The Quick and Dirty Guide to Creating Your “Bribe to Subscribe” in Record Time

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Creating Your “Bribe to Subscribe” in Record Time

You’re not dumb.

You know that to build a popular blog, you need to grow your email list.

And that offering your readers a juicy sign-up “bribe” will grow your list faster.

But despite this, you still don’t have one.

Of course, it’s on your to-do list. It just won’t reach your “have done” list anytime soon.

The problem is you always seem to have a ton of other stuff to take care of first.

And whenever you think about creating your bribe, you feel overwhelmed.

Creating one can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a mammoth task.

If you take the right approach, you can finish it quicker than you ever imagined…

Why Most Bloggers Don’t Have a Bribe (Even Though They Know They Should)

If having a juicy bribe is such an important part of building your blog, why do so many bloggers struggle to create one?

Usually they make one (or both) of two common mistakes:

  1. They go too broad. They try to tackle a high-level topic with their bribe, like “weight loss” or “blogging” or “happiness.” Or they consider so many different topics that they become paralyzed by all the possibilities and end up agonizing for weeks or even months over picking the “perfect” topic.
  2. They go too big. They think they have to create an epic, world-changing bribe. A 100-page e-book, or a 20-part email series. That seems like a ton of work, so, quite naturally, they procrastinate and don’t get it done. And the longer they go without a bribe, the better the bribe has to be to justify all that waiting, right?

But in almost every case, this kind of thinking doesn’t lead to an awesome bribe – it leads to no bribe at all.

Because they cast their net so wide – or set the bar so high – that creating a suitable bribe seems like an insurmountable task.

But here’s an important truth:

Even a basic bribe is miles better than no bribe at all.

And that’s the aim of this short post – to help you get unstuck and create your simple yet effective bribe to subscribe so you can attract more subscribers sooner.

How to Use Tunnel Vision to Finally Get Unstuck

You can make the task of creating your bribe massively more manageable by ruthlessly narrowing down your options.

So to avoid going too broad, we’ll focus on tackling just one topic – a common problem for your readers.

And to avoid going too big, we’ll focus on just one type of simple bribe – a one-page checklist.

And if you doubt that a highly-focused, one-page download can be useful and appealing, check out the following examples:

  • Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, offers a downloadable PDF – 20 Questions Your Financially Unprepared Friends are Afraid Of – which is essentially just a single page of useful questions.
  • Laura Roeder of LKR Social Media has a Master Blog Strategy Worksheet that is a single page containing just nine strategy-related questions.
  • Copyblogger has 11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs, a simple one-pager that’s less than 100 words in its entirety!

How to Pick the Perfect Problem to Inspire Your Subscriber Bribe

Instead of trying to tackle all of your audience’s problems, you’ll narrow them down to just one specific problem.

And to make it super easy, we’ll only consider problems that fit the following template:

I want [goal], but [obstacle].

For instance:

  • I want to eat healthier, but it seems too complicated.
  • I want to start a blog, but I’m not sure which topic to choose.
  • I want to get more freelance clients, but I don’t know where to start.

But where do you find the problems that your audience is struggling with?

If you already have a fair-sized audience, you can run a simple survey. Or discover potential problems by analyzing your readers’ fears and frustrations.

The following are some other ways:

  • Analyze popular blogs. Use tools such as Social Crawlytics, Open Site Explorer and SEMrush to figure out what’s popular on other blogs in the same space. What problems do those popular posts tackle?
  • Use Quora, Reddit and Digg. What questions, topics and links are popular on these sites within your niche? What problems do people struggle with that have no simple answers?
  • Study Amazon book reviews. What sort of comments are people leaving in their reviews of the most popular books on your subject on Amazon? Pay particular attention to negative reviews – what problems have the books failed to solve?

How to Create a Checklist Your Readers Will Crave

Once you have identified some potential problems, write them out using the goal-obstacle template:

I want [goal], but [obstacle].

Then start thinking: which of these problems could be eased with a simple checklist?

Here the “obstacle” part is key – what type of checklist could you create that will help people overcome this obstacle?

Remember, a checklist could take many forms including:

  • A list of tasks to complete – e.g., The Ultimate Pre-Publishing Checklist for WordPress.
  • A list of features to have – e.g., The 10 Essential Features of a Winning Resume that Gets You an Interview Every Time.
  • A list of questions to ask – e.g., 7 Smart Questions to Ask Any Prospect That Will Make Them Want to Hire You on the Spot.

Importantly, you’re not trying to solve the whole problem with your checklist, just helping the reader get a little closer to achieving their goal by removing (or reducing) the obstacle.

Example: A Healthy Eating Breakfast Checklist

Let’s take a look at the first of our earlier examples:

“I want to eat healthier, but it seems too complicated.”

In this case, we’d try to think of ways a simple checklist could make eating healthier feel a little less complicated.

Rather than trying to tackle the whole problem, we could focus on just one part of eating healthier – deciding what to have for breakfast.

So ourΒ healthy breakfast checklist might look something like this:

  • I picked something with protein to help me stay full longer.
  • I chose water or tea instead of juice.
  • I included some kind of fruit or veggie.
  • I made it myself so I know exactly what’s in it.
  • I didn’t add any sugar or sweetener.

Of course you could provide more detail about why these guidelines produce the best choices, but try to keep everything simple and to the point.

Let’s look at our second example:

“I want to start a blog, but I’m not sure which topic I should choose.”

For this problem, we could offer a checklist of criteria that a successful blog topic should meet. Or a checklist of warning signs that a topic is the wrong choice.

