Nancy Juetten was onto something when she sent out a special gift to her email list on Christmas Day 2014.

The gift was a free chapter from her e-book on writing a professional bio, Bye-Bye Boring Bio.

brilliant bio template image

“I knew I had a piece of content that solved a problem, but I also knew not everyone is ready to say yes to a product that costs almost $100,” Nancy explains. “I thought: What if I offered just a taste of my product and allowed people to test out my education in a risk-free way?

What started as a simple idea became one of the most successful things Nancy ever did to market her business.

“After I sent my Christmas gift the response was instantaneous,” Nancy says. “If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas, and you play a slot machine, and it starts going Ding Ding Ding!, you start thinking: What just happened? That’s what it was like after I sent out that email.”

Since Christmas Day last year, thousands of people have downloaded Nancy’s template. Better yet, hundreds of those people have purchased her book and become paying clients as part of her Get Known to Get Paid mentorship program.

Let’s take a look at how Nancy created an effective gift and how you can do the same for your business.

1. Choose a valuable piece of content and make it timely.

When deciding what taste of her e-book to give away, Nancy didn’t hold back. She went with the strongest template in her book, and it paid off.

“Sometimes we get really attached to our best materials and we think we should never give away something that good for free,” says Nancy. “But I decided to give people the single most powerful template in the book because I knew this would make them feel really empowered to take immediate action.”

After selecting the content, Nancy made the template feel timely by positioning it as a holiday gift and valuable piece of content to use in the New Year.

“My intention was to ride on the New Year-New You enthusiasm and guide business owners to start the New Year off right with a magnetic, client-attracting message,” says Nancy.

An image Nancy created to promote her gift.

An image Nancy created to promote her gift.

Tip: Do you have a piece of content that has been particularly successful or useful? Choose a portion or repurpose it into a new format and share it at a time when people can act on it right away.

2. Promote your content everywhere you can.

Think about all the communication channels you have available — both online and off — to get the word out.

“I used email marketing, social media, my blog, and I issued a video news release about the Brilliant Bio Now gift template to highlight useful tips to support client attraction in the New Year,” says Nancy.

While Nancy’s promotion was extensive, it never crossed the line of becoming too loud because it always focused on the value for others. Nancy suggests other businesses think about more than themselves as they promote their content.

“When we look at what we create as a solution for other people — rather than all about ourselves — then our information becomes newsworthy instead of salsey,” she says.

3. Capture contact information and continue to nurture relationships.

In return for the Brilliant Bio Now gift template, Nancy collected email addresses to add to her mailing list. That way she could follow up with new contacts via her weekly email newsletter and continue to build relationships.

“Thousands of people took the step to opt-in to my mailing list,” says Nancy. “In addition, hundreds of people have been nurtured by my Constant Contact weekly newsletter to become clients of my Get Known to Get Paid training and private mentoring.”

Building a mailing list has been a focus for Nancy for almost a decade. In 2005, Nancy started with 180 email subscribers, but has since grown her list to over 21,000 names.

“It wasn’t an overnight success, but I am so glad I took the long road and nurtured this list with content that helps them,” she says. “And in turn, they reward me by staying, referring, and doing business with me.”

4. Measure what’s working…and repeat!

After sending out her weekly email newsletter, Nancy pays attention to what content is resonating best with her audience. As her audience has increased in size, she’s looked for ways to group contacts into smaller groups and reach out with more targeted messages.

“I always say, what’s measured gets treasured,” says Nancy. “I pay attention to open rates and specific interests expressed by clicks to segment my lists for special announcements, content, and invitations to only those who have expressed specific interest. I notice that open rates for those targeted newsletters are dramatically higher compared to when I mail to my entire list.”

Part of the reason Nancy loves measuring is because it allows her to repeat the things that are proven to work. For example, Nancy is providing gift access to the Brilliant Bio Now template again this holiday season. This year, she has invited the promotional support of joint venture partners who are sharing the gift template with their own communities.

Show your value upfront!

Sharing free content is one of the easiest ways to show your value and establish know, like, and trust with new customers or clients. Whether you provide a collection of recipes from your restaurant, exclusive online marketing tips from your agency, or a video tutorial on scarf-tying techniques from your boutique — make sure you’re delivering value upfront, then following up to build on your initial connection.

“Offering free and timely content is a win-win,” says Nancy. “The person who receives it gets help right away, and their curiosity is piqued to find out what other value is available. You get new subscribers, many of whom go on to become clients.”

Have you had success with giving content away for free? Have any questions you need help with? Let us know all about it in the comments!