Attracting Subscribers With A Free Report: Bait and Switch?

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I've read up and down on WF that it is a sound strategy to set up a squeeze page, offer a free report as bait, and subscribe the visitor to an autoresponder. I want to know how much this pisses subscribers off.

Pat Flynn expressly offers "My Newsletter And FREE eBook" in his opt-in, the white-knight approach. LeadPages promotes the "Free report reveals... 5 ways your banana is an orange. Click here to download now" strategy, with a sneaky autoresponder subscription.

I want to know about the difficulties others have had with unsubscribes and hate mail with the latter approach. Truly, I'm interested in hearing about an ethical, cost-effective approach. Thank you for your comments.
#attracting #bait #free #report #subscribers #switch
  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    If you want to choose between those two models, pick Flynn's.

    Way too many people buy into the notion that the number of people on your list is the determining factor, and LeadPages is just marketing to that belief.

    It's always best to set the subscriber's expectations before they ever hit that "Subscribe" button. To paraphrase something applied to public speaking, "tell them what they'll get, give it to them, then tell them what they got."

    Following the "anything to get them on the list" strategy leads to posting threads complaining that you have xx,xxx people on a list, but they don't open emails, click links or buy stuff.
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  • Profile picture of the author karlene
    I haven't had any hate mail, but if people want to unsubscribe, let them, they're doing you a favour as you will only have people there who want to be there. They are in effect cleaning up your list for you.

    It's not nice to see people unsubscribe, but a certain percentage always will.
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  • Profile picture of the author keystonecontent
    I definitely would not go with the bait and switch approach, how does that build the trust you need to make sales?

    A good approach is to tie follow-up emails into the free download. Make them emails with actionable advice that re-iterate or complement the material in the download.
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  • Profile picture of the author Entrecon
    Bait and switch?

    Did I get the free report you promised? Did it have good information in it that I can actually use?

    If the first two are true then I am not pissed when I get an e-mail from you. I mean, I know when I give ANYONE my e-mail address that they are going to send me e-mail.

    Now, if you just start sending me e-mail that is pure advertisement and no content, I am going to unsubscribe very quickly and probably won't do business with you again UNLESS the first free report you gave me blows my socks off.

    So, basically, if the bait you are offering is hooked to a mouse trap that snaps my head off, then I am going to be pissed. If the bait leads me to a cornucopia of delightful morsels I am going to be very pleased.
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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    Originally Posted by tunasalad View Post

    I've read up and down on WF that it is a sound strategy to set up a squeeze page, offer a free report as bait, and subscribe the visitor to an autoresponder. I want to know how much this pisses subscribers off.

    Pat Flynn expressly offers "My Newsletter And FREE eBook" in his opt-in, the white-knight approach. LeadPages promotes the "Free report reveals... 5 ways your banana is an orange. Click here to download now" strategy, with a sneaky autoresponder subscription.

    I want to know about the difficulties others have had with unsubscribes and hate mail with the latter approach. Truly, I'm interested in hearing about an ethical, cost-effective approach. Thank you for your comments.
    Myself ? I give away a Free Report and ALSO my Free E Course that they will be receiving in their Inbox.

    I use to do just FREE Report.But I really focus on this Free E Course and set up their Expectations for this

    The more you can Offer up front ,the better chance at building a stronger relationship from Day 1


    - Robert Andrew
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    • Profile picture of the author tunasalad
      John, entrecon and discrat: thank you for emphasizing integrity over conversion. Being up-front with what someone will get when they sign up gives me the good feels. I like the idea of advertising a "Free E-course with Free Report". This gives me a lot to go on. Thanks guys!
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  • Profile picture of the author IgniteFeed
    The timing of the next email - after the welcome day zero send, matters a lot as do the AR sequence after the day zero. The leading expert (and most concur) in this suggests 1) initial welcome 2) send a tip in 3 days and repeat 2 times with 3 days apart between each. Then offer a small value sell, essentially look for their response. If there is a good click-through and conversion then you have done your job and built the relationship, if not then you need to repeat. Eventually graduating to another list. Never a bad idea to optin to renew the commitment from time to time as well (re the 'Digital Marketing' / Deiss 'The Machine' course).
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  • Originally Posted by tunasalad View Post

    I've read up and down on WF that it is a sound strategy to set up a squeeze page, offer a free report as bait, and subscribe the visitor to an autoresponder. I want to know how much this pisses subscribers off.
    Are you on drugs?

    Give me your email address so I can send you content and offers... and... I'll give you a free report in exchange.

    Don't want to be put into an autoresponder? Then piss off and go somewhere else... and stop wasting my time.

    Personally I can't stand entitled brats looking for a free lunch. If you get something off me that helps you. You better damn well give me something in return.

    My kids don't feed themselves.

    Businesses aren't run on goodwill alone.
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    • Profile picture of the author tunasalad
      Originally Posted by Declan O Flaherty View Post

      Are you on drugs?
      Yeah, I'm on every drug on the planet. You should see my HMO bill.

      Originally Posted by Declan O Flaherty View Post

      Give me your email address so I can send you content and offers... and... I'll give you a free report in exchange.
      Are you being up-front about this with the visitor or is this something implicit that you expect the visitor can figure out on their own?
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  • Profile picture of the author John Pagulayan
    Don't fret over the unsubscribes and those who send hate mail.

    I really don't get the whole FREE report thing you mentioned as a bait and switch method. Most if not all people know that if you put in your email to download something, you'd be automatically subscribed to something.

    You can let your Day '0' email take care of explaining part and setting their expectations.

    Some things to think about:

    1. Those people who send hate mail are of no use to you anyway, so remove them. Don't even try responding to them. Your time is worth more than that.
    2. Thank the people who unsubscribe. Thier doing you a big favor by cleaning up your list.
    3. Don't hide the unsubscribe button.
    4. You can always use double opt in if you want.
    5. Let your Day '0' email explain set their expectation that you'll be emailing them daily or whatever the frequency is.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by tunasalad View Post

      Are you being up-front about this with the visitor or is this something implicit that you expect the visitor can figure out on their own?
      I can't speak for the others, but I'm right out front with it.

      Instead of even bringing up any talk about spam and privacy, I make the confirmation part of the process. I just ask people to click the link to verify that my email sender reaches them, so they don't miss future emails, including the one with their download link.
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  • As others have mentioned, it's all about "how" it is implemented. It can be done well or it can be done as a bait and switch.

    About the unsubscribes: As a marketer, you can't worry about this too much (unless you are doing something wrong): The point is, it's human nature for people to unsubscribe and they are not going to be part of your "tribe" that buys from you. (which is totally fine)!

    It's a numbers game and you will get some hyper responders and other people who don't resonate with what you have. You can't please everybody.

    I do agree with Declan O Flaherty though: If I'm giving away something valuable (like a free report or video training series), of course I deserve the chance to add more value through email. It's not bait and switch. It's an exchange of value.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by NickWebTrafficLounge View Post

      About the unsubscribes: As a marketer, you can't worry about this too much (unless you are doing something wrong)
      Unsubscriptions are (perhaps with occasional exceptions) a way of telling you, as a marketer, that you are doing something wrong. From the perspective of the subscribers who unsubscribe. What matters is what proportion they represent, of your total subscribers.

      With email marketing, we get to set our subscribers' expectations ourselves: let's hope we set them in a way in which we can fulfil them.

      .
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