And the third example:

“I want to get more freelance clients, but I don’t know where to start.”

We could offer a checklist of things that every successful freelancer website must have. Or a checklist of things to include in a follow-up email to a potential client after an exploratory call.

Remember, you’re not trying to solve the whole problem, just help the reader feel like they’re a little closer to achieving their goal.

And finally, don’t forget to give your checklist a tantalizing headlineΒ so potential subscribers will happily give you their email address to get their hands on it.

How to Create a Gorgeous Checklist (Even If You’re a Design Dummy)

Once you have your checklist in draft form, you need to turn it into an appealing download.

PDF is usually the best format, and you have two basic options:

  1. Do it yourself.
  2. Get someone else to do it.

If you want to go the DIY route, my favorite tool to create stylish PDFs is Canva. It’s simple to use and it’s free.

Just click “Document (A4)” under “Start a new design” and you’ll be able to create your checklist.

If you’re willing to spend a little cash, you can use Canva’s pre-made background templates. Or you can go the free route and just create your own from scratch.

After you’ve finalised your design, click “Download” then, “High Quality PDF” and you’ll get a copy of your new PDF downloaded to your computer.

If this seems like hard work, you absolutely can go the second route. A simple one-page checklist shouldn’t cost a fortune when created by a professional designer – you can find one on a site like Fiverr, Odesk, or Elance.

But whether you design your checklist yourself, or hire someone else to do it, make sure your blog name and URL are somewhere to be found on the PDF – you want to make sure people remember exactly who created this awesome checklist.

One final point – be sure to print out your checklist. That way you can check to make sure everything looks good on the computer screen, and in real life.

Ready to Get Serious About Growing Your Blog?

As a blogger, you always have tasks you know you should do β€” just haven’t done yet.

But creating an effective subscriber bribe is one you must bump to the top of your list.

Every day that passes without one, new subscribers are slipping through your fingers – people who may never visit your blog again.

So find a common problem and create a simple checklist to help out.

Because the simple bribe you actually create will always kick ass compared to the “perfect” one you never get around to making.

Go on. Get started today. Show everyone you’re serious about building a popular blog.

About the Author: Jenna Dalton is a certified prenatal and postnatal fitness specialist and toddler mom. She helps moms feel like themselves again – minus the “get your pre-baby body back” pressure. You can find her at where you can grab your free 21 day workout plan. She also hangs out on Instagram and Facebook and would love to connect with you there.


  1. Mary Collings
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 09:31:15

    I’ve been struggling with the “too big, too broad” issue. This is so helpful – I’m off to create a bribe right now!
    Thanks for taking a load of my shoulders and helping me to see the light…wait, who let all of those cliches in here?
    Thanks for a great post, Jenna.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 09:51:34

      Ha! So happy you feel better about creating your bribe now, Mary. Good luck getting it done.

  2. Lorraine Reguly
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:18:32

    I already have a “bribe” on Wording Well — a free ebook called 20 Blog Post Must-Haves. It’s earned me a lot of subscribers, followers, and friends, I’m pleased to say. πŸ™‚

    The one thing I really enjoy doing is interacting with others. It enriches my blogging and writing experiences. Sometimes it even earns me new clients! Many people are often in need of an extra pair of eyes or some assistance with writing or perfecting a blog post, and I’m happy to oblige.

    I didn’t found Wording Well for nothing! πŸ˜‰

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:24:39

      I’m glad that your bribe is working great for you, Lorraine. I agree – creating connections with people is a great way to get more clients and grow your business. Sounds like you’re definitely passionate about what you do. πŸ™‚

      • Lorraine Reguly
        Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:55:12

        Hi Jenna!

        It’s so nice to receive such a speedy reply. πŸ˜‰

        I’m very passionate when it comes to blogging, writing, editing, and freelancing. I am a certified English teacher who can no longer work as such due to an accident in which I nearly lost my leg. I can still work a computer, though! πŸ˜‰

        Helping others, too, is simply part of my nature, and that is one of the reasons blogging is perfect for me. I can teach, tutor, and assist those who need it. Often for free, sometimes for a small fee. πŸ™‚

        Thank you for replying to me! Darren never does. πŸ˜‰

  3. Tim Brownson
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:19:13

    Jenna, do you think you can make the bribe too big?

    I give away 4 pretty meaty ebooks that I spread out over 4 weeks (so that I can get at least one newsletter in front of them and build rapport before they are tempted to unsubscribe and take the goodies).

    It works in terms of getting a lot of sign ups and my list is my life blood as a coach, but it’s not exactly focussed and as such it’s tricky to zero in on one book as being the reason people sign up.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:32:37

      Tim, I actually do think that you can make the bribe “too big”. It’s not even really about the bribe itself being “too big”, but rather trying to cover too much in your bribe and ending up overwhelming people. If people are overwhelmed right from the get-go, they might be less likely to take the next step (i.e., pay to work with you).

      I’d want to know if your free offering/newsletter is converting subscribers into paying customers and clients. If it is, then it’s doing its job.

      If it isn’t, then you might want to start having some conversations with your subscribers. See if scaling back and covering one big problem for them, in one simple freebie would work better.

      If you want to know what actually convinces people to sign up – whether it’s a specific ebook you’re promising, or some other reason – just ask your subscribers. I’m sure many of them will be happy to have a conversation with you.

      • Tim Brownson
        Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:33:46

        Thanks, and yes to be fair it is working – they are my single biggest source of paying clients by some way.

