You know you need an email list. And you’ve also been told that the best way to get people to sign up is to give something to them for free. But what?
You can’t just sign up with ConvertKit and put some forms on your site and think that will work.
The truth is if you just say “sign up for updates in your inbox” no one will give you their address. Everyone has a busy enough life, and they don’t need one more item in their inbox.
You need to make signing up worth it. You need to provide value beyond the post.
That is where the lead magnet, or opt-in, will help. But you don’t want to offer just anything. You need to make sure it is a fit for your audience. After all, if you hope to capture that email, then you better make it worth it.
USING OPT-INS TO GROW YOUR EMAIL LIST
If you are struggling with what to offer you aren’t alone. Coming up with creative opt-in ideas is one thing many site owners find challenging.
But it doesn’t need to be. The answer may be staring you right in the face. And you don’t even realize it.
Don’t just start trying to figure out what to do willy-nilly. You need to develop a system. And that all starts with content.
START WITH YOUR POPULAR CONTENT
Take a minute and log into Google Analytics. Navigate to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages. You will see the posts that are sending the highest traffic to your site (over the past seven days – change the dates for a larger sample).
Click on the small box with an arrow on it, and that will open your post in a new window. That will be the first post for which you need to look at creating an opt-in.
You are already getting massive traffic to this post, so you need to capitalize on those visitors.
So what should the opt-in be? Review the post and see if there a checklist could help the user. Maybe you have 10 points on the post and could make an opt-in that lists 15. If it is a recipe or DIY, it could be a way to print it the instructions along with a shopping list. Perhaps you have 20 recipes on your site, and you want to offer those in one easy to download form — to compliment this one. It could even be a daily affirmation they can print and hang on their bathroom mirror.
Every post will have something you can offer to provide more value. Think outside of the box and see what you can come up with to encourage those people who love your content to also sign up for your list.
Continue working through every post on your site and, as you add new content, think about what you can offer as the lead magnet.
Research is not only good for new content ideas but also lead magnets! If your topic is health, you could go into Pinterest and search for health printables. You will see countless ideas to see what others are doing so you can use that to come up with your creative spin on what to offer to your readers.
ASK YOUR READERS
You’ve already got people who follow you or may be on your list – so ask them! What is it that they need? What would make their lives easier in the form of printables or books? You may just come up with an amazing idea that you never thought of before.
DO THE BRAIN DUMP
One of my favorite ways to come up with ideas is just to start writing them down. I call this the brain dump. Write down anything at all that comes to you in a 30-minute session. Don’t exclude anything!
One of my clients recently did this for her site on teaching breastfeeding. She came up with an idea for something that was nowhere on her site but will do amazing — all because she did a brain dump. Now she is working on a unique eBook she will be able to offer to her readers (sorry – can’t tell you what it is as I don’t want someone else stealing her idea).
THE #1 MISTAKE BLOGGERS MAKE WITH THEIR LEAD MAGNET
Before you jump in and create a freebie, you need to make sure you are doing it the right way. There is a mistake that many bloggers make when it comes to making a lead magnet.
They are not post specific.
Have you ever visited a site and you see an opt-in for a list or freebie that has nothing to do with what you are reading? You probably did not sign up, did you?
It is imperative that the lead magnet connects to the post. For example, I have a post on this site that is about how to Use the Amazon Affiliate Program the right way. The lead magnet is an Amazon Dos & Don’ts checklist. That makes sense. However, if I included an opt-in about how to use Pinterest, it would not.
When you create or add opt-ins to your posts, they need to add additional value to the content. That will turn casual readers into fans.
It may seem like a lot of work to make all of the opt-ins, but if you can increase your list, it will be well worth it. I promise.
CREATIVE OPT-IN IDEAS
When it comes to creating your freebie, there are countless things you can offer. This list will give you ideas you can use for every post you create, so you can come up with something that will provide extra value to your readers so that you can capture that coveted email address.
People love a useful checklist. Use these on travel posts or how to posts. You can even use your listed items in your post and transform that into a checklist.
One thing you can do is find a paid product you sell (or promote). Create a free checklist that will work with that product and then when people sign up you can put them into a specific funnel so you can try to sell the product to them.
I do this with my Start a Blog Checklist. It is a freebie that goes with a post. When the reader signs up, he or she gets funneled into a six-part email series where I sell my technical blogging course. They’ve got the checklist and have questions so the course will fill in those blanks for them.
