RYB 902: Giveaways vs Digital Downloads To Build The BEST Email List (What’s Best?)

By Scott Voelker •  Updated: 11/02/20 •  9 min read

Today we're going to talk about the key differences between giveaways vs. digital downloads. Also, I'll be going into detail on how to successfully build your email list using both of them. Each is an effective way to grow your list. However, there are pros and cons of both to consider.

Today we're going to talk about the cost to run a giveaway and digital download to provide you with some clarity about which one will work best for you right now. It's important to remember that you should start building your email list no matter where you are in the process. There is no better time than the present, and it's never too early. 

My New Email List Workshop

I've created a full workshop that you can take in about three hours to help with the process of creating your very own list. I break down the process into simple sets to help you build your own email list right away. It's designed to help you get started now without having to wait to grow a large following.

The workshop's goal is to provide you with three simple steps that will help get you to grow your list to 500 quality email addresses. This will help you reach the right people to sell your products and services. You don't need to have a huge list to get started. 

Keep Your Giveaway Niche-Specific 

Your lead magnet is super important and shouldn't be overlooked. This is what's going to attract the right people to your brand and repeal those that you don't want to target. 

Some giveaways aren't very effective because they're trying to get people to opt-in for a prize that everyone wants. The participates don't necessarily care about what the brand is selling. Instead, they just want to win the prize and won't give it a second thought after the giveaway has ended. 

Your giveaway needs to be focused on the specific niche that you're in. That way, the prize will only interest those within your market, giving you better-qualified leads. This will help you reach the right people in less time. However, keep in mind that you will almost always have slightly fewer quality leads with giveaways than with a digital download, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing. They just have a specific purpose. 

The Benefits of a Well Laid Out Giveaway

Giveaways are super easy to set up. You'll just need to come up with your prize and a landing page to direct participates to. 

About four years ago, we had just started the brand that we recently sold. Our email list started with a giveaway that we set up. Over 50% of the leads we collected stayed on our list long term, which we were really happy with.

Leads from a giveaway are pretty cheap, so it was a win. You can get leads for as little as 14-18 cents using a giveaway. Even if you only keep a third of those leads from a giveaway, it's still an inexpensive way to reach your target audience. 

Doing a giveaway also allows you to get a lot of shareability. On the thank you page, incentivize participates in sharing it with their friends and family to expand your reach. That right there will get you free reach that you didn't have before and help you find additional people within your market who may be interested in your products or services. 

You can easily get a giveaway started within 24 hours, making it fairly simple to grow your list in no time. All you need to do is come up with a prize and create a simple landing page. However, giveaways do have their place and aren't effective for every situation. Consider doing giveaways every quarter to get some inexpensive leads. 

The Upside of a Digital Download 

Digital downloads will almost always give you higher quality leads than giveaways, but you will usually end up spending more money per lead. On average, we typically spend between 40-60 cents on leads from digital downloads. This includes paying for Facebook ads. That's still pretty inexpensive for the quality of leads that we get. 

In fact, chances are, you already have a digital guide ready for you to set up. What I mean is that you can pull content from blog posts that you've written and turned them into pdfs. From there, you can put the digital guide up on a landing page and make it your lead magnet. It's that simple. We usually will do an A/B test on two different lead magnets to see which one our audience prefers. This will allow us to get the most leads possible. 

With a digital lead magnet, you'll usually incorporate Facebook ads that you'll have to pay for. However, this means that you'll be able to specifically target people within your niche, bringing in your ideal audience. We almost always use Facebook ads for our digital products because they're so effective.  

My Secret Email Ninja Tip 

I highly recommend that you take a close look at your conversation rate from the beginning, no matter which method you decide to start with. You'll only want to spend time reaching out to people who are genuinely interested in your brand. It's all about the quality of the list and connecting with those who want to learn more about your products and services, that you can convert into paying customers. 

Before you clean up your list and remove contacts that are no longer active, you should always export your full list and put it in a CVS file, and keep it on record. This will allow you to keep a running list of people that aren't opening up your email lists so that you can build a lookalike audience on Facebook. This will give you a leg up, so you don't have to start from scratch later on when you're looking to expand your audience. 

Another reason to save your complete list is that the inactive people might not have checked their emails for a while. You can run retargeting ads with a new lead magnet to get those people back on your list and, from there, start to sell to them again. 

