How to Send Download Links to Emails in WordPress

Not all customers make purchases the first time visiting a store, especially when they are shopping online. People often spend time surfing around and comparing prices before paying. It’s your job to keep customers staying as long as possible, sell your products, and even encourage repeat purchases.

The best way to achieve amazing results is through email marketing. However, you might face enormous challenges in collecting emails unless you provide valuable free offers. Visitors won’t input their information if they don’t find something worthy in exchange.

In this post, we’ll touch on the reasons for providing free downloads to effectively build your email list. We’ll also discuss steps to grant free downloads to users via email submission and how to protect them securely. Let’s get started!

Why Offer Free Downloads via Email Submission

An email list consists of the contact information of your potential customers. According to McKinsey & Co study, emails help reach more customers than Facebook or Twitter up to 40 times.

This is a win-win relationship. Visitors give their contact information in exchange for useful materials, guides, or checklists. Besides, you can send them updates, discounts, and other details about your business via this powerful list. This engages visitors to return to your site frequently.

How to Require Email for a Download

There are 3 main basic steps you must follow in order to set up and get started with email submission. It includes creating and storing your files, providing a form, and building up a campaign.

Sounds simple, right? Be alert! The challenge lies in finding the shortest and easiest path to optimize the process.

Step 1: Store and add your downloads to WordPress

Your email marketing campaign will become much weaker if you don’t actively give visitors something before asking them to subscribe. It could be a free checklist under a how-to guide or just a simple discount giveaway.

WordPress already has a built-in media library allowing you to save all types of your media files, from images to PDFs, or videos. There are still some limitations in file management. That’s why you should look for help from a supporting tool. The following 3 best installers are worth your consideration:

  • Download Monitor – Prove the most popular plugins for managing and selling files available on the WordPress repository. It enables users to get more than one file per download.
  • Simple Download Monitor – Assist you in tracking and counting digital downloads. You can add another security layer by password protecting files. Out of the box, the plugin also supports IP address restrictions to files.
  • WordPress Download Manager –  Control file downloads from WordPress site in a similar way to the above plugins. The tool works like an e-commerce solution to sell digital products.

Step 2: Create a form for email subscriptions

Once managing downloadable files properly, it’s time to create an attractive form to get users signed up. You must install a form plugin for customization. Depending on your goals and expectations, you can decide between Gravity Forms, WPForms, and Contact Form 7.

Remember to simplify the form to reduce the chance that users quit inputting information. The more fields you require, the less likely visitors complete the form. It’s best to ask for their email and their name only. Information like countries or companies often annoys people.

To check which form types or places work best, you should consider A/B testing to figure out. There are a few spots that attract users’ interest like the top of the sidebar, top header, or a pop-up box. You can try several options at the same time to shorten the testing period.

Provide visitors with the downloads

After the form is done, you should set up a thank-you page to redirect users. Once your users sign up, they’ll be led to a new page with the download URLs. Remember to deindex these thank-you pages, otherwise, people can search for them.


It’s possible for you to send users the file URL to their emails. You’re required to have a campaign for better management, for instance, tracking the number of opens or checking which type of giveaways receives the most clicks.

Step 3: Automatically send emails

Email automation helps reduce the anxiety of offering downloads manually. You don’t have to spend time writing emails whenever a visitor signs up. With a supporting tool, you’re able to create personal-looking emails and have different campaigns for different groups of leads.

There are plenty of email marketing options for you to choose from. Each comes with a set of pros and cons to consider, depending on your goals. Besides MailChimp, the most popular email marketing plugin for WordPress, you also have Hustle or OptinMonster.

Protect your downloadable files

You’ve mostly done with your WordPress email marketing approach. It’s time to move to a higher level, download security.

What if your users get the file URLs and share them with others without your permission? You might lose a lot of potential customers to add them to the email list. Some of them might become loyal customers when you launch the right marketing strategy.

Prevent Direct Access (PDA) Gold plugin allows you to protect your WordPress files from unpermitted downloads. Instead of sending users the original file URLs, you can provide the protected links.

On top of that, the plugin helps expire the download links after a given time or a number of clicks. For example, you can enable only one download to a user only which helps block spam.

What’s more, you’re authorized to block search engines from indexing your protected files. This makes sure that users won’t be able to find your downloads from search results.

Out of the box, it integrates with many email marketing platforms such as ActiveCampaign, Monitor Integration, and MailChimp. As a result, a new private download link to the giveaway file will be auto-created once someone subscribes.

Grow Your Email List with Free Download Offers

Information exchange proves the quickest way to attract leads and grow your email list. You can build an effective buyer journey and have more customers via this powerful list.

We’ve shown you how to collect email addresses in exchange for gated content through a three-easy-step approach. Creating valuable giveaways comes as the first and the most important step to engage users to sign up, before building forms and applying email automation.

When the process has almost been completed, it’s necessary to protect your download files for security purposes. Prevent Direct Access Gold prevents users from sharing your files by creating protected download links in a few clicks. Simply have the plugin installed and let it do the job.

Any questions or concerns about how to deliver the free download with contact form submission? Let us know in the comment!