Free Report ImageTired of signing up for free reports, newsletters and email drips that you never have time to read or watch?  If you are, then so are your customers!

In marketing, these tactics are called ethical bribes – when a prospect gives you their contact information (usually name and email) and YOU give them an information product of value in return (for free) – often a free report, white paper, newsletter, high-profile interview, assessment, ebook or a series of tips.

But how can it be ethical if your prospect never has time to read what you’re sending – or it’s not “viewed” as being of value??  Afterall, they’re helping you build your opt-in list of targeted prospects. On-going targeted list building creates a potential gold mine of future sales for your business.

So here’s a business marketing idea … only create a sign-up (ethical bribe) for something that you, yourself would take the time to read or watch – otherwise, you’re not doing yourself or others any service.

You only get one chance to make an impression – so if that impression sucks, chances are VERY high that all the rest of your emails or messages, no matter how clever and valuable, will be ignored … forever.

To ensure that your marketing bribe is ethical AND delivers results …

  1. Put a value proposition in the title (what value will they get from it). Using numbers is always effective … 12 ways to XX; 9 major mistakes XX make and how to avoid them; etc.
  2. Always deliver the value you promise – PLUS more. If it’s a list, give a bonus 13th or 10th; add in a few resource links, etc.
  3. Is it easy to read? Lots of whitespace and adding a few professional graphics is important for print/electronic layouts. Use standard fonts – no swirly, kiddy or colorful text – it makes you look unprofessional. Arial, Helvetica or Times are safe bets.
  4. Keep videos SHORT and to the point – people don’t have TIME.
  5. If it’s a series of tips – make sure the FIRST ONE is your BEST … so they’re excited to get the next one.
  6. Use an autoresponder like,,  or to deliver the information product immediately and looking professional. Set up a series of emails to be sent automatically after they receive their free info product (bribe) … a couple with more value to build relationship and then send the sell email
  7. Autoresponders have webforms (sign up form box) that you can easily put on your website, in emails and on your social media sites like your FB official biz page (formerly: fan page).  Only asking for name and email will get you a higher response rate – you can get more info about the prospect at a later date if you want.
  8. If emailing a sign-up email to a new list, use a powerful and catchy subject line. Controversy; adding a sense of urgency; including keyword phrases; or including those numbers again will get you a higher open AND sign-up rate.  DON’T use a trick – like one I received “your order has been processed”. You’ll get a high open rate, but totally lose credibility and few sign-ups.
  9. Be unique. Don’t do what everyone else does, but keep in mind, not everyone may enjoy your flavor. And that’s ok – those aren’t your IDEAL BUYING customers.
  10. Have fun.

As a marketing speaker, offering an ethical bribe for list building is a ”must” have of the business marketing ideas I share with business audiences regularly when talking about the 3-Step Marketing Model.

Now go get at er and make your marketing bribes ethical – your prospects will appreciate the value you have to offer.

Charlene Brisson,
Marketing Speaker, Trainer, Consultant
Marketing Author of 148 Ways to Advertise & Pronote Your Business AND 16 Major Mistakes Marketers Make … and How to Avoid Them.

PS … sign up for my ethical bribe at for lots of fabulous marketing tips delivered twice weekly in a fun and SHORT video format!