Mighty Marketing Mojo's Simple Reasons Your Email Opt-in Gift Aren't Converting and How to Fix Your Freebie

It's Time to Fix Your Freebie and Make it Focused, Not a Fire Hose of Information!

Online business owners, I bet your freebie (aka lead magnet or email opt-in gift) is not bringing you enough right-for you customers.  To attract loyal subscribers who turn into buyers, we want them to see results quickly, so they trust us and want our other offers. But if your email opt-in gift isn’t focused, it’s not doing the job. I know many of my early ones were not! In your effort to serve, are you hitting folks with a fire hose of information? No matter how valuable your info, that’s not helpful and won’t lead your people to take the next step with you. In this post and video discover the simple reasons why your email opt-in isn’t converting like you want.

And learn quick tips to make your lead magnet sexier, mightier, way more focused, and more likely to bring you more of your ideal customers.


You’re building your email community, right? The business asset you OWN, not the space you rent from the social media companies, that’s always shifting and changing? You get the power of email to build your business, yes?


And you know that you have to have a mighty good free gift (aka freebie, lead magnet, opt-in bribe, etc) to get folks to hand over a legit email address?

Good, good!

Where Many Email Opt-in Gifts Go Wrong

Before you sit down to craft that mighty awesome (and hopefully easy) email gift that will attract loads of the right-for-you people … I want you carefully look at what you’ve outlined and ask:

➡️ Is it clear exactly who this gift is for or designed to help?

➡️ Is it focused?

➡️ Is it helping people with just one specific problem or need?

➡️ Or are you about to hit your new subscriber with a fire hose of information?

Yeahhhhh …


One of the reasons I see lovely, fine, knowledgeable coaches, consultants and other solopreneurs trying soooo hard with lead magnets or free gifts that just aren't working for them – ok, a reason my first few weren’t as mighty as they could be – is because the opt-in gifts are not specific and focused.

The gifts are all over the place. Or try too hard. Or don't lead anywhere. Or …

You didn’t do your homework first. You tried to cram in ALL the great things you know about the topic of your free gift. It was with good intentions, but it’s not leading to what you want.


Images of Magnifying glass versus Fire hose spraying water Asking is your freebie focused or a fire hose

What Happens With a “Meh” or Unfocused Freebie

Your lovely new subscriber opens your first email. They download or access your gift, they start to skim ….

…. and their eyes glaze over.

❗It’s just too much.

❗ They aren’t sure what to do, right now, with all that info.

❗ They save it to their hard drive where it gathers digital dust. They tell themselves they will get around to it – and we know they won’t.

❗ They don’t take action on your tips.

❗ They don’t buy your easy-yes (aka tripwire) offer.

❗ They don’t go on to buy the related course, workshop or coaching offer.

Opportunities missed.  Ouch.

Example of an Overloaded Free Gift That Won’t Convert People to Customers

Have you ever seen a good looking landing page with an attractive offer, maybe from a coach offering spiritual transformations and healings. You download the workbook and inside you see …

An attractive looking and well designed PDF … but wow it has soooo many pages!

  • A section with questions on setting goals
  • Another section on how to work out life balance
  • How to prepare a vision board
  • And an area for gratitude journaling

Yes, all in the same workbook.

Oh my. 😵‍💫

(to protect the innocent– this is NOT a freebie from any of my current clients or Easy Email Gifts workshop participants, but it is real!)

Any one of those topics could become a useful, actionable freebie that attracts the coach’s ideal clients. But packing them all together – and overwhelming or confusing the reader – is not helpful to the coach or her prospective client.

I’ve seen tons of other examples where just too much, or too different, info was stuffed in one downloadable.

Heck, I’ve done it myself! My first email opt-in gift had 30 (!) top marketing tools inside. Talk about overload. 🙄


Screenshot examples of unfocused free email gifts

[collage of some ‘meh' and ‘ohdear' freebies I've collected in recent years – every one could be so much better! Some were too much info/too many tips, others missing call-to-action, branding; old style long data reports; gifts that over-promised, under-delivered]


In my reviews and workshops on email gifts we look at lots of examples I’ve collected over the years -good and meh or plain bad.

