Why You Need An Email Opt-In

Help people and you’ll help yourself in return.

The easiest way to build your mailing list is by creating an email opt-in section(s) on your website and give something of value away for free.

Your opt-in is the first step to working with you.

Give away your best tips, checklists, how-to’s, recipes, etc. Make it something that your dream client wants to know and would be helpful to them.

They’ll wonder “Wow, if she’s giving me this for free, I bet her service is REALLY awesome!”


They’ll think “She’s so nice. I feel like I can trust her.” which will make your heart melt (awww, how nice!) ♥ ♥ ♥ and… they’ll remember you when they’re ready (or their friend is) for your service. Sweet!

Point the way.

Think about this… what’s the first thing you want your visitors to do when they come to your website? Most of the time, it’s to have them connect with you via your opt-in freebie. Show and guide them by having a nice looking, stand-out, call-to-action section for your opt-in.

  • Have an eye-catching design that makes them take notice.
  • Get creative with your CTA (and be clear about what you’re offering) so they actually want to take action.
  • Look like a pro. Create a professional, creative pdf for your giveaway.
  • Think about where to add your opt-in – to your About page, in your footer or at the top of your pages. Be mindful of your brand, client and design – does it look good, does it make sense, is it overkill?

Give them something in return.

I’ve got enough crap in my inbox how about you?

If you want people to give you their email address, give them something that makes it worth it for them to let you into their private inbox world.

DO: “5 Ways To Lose Weight During the Holidays and Still Eat All the Pie You Want!”
I’d happily give you my email address for this!

DON’T: “Subscribe now” or “Get on my mailing list”
I mean really… who wants to be on a mailing list? Yuck!

Your opt-in builds credibility and gives them a taste of what it will be like to work with you. Give them a taste of your best stuff and not sour lemons.

Integrate with your online email marketing service.

Well of course! When you get it going, don’t forget to:

  • Add your opt-in to your email service (MailChimp, Aweber, etc.)
  • Create a nice “Thank-you” page on your website where your subscriber is automatically sent after they sign up.
  • Create and test your other responder pages.
  • Use your real words in your emails templates. (Don’t just stick with the out-of-the-box language.)
  • Customize the colors, add your logo, stay true to your branding.
  • Test it! Make sure it’s working and your lovelies get that sweet giveaway.

Go the extra mile.

For extra awesomeness, create a landing page on your website just for that sweet opt-in like this.

Use your landing page URL on some of your social media profiles, to give out (instead of your main url) when you’re speaking at a trade function, or for a “special” opt-in you created for a certain group/service, etc. Use your imagination!

Add shareable links into your opt-in pdf. Set them up to go directly to your landing page!

Ask your readers to share by adding a line like: “Please share this guide if you have a friend who would find this helpful.” It’s that easy, but you’ve got to ask – then make it easy for the reader to share on Facebook, Twitter or where ever your dream client hangs out.

Extra pro: Check out Lead Pages for your opt-in landing page or use for a special service, webinar, program or other cool thing you want to offer. With Lead Pages, you can track stats, integrate with your email marketing service, do split testing, add it to Facebook plus more.

Don’t give them the whole farm.

I know you’ve heard the old saying “Why buy the cow…”, this is sort of the same thing. You want to give them something valuable and helpful but don’t give them too much.

If I downloaded a 50 page pdf – think I’m gonna read it? Umm, probs not.

It might have a TON of good stuff but who’s got that kind of time? I just want something quick that I can do right now. Just keep it short and sweet but don’t skimp. I know, there’s always an exception. If that’s the case, think about breaking it up into steps. Divide them over 3 days (or whatever works best) and send them 1 step a day. Just make it easy and simple to read and implement.

The first step is a win-win.

If you don’t have an opt-in yet, really think about it creating one. Remember, you can help people (which is a fav) and it will in turn help you! Win-win!

Need help with your opt-in? My Online Design Extra Gems can help!

Bonus tip!

Brainstorm with Pinterest. Have you seen sites that have lovely opt-in areas or great ideas on giveaways? Then why not create a Pinterest board to collect them for inspiration? (I heart Pinterest!)

Enjoy this little song about it. Thanks Farideh! 🙂

– Janet
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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Robyn Petrik March 31, 2015, 7:43 pm

    I love your tip about not giving away the whole farm. Not so much for the ‘why buy the cow’ idea, but because a opt in freebie that is too long or involved won’t convert. I’ve downloaded some pretty big freebies myself and then never touched them because I never made all the time I would have needed.

    • Janet March 31, 2015, 9:16 pm

      That is so right Robyn. If I’m overwhelmed, I’ll think, who has time for this? I’ll just file it away to “read later” but then prob never do. Easy, manageable, actionable steps work. 🙂

  • Stacey April 9, 2015, 7:56 pm

    I’m with Robyn above! Though I do think the big ones do have a time and place (e.g. cookbook if you really want to load up on value to the client). For most businesses and people though, it’s definitely not necessary!

    • Janet April 10, 2015, 9:55 am


  • Nat, Website Superhero April 10, 2015, 1:00 am

    “I’ve got enough crap in my inbox how about you?” Yes, me too!

    Great tips 🙂

    • Janet April 10, 2015, 9:56 am

      Thanks Nat!

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