5 steps to create an email opt-in offer that really grows your email list

Using an email opt-in offer to grow your email list is a hot trend right now.

Because it really works.

If you’re already using an email opt-in offer, or “lead magnet” you already know how well they work.

Here’s a great example:

GoodUI Example

If you’re not using an email opt-in, what’s holding you back?

  • You don’t want to spend time creating an opt-in that flops?
  • You don’t think opt-ins work for your nonprofit or business?
  • You’re paralyzed by too many options and don’t know where to start?
  • You hate sounding cheesy or salesy?
  • Or, you have tried an email opt-in, but it didn’t lead to sales or donations?

Don’t let these fears stop you from growing your email list, which is “money in the bank” for your business or nonprofit.

Try not to over-think this. Streamline your opt-in program with these steps:

5 Steps to create an email opt-in offer that really grows your email list

Step 1: Choose an offer that your target audience will love AT the same time it’s makes sense for your “top of funnel.”

The most successful opt-ins give immediate satisfaction or results, so downloading an eBook might be valuable, but it doesn’t give instant gratification or results.

  • What is a real pain you can solve in 5 minutes or less?
  • Brainstorm ideas from the topics you get the most questions about; customer objections; most viewed blog posts; most commented blog posts; hot news stories; industry surveys.
  • Make sure you can convey “WIFM” (what’s in it for me) to your reader in the headline and it gives instant gratification

At the same time, make sure your opt-in is a small piece of what your ultimate “offer.” If it’s disconnected, your conversion rate will stink. Here’s what I mean:

Real example: Safe Kids USA’s “offer” is to become a donor. Their opt-in was a Summer Pool Safety Tip Sheet for parents. This PDF download gave parents peace of mind, I’m guessing it saved some children’s lives, and “showed” parents the value of Safe Kids USA–in 2 minutes.

Real example: Callan’s “offer” an online course to train entrepreneurs on how to earn a full time living from putting on workshops. Her opt-in is a simple 3 page visual of a Facebook ad annotated to show what makes an effective Facebook Ad. Why does this work? It’s was spot-on advice that would work right-away, but more than that, one of her prospective customer’s big objections to buying her course is “how do I get butts in seats?” She answers that objection with an example of an effective low-cost ad to recruit workshop participants.

Step 2: Choose the best “opt-in” delivery method for your audience

Try to avoid paper or physical fulfillment to keep your costs down and your “instant gratification” up.

You have a lot of choices, but one or two will emerge as the logical choice for your content, or what your target audience likes best. Hint: it’s more likely to be video than not:

  • PDF download (eBook Chapters and eBooks aren’t performing as well as 1-sheet Tips)
  • Video training
  • Coupons with a quick expiration date
  • Curated lists
  • Free Trial
  • Quiz
  • Contests
  • Challenge (3-Day Cleanse Challenge)
  • Free Shipping
  • 1-1 Consultations

Step 3: Create your opt-in “lead magnet”

You can do this in-house or out-source it. PDF’s are easy because you can create your valuable opt-in Word or PowerPoint and save it as a PDF that gets delivered both on your completion “Thank-You” page and in an email.

Same thing for coupons. You can hire a quick-turnaround designer to create a visually stunning coupon on Swiftly.com for a very reasonable cost.

There are multiple ways to get a professional looking opt-in done on a budget. This is something we explore more deeply in a FREE workshop I’m holding next Thursday.

I’d hold off spending a ton of money until you know you have a winner and get proficient at opt-ins that get you the highest quality leads. Then, you can look a video welcome series and other high-performing opt-ins.

Copy writing, especially headlines, is your “make it, or break it” for your opt-in. Keep these copy writing tips in mind as you write your opt-in copy and promotion copy:

  • We all buy benefits, not features, so lead with the benefits of your opt-in
  • Positive frame benefits we all want more of: Love, Money, Acceptance, and Free Time
  • Negative frame benefits, we wish for less of: Stress, Conflict, Hassle and Uncertainty
  • Use conversational language your target audience uses, not your lingo

Step 4: Promote shamelessly…

Promotion possibilities are endless, but this checklist will get you off to a good start:

  • Website Homepage
    • Header
    • Lightbox promotion (yes, pop-ups annoy, but when you really test them, you find out they work!)
  • Blog
    • Dedicated post
    • Promote at the end of your blog posts with related content as frequently as you want
  • Facebook
    • Facebook ads let you know your opt-in is working in “real time”
  • LinkedIn
    • Organic posts – up to 3 worded differently each time
    • If you are B2B, seriously consider LinkedIn ad
  • Twitter – 3 to 5 posts, each worded differently
  • Partners or Joint Venture
    • Have your partners share your opt-in via blog post or their Facebook page
    • Give your partners already-done-for-you copy for sharing (they won’t write it themselves)
    • Recruit a partner with a Facebook fan base of over 100,000 and do a “live Q&A for their audience”
  • Email signature – add the link to your opt-in to your email signature
  • Pinterest – one post with a link to your opt-in sign up form

 Step 5: Convert

You now have between 14 – 30 days to convert this lead or it goes cold.

Sweating yet?

Your conversion “conversation” starts with your opt-in page, if you have one, and especially with your confirmation page-thank you. That’s the first thing someone sees EVEN BEFORE your opt-in pay-out. On this page:

  • Reinforce your opt-in because, believe it or not, there’s still buyer’s remorse with freebies, not just paid options. Instead, create “buyer’s pride” and reinforce the benefit of your freebie they just opted into.
  • Welcome your lead to “the family” – use welcoming language that makes them feel that they are in good company
  • Tell your new lead exactly what to expect from you moving forward, e.g. you’ll receive a few more emails from us in the next few days with bonuses and other goodies to let you know how happy we are you’re here. Or, you’ll receive two more training videos after today’s to help you build momentum.

Create an email welcome series, even if you’re opt-in is a discount coupon that gets redeemed. This is usually a 2 – 5 series of emails that continues to provide value to your lead until you make your “offer” and…

…wa-la, you’ve converted your new lead into a new customer or donor.

I make this easier

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Building an email list is hard work, but with a huge payoff.

The steps above give you a clear path to make it easier to grow your email list, but there is so much more.

I invite you to join me for a LIVE online training, where we time to drill down into more detail, on growing your email list with a winning opt-in “lead magnet.”

Join me for LIVE online training

5 Easy Steps to Create an Email Opt-in that Grows Your List with Highly Qualified Leads

Thursday, June 19, 2014

10 am PT, 1 pm ET

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You’ll learn:

  • How to choose the right opt-in “lead magnet” your audience loves AND leads to more conversions and sales
  • How to create and deliver your opt-in “on a budget”
  • How to promote it to get maximum exposure
  • What to do to convert your new lead into a customer or donor

You’ll get a recording and the slides of this training when we’re done.

This is the last time I’ll run this online workshop LIVE.

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Thank you for stopping by. I know you’re a busy person and I really value your time. YOU are my business. My business is to create tools, share insider knowledge, and give you confidence that you’re doing the right marketing at the right time to hit your revenue goals.