      • Jenna Dalton
        Dec 04, 2014 @ 16:30:05

        Great! Well that’s obviously good news – you’re on the right track.

  4. Delwar
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:22:07

    This idea seems taunting to me. Thanks you for the great insight. I am going to implement it as son as possible.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:34:30

      Glad that you’re intrigued enough to try this, Delwar. Tip? Schedule some time in your calendar to get it done. That’ll make it even more likely it’ll actually happen. πŸ™‚

  5. Ross Davies
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:31:02

    Hi Jenna – A timely post for sure!

    I have struggled crossing this item off my to-do list. I made a ‘productivity tool kit’ pdf. But then I thought it does not appeal to everyone in my niche.

    I decided to use this as my bribe anyway but also add a series of 20 short emails with time management and productivity hacks that would hopefully appeal to a wider audience.

    The problem is I have not written them and so have done nothing.

    Your post has given me the kick in the pants I needed.

    My New Action Plan

    1. Use the ‘productivity toolkit’ bribe today. (any bribe is better than no bribe)
    2. Offer 20 emails today. (make a commitment to take action)
    3. Write one email each day. (I only have to stay one email ahead of my subscribers!)

    Thanks for your timely post.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:40:13

      “Any bribe is better than no bribe” < Yes! You hit the nail on the head, Ross.

      The best part is that once you get your bribe out there, you can actually start testing it. If no one signs up (and you're doing your best to market it like crazy) then you have your answer – it's probably not the right bribe, or you need to tweak your positioning. But if people are signing up, then you've obviously hit a topic that resonates with your audience.

      The best way to figure out if it's the right bribe or not is to just get it out there and see how people respond.

      Enjoy implementing your plan!

  6. Kevin Duncan
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:33:10

    Hi Jenna,

    Congrats on writing such a concise, helpful guest posts on such an awesome, influential site!

    A one-page checklist is a very effective opt-in bribe. So, too, is creating a PDF version of a popular blog post. Two months ago, I offered a PDF version of an 8,317-word post I had written a few weeks earlier. To date, it’s been my most popular opt-in bribe. And it took approximately three minutes to create. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for helping readers discover a quick and easy way they can offer subscriber bribes on their blogs (and for helping convince readers why bribes are needed!).

    I’ll be Tweeting this shortly.

    Hope you have a great day, Jenna.


    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:42:45

      Thank you, Kevin! I definitely love the idea of taking a popular blog post, converting it into PDF form, and making it your opt-in bribe.

      The nice part is that you’ve already tested it – you know people like it because it was one of your most popular posts – so you can feel confident it’ll help you get lots of sign-ups. Great idea!

    • Seth Addison
      Dec 10, 2014 @ 11:29:40

      Hi Jenna and Kevin,

      I love the idea of repackaging my most popular blog post. Quick question though: Do you then pull the blog post version down? Or do you just have the post version and the PDF?

      Thanks! Great post!

      – Seth

      • Jenna Dalton
        Dec 10, 2014 @ 14:05:40

        I’d say it’s really up to you, Seth. I’d leave it up, myself – especially if the blog post is already popular because you’ll be getting good traffic that way.

        What I’d probably do – if I left the blog post up – is add a bit more to it for the freebie. Maybe at the end I’d give people a step-by-step breakdown of how to fully apply what I’m teaching them. Or maybe I’d record myself reading it so people can listen to it if they prefer. Or maybe I’d get a designer to create a cool infographic or image(s) for the freebie. You don’t have to do these things, but if you’re worried people will say, “This is just your blog post in a PDF” you can add a bit more spice to it.

        The important thing to remember is, as long as you’re giving people value, the right people – the people you want to buy from you – won’t complain. They’ll probably appreciate the freebie – even if they’ve already read the blog post on your site.

        I’m sure Kevin has some more insight, as well. πŸ™‚

  7. Vinay
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:47:07

    Hey Jenna, great post! You should take a look at it’s great for building checklists you can give to your subscribers as lead magnets πŸ™‚

    • Jenna Dalton
      Jan 09, 2015 @ 13:59:39

      Thanks, Vinay. Good to know.

  8. Elna
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:12:51

    I think I’ve created a bribe to subscribe that is narrow in focus and not too broad. So far, I’m getting great feedback. As I’m a freelance writer, I thought I could provide some tips on what NOT to write in your pitch.
    Before writing my free guide I looked to this site for incentive ideas, which helped me in thinking of my topic.
    Thanks for this post, I’ll be able to link to it in my posts in the future!

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:18:19

      Hooray for getting great feedback on your bribe, Elna! Sounds like you’re definitely providing some great value. Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  9. Veronica Lopez
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:16:09

    Jenna, I have a habit of over-thinking things and my opt-ins have been ineffective. I am going to give this another try, because your guide has helped me rethink about the power of simplicity. Thank you for taking us through the process in such a quick and clear way.
    – Veronica

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:24:09

      You’re welcome, Veronica. I hope that the simple route serves you well!

      Remember, the key is to really know your audience. So make sure that, whatever offer you create, it’s addressing a problem/pain that your audience is dying to solve.

  10. Peter
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:17:30

    I am working on my second bribe right now. Just realized that I should finish it tomorrow!

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:24:47

      Awesome, Peter! Enjoy putting the finishing touches on it.

  11. Mi Muba
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:21:04

    Hi Jenna

    A very unique concept you introduced in this post and offered much breakfast for thought.

    People take email building very casually and just take it sufficient to put a wonderful popin with lofty promises to do this and that once you become the subscriber of a blog.