Self-Improvement Blogs: Healthy habits checklist, daily motivations checklist, self-care checklist
Health & Fitness Blogs: Daily workout checklist, fitness routine checklist, healthy habits checklist
Parenting Blogs: Babyproofing checklist, hospital bag checklist, traveling with kids checklist
Recipe Blogs: Spice cabinet checklist, freezer checklist, pantry checklist, shopping checklist
Finance Blogs: Debt planner, shopping checklist, money-saving checklist
Another easy opt-in you can create is an eBook. If you are a recipe blogger, you could make a collection of some recipes. It could be from a series of posts you wrote that go together to encourage or teach. Review your content and see if you can’t pull the content from some of your posts together and put them into a book.
Just a word of caution! You have to be careful about affiliate links in your books as some programs do not allow that (such as Amazon).
EMAIL LESSON OR CHALLENGE
If you teach your users at all, a challenge can be a great way to get them onto your list. You come up with an email sequence you send out to them over five days (that is the perfect number). Each day they get a new email with a piece of the lesson. At the end of five days, they’ve done what you promised to do.
Then, you can upsell them to a paid product such as a course or book. They already love what they’ve learned from you and are primed to learn even more!
You can this at work on Penny Pinchin’ Mom where I offer a five-day budgeting course. At the end, readers are offered an upsell to a paid product — which works great!
Self-Improvement Blogs: 5 Days to overcoming negative self-talk; 5 day
Health & Fitness Blogs: Daily workout challenge; 5 days to a healthier diet
Parenting Blogs: 5 Days to more positive parenting; breastfeeding challenges
Recipe Blogs: Meal planning, 5 days to learn how to cook freezer meals
Finance Blogs: Plan to get out of debt, learning how to budget
These days everyone loves video! Your opt-in could be a video where you go into more detail on a topic or provide value beyond the post. For example, you could do a video showing how to make that DIY – and then a bonus way to make it different or something that may work with what they just made.
You can host these on YouTube for free — or use Loom and record the video which is emailed to them after they sign up.
If you offer coaching or education, a webinar can be a great way to get people on your list! They sign up with you to learn more about your product or service. If you can provide a lot of value in the webinar, those people will be more likely to purchase the paid product at the end.
Readers love a good template too! Items such as coloring pages, budget, financial forms, self-help guidance, meal planning and more make the perfect template. Create something your readers can use that they just have to print and can start filling out.
Self-Improvement Blogs: Self-care planner, mental health guide
Health & Fitness Blogs: Wellness dairy, fitness journal, food diary
Parenting Blogs: DIY printables for kids, babysitter form, health & medical family forms, family calendar
Recipe Blogs: Meal planner, shopping templates, favorite recipes journal
Finance Blogs: Budget, debt form, bill tracker, income report
TEACHING TUTORIAL / SELF-HELP
Each of these includes information and value this is beyond the scope of the article. They walk the user through the process, so they know how to get started on each of these platforms.
Quizzes have become very popular! Readers take a quiz to learn more about themselves, and to see the results they need to sign up for your list. They’ll do this time and again. Just make sure the quiz works for your audience.
A resource library is a great way to offer all of your printables at once – without needing to do more. If you visit PennyPinchinMom.com, you will see a yellow banner on the home page. This leads to the resources library.
When readers sign up, they get an email back that shares the details on how to access the library. They can print one, five or ten forms — whatever they like.
When you are teaching people what to say or do in certain situations, a swipe file can be helpful. A swipe file is copy and paste content that the reader can personalize so they can say what they need to most effectively.
PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP
If you have a group, you can funnel people there by getting them on your list. Include a code word in the email that they need to provide to you (you will ask a question). That way you only approve those who really signed up and should be in the group.
A great way to get people on your list is to give them a course — for free! It could be a slimmed down version of a more extensive course or one that you fill with affiliate links (so you can still make money). Remember that the more value you can provide, the more people will buy your paid products.
Sometimes people want to listen to content rather than read it. Consider recording your post in an audio format so you can email it to users. They can listen to on their terms.
Rather than offer a library, create a downloaded file that will share resources that can help your reader. You can fill this with affiliate links (if allowed), and that will make you money when they click and buy.
Think about what value you can provide to your readers and then come up with a creative opt-in that you can put on your site. Readers thing you are just giving value – but you know you are growing your list.