Some looked great, were actionable, were almost at sexy and irresistible … and were also probably 3 gifts rolled into one.

It happens to all of us!

To Fix Our Freebies, We Must Make Them More Focused

Before I give you the questions to use to review and fix your free gift, let's dig in a little more on what it looks like if a gift is not focused or specific enough. And how it could be improved.

Now might be a good time to watch the live video chat I did previously on this topic!


Digital download for 8 Tips to Fix Your Email Freebie

8 Key Tips to Fix Your Freebie

Take your email opt-in freebie from 'meh' to mighty. From unfocused to client-attracting and higher converting. 


What Getting More Specific May Look Like – Examples

Don’t create a ‘business blueprint’,  and not even a ‘visibility blueprint.’

Why not? Because those are too broad and generic.

I have sooooo many “blueprints” as gifts saved in my hard drive – and I can't tell any of them apart unless I open and skim each one.

Do you think YOUR ideal client is going to take the time for that? Nope!

I do it because I'm using them for research to help you! Your client wants help and wants it now – not weeks or months from now when they finish reading and maybe implementing the ‘blueprint'.


Spell Out What You Mean By Terms, Concepts and Cut the Jargon

What does ‘blueprint’ MEAN??

What does ‘visibility’ MEAN?

What does ‘life balance’ MEAN? from you? for your reader/client?

What do you mean by ‘budget'?

What does visibility look like in the business of YOUR ideal customer?

What results are gonna happen for them if they ‘get visible?’

Don't talk about “transformation” – show them what you MEAN.


Ask the “SO WHAT?” question.

If I’m more visible I get more email subscribers?

So what?

So, I have more people likely to click on my next offer.

So What?

So, I sell more and earn more.

So What?

So, I can save more money.

So What?

So, my husband and I can retire sooner and travel to places while we are healthy enough to do so and enjoy.

Ahhhh, now we’ve hit something personal and emotional and talks to REAL benefits that make your gift irresistible.


Get in your audience’s head to figure out what your idea means for them

What do THEY think ‘visible’ means?  That they have to speak on a stage? Write a book? Do TikTok?

If by ‘visibility’ you mean “show up on social media so people get to ‘know, like, trust’ you” – ok, but we can get MORE specific.

It is even more specific as 5 steps to easy social media visibility with Reels.

Now add in the pain point you know your ideal people have – that they are scared of the camera and don’t feel comfortable ‘getting visible’ by being on-camera.

A free gift that offers 5 ways to get your biz visible with Reels without spending hours in front of the camera”  is WAY more focused.

Say your ideal client is a 45+ woman who's had a lot happen in her life journey and she wants to give inspiring talks – and be paid to do so. She wants to use the money to help build a nonprofit and help others who've faced similar challenges. You want to help her get booked on those stages, and you know she could start small and local to build confidence, her public speaking skills, and hone her message.

A gift on ‘getting visible' that's specific for them could be “3 Outreach Email Scripts to Get You Booked for Local Speaking Engagements This Month.”

You see where I'm going with this ‘focused freebie' advice?



Stop using bland, basic, generic, or unfocused “coach speak” …

What does ‘life balance’ MEAN?

Do you mean get 8 hours of restful sleep a night or do you mean home-cooked meal in 30 minutes per night?

Both could be right and true and be great titles for gifts! But which one calls out to YOUR audience and matches YOUR offers?

“Life balance” looks very different for a 45-year old woman with a side hustle than a 31-year old mom with an active toddler. It’s different for the already retired vs the ‘almost ready to retire.’

Those are different audiences with different pain points or needs – so you need a gift that hones in on what your ideal person wants and what you can offer.

A free gift on meal planning can get more focused – tell your ideal people it’s ok to use pre-cut veggies, bagged salad, or a rotisserie chicken for a home-cooked meal.  Or share 30-minute, $10, heart-healthy, didn’t-come-from-a-box meal ideas.

Do you see how those are more irresistible because your ideal person can say ‘oh yes I want that!’


Example of what 'life balance' could mean to different people


Cutting the generic terms includes something like ‘budget friendly.’

Whose budget? How much? What time period?

