what type of opt-in is right for you

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Which Type of Opt-In is Right for You?

I’m a total nerd when it comes to testing out different types of marketing strategies and funnels – which is why I’m so excited to share a post dedicated to helping you figure out which type of opt-in is right for YOU and YOUR BUSINESS.

Today, we’re going to break down exactly what an opt-in is, how they can help you grow your business and the different types of opt-ins you can use. By the end, you should have a much better idea of which one to get started with – and exactly how to do that!

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What is an Opt-In?

Before we talk about how to create an opt-in, we should probably define what an opt-in is first.

In the online marketing world, an opt-in is quite literally a resource that someone “opts-in” to receive from you. Typically, this means they are providing you with their email (and maybe some additional info like their first name) in exchange for a valuable, free resource.

Most of the time, opting in also means that they are consenting to join your email list and receive future communication from you. 

(*note: make sure you’re GDPR compliant. We’ll talk about this later!)

Joining your email list is a BIG DEAL. You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s still true: the money is in your list. Even in 2020, email marketing drives the best conversion rates.

So what this means for you is that you want to grow an awesome email list – but not just a list filled with any ole people. You want to grow an email list of the RIGHT people.

And getting the right people on your email list starts with sharing the right kinds of opt-ins.

For example, if you have an opt-in titled “5 Steps to the Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies” and then you send emails and promote courses about Facebook ads, odds are, those folks aren’t the ones who want to buy.

That being said, if you have an opt in titled “The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Ads” and then you send the same type of emails and offer Facebook ads courses, odds are, you’re probably gonna have some folks who are interested in learning more (and buying).

So how do you figure out which kind of opt in to make? Great question – let’s break it down.

How to Decide Which Type of Opt-In to Create

There are 3 main questions you need to answer before making any type of opt-in:

  • Who do you want to attract and serve?
  • What problem do they have?
  • How can you solve that problem?

I walk through exactly how to answer these questions (plus 6 more steps to take) in order to create your first opt-in in detail here!

**If you need a refresher on creating an opt-in or haven’t answered those questions before, be sure to read that blog post linked above first!!

For this post, we’re going to assume you already have the answer to those 4 questions are you’re ready to move onto step #4: determining which opt-in is right for you.

Before you create your opt-in, you’re going to need to decide on the type of opt-in you want to create. 

Here are 7 of the most common opt-in options you can use to grow your email list, listed from easiest to most complicated:

1 – Checklist

This is the simplest opt-in to create and can easily be made from assets you already have like a blog post or client education. 

Think about this example: you’re a wedding photographer who writes an amazing, detailed blog post explaining the step-by-step process you use to blog weddings after you shoot them. It saves you a ton of time, helps boost your SEO, and even increases the number of inquiries you get on your website. This is incredibly valuable information for other wedding photographers!

They read your post and soak up as much information as they can. But even after someone reads your blog post, it would still be helpful for them to download that information in a checklist form to easily reference and use as they’re starting to implement the process themselves.

So you could create a “Simple Blogging Checklist” as your first opt-in! Plus, it’s now super easy to add that opt-in form right on your blog post. This is called a content upgrade in the marketing world.

Checklists are easy to make in a tool like Canva and usually don’t take a ton of time investment to create. These are a great place to get started if you’re creating your first opt-in!

2 – Ebook or Guide

Ebooks or guides are usually a little longer than a checklist but are almost as easy to create. We love creating ebooks as opt-ins because you can provide a bit more value in your opt-in while still keeping your time investment fairly minimal.

You could also share a bit more of an intro about yourself, share examples or images, and even share a call to action (like a shop discount code) at the end of the ebook or guide. Along with checklists, we recommend starting with these types of opt-ins first! They’re the simplest to implement.

3 – Swipe File

Swipe files are similar to an ebook as they act as a guide and reference, but instead of teaching a lesson or walking them through a process, you are sharing actual examples.

Swipe files can be used to share things like copywriting examples, email template examples, ad examples, etc. Essentially, you’re sharing screenshots or examples of something. This is super helpful for people if they’re trying to do something for the first time or as a beginner. Swipe files are great resources to learn from and mimic.

As an example, in our Facebook ads course, we share Swipe Files of ad copy and winning ads to help our students get started with running their Facebook ads, instead of having to think and start from scratch.

4 – Email Challenge

There’s no one exact way to build an email challenge, but they can be incredibly powerful marketing strategies! Whether they’re 3, 5, or 10 days long, email challenges provide value to your audience over a defined period of time.

This is extremely powerful because instead of just receiving one piece of valuable content from you, the person is receiving quite a few different touch points. So even though it’s technically the same opt-in, it can feel like they’re getting a lot more value and thus build up the like, know, and trust factor in a more powerful way.

You can make email challenges as simple or as complicated as you’d like (or as makes sense for our audience, what you’re teaching, and your offer). 