    If we admit that competition is touching the skies so we need to keep in mind while building an email list also. If someone visits 5 blogs daily does it mean he will submit his email 1500 times in a year. It is even not a remote possibility.

    So to make visitor submit his email we have to convince him in a few minutes with one or two lines what benefits he will get after doing so.

    For this purpose bribe is the wonderful term you mentioned because it does have more attraction than the simple terms of reward or benefit.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this very useful post.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:29:18

      Ha! Love the “breakfast for thought” line! Breakfast does happen to be my favourite meal πŸ™‚

      I think you’re right. We can’t assume that everyone who finds our blog will want to sign up for our email list. If we want more sign-ups, we definitely need to give them a good reason to subscribe. And using our bribe to showcase some of the results and benefits people can get when they sign up is a simple, effective way to do that.

  12. Anabelle Bernard Fournier
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:29:32

    Wow. Thank you. This was really helpful.

    I really like how you framed it around solving a single problem and a single obstacle at a time. Now I know exactly what to make for my first list bribe, and it’s much simpler than I thought it would be.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:33:42

      So glad you found it helpful, Anabelle. Simple really is the way to go. It’s great that you know exactly what to create now. Now you just need to schedule in time to create it. πŸ™‚

  13. Mark Chase
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:37:45

    Thanks Jenna. Do you know if Canva allows you to create PDF’ forms with fields that can be completed and saved?

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:42:06

      I’m not positive, Mark but I think you’d need something like Adobe or an online program to do that. If you don’t have Adobe, try typing something like “free fillable pdf creator” into Google. I haven’t used any of the free programs, but I know they’re out there. Good luck!

  14. Mark Chase
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:56:37

    Thanks Jenna!

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 12:00:53

      You’re welcome πŸ™‚

  15. Debashish
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:59:01

    Excellent post, Jenna. And couldn’t have been timed better. I just finished writing my first subscriber bribe.
    I have seen some bribes offered as simple PDFs too, and that’s the way I was planning to go. But this post has made me reconsider. How important would you say is the design/formatting of the PDF?

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 12:07:17

      While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I don’t believe design has any impact at all, Debashish, I definitely believe that valuable content trumps beautiful design.

      If you’re helping someone solve their problem, a great design is kinda like a bonus. So don’t worry too much about how it looks – as long as it’s not a total mess and it’s easy to read/use. Worry more about how helpful it truly is. πŸ™‚

  16. Kimi
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:59:37

    OK I’m totally going to do this. For real. This time. Great post Jenna!

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 12:08:33

      Hooray, Kimi! I’m gonna hold ya to that πŸ˜‰

      Schedule it in your calendar and get it done, my friend!

  17. Winifred Reilly
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 12:12:59

    Yes, opt-in bribes work! Before I got around to creating my current give-away, a PDF called 75 Way to Imorove Your Relationship Starting Today – I had several popular guest posts (30k Facebook forwards, 49k Facebook forwards…) which yielded thousands of visitors to my site and … 27 followers. Aggh!

    I’m pretty low budget here. I made my list, chose a nice font – crisp, simple, long enough to make people think they’re getting something that’s going to have enough good ideas, turned it into a PDF and set up a landing page.

    Great results.

    I think I’ll try another “bribe” and see if it gets even better results.

    I’m not trying to mine followers here so if you’d like to check out my bribe, send me an email and I’ll send one to you without your having to opt-in! (Unless you’re looking for a regular dose of fresh and helpful relationship advice, in which case you’re more than welcome to sign up!)

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 12:24:30

      Thank you for sharing your real-life example, Winifred. I especially appreciate that you said you put something simple together and it worked to get more subscribers – proof that it doesn’t have to be complicated to work.

      I think it’s a smart idea to try another bribe. You might find that certain people resonate with one bribe over another. So, the next time you write a guest post, you can decide what bribe you think will help you get the most subscribers based on the site you’re writing for.

  18. Brittany Bullen
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 12:15:04


    This is so brilliantly simple, I can’t believe I never thought of it before! You’re so right, why do we feel like we need to create this epic bribe when it’s really the title and the promised information that matters?

    If our promise is compelling, the content just has to deliver enough to make good on it.

    Thanks for helping me get unstuck!


    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 12:27:16

      You’re definitely right, Brittany > “If our promise is compelling, the content just has to deliver enough to make good on it.”

      I think it’s easy to assume we need to be “the best there ever was” with all the stuff that’s out there these days. But the truth is, there are a lot of people who are focusing on the broad ideas, and not following this simple – one problem, one obstacle – idea. So you can actually stand out more by going the simple route.

      Hooray for being unstuck! πŸ™‚

  19. Benny
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 12:39:23

    Thanks Jenna,
    Your post came just in time.

    I was discouraged by the thought that I need to make my bribe at least a blog post long.
    Making a single page checklist seems so much quicker and easier!

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 13:03:05

      You’re welcome, Benny. I’m glad that you feel less discouraged and that this came at the right time for you. Enjoy making that checklist!

  20. Jorge (
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 13:34:04

    Hello Jenna, thanks for the tips… they are awesome.

    I haven’t yet tried creating a checklist bribe but I will… what I do think works nicely is the email free course since I think people are more likely to actually read what you write if you send it in small chunks instead of writing a “long” e-book.

    Regards from Mexico.


    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 13:53:58

      I think that, for a lot of subscribers, that can be true, Jorge. Being able to digest bite-size pieces of information over time can help them feel less overwhelmed.