The budget of someone starting a side hustle and hoping to make $1k / month is a ton different from someone earning 3-5K/mo, or scaling to 6-figures or 7-figures.

They all have a ‘budget’ but what’s on it and the dollar range are different.  My budget is different than yours. Also, ‘Budget’ doesn’t mean ‘free’ – not always. If you specifically mean ‘free’ or ‘freemium’ then say exactly that.


Ok, I think you get the idea on narrowing it down to make it focused and simulataneously more irresistible to your right people.


Think about what can you share or give someone that truly makes things easier and lets them get something DONE.

What’s going to be different in your people’s business or life after they used your checklist, watch your video, or read your ebook? What will they get done and when can they expect to see results.

Make sure THAT is in your title, your landing page, and how you talk about or promote your gift.


Worry Less on What It Looks Like vs What Your Gift Can Do for People

Your gift doesn’t have to be the world’s most gorgeous, perfectly designed thing. I’ve seen plenty of gorgeous freebies that had too many pages, too much info crammed in. They weren’t going to get the job done no matter how good they looked.

Yeah, I've also seen some freebies that are kinda boring looking – plain, basic Word docs. That was enough for a freebie a few years ago. And sometimes if the info is helpful enough, it can be good enough now.

But if you can, take a few minutes to at least add your branding, your photo, make it easy to read, and more memorable.

Don't worry about the ‘best’ tech or tool to create your email opt-in gift and concentrate on creating one that is focused, irresistible, and actionable. Use the tools that are available to you. You can add on later – after your mighty awesome freebie is proven and converting to amazing new, paying, customers.

A Google Sheet with categories, formulas, and the numbers a solopreneur should be tracking to see consistent income is VERY different and more helpful than an ebook – and even more helpful likely than a checklist.

Create your checklist in Canva (affiliate) if you want it too look a little prettier and still be easy to use. I wish I’d used Canva (affiliate) for some of my earlier lead magnets instead of trying more complicated tools.  [NOTE: I DID use Canva to create the free content upgrade gift that goes with THIS post 😉]

Your free gifts will also evolve over time. You WILL have more than one. You may test different formats.

I’ve done lead generating webinars, video series, master classes, checklists, email-based mini ‘courses’, templates or swipe files, and different kinds of ebooks.

The common denominator?

All my opt-ins and gifts have gotten simpler, shorter, and more focused over the years. That’s what I want for your email list building efforts as well.

I’m not the only one teaching and preaching the tips for more engaging, useful, and irresistible email opt-ins – you can check out Neil Patel’s advice on improving your lead magnets.


Time to Review Your Email Opt-in Gift and Ask These 8 Questions to Fix It

In the accompanying video I talk about tips for reviewing your email freebie and making plans to make it more focused and more useful for your ideal clients.

Good gifts lead to actions and lead to wins. They show your ideal people “oh, this person knows how to help me get from point A to point B.”

  • What makes it different – from the dozens/hundreds of other ebooks, PDFs, planners out there?  Where’s the YOU factor?
  • Where’s the sexy, irresistible factor?
  • Does the title or headline grab their attention?
  • Will your ideal prospective customer CARE about your opt-in?
  • Is your gift – especially the title – missing the desire, pain, benefit part?  WHY should I CARE? What’s In It For Me – the classic adage of all marketing. What is gonna be different or better in my life or biz because I have read/watched/filled in your gift thing?
  • Make it focused!  One, single, discrete, tiny problem – that’s part of a bigger problem or desire.
  • Does the title (and subtitle) of your email opt-in gift include the problem and the benefit for your ideal customer?
  • Does it answer the classic marketing adage of “What’s In It for Me?”


Want my tips on how to fix your freebie to make it more irresistible? This post getting too long for you? 😉 Put your info in this form and I'll send the tips sheet right to you.

Digital download for 8 Tips to Fix Your Email Freebie

8 Key Tips to Fix Your Freebie

Take your email opt-in freebie from 'meh' to mighty. From unfocused to client-attracting and higher converting. 


Great Gifts Help Me DO Something I Need in My Business (or personal life)

I don’t need another social media planner – I know I should be posting! I know about how often! I even know WHAT topics and types of posts!

