Content upgrades are a great way to build your list fast. I recently added 315 new subscribers from a content upgrade in a single post.
But here's the problem: how do you deliver all those different free reports?
In this article you'll discover:
- how to deliver content upgrades using automated sequences
- create a segmented list that divides your readership into groups according to their interests.
Let's get started:
Recently I published a guest post on Smart Blogger about how to use transitions to increase reader engagement.
In the article I gave 90 examples of transitional phrases that keep people reading and keep them moving down the page.
And in the author bio I included a content upgrade - a free PDF containing 391 transitional phrases:
That content upgrade has added 257 new subscribers to my list:
And I'm not the only one getting good results from content upgrades. Bryan Harris of videofruit went from 15 new subscribers a day to 75 a day using content upgrades. Brian Dean of backlinko increased his optin rate by 529% using content upgrades. And Devesh Kanal used content upgrades to increase his optin rate by 492%.
1. Why Are Content Upgrades So Effective?
So why are content upgrades more effective than any other type of lead magnet?
Well, it’s quite simple...
It’s all about context.
Have you ever seen those sales reps in the supermarkets? They usually have a plate of bite-sized delicacies, a new type of cheese or sausage.
As you approach she asks you: “Madam, can I interest you in our new BBQ flavoured cheese?”
You smile nicely and say: “Not now, thank you”.
Because you’re headed to the aisle with the coffee beans. You’re not focused on cheese, you’re focused on coffee.
It’s a bit like that with most lead magnets.
Random windows pop up offering all kinds of resources: cheat sheets, swipe files, templates. And they’re all free.
But like the cheese bites in the supermarket, these lead magnets are not your focus right now. So you ignore them and close the popup.
But what if you could present your visitors with a lead magnet that exactly matches their current focus?
Well, that’s what a content upgrade is. It’s a lead magnet that is directly related to the article your visitor is reading.
But there’s a problem with content upgrades.
2. Delivering Content Upgrades - The Problem
Some marketers gave got around this problem by directing every new subscriber to a download page that contains links to every single content upgrade they ever created.
The welcome message a new subscriber receives is something like this:
The new subscriber then clicks through to your download page where she has to wade through 35 different lead magnets to find the one that was referred to in your article.
Obviously, it’s not a very satisfactory option, for various reasons:
- It looks kind of amateurish
- It’s confusing to the new subscriber
- Everyone on your lists gets access to all of your lead magnets
- Sooner or later people will start circulating the URL of your download page and even non-subscribers will get access to your lead magnets
3. Delivering Content Upgrades - The Solution
So what’s the solution?
It’s quite simple – you need to send a different welcome message to different subscribers, depending on which content upgrade they signed up for.
This is called ‘asset delivery’ and there are various email marketing platforms that allow you to do it.
Here are some of the best known:
But as you might expect with enterprise-level solutions, these services are not cheap. For example LeadPages starts at $31 p/month, ConvertKit starts at $29 p/month, and Drip starts at $41 p/month.
But what if you could deliver different lead magnets to different subscribers without paying a cent?
4. How To Deliver Content Upgrades For Free
To start, open a Word document and create a table with three columns. This is your Master List of content upgrades:
- The first column identifies the subscriber group,
- The second column identifies the content upgrade
- The third column identifies the article or blog post where the content upgrade was offered
Next, go to MailerLite and sign up for a free account.
Once you’re logged in to your MailerLite account, click on ‘Subscribers’ in the top menu and then click ‘Add New Group’:
Give your new group a name from Column 1 of your Master List:
Next, click on ‘Automation’ in the top menu and then ‘Create a new workflow’:
On the next screen, give your workflow a name and choose the first option ‘When subscriber joins a group’:
You’ll then be prompted to choose which group the workflow applies to:
Click on the name of the group you just created and hit ‘Save’:
On the next screen, choose ‘Email’ as the next step in your Workflow:
Then enter a subject line for your email and click ‘Design email’:
On the next screen choose the ‘Drag and Drop Editor’:
Drag a text block onto the left side panel:
And then write your email and include a link to the content upgrade:
Click ‘Save’ and then click ‘Done Editing’:
On the next screen, activate the workflow by toggling the button to the ‘On’ position:
Now go back to the main menu and go to Forms > Embedded Forms.
Then click on ‘Create Embedded Form’:
Give your form the same name as the Group you created and click ‘Save and continue’:
On the next screen, choose the ‘Embed Form’ option:
You’ll then be prompted to link the form to a subscriber group. Check the box next to the group you just created:
Click ‘Save and continue’ and then edit and format your optin box:
Note that the bottom field can either be a 'thank you' message or the URL for a redirect.
Click ‘Save and continue’.
The screenshot below shows my landing page with the MailerLite optin box:
And that’s it – you’ve now created an automation within MailerLite that delivers your content upgrade for a specific blog post.
At this stage you may be wondering what happens when you want to send out an email, update or newsletter to your list.
It’s really simple!
In the top menu of the MailerLite dashboard, click on ‘Campaigns’ and then ‘Create Campaign’:
The 3rd step in creating a campaign is to identify which groups should be include din the mailout (campaign).
You’ll see a screen with all your groups listed. These are all of your content upgrades.
Check the box at the top of the screen to select them all:
Every subscriber who signed up for any of your content upgrades will now receive your email update.
What if someone signed up for more than one of your content upgrades. Are they going to receive multiple copies of your email update?
And the answer is ‘No’.
For each campaign (mailout) MailerLite will go through all your groups and eliminate duplicate email addresses.
5. Content Upgrades Produce a Segmented List
If you follow this method outlined in this article, you’ll end up with a segmented mailing list. And that’s a very powerful marketing tool.
Because the people who have signed up for your content upgrades don’t all have the same interests.
For example, someone who signs up for an SEO checklist has different interests to someone who signed up for a list of transitional phrases.
The system I’ve described above keeps these subscribers with different interests in separate buckets.
And that means you can target a particular offer to a particular group.
Good luck and let me in the comments know how you go!
Content upgrades are post-specific offers. They convert much better than sitewide optin forms because they are targeted to the reader of a particular page.
But delivering content upgrades can become a headache, especially if you are using a free email marketing service.
In this article I've shown you how to deliver content upgrades for free using Mailer Lite.
Setting up content upgrades across your entire website is more work than using a generic sitewide optin. But it pays off in higher conversion rates because your offers are targeted to the readers of each specific article on your website.
And that's why delivering content upgrades will gow your list fast.
- ConvertKit - The (Actual) Complete Guide To Content Upgrades
- Brittany Berger - 4 Cheap & Easy Ways to Deliver Content Upgrades
- Video Fruit - The Complete Guide to Setting up Post Specific Bonuses with Mailchimp
- Nose Graze - The Easiest Way to Deliver Content Upgrades on WordPress
- Aware Creative Solutions - How To Deliver Content Upgrades Without LeadPages
This post was most recently updated on July 7th, 2020