      Perhaps by having both a simple checklist and your more in-depth free e-course, you can attract different subscribers that are interested in one over the other. Maybe some people want a simple checklist. Others might be interested in your e-course. It would be a worthwhile experiment, that’s for sure.

  21. Alina
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 13:54:58

    Thank you for the article, Jenna, I felt like it was written specifically for me! As a blogger who’s not very technically inclined, I have a question: what’s the best way to deliver the PDF ‘bribe’ – to attach it directly to the welcome email people get upon subscribing, or to send them a link to a web page where the PDF is located in that welcome email? I’d greatly appreciate your answer.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 14:07:02

      Ya for feeling like this was written for you, Alina – which it was πŸ™‚

      There are a few ways you can go about doing this. Like you mentioned, two pretty simple ones are:

      1. Upload it to something like Amazon S3 or Dropbox and give people the link to access it (either on a “thank you for subscribing page”, or in an email they get after they sign up, or both).

      2. Send them a welcome email – that they get after signing up for your list – with the PDF attached.

      I don’t know that one way is better than the other. It’s mainly about making it easy for your subscribers to download/print your freebie as soon as possible.

      I use Amazon S3 for the most part. It did take me a bit to it figure out – I’m not really techy either – but I find it works well.

      There really is no one “best” way. Go with whatever you feel comfortable using/is an easy way for your subscribers to download and use your freebie.

      • Alina
        Dec 04, 2014 @ 18:25:54

        Thank you so much for replying, Jenna! This clears up a lot of uncertainty for me: it seems like there’s a lot of advice in the blogosphere on how to create a subscriber bribe, but not enough on how to implement it. Thank you for the advice!

      • Jenna Dalton
        Dec 04, 2014 @ 19:14:56

        No worries, Alina. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  22. Pat
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 14:04:51

    Got half way through your post and came up with some ideas.
    Had to stop.
    Already started writing what will be a simple 2-3 page e-book.
    Can’t wait to read the rest of your post.

    Thank you, Jenna, for such great content!

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 14:10:22

      That’s really awesome news, Pat! Good luck finishing that e-book and getting it out there. (And enjoy the rest of the post when you get to it). πŸ™‚

  23. Abraham
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 14:15:50

    Hi Jenna,

    Wow… Such an eye opener! Though, I’m still longing for resources to launch my blog, I have the 2-year idea, strategy and plan for it.

    With your post, I just pulled out a “tantalizing” bribe with a “tantalizing” headline. It never got any more easier.

    Oops! Another idea evolving in my brain again! Thanks, Jenna.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 14:58:27

      Love it, Abraham! I’m a big believer in doing – learning as you go and being okay with falling on your face from time-to-time (I know I sure have!) So don’t wait too long to launch that blog. It’ll never be perfect and that’s how it’s suppose to be.

      Enjoy implementing those ideas and getting your goodness out there. πŸ™‚

      • Abraham
        Dec 04, 2014 @ 15:38:58

        Thanks for your support, Jenna. Just so you could know, it’s not about waiting to be perfect. I think you should know what material resources are, right? That’s what I lack.

        And I hope I haven’t been too much technical?


      • Jenna Dalton
        Dec 04, 2014 @ 16:29:04

        I hear ya, Abraham. I think it’s smart that you’re doing your research. Definitely get it set up right from the get-go. πŸ™‚

  24. Andrew
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 16:24:08

    Hi Jenna,

    Awesome post.

    You know, as I read this, I couldn’t help but laugh when I read “They go too big. They think they have to create an epic, world-changing bribe. A 100-page e-book, or a 20-part email series.”

    That’ exactly what I did. I use to think that I needed something gigantic to offer as a bribe to get people to subscribe, until I attended a webinar that Clay Collins did. And figured out that a lead generator can be something very simplistic, as long as it serves a purpose and is something the readers want.

    Right now I have a mini e-course (4 weeks) but I’m definitely willing to test out a checklist instead. Seems to make a lot of sense and is very simple.

    Really awesome post here and I’m definitely going to try the checklist approach out.

    Thanks and have a great upcoming weekend.

    – Andrew

  25. Jenna Dalton
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 16:33:34

    “And figured out that a lead generator can be something very simplistic, as long as it serves a purpose and is something the readers want.” < Exactly! Well put, Andrew. That's the key.

    And, just to throw an idea out there, you don't need to ditch your e-course bribe for the checklist bribe. You could have both. You can allow people to self-select which freebie is best for them. πŸ™‚

  26. Nokthula
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 16:47:26

    Hi Jenna

    Your posts switched on a stadium of light bulbs for me. This in particular was my A-ha moment, Importantly, you’re not trying to solve the whole problem with your checklist, just helping the reader get a little closer to achieving their goal by removing (or reducing) the obstacle.

    I can’t tell you how frustrating it’s been. Being too broad was my problem. I fixed that by zooming in on an individual rather than addressing a stadium of people. But then, I would go way too deep and make it so complicated that even I wouldn’t get excited by my own bribe.

    Instead of being a bribe, it became Mt Everest that my audience just couldn’t climb.
    Then I became despondent, stuck and not sure exactly how to do this bribe thing.

    Then, your post popped into my inbox and you literally made this into ABC easy.
    So now I know the goal is not to be Olivia Pope, the fixer but get them to take baby steps.

    With regards to the problem of not knowing the kind of content to produce, what other ideas can you explore. Can you give a simple formula to coming up with content readers love? Just share that , not include all the meat and potatoes…

    How simple can you go?

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 18:07:01

      Absolutely, Nokthula! Trying to be Olivia Pope is a daunting task. No need to fix everything. Just focus on that one problem.