There are so many things you can do with your list if you save it. By saving your list as a CVS file, this means that you can stop paying for those contacts that aren't currently active. There is no need to keep them on your active list and ay for them if you have them saved somewhere that you can access at any time when you're ready to reference them. You can also send direct emails to those that haven't opened their emails within the last 90 days before you go ahead and remove them. 

The success of your email list boils down to the quality of your lead magnet. It truly does. Don't just put something up that you think everyone wants. That will just give you a lot of people that want something for free. Instead, you want to reach people who are genuinely interested in your products and brand so you can target the right audience. Make sure that it catches their interest and helps solve a problem related to your niche. 

There you have it! Like I said, there are pros to both digital downloads and giveaways. To me, the cons are just having a higher cost for a lead magnet, but you get better quality leads from them. I recommend going with whichever one will give you the least resistance right now so you can get started quicker. 

When we built the brand that we just sold, we started by building our email list from a giveaway. At the time, we were only selling on Amazon, so that was the easiest way for us to start growing our list. We didn't have any website traffic or anything. The great thing about your own email list is that you have traffic that you can lead to your blog post, YouTube channel, or other content that you've created and help speed up the process.

That's going to wrap up today's episode. As always, I am here for you, I believe in you and am rooting for you. Now it's time for you to take action and go rock your brand. 

Thanks For Tuning in!

“Remember, I'm here for you, I believe in you, and I'm rooting for you! Now it's time for you to take action and go rock your brand”! 

Take-Aways from Today's Episode

  1. Keep Your Giveaway Niche-Specific (3:31)
  2. The Benefits of a Well Laid Out Giveaway (5:30)
  3. The Upside of a Digital Download (10:05)
  4. My Secret Email Ninja Tip (15:37)


00:01 What we want to do is we want to create a lead magnet. And if it's going to be a giveaway, it needs to be really, really focused on that market that only someone in that market would want,

00:15 Wait, Hey, Hey, what's up, everyone. Welcome to the rock, your brand podcast. I'm your host, Scott. Voelker a serial entrepreneur on a mission to help you. This show is designed to teach you to inspire you, to motivate you, to take massive action and build a future-proof business. So whether you're just starting out or taking your existing business to the next level, this is your home. Now, if you're ready, I'm ready. Let's rock your brand. What's up guys. Welcome back

00:48 Back to the rock, your brand podcast. This is episode nine Oh two. And today we're going to be talking about giveaways versus digital downloads to build our email list. And that's a question that I get quite often, and there are pros and there are cons, but really both of them work. And what I decided to do is I devoted a full coffee, talk to where I jumped on, and we went through the pros and the cons, and also gave you some examples of what it looked like from running a giveaway, the cost, and then also running a digital lead magnet and the cost of that when we're running paid ads. So if you are at all thinking to yourself, I'm not quite sure if I should be building my list with a giveaway or with a digital download this episode here will give you a little bit of clarity on that.

01:50 Now I will say this, they both work. I've used them both. And I'll talk in depth about that in this episode. But I did just want to say no matter where you are, you should be thinking about building that email list. If you haven't started already, if you did start building the list and it didn't go as planned, well, I've got some good news for you. It's probably just a tweak. It's probably a tweak in the lead magnet, or it's probably just a tweak in your Facebook ads that you're running or you're targeting. And what I have done is I created a full training that you can take this workshop in three hours. All right. It's actually about three hours, maybe a little bit longer with the Q and a that we added in there, but this is a full workshop where I break it down.

02:40 Step-by-step and it's called the email list, building fast track workshop, and it will get you up and running in no time. And you will start building that list the right way within 24 hours. So it's all about let's, let's learn really quick and then let's start implementing even quicker. And, uh, that's what this track workshop does. So if you're interested in checking that out, you can head on over to brand creators.com forward slash list. And if you go there, it'll take you over to the email fast track workshop. So this way here you can get started as soon as possible. All right, guys, let's get into today's episode. If you are starting from scratch and you're like, okay, uh, what, what should I start with? Should it be a giveaway or should it be a digital download? So let's talk about those two first. Okay, well, let me back up.

