You know that if you have a business you have to have a website. But some people don’t realize that there is a key to your website bringing your business. The secret to attracting visitors and converting them into clients is growing and working an email list. And the first key to getting people on that mailing is developing an awesome opt-in Offer.
Wouldn’t you like to be so important to your clients that they put you on speed dial? Having a loyal email list gives you the same value.
We are not talking about buying mailing lists. Instead, invite people to join your list with valuable, free, information you offer them on your website. That way you generate a list full of fans truly interested in your expertise and services who have each opted in to receive emails from you.
A loyal mailing list is priceless. Your subscribers have given you the privilege of dropping into their inboxes, from time to time, to share information and perhaps tell them about you latest products or services.
Since regularly communicating with your list helps develop brand loyalty, sales, and referrals, growing your email list should be one of your top business priorities.
If you don’t have a huge number of subscribers, there are many activities that can help you attract and add the right people to your list.
If you are selling products and services online, even 1000 people on a mailing list can produce a steady stream of online revenue. On average, you can expect to make at least 2K per month with a list of 1,000 subscribers. Do the math, 3,000 subscribers can net you 6K per month or more
Given the value of a carefully grown email list, you must protect the valuable relationships with your subscribers and nurture them carefully.
Take care to develop and send information that they’ll find super helpful. Don’t over do it and annoy them by sending out too many emails or irrelevant information
And most importantly, never share your access to their email addresses.
Building Your List with An Opt-in Offer
One way of the foundation methods off getting sign-ups to your mailing list is to create a free offer of some type or another that people can download from your website in exchange for their email address. An opt-in offer, sometimes referred to as a lead magnet or a freebie, becomes the delicious bait you use to hook leads from your target market and add them to your list so you can nurture them until they are ready to buy from you.
An opt-in offer allows you to share your expertise, in the form of an eBook, or a list of valuable industry resources, designed to appeal specifically to your ideal clients
You want to take care not to cast the net too wide when creating an opt-in offer since if it has too broad an appeal since you will end up with subscribers who have no interest in your services.
A large list that’s made up of people who not in your target market would waste your resources since you would be marketing to people who are not going to buy from you and create dismal conversion rates.
Planning Your Opt-in Offer
Your opt-in offer should not be a grand offer, like a hardback book or an iPad. Those gifts are too expensive and too hard to deliver and since those items are not targeted to a very sliver of people who may want your product, grand gestures are not a good idea.
Anything over the top will cause your prospect to wonder about your motivation and think there must be some weird angle going or worry that they will be on the hook for something later.
Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal client and think about something you can easily pull together. Make it something that your perfect client will find extremely helpful and that would be excited to get their hands on. What problem can you solve for them? What need do your clients have? What are they grappling with?
Opt-in Offer Feeds a Sales Funnel
When you identify something you can offer that will appeal to your highly targeted market, you will have found the sweet spot. The people who download your offer become leads and get tagged for going into a sales funnel to receive a specific sequence of automated email messages targeted to the topic area they signed up to receive info on.
You should design this series of auto-responder messages to demonstrate that you fully understand their issues and have a solution.
Educate them on what’s possible while not giving them the precise way to do whatever it is you can do for them.
Do a good job with this and they will like you and trust that you are able to help them with their issue so when you present them with a product or service to help them they will be eager to sign up.
12 Ideas for Opt-in Offers
Here are 13 ideas for some super helpful opt-in offers to get you thinking. When creating yours make it easy to explain in one sentence. You need to be able to say it and sell it.
- Provide a nicely styled downloadable PDF workbook on an important topic.
- Excerpt a “sneak peek” digital chapter from your latest book.
- Share your manifesto. The The Holstee Manifesto has been downloaded millions of times. Chris Guillebeau’s, 279 Days to Overnight Success! is a fun read.
- Offer a video that you recorded from one of your most popular webinars.
- Make a quiz, so that you are able to segment your target audience by level of expertise or interest in a particular course of product you have, by their answers on the test. You can then add each group to a specific product sales funnel.
