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How to Build a Mailing List using Free Downloads

“Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell”, you may have heard this cliché definition in your high school biology class. One could reasonably argue the same for a mailing list, which is the “powerhouse” for your online business. Marketing requires capital, but sending an email comes with no cost. Therefore, it makes sense to have a targeted list of emails of individuals who could be potential buyers of your products. When you launch a new product, marketing it is just sending an email, free, fast, and effortless.  

One way to create a targeted list of prospects is to offer some free downloadable material, which is relevant to your products. Let us look at an example of a site that sells cookbooks. What it can do to build a mailing list is to offer a free pdf that contains some of the recipes of the cookbook in exchange for an email address.

Make sure that the download that you are offering has some connection to your product. It will not make much sense to offer a free wallpaper on a website selling cookbooks. The product also needs to be somewhat valuable, but not too much; there is a balance, and you need to find it.


To make your lead-generating mechanism successful, you'll have to do three more things:

  • Tactfully place the download link to your freebie on your website by pasting it at the end of every page or on the sidebar. Create a separate page dedicated to your download form and paste its URL on your website. Doing this will make sure that the download form is accessible to your users, thus increasing the chances that they will give you their email addresses.

  • Do some research and put some effort into understanding your website’s users. This will help you understand what they are more likely to download. The material is supposed to add value to their life, which can only be possible if it is synonymous with what they want.

  • Last but not least is the act of selling your freebie as an actual product. Otherwise, they won’t download it. At this point, you might be wondering, “do people not what free stuff?”. The answer is yes and no. For your users to give you their email address, you will have to make them realize the value of your freebie so that there is an equality of exchange.

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