7 Opt-in offer ideas to help grow your email marketing list

It doesn’t matter how many fans you have on Facebook or how many followers you have on instagram, if they change anything, you could lose all that hard work in a flash.  And yes, Facebook has been known to delete entire accounts.

The most reliable way to build your audience is with an email list. You will always own that list.

A lot of people say email is dead, but I disagree. I’ve had people on my list for over 12 months before they book in a project with me, people are watching! The key is to keep your list warm by continuous communication and engagement.

If you sell higher priced items, it’s less likely you’ll experience growth from impulse buys. You need to remember that people are less likely to make a decision right away, so if you don’t capture their details you may lose them forever. You want them to get on your list so you can remind them how amazing you or your products are.

Enter the Opt-in Offer – aka BRIBE

A lot of people create fancy opt-in offers (aka bribe) on their website to entice people to sign up. Whether it be a free ebook, a discount code or something else that will add value to their audience. Whilst these can be great for growing your list, just be careful that what you offer in the first instance aligns with what you follow it up with. There is no point having a meal plan printable, if you provide graphic design advice in your emails.

Here are 7 ideas for different types of opt-in offers:

1. eBook or Workbook or Digital Magazine

This is the most popular choice for most opt-in offers. Generally it will be a very short ebook up to 20 pages. If you’re struggling with what to use you could repackage some of your existing content from you blog (into a format that makes logical sense). If you have a book that you are selling you could give away the first chapter or you could also provide a shortened version. Magazines are also great, but note they are a lot of hard work especially if you’re doing it all yourself.

2. Designed Images or Photographs

This is great if your business is visually based, some great ones are monthly desktop calendars, screensaver images, or even printable inspirational images. Photographers can give away collections of images that can be used for your computer desktop images or even stock images.

3. Printable checklists

Not limited to designers, if you offer any kind of organisation services then check lists, to do lists and organisers are a great one to offer.

4. Quiz

Remember those quizzes from Cosmo which told you what kind of person you should date. Kinda like that but related to your business. A short quiz that gives an instant result is a great way to get people on your list.

5. Video/Email/Audio Series

Think a mini e-course that gives a tiny taste of what you have to offer, but is loaded full of useful actionable content. This can be delivered by an auto-responder (mailchimp has some great paid features around this) that sets off a series of emails loaded with useful content.

6. Challenges

Get people taking action, a great motivator and people can make small steps to reach an end goal. Don’t make it too long for an opt-in offer, maximum 7 days, short sweet emails, setup using an auto responder.

7. Good content

I actually don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to have a ‘bribe’ to grow a list organically, I get the most sign ups via my blog posts which offer no incentives other than ‘do you want more articles like this’ and these sign ups are the most engaged.

If you have something that people want, if you are fixing a problem for them, they will generally be happy to hand over their details. By building your list this way you also have a higher engagement rate, which in turn will lead to better return on investment.

You should also note

A word of warning, what ever you do make sure your freebie is top quality. If it is low quality it’s not going to entice people to come back and actually buy from you. If you aren’t super design/tech savvy and can’t afford to pay professionals I would suggest keeping it simple or just focusing on good content instead.

Never offer 1:1 services or anything that requires your time other than the initial setup, you don’t want to be working for free right!

Make sure what you offer aligns with what you sell, and most importantly is USEFUL to your audience. Don’t offer a recipe cookbook if what you offer is adventure travel for travel enthusiasts who don’t like to cook. Make sure it fits.


What other ideas have you seen for cool opt-in offers? Leave a comment below!

1 thought on “7 Opt-in offer ideas to help grow your email marketing list”

  1. Great little article Nicki. Thanks! I really need a new opt-in. The one I’ve got is just not working for me.

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