I am still staring at a blank Word Doc and Blank Cava pages.

Gimme templates – show me the words to drop in.

Even if YOUR ideal client is new to social media marketing, giving them a planner may not useful or actionable for THEM. They need examples of what to post and to see it can be easy.

THEN they need a planner to organize their workflow (hint hint – that could be a bonus gift or your tripwire/easy yes offer).

THAT’S why templates are going like hotcakes in giveaways and bundles and low cost sales – they are literally an EASY YES.

I dropped an easy $19 recently because someone who sells templates – that I already love and use – has new templates to take advantage of Reels. WITHOUT being on-camera, without spending hours to get 15 sec of video. HELL YES TAKE MY MONEY NOW EVEN IF I'M NOT SURE I’LL EVER DO A REEL! 😆

And yeah, you bet I’ll be an affiliate for them after it’s launched publicly.


Forget the reports, longer ebooks, whitepapers, case studies and such that were good enough gifts years ago. We all have the attention span of gnats now. Create checklists, worksheets, short workbooks, templates, swipe files, super short video trainings, or other quickly consumable content.

List of examples of short focused free gift formats


What You Should Do For Your Email Opt-ins Right Now

Taking action on this advice is your homework for the next month my Mighty Pals. Not that it has to take that long!

✅ Do not be afraid to get super specific with your audience, the problem your gift is solving, the time-frame, and the benefits to your new email subscriber.

✅Revise your gift title so it calls out to your ideal person, addresses the pain point and answers that ultimate “So What” question.

✅ Stop over-thinking and over-delivering. Keep It Sweet n Simple.

✅ Shorter is more likely to be actionable, means more likely they see results, means they are more likely take/buy the next step you offer them.

➡️ Go sexy up your opt-ins and get them more focused, more irresistible, more unique, more benefits-focused.

Want these tips in a nicely focused, downloadable tips sheet to use when you review and improve your freebie? Click here to get it now!  [yes, that’s me offering you a focused freebie!]

Digital download for 8 Tips to Fix Your Email Freebie

8 Key Tips to Fix Your Freebie

Take your email opt-in freebie from 'meh' to mighty. From unfocused to client-attracting and higher converting. 

About the author 

Jennifer Burke

I want all of my solopreneur pals to feel confident and mighty in their marketing - sharing what makes their work special and so vital to their clients. No B.S. or fluff here. I do the digging and research for you, translate "marketing-ese" into simpler terms, and help you avoid marketing headaches.

  • I needed this post. It reminded me that I want/need to do a more focused opt-in. Adding to my to do list. Thank you!

  • Wow! This was dynamite, Jennifer. Love the 8 Q’s. I’ve been working on some training about creating content upgrades & this is so on the mark! I love when I stumble onto a website & see a freebie that’s so specific and relatable to my life, that I’m going “Oh my gosh! This is exactly what I need. I can’t believe I found this!” And, unlike when I get some random, low-value opt-in from someone, I actually start looking for emails from them because I want to see if they have more content that “gets me” & my life, in that same way.

  • I am so guilty of an overloaded freebie. I share in the fear that if I’m too specific, I’m going to loose a subscriber. I also have a brain that is always trying to down the rabbit hole. I’m going to put it on my to do list to get some of my old lead magnets and tweak them.

  • Jo Milgrew says:

    My main goal is for people to enquire so I have steered away from freebies. Building an email list of the less motivated potential leads is not my secondary goal when I already have a list of motivated enquirers. However, I do keep in contact with my list as “no” can mean “not now” and that is where I want/need freebies. I have been afraid to get specific with my audience as I have been concerned people on my list do not have the same problems, BUT, that does make it wishy-washy so after reading this blog, “super specific” it is!!

  • Great tips. I need to work on making an new opt-in. I have trouble making it focused since I do so many different creative things.

  • Right from the start of this post, I knew that I was in for a knowledge bomb 💣 🤯 It relays what your readers need to know in simple, entertaining and easy to follow way. And, most importantly, it has made me want to take a step back and look at the things that I’ve created as lead magnets to see where I might be able to cull back from my firehose of information! 😊 Excellent post!

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