You're all set to start building your mailing list, knowing that it's one of the most important assets for your business.

There's just one little issue...

...what the heck should you create as an opt-in bribe?

If you're serious about building your list "subscribe to my newsletter" isn't going to cut it, but neither is some generic, boring free report.

So what exactly does an excellent opt-in form and page look like? Read on to find out...

More...

Three Rules for Excellent Opt-In Offers

An opt-in incentive, an offer, a bribe, a lead magnet – all mean the same thing: something to persuade your visitor to punch your opt-in form. An effective opt-in offer can take many shapes or forms, but always includes these 3 characteristics:

1. It Must Provide a Solution to ONE Problem!

Regardless of how people find their way to your website, they're looking for a way to alleviate a frustration or fulfill a particular desire.

Your opt-in offer is a quick taste of the sort of information the visitor will find on your website currently and in the future. To be effective, it must target a problem specific to your audience.

Your opt-in forms should provide one solution to one incredibly annoying problem each.

Note:

A common error is to be too broad and all-encompassing. Your opt-in offer is not about solving ALL the problems.

2. It Must Be QUICK & SIMPLE!

A one page-cheatsheet is enough. A ten minute audio file is enough. A five minute video is enough. When it comes to your opt-in offer, bigger is not better.

You're aiming for something that your visitor could instantly apply. A good way to keep your opt-in offer lightweight and bite-sized is to give yourself a time constraint.

Take no more than two hours to create your opt-in offer!

Remember that 90% of your audience are complete novices. Create it for them! Using your opt-in offer should require as little skill as possible.

When your opt-in offer needs explaining, you've lost it.

Note:

People think that a good opt-in offer is a 400-page ebook or a 5-hour video series. While those occasionally work, the function of an opt-in is not to educate at a massive scale. Your audience is looking for a piece of chocolate, not a gourmet meal with added benefits.

3. It Must Be Consistent With Your Overall Message!

The most often overlooked aspect of opt-in pages and forms is consistency.

To keep a good perspective on consistency, try to remember how your visitor got to your page in the first place.

If the page your visitor lands on matches their expectations, it's much easier to hold their attention (in our Next Generation List Building training, this is the principle of relevancy).

Think of it from a visitor's perspective:

Imagine a visitor fascinated by your article on, for example, cake decorating. This visitor is so enthralled by cake decorating that they click your targeted sign-up link to learn more.

Whatever they see next must continue from the same thought, almost like an uninterrupted conversation.

If your sign-up offer is focused on not cake decoration, but say, baking in general, it's an immediate disconnect. Your visitor probably won't stick around.

However, what if we offer this visitor a quick guide on homemade cake decorations? They'd be likely to download your guide because content of the page matched their expectations.


11 Opt-In Page Examples

Keeping the three key concepts from above in mind, let's look at some of the best examples of brilliant opt-in pages from around the web.

Example 1 - The Quiz Opt-In

cerries mooney opt in page

Site:

Author:

Erin Cerries

Opt-In Offer:

Quiz-style personality test

Cerries Mooney, the Brand Alchemist, has clearly grasped the concept of engaging her audience in a fresh manner. Her ebooks paint portraits of different personality archetypes. To find out yours, all you need to do is answer a quick quiz!

Who could resist a quick little game to find out something about themselves? You find yourself almost throwing your contact information at the screen for a chance to find out. This is what makes a quiz so at getting opt-ins and emails.

The beautiful visuals Cerries uses throughout also make for a rewarding experience and are a testament to her attention to detail:

Building curiosity like this is a surefire way to not only get more opt-ins, but also build a list of highly engaged email subscribers.

Key Takeaway

Cerries' offer is perfectly aligned with her blog's overall tone and message. In addition, it's easy to understand at a glance, the value you get is obvious and there's an aspect of fun in taking the quiz.

You can use Thrive Quiz Builder to create your very own quiz and build a segmented email list.


Example 2 - The Free Report, Done Right

smartblogger opt in offer

Site:

smartblogger.com (ex boostblogtraffic.com)

Author:

Jon Morrow

Opt-In Offer:

Free PDF with 52 headline templates

As a copywriting veteran and self-proclaimed Royal Awesomeness of blogging, Jon Morrow knows how to engage his audience.

The Headline Hacks cheat sheet is a classic example of less is more. It’s a streamlined opt-in form, grabbing attention with a single line of copy - “A cheat sheet for writing blog posts that go viral” - and offering them a simple template book for writing killer headlines.

Simple. Effective. Anyone could write viral articles with this book. A value proposition like that is irresistible for any serious writer.

