How to use free content to build your email list post GDPR

In this post-GDPR world, building your email list has become a little bit trickier, as you can no longer sign someone up just because they downloaded a goody from you. We now need active double opt ins. But this doesn’t mean you can’t build your list through freebies any more. Here’s how to do it and stay GDPR compliant.

What you can do to build your email list

There are now basically two ways you can use your free downloads as incentives for your blog readers to sign up to your email list.

Number 1 – offer the freebie for download and make sure you have a tick box (that is unticked by default) that lets anyone wanting your freebie also sign up to your newsletter. You cannot make signing up to your newsletter a prerequisite anymore. You’ve got to give people the option NOT to sign up to your newsletter.

Number 2 – invite people to sign up to your newsletter (with a graphic or a pop-up) and offer them the freebie as part of the deal. So, along the lines of “Sign up for our informative newsletter and also receive this amazing freebie”.

What you can’t do

“Download our freebie and you will automatically be signed up to our newsletter.” I know this doesn’t sound so different from number 2 but it’s seen differently in GDPR terms. Make sure you get your offering the right way round. Number 2 gives the freebie as a bonus for signing up which is allowed. The other option makes signing up a must before they can download the freebie which is frowned upon.

So now it’s up to you what you would like to do. I recommend doing both. Let people download the freebie with the option to sign up. This can be especially useful if you have content upgrades. These are freebies that enhance your content, such as cheat sheets or fact sheets.  Have different sign up forms for your newsletter, each with a different bonus freebie dotted around your website (sidebar, header, pop up etc.).

Make your invite to sign up for your newsletter really inviting. Give people good reasons to sign on the dotted line. Maybe you have a testimonial about how useful your newsletter is? Let your potential subscribers know why they really, really want to subscribe to your list and what they’d miss out on, if they don’t.

Over to you

If you have any questions about this topic, why not leave a comment?

List building is one of the things I cover in my Business Blogging Training. If you would like to learn the ins and outs of making Blogging a powerful marketing tool for your business, please get in touch. Simply email me at and we can arrange a suitable date for a chat to find out how Blogging can help you achieve your business goals.

Categories: Blog and Blogging.
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