What Kind of Opt-In Will Help You Grow Your Email List?

marketing + sales
Two women in blue dresses discuss a project on their laptops

How nice would it be if you could expand your business with a service that keeps on giving, minus any of the extra work? That's exactly what an opt-in can do for your business, love! 

Opt-ins — also called lead magnets, freebies, or content upgrades — are a great way to build your email list, strengthen connections with your clients and customers, and help you earn more money

Opt-ins are a powerful way to grab someone's attention online — we live in a world with information at our fingertips, and it is always circulating at lightspeed. Simply asking someone to sign up for your email list isn't going to cut it in 2022. You need a way to show them your business can provide value without costing them a dime. 

The first dollar spent by your audience is the hardest one to get, and an opt-in will help people get there!



What is an opt-in?

An opt-in is something you give away for free to encourage people to sign up for your email list. Not only does it give people an additional way to interact with your business, but it can also establish trust by showing people you know your stuff. They'll download the opt-in and get a sneak peek into what it would be like to work with you and what value you can offer them.

Some people use opt-ins to showcase their pricing and work, while others create workbooks or checklists, offer templates for free (like us!), or help people find a solution to their specific challenges.

Opt-ins aren’t just a good way to collect emails, either. They are also an important marketing tactic — you don't own your social media channels. It's borrowed space. You do, however, own your email list. You won't have to worry about keeping up with constant changes to the algorithm to show up in someone’s email. Once they’ve signed up, they’ll see your content come right in their inbox! 

People are much more likely to see your emails versus your social media content, so building a list is crucial…and opt-ins are the way to do that!


Think about your end goal FIRST

Before you can create an opt-in, you need to think about the end goal (besides getting people signed up for your email list). Not every opt-in is the same. You should eventually have a variety that caters to different elements of your client avatar. 

For example, if your brand's target audience is moms who own businesses and you have a program that helps them manage their time and overcome challenges they face, you’ll want to have an entry into the program that’s totally free (but gives them a taste of what you offer). You know that their biggest struggle is “trying to do it all,” so you come up with an idea for a digital planner to help them organize home and work life! Once they opt into the free planner, you can nurture that relationship to get them to join your program. Do you see how that all works together?

Think about what you want to happen in the end. Is it to purchase your course? To book a VIP day? Design everything in your opt-in with this in mind.


Think about FAQs and how you can easily answer them

Your opt-ins are supposed to be bite-sized samples of your full-sized expertise. So when you’re thinking about what kind of opt-in to create, keep this in mind: It shouldn’t take you very long to outline. 

What can you provide in a short video or PDF guide? Here are some examples:

  • "5 things to do before hiring a copywriter" 
  • "Your Guide to Time Management as a Mompreneur"
  • “Download this free planner to help you schedule your busy life and business"
  • "Grab our swipe copy files to host your next sale"

If you're not sure what to create, think about where your audience is at right now. Are they aware of their pain points and ready to take the next steps — i.e., they KNOW they need a better planner to help them organize work and life? Or are they pain unaware — they know their life and biz are chaos but they can't figure out why? 

If you're worried about giving away information for free, just know that the point of the opt-in isn't to work for free! You're basically giving people a movie trailer, not the whole film. You want them to have enough info to be hungry for more!

Once they've been added to your email list through the opt-in, you can consider them a hot lead, and when they hear about your paid offers, they'll be more inclined to make a purchase because you were so generous with your free content! 

Getting inside your audience's mind and understanding things from their perspective can help you identify the opt-in you need to create.


Think about where you can promote your opt-in

When you create your opt-in, think about places where you can promote it in past content or in upcoming content. Will you need to create social media posts? Update old blog posts with a CTA to your opt-in? Add a pop-up form on your website?

The answer will depend on your business, audience, and opt-in. Your audience may only use email and LinkedIn, which means you’ll want to promote your opt-in heavily on LinkedIn (because people are already on your list). If your audience prefers video, you might consider creating a Reel, a TikTok, and even a YouTube video to help promote it.

Think about where your audience shows up and what kind of content they like to consume. Speaking of…


Think about the format

The format you choose for your opt-in will depend on the offer and on your audience. Not everything you create should be a PDF document. Different formats can play on the different strengths of your freebies. Here are a few ideas:



  • A checklist of everything you need before designing a website
  • A roadmap to podcasting success
  • Client communication scripts


  • Training on how to use Instagram analytics
  • How to turn a hand lettering template into a DIY craft


  • Things you wish you knew before becoming a pro in your industry
  • Motivating mantras for the busy mom

Other fun ideas:

  • A free challenge or series via email
  • A free strategy call
  • Copy or design templates

Just keep in mind: Your audience may prefer a PDF over a video, while others will want to have a Zoom call or a quick checklist. Know thy audience! 


Design your opt-in well! 

Every offer you present people with should lead back to you and how your business can help. Sure, free stuff is great, but at the end of the day, the real value behind your opt-ins is you and the brilliance you have to offer your customers!

So why not make a lead magnet that's uniquely you…without the hassle of DIY design work?

Our Melanie Lead Magnet Builder Canva Templates are available in our online shop and ready to do the design work for you so you can focus on getting your ah-mazing ideas out into the world!



A well-designed lead magnet can make your audience swoon — and get ready for more offerings from your biz! These Canva templates will help you create everything from checklists to worksheets, and more with instant access to easy-to-customize designs and a branded mood board template.

It’s time to bring more subscribers to your email list! Shop the Melanie Lead Magnet Builder Canva Templates here.

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