- Compile a PDF with a list of tips or ideas to help your people achieve a goal or solve a problem.
- Share a list of helpful links. If your audience is bloggers, try offering a list of the best sites to learn about a particular topic.
- Share a plan for success. Fitness people might like a 7-Day Paleo meal plan, or a starter-training schedule for running a 5K.
- Create an introductory online course.
- Create a “how to” for doing something your target market is seeking and publish it in an eBook format.
- Mine your expertise and create a top-10 list of your favorites. (Example: the best under-the-radar antique shops or your favorite scenic views in your city or ten things to do for memorable dates.)
- Create a checklist with all of the important steps in a process you are an expert in that your audience would be thrilled to know about.
- Infographics that include handy information can be very popular.
Opt-in Offer Tips and Tools
Call To Action Text: When you are creating the opt-in offer sign up form, make your button stand out from the general colors of your site design. Sometimes people whose sites are ultra designed, have a cute little sign- up forms that don’t call anyone to action. And, while you are working on your form copy, try to use words that make a fun and appealing Call to Action (CTA) for the button text, rather than the words “submit” or “subscribe”. Give your form some personality but make sure it is appropriate to your market.
“Send it Now”
“Sign me up!”
“Get it Now!”
“Hell yeah, I want it now!”
“Send Me the Workbook”
“Join 3,000 Other Big Dogs Today”
How Many Opt-in Offers? It is perfectly fine to create more than one opt-in offer and have multiple ways for people to sign-up for them on your website at the same time. You can’t assume people will actively look for a way to follow your blog posts, so make it easy on them. You can have a form on the home page and one at the end of your blog posts. You can even add content upgrade offers to signup for a PDF or some extra content right in the middle of a blog post on that specific topic. Go crazy. Build your list.
Sign Them Up to Your List: When creating the sign-up form for an opt-in offer, tell your subscriber that in addition to receiving the fabulous opt-in offer, you will also send them your blog updates and other valuable information from time to time. That way you can add them to your main newsletter list as well as add them to that specific opt-in list.
Tools for Packaging Opt-in Offer Content
Lists, PDFs or Other Documents: Sometimes just a paragraph can be wildly popular if it is formatted well. The Holstee Manifesto is a great example of that. Any list or a PDF will make a bigger impression if you style it in a graphic format. For those of you not facile with Photoshop or In-Design, try Canva to do it yourself or get someone on Fivrr to make it sparkle for you.
EBooks: Of course EBooks can be created using InDesign but if you are not an expert using that tool, you may be looking for some easier ways to skin that cat.
Designrr is a new and inexpensive, online program, that you can use to create an eBook from a Blog Post. Simply add the post’s URL to Designrr, wait a minute, and voila, you are ready to choose a theme, add a cover image, make a few tweaks and you’re good to go.
Another easy way to create an eBook is to use PowerPoint or Keynote. Choose the widest page format and add your content as you would if you were creating a slide show. Since people will be reading it in PDF form, the text can be smaller than you use when creating a slide presentation. When your book design is complete, save the slide presentation as a PDF for a nicely formatted eBook.
Courses: If you want an easy, inexpensive platform you can use to create lessons for a free course, I recommend Teachable. It offers an easy way to get a course up and going when you are not a technical guru.
Teachable allows you have your own branded landing page for the course which you can link to using a course URL of your choice or if you don’t choose to purchase a separate URL, simply make it a sub-domain of Teachable like this: yourcoursename.teachable.com
Teachable allows you to offer free courses or paid courses and if you create a paid course Teachable integrates your course registrations with Paypal or Stripe to collect funds. It also offers integrations connecting with MailChimp or Convertkit to put course registrants into your existing mailing lists.
Drip Courses: The easiest way to create a drip course is to use Convertkit. This email service Provider’s application interface shows that there was a designer behind it. It is extremely usable and especially easy to create and later edit a sequence of emails for a drip course.
