Why and How to Create a Killer Opt-in Freebie (Free Editable Samples Inside)

I want to talk to you about opt-in freebies. Now, if you are wondering what they are and why you need them, keep reading. If you know what they are but not sure why you need them, keep reading. If you know why you need them, but not sure what kind of freebie you can offer, keep reading. And finally, if you know all of that, but not sure how to make them… yeah you got that. Keep reading, because I have TWO absolutely FREE editable Canva templates for your opt-in freebie that you can edit and play around with as you wish!

A detailed tutorial on all things Opt-in Freebies. Inside, you'll find why you need an opt-in freebie, and how to create one, along with 2 free samples freebie templates created with Canva that you can edit as you wish!

Why do You Need an Opt-in Freebie

If you are a blogger, or you own an online business, you need an audience. Because without an audience you’ve really got nothing going no matter how amazing your blog posts are, however much value you are providing. If you do not have an audience, no one is receiving any value in the first place. And that is why every blogger or online business owner needs to invest some effort into building an audience.

Imagine that you publish an amazing post full of value for your audience. Or you decide to create a course teaching something you know people will benefit from. Or maybe you are going to write a book! All of these things require you to get the word out to your ideal audience. But who is this ideal audience?

That’s where your email list comes in. In this day and age, there are social media outlets and we can get a few thousand followers fairly easily. However, an email list is a bit of a different story. There is no follow-for-follow for an email list. Every single subscriber needs to give you their email address voluntarily. That’s no small feat if you think about it.

So, for these people to willingly give you their email list, you need to lure them in with a whole lot of VALUE! Yes, an email list opt-in freebie is essentially free value you are giving your audience for allowing you into their inbox.

Types of Opt-in Freebie You can Offer Your Subscribers

The most common types of opt-in freebies come in the form of:

  • pdf checklists
  • pdf workbooks
  • ebooks
  • pdf of a how-to tutorial

There are other formats, like email challenges, video tutorials, and webinars for example. However, let me just focus on the pdf’s in today’s post as they are the easiest to create, with the least amount of time and effort. And they are also my favorites!

But now you may be asking yourself, “pdf is all nice and good, but what DO I have on my pdf?”

See, when I first decided to focus on building my email list, the content of the opt-in freebie is what stumped me. I should create a checklist/workbook, but a checklist/workbook of what?

Let’s brainstorm now for a bit, shall we? Usually, the content of your freebie should be in line with what you are selling. If you are selling a service or a course, your freebie should be something that helps those potential buyers. For example: let’s assume you are selling a course on hand-lettering. Then, how about a pdf that teaches your potential students the difference between different fonts, and a list of tools a hand-letterer can use. Now, I am not making this up. One of my favorite influencers and online business owners, Sean McCabe, did this exact thing. His landmark course is a hand-lettering course (with a focus on making a living doing hand-lettering), and his opt-in freebie was what I described above.

You see, you cannot be picky about giving out information. You won’t be giving out everything of course, but if it were possible to give out EVERYTHING you’ve got in just a few pages of pdf, then what you have to offer is probably not worth selling anyway. Give as much as you can. because that’s the best way to get people’s trust in you. And you know, trust = sales!

How to Create an Opt-in Freebie

Personally, I use one of two programs to create my freebies: Adobe InDesign and Canva. If I am creating more complex documents, like multi-page tutorials and such, I use Adobe InDesign. However, for simpler things like checklists and workbooks, I opt for Canva. It’s just a personal preference, and you can use whichever software you feel comfortable with.

Using Canva to Create Checklists and Workbooks

For the sake of brevity, I will go over freebies you can create with Canva. Usually, I start with Canva’s pre-made template “US Letter”. Canva is fairly intuitive and very easy to learn. Since this is not a Canva tutorial post, I won’t go into all the details of how different features work, but as I said, it’s very easy to learn!

To create checkboxes and writeable/typable areas, go to Elements from the toolbox on the left, and then click on Shapes, and choose a square shape. You can change the size by dragging a corner or one of the sides of the square. All the square or rectangular boxes I have in my samples are done the same way. If you have multiple boxes of the same size, you can copy and paste as many times as you wish and simply drag them to wherever you wish to place them.

Creating Fillable PDF with PDFescape

One fun thing that you can do with your checklists and workbooks is to make them fillable. As in, when someone downloads your pdf, they will be able to check the checkboxes or type in the fillable areas right on the pdf itself. There is a native feature in Adobe InDesign to do it, but if you are using Canva to create your freebies, then you will have to use an external service to make them fillable. My personal favorite third-party program is PDFescape.

It’s really easy to create fillable areas with PDFescape. Simply upload your document, and when you do, it directly takes you to the editable window. Once there, click on Form Field, as shown in the image below. Based on whether you are creating checkboxes or textboxes, choose the appropriate option from the drop-down. Once you do, click and hold your mouse on one corner of the box you wish to make fillable, and drag, while holding the mouse, to the diagonally opposite corner. Release the mouse and you’ll have a fillable section. Once you have done so for all the fillable sections, download the PDF by clicking on the green double-arrows on the left, as shown in the image below.

Document on PDFescape

And now, here’s a little gift for you! TWO Canva templates you can use to create your VERY OWN freebie! Feel free to edit them, play with them so you can get comfy with making them. Just make sure to create a copy of the design BEFORE you start making changes! To create a copy, go to File > Make a copy. It’s important that you make a copy and make changes ONLY to the copy you create, and NOT the original file. Otherwise, it will change the original for everyone! Don’t want that, now do we?

That’s it guys, that’s how you create an opt-in freebie! Please share what kind of freebies you are planning to make, or ask if you have any question in the comments section below.

A detailed tutorial on all things Opt-in Freebies. Inside, you'll find why you need an opt-in freebie, and how to create one, along with 2 free samples freebie templates created with Canva that you can edit as you wish!

Not sure what opt-in freebies are, why you need them, or how to even make them? I've got you covered! In this post, learn all you need to know about opt-in freebies. + 2 FREE Canva templates included!
Skyrocket your email list incentives! Use Opt-in Freebies to lure your ideal clients to subscribe to your list and become your tribe members! In this blog post, you'll learn everything you need to know about creating opt-in freebies as incentives for joining your list.

Comments: 7

  1. Very interesting. I’m paying for Adobe right now to change canva pdfs into fillable pdfs, I tried PDFescape but when I download it it gives me one line of text in the middle of the field and that’s it, can’t fill in a block of text. Do you have the same issue? Thanks for your answer!

      1. Great! Glad it worked out ? Also, thanks for the comments! Is there anything else you are struggling with in terms of building your email list? Feel free to let me know.

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