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How to Create a Freebie that Grows Your Email List

July 1, 2024

Let’s create your first email freebie and set up all of the email tech so that you can start passively growing your email list in the next 24 hours.

DISCLAIMER: Links included in this post might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you! Thank you for supporting me so I can continue to provide you with free content each week on my blog and on my YouTube channel!

I truly believe that it’s more important than ever before to be growing your email list. And I really think that this can be done alongside your social media growth. 

On social media, you are at the whim of algorithms and platform updates. However, an email list is a collection of people who’ve trusted you enough to give you their email and you can always reach them, even when social media reach is down. 

This is going to be your go-to guide to create your freebie and set up your email list within the next 24 hours. The goal here is to answer your top questions and help you get all of the tech set up, in a very ‘low’ tech way. 

How to Create a Freebie that Grows Your Email List

What is a freebie?

A freebie is an offer that you can give to your target audience for free, in exchange for their email address. You might have also heard this referred to as an opt-in or lead magnet. When you have a well-crafted freebie, it will grow your email list. 

Your email list is a list of email contacts that you own. This is so important because social media could disappear tomorrow (anyone remember Vine?) or you could have your account hacked (like mine was) and without an email list, you have no way to reach your people. 

Why should you have an email list as a content creator?

There are so many reasons why every content creator should have an email list. This is a topic that I could talk about forever, and it’s one of the first things that I help all of my students set up. 

Here are just a few of the big reasons why every creator should have an email list: 

  • You own your audience. 
  • You have 100% control without having to worry about an algorithm silencing you. 
  • Email list contacts typically convert more sales than social media followers. 
  • It’s another way for brands to partner with you.
  • Since email lists typically convert more sales than social media, it’s also a way for you to charge brands more money!

Do you even need an email list?

If you want to grow a platform online, yes you need an email list. 

If you’re reading this, and still thinking that you don’t need to worry about an email list, I would say to learn from my mistakes. When I first started my creator journey, I also thought I didn’t need an email list. That was a mistake! 

I typically recommend that anyone who wants to start being a content creator or an influencer should start by creating an email freebie that can grow their email list in tandem with their social media following. It’s easy to do, free to create, and takes less than 24 hours. 

Different types of freebies

There are so many types of freebies that you could create for your audience. What you offer is really going to depend on your niche and your audience. Figuring out what they need and solving a problem in an easy, downloadable way. 

A few different types of email freebies include: 

  • eBooks/Guides
  • Templates
  • Running a challenge
  • Teaching a free class
  • Quizzes
  • Creating bonus content
  • Offering a discount on products

Today, we’re going to be mainly focusing on an eBook, template, or guide that you can easily create in Canva. These are my favorite freebies to create for my own audience and they’re what I recommend to anyone just starting out. 

The idea with these guides is to create something that allows you to teach your audience in a very digestible way, that doesn’t take too much time for you to create. Providing value while requiring less work on your part. 

Picking your freebie topic

Pick your freebies based on your niche or content pillars. The whole point of a freebie is to offer value to your audience and entice them to exchange their email for that value. It’s important to create something within your niche so that you can grow an email list of people interested in the things you talk about. 

For example, imagine that you are in the food wellness industry. To start researching what your freebie should be, head over to a search engine and type your topics into the search bar. 

I’m going to be using Pinterest to research freebie topics with you because Pinterest is an incredibly powerful tool for creators. It’s a visual search engine that businesses and creators use to grow their email lists. 

Oftentimes on Pinterest, a pin is actually leading you to a freebie! Since it’s already such an effective tool, it’s a great place to start researching your email freebie.

For this example, I’ll use ‘wellness’. The items that drop down beneath your search are the items that other pinners are looking for. 

Narrow down your search depending on what people are searching for and then explore the search results. (If you’d like to see me doing this search in action, watch this video and skip ahead to 5:00.)

Freebie examples: Let’s make a freebie together!


  • At-home fitness for busy moms 

Content Pillars: 

  • Body weight workouts (no equipment) 
  • Healthy recipes (high protein) 
  • 30-day challenges

Phrases for Freebie: 

  • Fitness for women
  • Fitness for beginners 
  • Fitness for moms
  • Bodyweight workout for beginners
  • Strength training
  • Workout plan
  • No equipment 
  • Beginner

Freebie Ideas: 

  • 10 best strength training exercises for beginners
  • 6-week at-home workout schedule for women (busy moms)  

During the research phase of creating your freebie, you want to start building up all of the juicy keywords or phrases that can help you reach your ideal audience. All of these phrases are keywords that people are searching for on Pinterest. 