03:34 The very first thing that we need to talk about is a lead magnet. Okay. And the lead magnet is super, super important because that is what's going to attract and repel the right people. Okay. Or it's going to get rid of the wrong people. Right? So it's really, really important that we have a lead magnet that does that now a giveaway or a digital download. It's just a form, a different type of lead magnet. That's basically what it is. So one thing that I I've seen people do giveaways, and the reason why they don't work for them is because they're raffling off and I'm trying to look for something. Well, they're just raffling off iPhone seven, iPhone eight, whatever, right? Like they're, they're trying to get people to opt in for something that they know that anyone would want. Right. So that's mistake. Number one, we do not want to do that.

04:31 What we want to do is we want to create a lead magnet. And if it's going to be a giveaway, it needs to be really, really focused on that market that only someone in that market would want. Right. It's like if someone is not in the bass fishing, but I have this ultimate bass fishing kit, they're not really going to want it right now. You could argue and say, well, some people are going to want it because they could get it and sell it. You're right. Okay. You have some people that might want to get it and give it away to someone they know that's in the bass fishing. That's true. Okay. So whenever you do a giveaway, you are going to have, and I'm just going to say it right here. You are going to have a slightly less of quality leads. Okay. Plain and simple, but there's a lot of upside to having a giveaway and here's, here's a lot of them.

05:25 Okay. And I'll go with you. I'll go through a few of them right now. Okay. So number one, they're easy to set up super, super easy. You don't have to worry about, okay. I got to create a digital download. I got to figure out how to host it and all this stuff, really, all you need to do is come up with your prize. Right. So it's pretty easy to do. Um, and actually if we go back about three and a half, four years now, uh, the brand that we just sold, we started that email list by building a list through giveaways. Okay. And we, I think our first list, we like four or 5,000 out of those four or 5,000, there was probably 50% of them that stayed on our list. Okay. And you would say, well, Scott, isn't that, you know, isn't that not good?

06:07 Because then you have all of these people that you paid for to get on your list. The thing is, is those leads are super, super cheap. Like, and what I mean by that is like, if we always go at it, like if we can pay, just to give you guys an idea of what I'm willing to pay per email. Now this doesn't go for like brand creators and the pod, like the podcast I don't advertise to, but people that were, that are going to be in my audience, I would pay for those people more because in our industry of, you know, being in the, make money online or build an online business, it's really expensive. It's kind of like the insurance business in a sense, right. There's a lot of competition, but there's also a lot more people that are willing to spend more money when you get into these niches.

06:51 Okay. Something like bass fishing, you can get leads for as little as like 12 cents and I'm not kidding. Okay. We did a case study where we built a list through a giveaway. Okay. We did this exact process by the way. And we built a list of over 9,000 subscribers in 30 days. And those leads cost us on average about 14 to 18 cents. Okay. Now, okay. That list. Okay. You would say, okay. That's, that's great. But now, even if I only kept a third of that list, let's say after I send a whole bunch of emails, you know, over the course of a month and I start to see who's, uh, who's, who's someone on this list, that's actually opening my emails. And then I trim it. Even if I only have three or 4,000 emails from there, that's still good. Because then you would say, well, okay, so it costs me 50 cents, or it costs me 75 cents.

07:45 It's still not that expensive. If you look at it that way, the other thing is doing a giveaway, allows you to get a lot of share-ability meaning when someone opts in, when someone enters their name and email address to enter the giveaway on the thank you page. And if you're not doing this, you should do this on the thank you page. You give them ways for them and you, and you incentivize them to share it. So it's kind of like, Hey, share this with three of your friends. And if they opt in, or if they enter the contest, we'll give you five more entries. Right. So then they're like, Oh, cool. I'll go share it on my profile. Or I'm going to share it in my Facebook page or my group, or I'll just email my friends, like, whatever. Right. That right there. I'm telling you right now, it will get you free reach.

08:35 Okay. Think about that. If someone has 200 friends on Facebook, only 200 friends and they share that with their friends right now, not all of their friends are going to be in the bass fishing. Right. But some of them are right. Cause if they're their friends, they might have a group of buddies that, or women that like the bass fish. Right. So that's the benefit. That's the upside of it. It's real easy to get one going, like, there's nothing stopping you. Like right now, guys, I'm not even kidding. If we sat there and we brainstormed for maybe, I don't know, a half hour, we could come up with a prize for our market. And then I can build a landing page in like 10 minutes. Right. And then from there I can turn on a Facebook ad and get it approved in the next 24 hours.

