Email lists are definitely a blogging commandment of mine. If you envision turning your blog into a business in the near future, your list is where the money-making-magic will begin.
But what if you’ve spent ages finally getting your email list up and running and…crickets?
Creating your list is only half the battle. The next challenge is getting people to subscribe.
Enter: the opt-in freebie.
But not just any opt-in freebie. The right opt-in freebie that speaks to your target reader.
In this post, you’re going to learn about 7 opt-in ideas that will authentically grow your email list. If you’ve hit a wall in subscriber growth, this post is for you.
This post is NOT a generic list that includes checklists and calendars. I’m going to give you strategies to help you come up with your own unique spin on these ideas that will serve you and your audience best.
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase by clicking on one of my links, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, that will help me continue to bring you valuable content. Thanks for supporting In Search of Sheila! 🙂
CREATE YOUR EMAIL LIST ASAP
First things first, if you don’t have an email list for your blog, start one NOW! I will always hound my readers to have one because:
- they allow you to build a strong relationship with your readers
- it’s the only platform you have complete control over, unlike social media which can get deleted at any moment’s notice
- if you want to turn your blog into a business, an email list is the #1 starting place to monetize
Your list will literally become your pride and joy. As social media continues to take a turn for the worst in terms of growing your blog, email lists are thriving.
BUT WHAT’S AN OPT-IN FREEBIE?
An opt-in freebie is anything that you can give someone in exchange for their email address. They’re also known as content upgrades, freebies, opt-in gifts, triggers, and lead magnets.
The key is to give away something for free that your readers actually want and more importantly, feel like they NEED to have.
KEEP YOUR TARGET READER IN MIND
Just a disclosure before we get started: your email list isn’t about you. It’s about YOUR READERS.Your email list isn't about you. It's about YOUR READERS! Click To Tweet
I can’t stress how important it is to know what your target audience needs help with. Or what they’re most interested in signing up to an email list for. These bits of information are absolutely necessary to understand to actually grow your list.
My biggest tip for beginner bloggers is to be patient and willing to try different ideas. As you create more freebies, you’ll get an idea of what people like and what they don’t like. Pay close attention and change want needs to be changed in order to appeal to your audience.
If something isn’t working, fix the damn thing!
With that said, I hope this post can get your creative juices flowing so you can come up with opt-in idea that your target audience will be obsessed with. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about you, it’s about them!
7 OPT-IN IDEAS TO (REALLY) GROW YOUR EMAIL LIST
I don’t know about y’all, but I’m obsessed with downloading eBooks. Maybe it’s because I legitimately work in a library…or I just like growing my own paper and virtual collection of information.
Needless to say, when I come across a FREE eBook that I know is going to help me (whether with my blog, lifestyle, personal development…) you can bet that blogger quickly gets my email address.
The trick is to jam-pack juicy information into a mini eBook (no more than 20 pages max.)
STUCK FOR EBOOK IDEAS?
- Turn a popular blog post into an eBook. You already have the content written, so now you just need to format it into a PDF and tweak the information a little bit. People love having something they can access through their phone rather than going to your blog!
- What questions do you get asked over and over again? Could you turn this into an eBook that you could direct people to download?
Krista and Mike of Reroute Lifestyle have lots of awesome opt-in ideas that target problems their readers come to them for: how to make money with their blog. In this case, how to make affiliate sales on Pinterest. Grab a copy for yourself here!
No matter your niche or blog focus, there is ALWAYS something you can pack into an eBook!
- Fashion blogger? Compile your best bargain shopping tips or wardrobe checklist and how-to style tips for each season
- Lifestyle blogger? Write a “how to” guide that correlates with your blog topics such as a journaling workbook to combat stress or productivity planners for procrastinators
- Food blogger? Create curated shopping lists or your best recipes
- Travel blogger? Put together your best tips on budget traveling or location-specific itineraries such as “10 Things To Do In New York In a Weekend”
2. eCourse or Challenge
I always recommend an email course or challenge for a few reasons:
- It’s a great way to build a relationship with your subscribers. You’re popping in their inbox every day and they’re learning from you. You’re literally earning their trust. And that my friends, is what you want.
- They’re good for delivering info that needs to be shared in chunks, rather than altogether such as an eBook. Daily emails don’t necessarily focus on the information per say, but rather a way to get people motivated to take action. This is why I LOVE email challenges. I thrive off of accountability, so they really help me.
One thing I’m always down for is self-care and personal development. I just signed up for this 7-day mindfulness challenge by Catherine of The Blissful Mind and I can’t wait to get started. Click here to sign up and start your journey to mindfulness 🙂
3. Password Protected Resource Library
People LOVE resource libraries because they feel like they’re getting something super valuable in exchange for their email address.
The way you use one to grow your list is to make it password protected. Readers will opt-in and receive a password via email that they can use to log in and access the library.
What you put inside your library is totally up to you! You can combine all your available opt-ins or make some new ones that are exclusively for the library.
