An Email Marketing Lesson from Optimus Prime

In response to my call for email marketing questions, reader Nathan says:

How do I come up with another kick butt freebie? FlippedLifestyle recommends that I wow them by sending the freebie for which they signed up, then throw them an unexpected, bonus freebie.

I’ve tried asking them directly in the past. (My list is much larger now, so maybe I should send out a blast and see what they need help with.)

Nathan’s thinking smart here. Over-delivering is a good plan.

I also get why he’s stuck. Putting together a good “lead magnet” can be a lot of work if you really pour your heart into it. The thought of doing it all over again is overwhelming.

But let’s take a step back.

What’s the real goal of this approach?

Nathan wants to show each new subscriber that he’s looking out for their best interest.

But piling on another freebie may not be the best way to do that.

Here’s a quick analogy:

A couple of weeks ago, I finally got around to watching the last couple of Transformers movies. (My two oldest boys are obsessed with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, and they’ve sucked me in right along with them…)

And “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” was pretty… Intense.

Nearly 3 hours long, it starts off when a couple of Decepticons launch a heart-pounding attack on a troop of special forces soldiers. The supposedly elite soldiers get sliced to ribbons, and Optimus Prime rushes to their defense.

After that, more stuff happens… for 3 hours.

Seriously, the entire movie is a blur of Decepticons destroying buildings and people running away and shouting at each other.

The non-stop action left me numb—I was constantly struggling just to figure out what was happening.

That’s pretty much the way many of your subscribers feel when they opt into your list.

They found you because they’re looking to solve a specific problem, like how to be more productive at work or how to lose that 10 lbs. they hate carrying around.

And when you’re in “learning mode,” the Internet is an absolute firehose. Everyone has tons of free stuff for you, and you could literally spend the rest of your life gorging on all the info that’s available.

But ask yourself this:

How many times have you downloaded a free report, ebook or video… And then just left it to sit in your Downloads folder collecting digital dust?

I’d wager that 80% of the people who opt in for a free ebook or report never even crack it open.

So to get back to Nathan’s question, adding ANOTHER freebie on top of the one you’ve already given them is a lot like tacking an extra hour of “riveting” action sequences onto “Dark of the Moon.”

Your subscribers are now even MORE overwhelmed than they were before.

And if they don’t read what you’ve given them, they’re getting ZERO value from it.

What can you do instead?

Here’s the approach I suggested to Nathan:

What might actually be more useful would be helping them consume the first freebie—a lot of people will download it but never use it. So if you can follow up and help them get the most important 20% out of the lead magnet, that can go a long way toward building goodwill.

Help them get the value out of your main lead magnet by putting together an email sequence that drips out the main points.

That way, even if they never read that killer PDF you slaved over, they’re still getting 80% of the benefit.

Your subscribers will see that you want them to succeed—and they’ll start to look to you as a wise and patient leader—

Optimus Prime would be proud.