For example, a simple evergreen email challenge would be to deliver the information just via your emails each day of the challenge.

Related post: What is an Evergreen Launch?

However, if you’re doing a live launch, it may make more sense to do a live challenge that directs someone to Facebook Lives you’re doing each day in a private Facebook group.

Personally, we try to keep it simple, evergreen, and personal. One of our best funnels and opt-ins to date is our free 5 Day Targeting Challenge. Each day of the challenge, we send a short email with a link to a special training video. For 5 days in a row, we share a short 2-5 minute video teaching something about targeting on Facebook ads. It’s impactful, valuable, and shows our personality (we literally filmed it on a tripod in one of our favorite hiking spots).

Free 5 day targeting challenge

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to make it work!

Think through what kind of delivery and information makes the most sense for your audience and your goals!

5 – Video Series

Video Series are very similar to email challenges and can honestly be a mix of the two. They can also be hosted live or evergreen.

That being said, this type of opt-in is usually more in-depth. These would almost be like a series of shorter, organized webinars. 

Again, these examples are getting a little more complicated and involved with each step. This opt-in would mean actually recording or filming the video training(s) and then integrating into what could be an email challenge at its base.

6 – Quiz

Quizzes are one of our favorite types of opt-ins because they’re just so darn fun! Plus, I think they are great opportunities to segment your list and provide a ton of value.

You can create a quiz using a tool like Interact, which will help you set everything up from the design to the questions and answers to the resulting logic and even integrating the results with your email. Honestly, the Interact tool makes creating quizzes simple!

The complicated part of quizzes is how much time and intention they take. You really want to be strategic with the results you create and make them different segments of your ideal audience. This way, when you do share the results with them, you can also offer additional resources or even direct them to your services or courses that would be the best fit.

This also means that there’s a lot more tech and integration involved with quizzes, such as:

  • Creating the quiz in Interact
  • Writing all of the questions and answers
  • Setting up the results logic
  • Integrating your email list to segment results and people
  • Creating or sharing relevant blog posts or resources (on the results page or in follow up emails)
  • Designing individual results in landing pages
  • Creating follow up workflows and nurture sequences for each result

Again, they’re SUPER powerful and SUPER fun – just takes a bit more intentionality and time to make it work the best way!

7 – Webinar or Masterclass

Last but not least is the good ole webinar! People like to call them masterclasses or free trainings nowadays, but it’s just another way of saying webinar.

I know webinars can get a lot of flack in the online marketing world – let’s be real: we’ve all been on a webinar or two (or ten) that felt icky and just like one giant sales pitch.

A word of advice: don’t do those kinds of webinars. 

Don’t be sleazy, and your webinar won’t feel sleazy. 

Believe it or not – webinars are one of the best funnels in our business. They’ve brought in tens of thousands of dollars in course sales – most of them on an evergreen model. They work, you just need to do them the right way.

Aka just share great value (without giving it all away), show up as yourself, and don’t try to do them like everyone else. No one is sneaky with a sales pitch at the end. Be upfront about it. Let them know what you’re sharing and why. And always be sure to show up with a heart to serve and provide real value, not just fluff. No one likes fluff.

Tips for Creating Your Opt-In

Now that you’ve learned 7 of the most popular types of opt-ins out there, hopefully, one of the descriptions sparked some inspiration on which one you want to start with!

Like I mentioned above, they all have value in different ways and all of the opt-ins have a varying amount of effort involved. So really think through what your audience needs, how you want to serve them, and the complexity of your marketing funnel.

Related post: What is a Marketing Funnel?

Once you’ve decided which type of opt-in you want to create, be sure to keep these tips in mind as you get to work:

  • Keep the form simple – only collect email and first name if possible (this way you can personalize emails to them)

  • Stay GDPR compliant – make sure you have a privacy policy on your website if you’re collecting any type of information and letting them know if or how you’ll be communicating with them

  • Automate the delivery – you shouldn’t be personally sending the opt-in. Set this up in your email service to delivery automatically

  • Nurture your leads – don’t just deliver the opt-in and call it a day. These are hot leads that are interested in what you have to offer and share! Use a nurture sequence to build more like, know, and trust – and maybe even generate some inquiries or sales!

  • Tell them what to do next – they just took action and opted into your email list, so what’s next? Let them know the next best step! Are there other blogs they should read? Should they connect with you on Instagram? Should they learn more about your services or book an inquiry call? 

And there you have it, friend! All the steps you need to figure out which type of opt-in is right for you 🙂 

Remember: there’s no ONE right way to do it. You can use any or many of these options to grow your email list and serve your audience well. Have fun with it! Test different options out!

Now I’d love to know: which type of opt-in is most appealing to you? Which ones are you using to grow your business and why? Let me know in the comments!

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