09:17 We could have this running in 24 hours from right now. Right. And so that's the upside of that. Okay. So they're really good. They have their place. Okay. But the next thing is the digital download. Okay. Now I've been doing digital downloads for years. Okay. And inside of the workshop, by the way, tomorrow, I'm going to be sharing something that we recently tested, um, from something that I had a long time ago and I brought it back to life and basically we did it as a test and we ended up selling stuff on the back end of it. So I'm going to share that tomorrow. That's another little insider thing that I'm gonna be sharing in that workshop. Um, but that digital download will most likely give you a higher quality lead, but you're going to spend a little bit more money for it. Okay.

10:11 And I say a little bit more money right now. We're seeing like on that test that we ran, we're getting emails for any, from anywhere from 40 to 60 cents. Okay. Which is great, which is awesome. Right. That's still pretty inexpensive. But if I did a giveaway in that market, I could probably get them for 15 cents. Right. So you have to have, you know, you might want to just mix it up, do a giveaway every quarter maybe, and kind of bring people in that way. Right. Um, it also has to do with targeting. You want to make sure you do your targeting. Right. Okay. Um, so that's the benefits of a giveaway. Now the digital download. Let's talk about that. The cool thing about that also is most likely you don't have a, or you already have a digital guide in your business right now that you don't even, like, if you're already publishing content on your website, you probably already have a digital download ready for you to set up.

11:10 Right. And what I mean by that is we did this, actually, we showed it in the Academy. I'm actually going to show it in tomorrow's workshop too. And I'm going to show the two side-by-sides that I did, but basically in this niche. Okay. And we'll show you the niche and all that. We basically took two blog posts and we turn them into PDFs, which took about 10 minutes. And then from there we put those up on their own landing pages and then we started driving traffic to it. Okay. And we did them as we wanted to split test the two, well, within probably a week, we realized that the one on the left was not doing as well as the one on the right. Okay. A wasn't doing as good as B. Now it was still doing really pretty good. It was doing, I think we were converting at like 30.

12:04 I want to say 32% off top of mind. Um, the other one was converting, I think at one point it like 40%. Right. I think it's come down to about 38%, which is great. Okay. Anything over 20% were like, yes. Okay. But it's still, it was costing us just over 50 cents. Right. I think it might've been been at one time, a dollar and then, and then we trimmed it down and that's the other part of it too, which Chris Shaffer will be teaching that inside of this workshop, as far as the Facebook, if you want to just even start a Facebook ad and run it for like five bucks a day, you know? Um, but when you do that, your, uh, you're able to then target people, bring them over to the lead magnet. And then from there you can see how it's converting. Right.

12:51 And that's another big thing, right? Like even if we're doing a giveaway or if we're doing, uh, you know, a digital download, we want to look at the conversion rate. That's the first piece in any of this. Right? So whether you pick a giveaway or you pick a lead magnet, understand what you're pulling in, like what you're bringing into your business. And we only want people that are interested in our business, in our brand, right? That's all that we want. Right. It's not about having a large list. It's about having a quality list. You know, I shared this before, you know, I built a list of a thousand people. It was actually just under a thousand people, uh, over 10 years ago, right. Using a Webber back in the day. And I sold my first digital product through there and made over $12,000 on a launch.

13:41 Okay. In the photography space. So don't think that you have to have a massive list. That's why during this workshop, by the way, our goal is, and we're calling it like the three to 500 method, which is follow these three steps to get to 500 subscribers. Like that's the goal. And my goal is for everyone that attends, they they're able to build a list of 500 quality email addresses. Because guess what, if we get 500 email addresses in your market, put 500 people in a room that are interested in what you have to offer in your brand. It's a pretty good chance. They're going to want to go over to your blog. They're probably going to click around on your website. They might stumble on an affiliate link and buy something through Amazon or wherever your affiliate links are. Or maybe they're going to buy one of your products because you sell a physical product or maybe you sell a digital product.