I have one myself that you can opt-in to here. Inside you can find checklists, worksheets, workbooks, my favorite tools and resources, and more! All targeted to help my readers grow their blogs.
A really unique resource library I’ve seen is from Justine of the travel blog The Irredesecnt Wings. She calls her library “The Secret Hideout.” It includes resources to help you travel on a budget plus her own pre-made itineraries! Click here to get access!
4. Swipe File
What’s a swipe file?
Basically, it’s a line (or lines) of copy that you basically “steal” from someone else to copy, paste, and plug in your own content for your own use. They are best delivered in a Google doc.
Swipe files ideas:
- blog headlines
- email replies
- email sequences + subjects
- sales pages
- opt-in forms and landing pages
Meera of Meera Kothand has a whole swipe file collection of list-building hacks that helped her get over 1,200 subscribers! I’ve learned a lot about email lists from Meera, so I recommend checking the swipe file out here!
Swipe files are for people like me who are lazy and/or their brain has gone to mush and they need some kind of structure to get their juices flowing again.Swipe files are great opt-ins for people who get stuck with writing emails and headlines! Click To Tweet
Also for people like me who get emails every day from companies that want to advertise on my blog who I am totally NOT interested in, but I know I have to respond with grace.
I actually tweeted out that if anyone had email templates for replying to brands I didn’t want to work with. I was surprised when Aitza of Petitely Packaged said she would send me her “Polite Rejection Letter!” in a Google doc. (TY AITZA!)
So naturally, I tweeted that rejection email templates would be a great opt-in idea 😉
5. Workshop or Video Series
Online workshops or videos work great for any niche really. As video continues to grow and is projected to be HUGE by 2019 in terms of marketing and sales, now is a good time to start playing around with it.Since video is getting bigger for bloggers, now is the time to start experimenting! Click To Tweet
Once the workshop was over, we kept the sign-up page up and continued to grow our email lists as more people opted in to watch the replay. You can check it out here!
If video isn’t something you normally incorporate into your blog, it could actually be a great idea for an opt-in freebie because it will be exclusive content people can’t find anywhere on your main website.
How To Use Video To Grow Your List
- Give your readers a behind the scenes of how you run your blog
- Create an exclusive community that only your subscribers can get access to where you have weekly coffee chats or Q&A’s
- Show off your expertise by creating a tutorial in something that can be better explained in a video, rather than just a blog post. I created a Pinterest Video Vault to help my readers improve their strategies
- Host your own workshop! Team up with a friend to make it extra fun (and valuable)
Click here to get access to my Pinterest Video Vault!
6. Exclusive Community
We all want to be part of a community, right? Creating something that is community-based and exclusive is a win-win for everyone. Users will be included in something super cool and you’ll be able to grow your list!
This is why I want you to start thinking about your email list as a community, and not a game of numbers.Create a unique and exclusive community just for your subscribers! Click To Tweet
How to create an opt-in based community through your blog
- One way is to create a Facebook group related to your niche and audience and require users to be on your email list to get access
- Another way is to create a Pinterest group board where users need to be on your email list before you let them join
- A creative way is to put a community vibe on your weekly newsletters. Dee of Morning Coffee With Dee has a “virtual coffee shop” for women where she pops into your inbox every week for a coffee chat. I think this is SO cute and clever! It makes her subscribers feel more exclusive and part of something. I always get excited when I see her in my inbox. Click here to become an Inspiration Roaster!
7. Personality Quiz
We all love quizzes, don’t we? As humans, we always have that little bit of curiosity when it comes to knowing more about ourselves.
But did you know how awesome they can be for your list-building strategy?
With Interact, you can make your very own quizzes (for free!) At the end, users can opt-in to get their results sent straight to their inbox. BAM, new subscriber.Did you know that quizzes are actually an awesome way to grow your email list? Click To Tweet
Interact was created specifically for bloggers and entrepreneurs to embed quizzes on their sites to grow their email lists. So yes, quizzes are fun, but also a great list-building strategy.
Here are two quizzes from two bloggers who used Interact that I think are super fun:
How To Make a Quiz For Your Blog With Interact
To get started you can sign up here for free and start creating your quiz. I LOVE that they have pre-made templates specifically for blogging. It makes it so easy to customize the images, design, and wording to match your style and blog.
Once you finish your quiz you can easily embed it right onto your site and start collecting email addresses!
Interact also has helpful step-by-step video tutorials to help you navigate the creation process. As you continue to use it more, you have the option to upgrade your account and use more integrative features such as connecting it with your email service provider!
To go above and beyond with this strategy, sweeten the deal by delivering extra value after quiz-takers opt-in. Besides just delivering their results, throw in some resources and blog posts you’ve written that would help them.
LET’S SUM ‘EM UP
- eCourse or Challenge
- Resource Library
- Swipe File
- Workshop or Video Series
- Exclusive Community
- Personality Quiz