So by collecting these phrases, you’ll be able to put together a freebie that appeals to the person that you want to reach. 

What if you don’t know your niche and industry?

If you’re just starting and you don’t know your niche or industry yet, it’s OK to hold off on creating your freebie. In an ideal world, everyone would have a freebie and be working on growing their email list at the same time as they’re trying to grow their social media. 

However, if you don’t know what your audience wants or needs from you, then you might be wasting your time creating a freebie that’s not aligned with your niche and with your audience. 

What I recommend in this case is that you start posting on social media first, for as long as it takes you to figure out what your niche is. Usually, the more you post, the more questions people will start to ask you, which will help you understand what kind of freebie would benefit your audience. 

Post consistently on social media for 3 months and then circle back to these steps to see if they make sense for you. At this point, you could even start asking your audience what kind of freebie they’d like to see from you. 

How to create your freebie in Canva (for free) 

Head over to Canva to create your freebie. I love using Canva templates because they help you create extremely valuable content for your audience, for free. 

Start by searching Canva’s templates for an eBook. I recommend searching for eBooks with multiple pages because that’s what you’re going to be creating for your freebie. 

If you can, pick the one that is already similar to your style and branding. This will save you time on your customizations. And it is entirely possible to pick a free Canva template for your freebie. (Just keep an eye out for the ‘crown’ symbol. If the template has the crown symbol then it means you need Canva Pro to use it.

Once you’ve chosen your template, it’s time to customize it with your content. All you need to do is plug all of your information into the template. 

If you’d like to see me customize a freebie template in Canva, watch this video and skip ahead to 16:00

The TOP mistake I see when creators make a freebie

I’ll be honest, people often get too creative with the titles of their freebies. What I see happen with my students is they’ll get so creative with the title of their freebie, but it doesn’t actually tell anyone what it’s about. 

When your audience doesn’t know what your freebie is… They’re going to be a lot less willing to download it.

The idea is to simplify it and use the words that your target audience is using in their searches. You want someone to see your freebie and immediately want to download it because it’s the exact thing they’ve been searching for. 

This is exactly why we’re doing that research ahead of time! To see what our target audience is searching for in our niche.

Easy tech setup (deliver your freebie with Stan)

Once you’ve finished creating your freebie in Canva, you are going to download it as a PDF. 

Now we’re going to set up an easy way for you to collect email addresses and deliver your freebie to your new email subscribers. The tool I’m recommending for the ‘tech’ side of your email marketing is Stan. Stan often gets described as a ‘link in bio’ tool but it’s so much more than that. 

When you’re setting up your freebie in Stan, you’re going to click the option for ‘Collect Emails’. You can choose a thumbnail from Stan’s collection of free stock images, then add your title and subtitle. Choose the text for your button and then the information that you want to collect for your list (name and email address are usually enough!) 

Then you can upload your freebie (in Stan it’s called your ‘product’) and Stan will deliver it directly to your audience. Finally, make sure that you customize the delivery email so it sounds more like you!

Once you publish your freebie, it’s going to be available for your audience via your Stan store which you can link in your bio. And when people download your freebie you’ll be able to see their information under your ‘Customer’ tab in Stan. 

The cool thing about Stan is that when you have paid products, you can also set those up and accept payments through Stan. It’s the same process, but this time your audience will be paying you for the download. 

Learn more about Stan here

How to passively grow your email list

Lastly, how are you going to passively (and organically) grow your email list? Put your freebie anywhere you can put a link. Make sure that it’s the call to action in your bio on social media! 

When you create content on social media that is in alignment with your freebie, your email list growth will happen directly alongside your social media growth. This is the easiest way to grow them both in tandem with each other. 

I hope this guide has helped you pick a freebie that is marketable to your audience, create the freebie (for free in Canva), and set up the tech in Stan so that it’s automated and you can passively grow your email list. 

You’ll be miles ahead of me when it comes to growing your email list because you’ve done this now… while I put it off for so long in my own business! Happy growing! 

Follow your joy! 

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