I’ve been working with my friend Monica to promote “How to (Legally) Cheat on Your Taxes,” the new course Joe and I put out just in time for tax season (though the lessons apply regardless of what time of the year it is). She is teaching me how to create Facebook ads, and she’s excellent at them.
One thing she told me was that even though the price point for our course is low, we can’t just send cold traffic to the sales page (no matter how long the page is). We have to send them to a landing page, where they give us their email address, get a content upgrade, and then get into our sales funnel.
She gave me a title (seriously, she rocks, you should work with her while she still has space available!), and I was off to the races.
A few days later, she checked in. According to Facebook, people were downloading the content upgrade, but email addresses weren’t coming through in ConvertKit. It was a quick fix, and easily discovered, but once I realized what I’d done, I saw that I had lost over 300 subscribers by not clicking ONE BOX on the form.
Since I made this mistake (and I consider myself competent to quite competent in the ConvertKit realm), I thought I’d write a tutorial to spare you the trouble.
But first, let’s revisit creating a content upgrade in ConvertKit in the first place. Read 7 Simple Steps to Setting up a Content Upgrade on Your Blog to refresh your memory on what we’re talking about when we say “content upgrade” in the first place.
How to Create a Content Upgrade in ConvertKit
The mistake I made is one tiny checkbox toward the end of the process. We’ll get to that, I promise. But let’s go through the whole thing, because I know of at least two people who haven’t created a content upgrade because they think it’ll be too much work. Trust me, if I can knock one out in an afternoon, you can too.
1. Keep the End Goal in Mind — What Do You Want People to Ultimately DO?
In our case, we want people to take our course about taxes. So Monica suggested we write an ebook titled “Three Simple Tips to Reduce Your Tax Bill,” which makes sense. If you want three tips, then there’s a high probability you’re willing to sign up for the course that will give you way more than three tips.
2. Create a New Google Slides Presentation
The goal is to finish your ebook as soon as possible so you can start sending Facebook traffic to it. So open Google Drive and create a new Google Slides presentation. Click the arrow, and select the “From a template” option:
The template gallery will open. Select any template. I used “Pitch” for my ebook:
3. Set a Timer for One Hour, and Write Your Ebook
Remember, the point of this ebook is to get people excited about your paid product, so make sure you’re giving people something high in quality, but not something that provides them with zero reason to buy your course. Add your logo, make sure your last slide contains a call-to-action leading people to your course, and PDF it. My ebook was nine pages (slides, really), and the “Want more?” question started on slide seven.
Google makes it easy to create legible, designed ebooks quickly, which is good, because we still have a lot of work to do. You can use PowerPoint, Keynote, Canva, or whatever else you want here, but don’t get lost in something like inDesign. The point isn’t high design. The point is getting people into your email list.
4. PDF your Ebook and Make Sure Your Links went Through
There are two options from Google Drive. One is right, and one will make things bad. So download your document as a PDF instead of printing to PDF. Don’t ask me why. I don’t make the rules here. I only try to follow them.
Open your new PDF and make sure the links you created made it through to the other side. If you tried to get fancy and link to an image in Google Slides, those links probably didn’t make it. If you have Acrobat, you can add links, but if you don’t, either find a PDF editor online, or go back to your presentation and add text links instead.
Once you have the PDF looking the way you want, go to your website.
5. Create a Landing Page And a Thank-You Page
If you’re like me, you might be tempted to create a landing page in ConvertKit. After all, they are really easy to create over there. But avoid that temptation. Why? Because even with the ConvertKit plugin, your site icon doesn’t transfer over (mine showed a generic square, which looked suspicious to me, and I was the one who created it!).
So create one on your own site. Companies like LeadPages want you to think that a landing page is impossible to create on your own and you need some software to do it for you, but you’re smarter than that. If you have a Genesis theme, there’s a landing page template ready for you to use:
Once you select that, all your navigation will disappear on your landing page. So will your sidebar. That’s good, because when someone comes to your landing page, you want them to do one thing: download your content upgrade.
Make it simple. This is what ours looks like:
Create a Thank-You Page
Inbound marketing best practices say to redirect people instantly to a page where they can download the thing they want. Create another landing page template with a “download” button (which opens in a new tab) as well as helpful ideas on where your reader should go once they’re done reading your ebook (ahem, to your course!).
Pro tip: Make the URL say something meaningful to you, so you can easily find it later (without having to download your own opt in!). Avoid the generic “/thank-you” because I promise this won’t be your last content upgrade.
Download the tax tips ebook to see our thank-you page in action.
6. Create the Form in ConvertKit
I realized I jumped the gun a little by showing you the full landing page in step five, because we haven’t even opened ConvertKit yet, so we wouldn’t have created the form. So let’s go over there.
Creating a form is pretty straightforward, though you might want to add a bigger image (tutorial here) and you DEFINITELY want to hide “powered by ConvertKit” (tutorial here). Once you’re done with the “Content” section, switch over to “Settings” and pay attention. In fact, I’m going to break down every step in the settings area.
6A. Main Settings
Name your form something you’ll recognize, and link to the thank-you page you created in step five.
6B. Incentive Email
This is the section with the small checkbox that cost me hundreds of subscribers.
Click the box that says “send incentive / double opt-in email to confirm new subscribers. Again, inbound marketing best practices say to send an email that looks a lot like your thank-you page (though as of this writing, you can’t add any links to the confirmation email).
Personalize your email. Change the subject to be the same as the content upgrade, and change the wording of your email to make it more personable. Change the link to “download” instead of “confirm” and make sure you sign the email.
Send them to your thank-you page. Once they click “download,” don’t take them directly to the PDF. Instead, send them to your thank-you page where they can scroll to buy your course.
Click This Checkbox on EVERY ConvertKit Form
See where it says “special options” way down at the bottom of this section?
They mean special in the “very important” sense, not the “hey this is optional and special and cool” sense.
Specifically, make sure every single form you create has “Auto-confirm new members” checked.
We got clever up there in that email, and we sent a download instead of a “please confirm your subscription” email, which is fine in that it’s not spam, but if we don’t auto confirm new members, they stay in the ConvertKit purgatory of unconfirmed, and, according to this article, there’s no way out of it.
Learn From My Mistake
The only reason I found this out was because Monica was helping me troubleshoot why Facebook and ConvertKit had conflicting data. We fished a few people out of there by manually deleting their unconfirmed status and adding them as new subscribers, but we only did that because it happened in the last few days.
The other 317+?
Sadly, I have to chalk this up to a learning experience and let them stay unconfirmed.
Do not make the same mistake I made! It’s one thing to have people unsubscribe; it’s quite another to never even give them the chance.
It’s a tiny checkbox, but it can make the difference between a healthy mailing list and one that isn’t as robust as it could be.