This opt-in has had a consistent conversion rate of around 50% to email ever since it was published. And that includes cold traffic, from people who have never heard of Boost Blog Traffic or Jon before!

Here's what Jon told us about this opt-in bribe:

Jon Morrow

Smartblogger

"On an opt-in page, you want the copy to be as short as possible. One litmus test is if what you are offering requires more than a headline to explain, it’s too abstract. It’s not familiar enough, it’s not obvious enough!

Now, just to be clear, this is a 55 page document; you don't want to do that. If I was a beginner and I was starting over again, I would give people the one headline template that works all the time to create viral posts – the one, not fifty two."

As you can see, we once again have a case of "bigger is not better". Like Jon says, what makes this offer work isn't the volume of what's on offer, but the way it aligns with something his visitors want.

Key Takeaway

Jon's offer, although grand in volume, is a simple concept and offers a huge, almost instantly applicable benefit. It's perfectly aligned with the blog's overall tone, touching something the audience shares - the desire to be a successful writer.

The Free Report & Opt in Page, Done Wrong

Sometimes, a negative example is as useful to learn from as a positive one. With that in mind, let's take a look at a not-so-brilliant offer before moving on.

Site:

Author:

Various authors

Opt-In Offer:

Free PDF with social experiments

This book is a good example of what not to do with your opt-in offer. While the book itself is well presented and offers some entertaining social experiments, it’s near useless as an opt-in offer.

The major offender here is the presentation of the book. The name of the book says nothing about the content, and there is no copy to speak of, on the pages advertising the book. With no obvious tangible benefit available, a random visitor will more likely click the back-button than the download-button.

This opt-in example creates a curious situation: only the people already familiar with “Fuck Up Nights” will be interested in this book. There's nothing here for people who are new to the site. Incidentally, this is the exact opposite of what an opt-in offer is supposed to do.

Key Takeaway

It doesn't matter how good the content of your free offer is - if it isn't presented in a way that is both clear and enticing to new visitors to your site, no one will be interested and you won't be getting any opt-ins.


Example 3 - The Challenge Opt-In Page

the challenge opt-in

Site:

Author:

Nathalie Lussier

Opt-In Offer:

30 day mailing list-building challenge

A great way to engage your audience is by challenging them in an entertaining or useful way. Nathalie Lussier has built a 30 day email list building challenge for this purpose, which appeals to anyone interested in building their email list.

The part that really shines about this opt-in offer, apart from the engagement and near entertaining education, is the brilliantly devious way of inserting a paywall into the process.

Anyone can partake in this adventure for free, receiving a new email each day for 30 days. But for the impatient ones, it's possible to get access to the course immediately for a small fee.

Nathalie's opt-in offer educates, entertains, challenges and engages her audience and is a source of income for her, all at the same time!

Nathalie Lussier

nathalielussier.com

"As for how we came up with these things, it's really been a co-creation process with our tribe. People wanted a way to unlock all the videos and they told us they'd be happy to pay for it, so we tried it and it worked.

It might seem silly because we really just do what our people ask for, and that's been the biggest key to our success."

This challenge opt-in offer has a conversion rate of about 45%, and the paywall option gets a conversion rate of 3-4%.

Key Takeaways

Your goal isn't just to get opt-in emails from anyone, it's to build an engaged audience. A challenge is a great way to attract the kind of people who are willing to engage with you over a longer period of time.

The second takeaway is that it pays to pay attention: Nathalie found a simple way to monetize her challenge, simply by listening to what her subscribers were telling her.


Example 4 - The Ongoing Product Opt-In Page

Death to Stock opt-in page

Site:

Author:

David Sherry & Allie Lehman

Opt-In Offer:

Free photos every month

You don’t need to be a blogger or internet marketer to have an effective opt-in. The rogue photography duo at Death to the Stock Photo uses their own products as an incentive to sign up on their homepage which doubles as the opt-in page.

The offer is consistent with the audience’s desires. People come to the site looking for free photos, and Death to Stock will send you free photos monthly. It’s also a good way to get visitors interested in a premium option, which is also available.

Note how this follows rule #2 of an offer being quick and simple. Click a button - receive stylish photos.

stock photo example
Photo from Death to Stock opt-in offer package

Death to Stock have implemented the "freemium" business model that is common for software startups, but they've done it in the simplest, low-tech way possible.

If you have a personal strength or your business has a native product, think about ways you can "freemiumize" it and use it to build your email marketing list (and your business).