      In terms of how simple you should go, I have a theory – go as simple as you can go while still helping them solve their problem.

      Notice how simple the breakfast checklist is? Aim for that. It’s simple to follow while still making sure the person achieves the goal of the checklist – to eat a healthy breakfast.

  27. June Morrow
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 17:22:47

    Thanks Jenna

    I’m in the middle of creating my opt-in content right now (“the five-minute guide to instant self-confidence in any situation”). You just saved me about six hours of time on a fancy infographic when a simple list would do. Perfect timing!

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 18:08:25

      Fantastic, June! Good luck creating your checklist. πŸ™‚

  28. Jack
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 17:33:16

    That’s only two reasons anyone has subscribed to my mailing list – my annual giveaway or my emergency financial information organizer.

    Simple works.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 18:09:09

      Indeed, Jack. Simple is pretty great. πŸ™‚

  29. Roxblog
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 17:55:13

    Hallo Jenna,
    I created my bribe just organizing some few posts in my niche as a e-book and choosing a magnetic headline for it. It’s working nicely and it took half an hour to be prepared.
    I love also your approach. I have to test over one of my blogs.
    Compliments for the very clear post.


    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 18:11:11

      Yes, Roxblog, re-using old content is another smart move. Definitely test the checklist and see how well it works for you.

  30. Lucy Chen
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 19:30:13

    Hi Jenna,

    You’re spot on for why I haven’t created bribes, and you also sent me an idea.

    A Facebook fan said to me that he likes me and my art because as he gets older, he needs more culture in his life, and my art helps him do that. So it maybe that the case with my other fans and potential buyers, too – “I want more culture in my life”.

    So how do I create a bribe that tailors to that is still a myth to me. Any ideas? Thank you.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 20:23:23

      Good question, Lucy. I see that you’re an artist which might be one reason you’re stuggling to create a bribe. Sometimes it’s tougher to create a bribe when you sell “stuff”. However, it’s not impossible.

      Think about the problems your clients might encounter before, during and after buying a piece from you.

      A couple things that come to mind:

      – How should I hang my painting? What tools should I use? What tips do you have?
      – How can I stop light and air from dulling the colors?
      – What should I keep in mind when I’m deciding where to hang my art?
      – How can I pick a piece that fits with my house decor/style?

      Again, try to think from your potential buyer’s perspective. Maybe people ask you questions before they buy from you about choosing or taking care of their art. Try starting there.

      • Lucy Chen
        Dec 04, 2014 @ 20:36:31

        Wow… Jenna! Thank you! Great points! I’ve put them into Evernote.

        Some buyers have asked me the story behind my paintings, such as what message it carries. Some just bought it without asking anything. I don’t usually tell the story, unless it is very very specific, or when they ask, because you want to give people space to think and appreciate it for themselves, and associate their own stories with the piece.

      • Jenna Dalton
        Dec 04, 2014 @ 20:54:48

        Sounds awesome, Lucy! You know your business and clients best so you’ll ultimately know what direction to take. Good luck! πŸ™‚

  31. Jon Bowes
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 20:09:24

    This is helpful, you’re absolutely right. I’ve been working on an e-book, I’m 50 pages in now and I was planning to give it away as an opt-in bribe. It wouldn’t be the best opt-in bribe though, it would be far better to release as a standalone product.

    One thing I would’ve liked to see a section on naming your bribe though.

    My site is about how to run a business while traveling. It’s a broad topic with lots of room for playing around in.

    The biggest thing I hear is that people want to travel, but don’t think they have they money to do it. My solution is to create a simple freelance business you can run while you travel, then expand it later into a productized profit model.

    So “I want to travel, but I don’t have the money” is my big problem.

    I feel like something along the lines of “How to Travel, Even if You Have No Money” doesn’t accurately portray my intentions with the site, so I was thinking something along the lines of “The Mobile Business Checklist: 10 Essential Features of a Business That Allows You to Travel”

    I’d love some feedback on the title, cause it’s lengthy as hell.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 20:49:48

      Totally get where you’re coming from, Jon. You want a title that is representative of what you’ve created and catchy, but isn’t massively long.

      You say that the problem is that your ideal subscribers want to travel but they don’t have the money. So I’d try to capture that in the title. You want it to explain who it’s for and the big benefit/result they’ll get out of it.

      Also, remember that your bribe isn’t necessarily representative of your entire website. It helps solve a part of the problem for your subscribers. So don’t get too caught up on the title of your bribe symbolizing everything about you/your business. Focus on calling it something that makes it clear what people will get when they sign up.

      You’re on the right track with a short, snappy title and more descriptive subtitle. What other ideas do you have? Let’s brainstorm…

      • Jon Bowes
        Dec 04, 2014 @ 21:07:12

        Well, the real problem for a lot of them is that they don’t get that running an online business is fairly simple, so they think they can’t travel because they don’t have money.

        I hopped over to Canva and made this checklist, I know it’ll be 11 things. Other than that the title is fairly malleable.

        Here are some options I came up with:

        11 Steps to Infinite Travel: How to Run a Simple Business to Support Your Ideal Lifestyle.

        Mobile Business Checklist: 11 Features of a Business You Can Run While Traveling

        Travel Freely Forever: 11 Crucial Aspects of Building a Business On the Road

        I’m probably gonna have to sleep/meditate on it before I nail something down. Either that or the perfect name will come to me when I’m salsa dancing tonight.

