decided to upload it to WordPress and have a link on my WordPress thank you page.

    Didn’t realize you needed to protect your file from indexing. Is that done through the upload process?

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hey Jennifer,

      Very cool about your ebook!

      It’s a terrific idea to protect your content from search engines. I’ll be covering this in my next blog post :) For now, though, I’ll tell you that I use an SEO plugin to block my content from being indexed. As you thought, it’s done during the upload process :) Please let me know if there’s anything else I could clear up for you in upcoming posts!


  2. Yay! Thanks for this post- now I know where to send people! I’ve got me freebie hosted on WordPress and send out the link in my welcome email with Aweber. Need to considerg protecting it from being indexed. BUT- I made sure to brand it with my website and social media information, so if they want to share it, I’m not too worried! Great post!

    • Thank you, Leah! It was a splendid idea to cover this topic more in-depth and in a blog post so we could refer people back to it. I’ll cover indexing in the next one, since it’s a pertinent issue as well :)

      The fact that you’re putting your URL and social media info in your freebie is perfect, whether your file is indexed or not! Always smart and everyone should do it :) Sweet reminder, there! I’m putting my bribe together and plan to host it on WP as well, with the link in my MailChimp email. I may actually ask for your input, since you’re a design wizard ;)

Share your thoughts:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.