Authentic Online Marketing

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Authentic Online Marketing with Ruthie Gray
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Ep. 43: What to create for your newsletter freebie

Let’s talk about your newsletter freebie. Along the way in the online journey, in our quest for writing a book or building a podcast, a ministry or even just feeling out what in the world we’re trying to accomplish in the online world, somebody mentions email.

You should start an email list yesterday, they say.  And you sit there thinking, how in the world do I do this?  Where do I even begin?  So, you slap something up on your blog or website that says, “Sign up for my newsletter”.  Sooner or later, you realize that you’re not getting very many sign ups.  Why?  Because people don’t really know what you have to offer, their inboxes are full of useless information, and they don’t have time to meander through and figure out what they’ll get from your newsletter.  So, they click away.

But… if you have a savvy resource you can offer in exchange for their email, and it’s something they want, now, you’re cookin’.  You’ve got something to start with.  


Listen to Ep. 61: Combining Instagram and email marketing in 5 smart ways

Listen to Ep. 57: 5 Tips to boost email reader response

Listen to Ep. 48: 7 Ways to get followers on your email list

What to create for your newsletter freebie

Even though this podcast episode is geared towards educating you to start an email list, even the most savvy newsletter marketers will benefit, because sooner or later, you need to update your freebies or opt ins.  I’ve done this many times over the years, and you’re going to hear a clip from an opt-in workshop about my story of meager beginnings and how I started building my own email list, the freebies I offered, and how that transitioned over time, based on content and products I developed.

One key to determining what kind of newsletter freebie or opt in to create is knowing your brand and leaning into your unique spin on your message.  Admittedly this evolves over time and frankly, in the beginning, we may not exactly know what that is, so be sure to listen through to the end of this episode because I’m going to tell you about an upcoming free training that will help you with this!  

For now, what are some opt-in ideas to get your wheels in motion?  Listen in!

*This episode contains either affiliate links or links to my products. Should you choose to purchase, the show will go on! Woo hoo!

Click below for show notes!

Click below for the link to sign up for our Brand Voice Workshop!

Number one with your opt-in, you want to make it relatable.

It needs to be related to your offering, whether that is marketing at the time you have a product or maybe you’re doing an affiliate marketing launch. Meaning, it’s either marketing or it’s creating an awareness for your message, your blog, your podcast, wherever, or your book, wherever you’re trying to drive traffic to grow traffic, to grow an audience for your message.

Back in the day, y’all know I was a mom mentor and my message was mentoring moms to capture joy in parenting. My first offerings were to drive traffic to my blog. I didn’t have a product or anything yet. I just wanted to grow my blog. 

Graphic creation

I meandered my way through PicMonkey and was just in the early stages of graphic creation and things like that. At first, I was thinking, I don’t even have anything that people would want to exchange their email for, but I just really dug down deep and wrote top 10 tips to rear a confident young man based on what I had seen happen with my son.

People started opting into that. People actually wanted that and started reading my emails and got on my list. And I will as a side note say that I was taking an email course at the time. That was the very first thing I was supposed to do was create an opt-in. But then I was learning how to write these emails that people actually want to read.

Within, I think the first three months I had a hundred subscribers, which was big for me. That’s where I started; ground level. Later on, I did some marriage tips like my parents top 10 tips to staying married over 50 plus years which had old pictures of them, their wedding and things like that.

People love that too. Then another one that I had that did really well was the C2K challenge and it was a couch to knee challenge. So in other words, I noticed that people were really needing prayer and that was a big topic. And I had started kneeling just as a posture thing to like, get my mind centered so I wrote a blog post about it. People in the Bible cited different times in my own life where I had dropped to my knees by my bed.

Concentrate on personal

That was usually in times of dire distress. And so I said, what if we really concentrated on this? So the challenge was basically to determine a set amount of time that you’re going to kneel every day for five days a week. And it was actually a month long challenge. 

They got one email a week. So some people were five minutes. I’m going to kneel for five minutes. And I shared my goal which was 20 minutes and that grew my prayer life so much and it grew so many people’s within my free Facebook group. That one was well-received. It had about 200 signups within the first week.

So you want to do something that relates to whatever your messages. So then I had an offering after that. It was my ebook about mom anger. In fact, Haley helped me come up with the title, Count to Nine, nine liberating steps for mom frustration and anger. 

Quality and Relatable

The next opt-in offerings that I had were the five day mommy anger make-overs so they got one email. And the yellow free blueprint. So that was kind of a different spin on it. Those would trickle in information gradually about my book and by the end of those, what they received, a lot of them would purchase the book.

I want to note with you, the average email opt-in rate with traffic to your website is 1.95 according to SumoMe. That’s not super great. But then you have to figure in a lot of people that hit on your website.

That’s probably about accurate. So you have to really make sure that you make it quality and that it really relates.

Creating a newsletter freebie you CARE about

Even from the most meager of beginnings in your online marketing adventures, you can have an effective newsletter freebie.  I just walked you through my humble start and how that first, simple PDF download of 10 tips to rear a confident young man drew newsletter sign ups!  

But I will say, I’d already worked through who my target audience was and how I could uniquely offer valid, valuable information.  And even though it was early on in my newsletter writing, I had already identified my own brand voice.

You see, there is a way to connect with those unique persons you want to help on the internet.  Many people call it an avatar, some call it an ideal audience member, or target audience.  

For your newsletter freebie: tap in to your target audience

Once you tap into who your target audience is, you need that edge – the brand voice that is uniquely you, to draw them in.

And as I mentioned before, over time this evolves, or even changes, based on your target audience.  If you’ll look at my new website,, you’ll notice it is markedly different from my old site and, because my target audience is completely different. is a parenting site, and is an online marketing site.  

But even beyond that is the messaging we provide on our new site.  When we held our official launch, we had a competition to see who could find the most ‘70’s references.  That’s because my target audience is largely women from that groovy, Farrah hair, Marsha Brady, 6 Million Dollar Man era, much like myself.  And that’s not to say that I don’t have younger (or older) followers and listeners, but it’s where I’ve landed with my niche.

Niching down

Oftentimes we’re afraid to draw a line in the sand.  We’re afraid to target one demographic for fear the others will leave.  I can confidently say that’s not the case, when you’re confident in your brand voice and online presence, because I even have young moms that would rather follow me than some bigger, louder online Instagram or email marketing guru.  That is also my edge, because I’m smaller.

So what sets you apart?  What makes you different that you can offer your readers in exchange for your email?  Tap into that, and I’m going to give you a hint – your personality has a LOT to do with it, my friend!

Let me help!

I’d like to help you figure this out, so I’m super excited to announce our brand voice workshop, coming August 8, and you can sign up to reserve your seat right now.  Inside this workshop, I’ll teach you how to identify and authenticate your unique brand voice.  This will help you to reach that target audience you’ve been searching for, and help you pinpoint your own unique, authentic voice we’re always talking about at the end of every podcast! 

The link to this free workshop is in the shownotes, so right now while it’s on your mind, tap in and sign up to reserve your seat before the next beach trip or summer gathering distracts you.  

Trust me, you have a LOT to offer the world.  And most of it is right under your nose.  You’re already doing it, because it’s part of who you are.  Let me help you figure it out in my Brand voice workshop.  

Is it time to create your email opt-in?  Or perhaps craft a fresh one? remember to make your opt-in relatable to your current offerings.  Keep it relevant, spruce it up, possibly even give it new graphics or a new name!  We’ll see you next week, and remember to share your unique message your way in your own authentic voice.  

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