      • Jenna Dalton
        Dec 04, 2014 @ 21:23:36

        I think it’s a smart idea to mull it over some more, Jon. Come up with as many ideas as you can before you make your final decision. Another smart idea would be to bring your top 3 choices to your community and ask them what one they like the best. You might be able to find a clear winner that way. Enjoy the salsa!

  32. Nikshep
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 22:37:17

    Hey Jenna,

    Great Post and it’s an essential for any serious Blogger. I ‘m just starting out so I will definitely do this in the upcoming week! One question though. Don’t you think it’s also necessary to keep the Bribe balanced?

    Sometimes when the readers expect a good bribe and find themselves with good packaging and less content, won’t they be dismayed by it? Lemme know your thoughts!

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 05, 2014 @ 09:43:29

      I definitely agree, Nikshep, that you want to make sure that you give people a lot of value in your bribe.

      But here’s my second belief – it doesn’t have to be a big, complicated bribe to create a lot of value for your subscribers. Less content doesn’t automatically equal more value – I think that’s a mistake a lot of us can fall into (and I’m no exception!)

      And sometimes, the simpler, the better. People are busy. They appreciate someone who is able to give them what they want/need while also respecting their time.

      So, to me, the question shouldn’t be, “How can I create more content?” It should be, “How can I provide as much value as possible in as little space as possible?”

      Focus less on creating lots of content, and put more emphasis on the value that the content you’re creating provides.

  33. Bryan Collins
    Dec 05, 2014 @ 05:50:26

    Nice post. Here are my recommendations:

    * An audio recording or PDF of a popular post
    * A checklist
    * a list of tools or resources you use
    * A series of email tips
    * a chapter or a book
    * an expanded version of a post
    * an interview
    * several popular posts bundled up as a free report

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 05, 2014 @ 09:49:19

      Good ideas, Bryan. Thanks for sharing!

  34. Kathy Catlin
    Dec 05, 2014 @ 09:42:11

    How did you know, Jenna?! My plan was to spend the whole weekend angsting about this very issue and you just solved my problem in the 5 minutes it took to read your post! I am most grateful…heading over to Canva right now to get working on my Top 10 Tips I Give All My Coaching Clients (and you can have them for FREE)! Thanks again~

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 05, 2014 @ 09:50:17

      Love it, Kathy! Enjoy making your checklist. Glad I could help. πŸ™‚

  35. supreeth ps
    Dec 06, 2014 @ 07:13:36

    hey Jenna
    in fact when it comes to subscribers, in my experience first of all we must see the audience mindset, whether the traffic is serious about the topic or just a fake one, if the crowd is serious then even a small simple subscribe box would do!
    worked out for me

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 06, 2014 @ 12:01:22

      You’re absolutely right, Supreeth. The mindset of our audience is such a huge piece of the puzzle. We need to know what their hopes, fears, pains and dreams are. Once we know that, everything else becomes a lot easier. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Nathan Ambrose
    Dec 06, 2014 @ 16:50:03

    Hi Jenna (and Jon).

    What a great idea!

    The idea of having a product for the opt-in is less daunting when looked at in this context. I will definitely try that out, perhaps with a popular post.

    Thanks for the tips.


    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 06, 2014 @ 17:36:35

      You’re welcome, Nathan. Smart idea to combine the idea of a popular post with the format of a checklist. Enjoy creating it!

  37. Monu Kumar
    Dec 07, 2014 @ 06:53:40

    πŸ™‚ Respected Jenna Dalton πŸ™‚
    Everything is fair in love and respect. But it is all about the subscriber. I know without traffic, interest, followers, quality readers and subscribers our blog is dumb. But in the starting you will explain that you are not dumb.
    By the way your thinking and your knowledge both are :v (wonderful) regarding this concept. Truly speaking your ideas and your creativity both are awesome.
    Here I would like to add one more point. May be I am wrong πŸ™ but I hope you like it.
    Subscribers is not a big deal. But if we will expand knowledge and love with our readers, then readers will ask that may I subscribe your blog. But I will say here is no subscribe box for you. But yes, you can share your knowledge and experience with us. So that we can subscribe together. :P.
    Truly speaking, these tactics are very unique and very useful for me.
    Thanks for Sharing with us.
    Monu Kumar

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 07, 2014 @ 22:33:04

      Yes, Monu, it’s definitely all about caring for and nurturing our relationships with our subscribers. You’re right – the more we focus on helping people, the easier it’ll be to get subscribers. Thanks for sharing!

  38. Bo Parrish
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 12:37:54

    Fantastic information, thank you! I absolutely struggled with my ethical bribe for far too long before finally (as Nike so famously put it: “Just Doing it!)

    You said it, but here’s a quick recap from my perspective…

    Analysis is the enemy of action and procrastination of productivity.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 08, 2014 @ 14:53:10

      You’re so welcome, Bo. You’re definitely right – we can easily get stuck in analysis paralysis. Glad that you were able to pull yourself out of it and “Just Do It”! πŸ™‚

  39. Carlos
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 15:11:17

    This came just in time, things happen in harmonious coincidence! I’m just in the process of creating a “bribe”. Thanks for this awesome post! πŸ™‚

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 08, 2014 @ 17:04:47

      Awesome that this came at the perfect time for you, Carlos! Enjoy creating that bribe and attracting more subscribers.

  40. Steven Lucas Internet Marketing Blog
    Dec 09, 2014 @ 08:31:45

    Hi Jenna,

    I’ve been so busy creating content for my blog and freebies for my squeeze pages that it didn’t even occur to me to combine the two! It’s obvious when you think about it really, especially when so many of the good blog sites are doing it. (Gawd help my eyesight and brainpower. I sign up for these things and don’t even consider the what or the why!)

