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The Smart Passive Income Podcast

AP 0689: Is Giving Away a Free Ebook a Good Idea?

AP 0689: Is Giving Away a Free Ebook a Good Idea?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 689 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: What’s up everybody. Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 689 of Ask Pat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.

We have an awesome question today from Matthew, but before that and sort of related to Mathew’s question, I just wanna make sure that you all check out that’s my free ebook guide on, guess what, how to write an ebook and how to market it and how to automate it and how to publish it and do all those things that I did when I first started online. And it just got renovated into the second edition. So it is updated. And it looks great. It feels amazing to have it out there again. It’s been downloaded over 150,000 times. And a lot of people are loving the new edition so if you want to check it out, it’s completely free. Just sign up for it at

All right, now here’s today’s question from Matthew.

Matthew: Hey Pat, this is Matt Cox here. I’m a new listener to Smart Passive Income Podcast and I had this excellent idea for a book. And after listening to you for a while, I’m starting to realize I think I’m actually going to condense this book down and just create an ebook and make it free to generate leads. The reason is because I just got my real estate license and naturally, I hope this ebook would create a relationship so they’re confident enough to use me as their agent. The question is can ConvertKit help me with setting up this ebook campaign for an email marketing? The other thing is that is there anything else you think I can worry about? My mentors don’t necessarily like the idea of giving away the book for free, but I wanted to ask your opinion about that. Thanks a lot for all you do and talk to you soon.

Pat: Hey. What’s up, Matt. Thanks so much for the question. And there’s gonna be a lot of different opinions about this. Before I tell you about ConvertKit and the tool and how to get it all set up, giving it away versus selling it, it depends on what it does for you and your business. If your end game is to get major like, huge clients and it is just the start of that conversation you’re having with them, then imagine selling a book to a person that you’re eventually going to be asking a big ask down the road. It’s going to be a lot more difficult to get it in their hands and introduce yourself and get them to know you and trust you and like you, if the first thing that they see is “Hey, by the way, my name’s Matt. Buy my book.” That’s why giving away things for free is a great option.

Now I can get into the heads of your mentors and understand why that would actually be a bad idea. And they might be thinking “Well, you don’t want to give away too much for free because then people are going to be just freeloading. They’re gonna be wanting to get more from you for free. You’re not giving them an opportunity for an initial transaction to start them on sort of a lower level payment thing and then lead them up that yes ladder into something much bigger later on.” And yeah, that’s a valid point too.

You could … I mean, there’s a lot of options here. You don’t necessarily have to give away the whole ebook either. You can give away the first chapter if you’d like and that can really establish yourself as an authority and a thought leader to a point where maybe people would want to buy the rest of it and then, depending on the way the books goes, if it becomes a part of that funnel that leads them down to much bigger asks down the road. That could work. However, my approach, and you probably know this since listening to SPI and being part of the brand for a little bit now and reading the blog, my approach is “hit em over the head with so much incredible value and content that they can’t help but continue to work with you.”

In a very crowded space, that is the way to approach it I feel. That’s why I’ve been able to succeed very well in the online business space, because I’ve given so much away for free when everybody else was charging for the same stuff. I gave it all away for free and just made people say “Wow. If this is the free stuff, I can’t imagine what the paid stuff would be like” or “If this is the free stuff, I feel like I have to pay him back in some way, shape, or form.” So they click on my affiliate links. That’s the approach that I take.

There is no wrong answer, except not doing it. And by doing it, I mean just doing something and keeping track along the way so you can understand whether or not this is working for you or not. Now in terms of using your ebook as a lead magnet, ConvertKit can help you get this setup and they actually have a great tool that allows you to upload that ebook to ConvertKit so that it automatically gets put into the follow up email that people then click the link to download. What’s really cool about convert kit specifically, is that giving away that lead magnet becomes sort of double duty. And it is the same action to download that ebook that it is to confirm that option.

So there’s this thing called double confirmation or double opt-in which you might of heard of before when people subscribe to an email list, if you have double opt-in enabled, they’ll get a follow up email that basically says “hey, can you just click on this link here. I want to make sure that you have a real email address, that you’re a real human being and that you want these emails.” That’s best practice to do that because many people will sign up to your list and not put a real email address or even people might even put an incorrect email address and that follow up email ensures this person is actually a real person so what convert kit does is it combines both the delivery of that lead magnet with that double opt-in so they’re not getting an additional email that gives them the book in addition to the follow up email that has them confirm themselves. That’s all one action and that’s really smart of them actually. And so that’s why I love using ConvertKit. One of the many features that I love about them including the automation and the auto triggers and the actions and all that stuff. Anyway, the segmentation’s great. So if you want to check out convert kit, go to That is my affiliate link.

However, I will say, just take action to get set up and it just makes it really easy. So again, when you set up a form, you can set it up with a lead magnet to be there on the other end of that email after people subscribe and of course you just upload your own images and get it all set up. You can also use it in conjunction with something like Leadpages which has a lot more options for different kinds of landing pages and lead boxes and all those kinds of things. So convert kit does have a few other options too in terms of the way to format look and customizing and the way it’s delivered and the way the form is shown on the page and things like that so definitely recommend checking it own. But yes convert kit can get that set up for you and so check it out.

So Matt, thank you so much for the question. I appreciate it and wish you the best of luck no matter what you end up doing and we’re gonna send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. And for those of you listening, if you have a question that you’d like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to and you can ask right there on that page. Thanks so much and again, like I said earlier, make sure to check out It’s my free resource, completely upgraded and refurbished into the second edition just now. And so check it out. Completely free. Go to I’m sure you’re gonna love it. And finally, if you know the show, we always end with a quote and today’s quote comes from Steve Rogers. He says, “Designing a product is designing a relationship.” Cheers. Take care and I’ll see you on the next episode of Ask Pat. Bye.

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