Key Takeaway

An opt-in offer doesn't always have to be one downloadable thing in return for an email address. If you can offer something on an ongoing basis, it gives your subscribers a reason to stay subscribed and keep watching their inbox for your emails - two fantastic traits most marketers can only wish for.


Example 5 - The Zero Effort Opt-in Page

active-growth-offer

Site:

Author:

Shane Melaugh

Opt-In Offer:

Blog content, re-purposed as a free report

Been blogging for a while? Maybe there’s a brilliant article hiding somewhere in the dustier parts of your content feed, that never really got the exposure it deserved?

Why not repurpose it into a hot opt-in offer?

When you have an article that isn't doing so well, or an older post that has lost traction, what do you do? You can put more effort into promoting it, tweak it, or forget it and move on. Most people tend to forget it and move on, forgetting that not all content is equally suited for all purposes.

In other words: something might be much more suitable for a video than for a podcast episode or something might be more suitable as a free report than a blog post.

Our very own Shane Melaugh had a well written article lingering around that hadn’t quite found its audience. Being the clever sort of marketer, he wasn’t going to just dump the article and move on, though.

After a few little tweaks, the article turned into a perfect content upgrade for a podcast episode. The offer is advertised in a very simple way in the blog post:

imimpact-example-2

Conversion rates for this podcast episode went from 3% with a generic offer to 7% with this new, more suitable offer. These opt-ins still aren’t huge numbers, but more than doubling conversion rates by reusing a bit of content you've already created?

Seems like a good deal.

Key Takeaway

Creating an opt-in offer seems like a big, scary task to many bloggers, but it really doesn't have to be. Look through content you've already created and you might find a shortcut to a great opt-in offer.


Example 6 - The High Value, High Investment Opt-In Offer

Brendon Burchard opt in offer page

Site:

Author:

Brendon Burchard

Opt-In Offer:

Free book (except for shipping)

Brendon Burchard is a big player with huge influence in the self-development field. He can afford to hurl some heavy hits.

He offers his book, The Motivation Manifesto, as an opt-in offer on his homepage. Now you might be thinking “A whole book? That’s insane!”, but there’s a clear method at work here.

A physical book has a higher perceived value than an e-book and here, you get all that value for free... or almost for free, anyway. 

While the book is free, you have to pay shipping to get it. Still a fair deal, right? But now you’re involved in a value exchange.

By taking the "free" offer, you're making a small investment and you've started spending money on Brendan Burchard products.

This approach can be highly polarizing and it can also be costly (printing books isn't free, after all), but if you have a good marketing machine ready to process the leads, this be a killer marketing strategy.

Key Takeaways

Look for opportunities to go against the flow. Everyone's giving away e-books? How can you step up the game and stand out from the generic opt-in forms and email marketing? A physical book is one way to go.

The second takeaway is that if you get new leads to commit to a transaction early on, you're building a list of buyers right away.


Example 7 - The Automatic Webinar Opt-In Page

Amy Porterfield opt in page

Site:

Author:

Amy Porterfield

Opt-In Offer:

Automated Webinar

Amy is a social media strategist and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies. She earned her stripes by travelling the world and working with no other than Tony Robbins.

After learning what she could from the world's top marketers, she decided to stop consulting other businesses and start her own. Amy quickly found her home in front of the camera and behind the mic, creating a popular podcast and many successful webinars.

It's no surprise then, that Amy's opt-in offer is a chance to partake in a webinar.

Amy Porterfield

amyporterfield.com

"Admittedly, the first time I did a live webinar, it was a mess. I was promoting my first product and forgot to add a link to the product in the slideshow—a classic rookie mistake!


But I stuck with it, and now I do tons of webinars every year—they’re my primary way to reach new audiences. In fact, nothing else has been so successful for growing and scaling my business.”

An automated webinar is a curious opt-in offer. Even though technically it's simply a recording of a previous presentation, you still get most of the advantages of watching a live webinar:

  • You hear the questions people asked during the live webinar. Chances are you're going to have the same questions anyway, so it doesn't really matter who asks them.
  • You get closer to the community. The webinar might offer entry to a closed membership area or some other special offer you might otherwise miss.
  • You get the intimate feeling of being part of a presentation rather than watching a static Youtube video.

While the webinar requires more commitment from a visitor than just a bog standard PDF-guide, the perceived value is also much higher.

You can also try to warm up your visitors with smaller opt-in offers before presenting them with a webinar.

Key Takeaways

Set up an automated webinar once and offer massive value continuously.


Example 8 - The Amazing Audio File Opt-In

Audio File opt-in example

Site:

Author:

Marie Forleo

Opt-In Offer:

Audio Training

How to get anything you want? Hey, sign me up!