Quizzes: There many quiz programs floating around, but I have found Survey Gizmo to be a winner. It is very robust and capable of creating a quiz that can segment your test takers into distinct types based on their scores.
Webinar Recordings: Webinar Jam has all the bells and whistles you need to run a large webinar. It incorporates Google Hangouts on Air and YouTube for the recordings.
Now That You Have the Basics, Let’s See the Process in Action
A Brilliant Opt-In Example: Nathalie Lussier’s 30 Day List Building Challenge
Nathalie Lussier created an opt-in offer, 30-Day list Building Challenge, which is a course with tips for building email lists. She packaged her tips into bite-size nuggets and sends them out to each subscriber, one a day for 30 days after they sign up for this free offer.
This course was designed and packaged to appeal to people in her target market, women entrepreneurs who are invested in learning to grow their businesses online.
It was a brilliant move to break her opt-in into 30 emails. That way Nathalie has an opportunity to interact with the people who have just signed up to her mailing list every day for 30 days. This gives them a lot of time to get to Know, Like and Trust her.
At the end of the 30 days, they are primed and ready to buy other products and courses from Nathalie, such as her membership site plugin, Access Ally, her opt-in form plugin, PopUp Ally.
Nathalie says that her 30-Day List Building Challenge has been the most successful opt-in offer she has used to grow her list. She has been using it for years and it continues to bring more people to sign up to her email list every day.
Take a look at Nathalie’s home page and you can see how important list building is to her business. The sign up opt-in form for the 30-Day List Building Challenge is right there front and center.
Two Website Graphics for the Opt-In Offer
Previously, Nathalie’s website ran the following half-page graphics below to entice her visitors to sign over their email addresses in exchange for her 30-Day List Building Challenge.
You may not have to give your opt-in offer a half page of website real estate to attract leads. But in today’s market, you do have to create the offer graphic in a way that shows that you believe this content is important to your reader so that they get that they should sign up and for the offer and get on your list for more info later.
These prominent opt-in offers work well. The small SIGNUP TO RECEIVE MY UPDATES forms won’t cut it today. They don’t give a reader any idea what they are signing up for or why they should sign up.
And worse yet, they don’t look like the website owner really cares whether they sign up or not. Instead, these small forms appear to be something that the web designer added to the site to check off some best practices box.
We stopped adding mailing list sign up forms to client’s sites unless they specifically request it and pay extra for it. Otherwise, it is just a waste of time.
Opt-ins From Facebook Ads
In addition to the big graphic opt-in offers on her website, Nathalie also runs Facebook Ads such as the one below, to attract new people to her business who don’t know her or have been on her website.
What Happens Next?
When someone signs up for the 30-Day List Building Challenge with any of the three ways shown above, a form pops-up for them to add their name and email address in order to receive this program content.
The names and addresses are automatically sent to Nathalie’s email service provider where they are tagged as members of the 30-Day List Building Challenge.
These subscribers will be set to receive the one email list building tip a day for the next 30 days. They would also be tagged so they get added to her regular mailing list
But wait! We are not done yet.
Nathalie’s next move is where it gets really interesting. Before delivering the email program to the subscriber, Nathalie has her email program set to send out one more message. This email tells the subscribers that their first list building email tip will be sent out right away.
But, knowing there are people that don’t want to wait and get the content dripped out to them over time, Nathalie offers them the option of getting access to all of the content in a self-paced course for only $25.00.
More than likely, at least 10-20 percent of the people signing up for the free 30-Day List Building Challenge will purchase the course for immediate access. The money that comes in from the course more than covers the costs of the Facebook ads so Nathalie can continue to grow her list by leaps and bounds.
Pretty smart idea right?
Anything your target clients will find useful is a great idea for an opt-in offer. Notice how the graphic below calls attention to her offer and it is easily described in one phrase so people can know what is being given away, with a glance.
This next opt-in offer is an interesting idea to help segment visitors into the right funnels.
When someone chooses the third option, for help “Designing my Website” they get the following targeted offer.
Here are more ideas.
Here are two examples using the quiz format.