    Thank you so much for this considered reminder as well as the ideas of what to do and where to do it.

    From now on I will consider the surroundings of where I’m reading as well as what I’m reading about.


    Steven Lucas

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 09, 2014 @ 11:38:29

      You’re welcome, Steven. I’m glad you got some clarity and and an a-ha about how you can leverage your time. Us entrepreneurs definitely need all the time leverage we can get!

  41. Arbaz Khan
    Dec 09, 2014 @ 10:12:47

    This is a great article and I am going to implement this bribe method to get more signups. I hope that it works as nothing has worked to increase the rate.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 09, 2014 @ 11:41:19

      Definitely give it a go, Arbaz.

      Also consider other elements at play. Do you know where you ideal subscribers hang out? Are you going there and doing things – guest blogging, making connections with them, etc. – that’ll encourage them to come check your website out? Is the copy on your sign-up page for your bribe enticing? Are you speaking to their pains and frustrations and promising a specific result?

      All these things and more will help you attract more subscribers. Good luck!

  42. InternetLocalListings
    Dec 09, 2014 @ 12:52:21

    Your tip about a small bribe being better than no bribe can work for a lot of things. We should focus on providing good content, of course, but if you’re stuck on post ideas, even a small post works better than nothing at all. Readers want content! People need to stop being afraid they’re not “good enough” and just get out there. Practice will make you better, and offering smaller things doesn’t mean you’re going to be stuck forever πŸ™‚

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 09, 2014 @ 15:06:05

      You’re right – we can get stuck in thinking we’re not good enough. And sometimes just getting something out there is better than nothing. We can always go back in and tweak things once we’ve overcome the initial hurdle of putting ourselves out there.

  43. Ryan Biddulph
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 17:35:29

    Hi Jenna,

    The easiest way to bribe someone is to get clear on your offer.

    Your tips help bloggers gain this level of clarity.

    No need to write the next War and Peace, to get subscribers. People see value in more brief but focused giveaways.

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 10, 2014 @ 18:58:19

      I definitely agree, Ryan – people do see value in simple, focused, clear giveaways. It doesn’t have to be complicated to work – and it can actually work better sometimes if it isn’t!

      Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  44. Mac
    Dec 11, 2014 @ 03:52:05

    Thank you Jenna for this great article. Love your points and for using the word ‘bribe’ in dealing with your target readers. I’ll surely follow your checklist on my next blog post.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 11, 2014 @ 10:10:16

      You’re welcome, Mac. Enjoy creating your bribe!

  45. Ditch my Timeshare
    Dec 17, 2014 @ 19:24:30

    Hey Jenna, I agree the more focused the better. My problem is creating something people will want to enter their email to get.

    I agree this a fast way to grow your list. I wish I had a good proposition.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 18, 2014 @ 11:55:12

      I hear ya, my friend. You want to be able to come up with an “irresistible” idea. The best way to do that is to know your ideal readers inside and out.

      One thing that has worked for me in the past is doing surveys and interviews with people on my email list – or people I’d like to have on my email list.

      Definitely check out this post – //

      It’ll help give you some ideas on how to use a survey to ask your readers about their wants and needs.

      One of the biggest key points in that post is to make sure you get people to prioritize their wants and needs. Make it so that they’re clear (and you’re clear) on what’s most important to them. That way you can have some great ideas that are super important to people, and more likely to get you lots of subscribers.

      Good luck!

  46. Gail
    Dec 24, 2014 @ 15:39:31

    Timely post, thanks Jenna. Especially grateful for the reminder that less [copy] can be just as [or more] valuable!

    • Jenna Dalton
      Dec 27, 2014 @ 15:10:49

      Absolutely, Gail – less can actually be more. Good luck creating your freebie!

  47. William
    Mar 06, 2015 @ 10:39:26

    Hey Jenna. Really great article. However, I’ve been racking my brain for WEEKS trying to think of a bribe for my soon to launch website.
    It’s a Community Business Directory / Forum / Social Network. Aimed at Business owners to advertise but also people who are just local residents. So what in the world could I offer that will be highly attractive to them all? I’ve setup a coming soon page for them to opt in to and receive inside updates on when the site will be launching. Besides that, I really cannot find something that appeals to all! What appeals to mothers, wont to kids, to business owners, wont to non-business owners, and so on… I would be so grateful if you could help as I literally cannot find anything online to help. Thanks so much.

    • Jenna Dalton
      Mar 06, 2015 @ 14:28:34

      Hey William, It sounds like you have a problem that a lot of people struggle with when they’re trying to launch a new business – figuring out and focusing on a target audience.

      The truth is, you’re right. If you try to create something for moms, it won’t be relatable to kids. If you try to create something for business owners, it won’t be relatable to people who have a 9-to-5 job.

      So, keeping that in mind, I see two solutions:

      1. Pick ONE target market to focus on. Start by helping them specifically with your directory. Then, once things are humming, branch out to other target markets.

      2. Keep focusing on all those audiences you want to focus on and figure out a common problem that they all have. Why would they be coming to your directory? What are you helping them have/do/achieve? What’s the one big promise you’re giving people?

      For example, Jon could say “I’ll help you grow your blog to six figures.” What’s a clear, tangible promise you can make for your audience? “When you come to my directory I can help you ________________.”

      Start there and figure out how you could design a free offering that can help your audience achieve that goal.