You might know Marie Forleo from her appearance on Oprah, her own show MarieTV, or her multinationally published book. She helps people dream big and back it up to create results.

When someone with these credentials offers you a short audio clip showing you "How to get anything you want," you might want to listen up, because they're probably capable of delivering.

The real genius of this opt-in offer is the audio format.

You can listen to this while you're driving, at the gym, walking about or just taking a break from staring at the screen.

It also gives an added layer of depth and personal value when you can listen to a real person's voice telling you this stuff.

Key Takeaways

An alternative format might help your opt-in offer reach people not on their computers constantly.


Example 9 - The Website Analyzer Opt-In Page

Website grader opt-in page example

Site:

Author:

Hubspot Inc.

Opt-In Offer:

Website analyzer

Even being a huge and powerful marketing organization doesn't relieve you from the burden of creating an effective opt-in offer.

HubSpot strives to provide an all-in-one approach to marketing with a complete set of tools and data. They have everything marketing-related under one roof.

Hubspot's Website Grader is a simple but powerful tool to quickly assess the usability of your website. All you have to do is enter your URL and email address and the software does the rest.

It can be gratifying and even relaxing to know that everything works correctly, and your visitors aren't leaving because of a website malfunction.

Obviously, your contact information is stored the moment you sign up for a try.

Key Takeaways

A useful tool or software trial will have the engagement of a fun quiz, but also provide a useful benefit for your visitor.


Example 10 - The Quiz-turned Checklist Opt-In

Website grader opt-in

Site:

Author:

Susan Jones

Opt-In Offer:

Quiz for new entrepreneurs

Susan Jones helps entrepreneurs get their business off the ground. As a Lecturer at at Swinburne University in Australia, she is well versed in the troubles of startup business creators and their pitfalls.

Susan Jones

Ready Set Startup

Business isn’t rocket science, but there are certain things you need to think about and get right if you want to be successful.

 

I concentrate on these. In my experience this important information isn’t so easy to find. Until recently, it’s only been taught in business schools.

Susan's opt-in offer is a quiz that helps aspiring business builders pinpoint their weak spots.

The difference between this quiz and Cerries Mooney's quiz is that this one started out as a simple checklist.

By adding the possibility to interact and become part of the process, Susan turned a rather basic opt-in offer into something enticing and memorable.

If your opt-in feels a bit dull, this can be a great way to add some spark!

Key Takeaways

You can add spark and intrigue into a standard checklist-offer by turning it into a quiz.


Example 11 - The Free Coaching Opt-In

Site:

Author:

John Benzick

Opt-In Offer:

20 minute consultation call

John Benzick has an impressive resume. Owner of three startups in different industries, consultation experience for companies like Procter & Gamble and Best Buy, keynote speaker for AIGA Design Camp - the guy gets around.

John Benzick

Venture Superfly

Over the years, I've realized that most startup attempts suffer due to a lack of "fit" between the entrepreneur and his or her business idea.


This realization led me to create Venture Superfly, a simple-to-use, 3-step application that helps entrepreneurs align their personal traits with a viable business idea, to help ensure startup success. 

His website Venture Superfly has a handful of ways to collect leads and engage visitors. You can join a free trial of their entrepreneur course, you can download a bunch of videos by famous entrepreneurs, or...

... you can get a free 20 minutes coaching session.

With this amount of expertise, that's insane value. 20 minutes is also a short enough timeframe to ease commitment, in case the coaching wouldn't be useful.

This sort of opt-in offer might take up a lot of your time, but think of it this way. If someone finds value in your coaching, they will remember you and likely be committed to your products for life.

Key Takeaways

Literally give away some of your personal time and extensive knowledge to get committed and engaged subscribers.

Your Turn to Create a Killer Opt-in Page

We've now looked at 11 distinctly different opt-in incentives, all part of effective list-building strategies.

There's hundreds more out there in various forms and formats. But the ones with any success always follow the three rules of opt-in examples.

And so should you.

When you build your opt-in offer, take a step back and look at the journey your audience takes from the first moment they hear about you to the moment they end up at your opt-in form.

Make sure the process is streamlined, and the opt-in offer answers a single burning question in your visitor's mind.

And then you're done.

Now, stop worrying about creating the perfect opt-in incentive. Instead, create a simple offer, inspired by what you discovered in this post and start growing that list!

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below!

About the Author Jay


Jay has an affinity for red wine, Monty Python-references and content marketing.

Get In Touch
>