14:33 There's all of that happened with just 500 people. Like we can learn that process and we can also start getting in front of people like that. Right. So just imagine that, imagine having the power of having 500 emails, just 500. Okay. And you're like, I want to send an email about three to era, you know, like a three-day promotion coming up. Maybe it's a blast Friday coming up. And you're like, I want to prep people for this. You're going to write emails and get instant traffic. They're instant. Okay. So you just want to think about the quality of your list. If you do a giveaway, it's still going to be quality. Right? Like I said, that list that we built to 9,000, I think right now we've trimmed it down to 7,000. Okay. So we got rid of the other 2000 that weren't, that weren't doing anything with it now, little here.

15:23 Here's a little Ninja tip though, for you. All right. This, this only happens on coffee talks by the way. Or if you're listening to this on the podcast, if this makes it to the podcast, um, what you can do before you clean your list before you take those emails and you, you go, you know what, if they don't engage within 30 days, I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to delete them. Okay. You can export your list, your fullest export that entire list, put it in a CSV file. And boom, put it over here on the side. Now, why would you want to do that? Those 2000 people or 3000 people that aren't opening your emails right now? Why would you want those people, if you, and why would you ever want to bring them back into your business? Well, you can actually use them as a way for you to build a lookalike audience in Facebook so we can take those people or the entire list for that matter and upload it into Facebook and then create a lookalike audience of those people.

16:23 So it gives, it gives us a leg up, so we don't have to start from scratch. Right? So there's really cool things. The other thing you can do is maybe those emails, maybe they just haven't checked their email and forever. You can run retargeting ads to those people with a lead magnet and then get them back on your list through the lead magnet. That might be something that they're interested in. So there's all of these different things you can do with that list. So a little Ninja tip there. If you are going to clean your list, export them, put them off on the shelf, keep them there. If you want ever need them for a Facebook lookalike audience, retargeting that stuff, you still got them, but you're not paying for them inside of your inside of your account. Okay. Really, really important. Um, and that's, uh, that's a little Ninja tip there.

17:05 All right. So make sure that you do that, but we trim that list down to about 7,000 ish. And then there's a feature inside convert kit where we can send to the, the, uh, cold subscribers that haven't interacted within like 90 days. Uh, and we can send to them directly. And I think the last time I looked our engaged list, meaning they've opened something of ours in the last, within the last 90 days, at least in the last 90 days is like over like 3,800, almost 4,000. I'll take that right. Because I only paid 15 cents per email address and yes, I've trimmed it down. So even if you mapped it out and you said 50 cents, I'm still okay. Right. So again, you want to think about the quality of your list and it really does come down to what you're offering as a lead magnet.

17:54 It really truly does. Right? Do not do not make this mistake and just put something up that you think that everyone would want, because what that's going to do is it's going to give you a lot of people that just want to get something for free. Right. We want to do is we want to call specifically out to that market. All right. Well, there you have it guys, like I said, there there's some pros, there's some cons and really the cons to me are just like ad costs are a little bit higher for the lead magnet, but you do get a little bit better of an email subscriber. So there's really not a right or a wrong. I always tell people what is going to be the least resistance for you right now. And I think I mentioned it in that Copytalk that when we built the brand that we just recently sold, we actually built our first list using a giveaway.

18:47 And it worked really, really well. It helped us launch multiple products when we were selling completely on Amazon. And we were launching those products through our email list. That's all we had at the time. We didn't have any website traffic or anything. So if you're, if you're thinking to yourself, well, Scott, I don't even have a website yet. The great thing about having your own email list is really you have that traffic now that you can direct to your blog posts or your YouTube videos or wherever you want to send people. That's the really cool thing is we now have control over that traffic, whether it's 300 subscribers, 500 subscribers or 5,000 subscribers, uh, it does really speed up that process. So again, if you're interested in going through the email list, building fast track workshop, head on over to brand creators.com forward slash list. Again, that's brand creators.com forward slash list. All right, guys. So that's it. That's going to wrap up this episode as always remember, I'm here for you. I believe in you and I am rooted, but you have to, you have to come on, say it with me, say it loud, say it. Proud. Take action. Have an awesome, amazing day. And I'll see you right back here on the next episode. Now let's rock your brand.

Scott Voelker

Over the years I’ve helped thousands of people TAKE ACTION to UNLOCK their true potential on building their ultimate freedom business, by developing the skills to make them resilient, confident and FUTURE PROOF. I’ve clocked my 10,000 hours over the years working in the trenches myself and helping others build and grow their brands. I know the power in TAKING ACTION better than anyone and I’ve seen people lives changed as a result of it...including my OWN!