How to Design an Amazing Email Opt-in Freebie

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Last Updated on January 8, 2020 by Katherine

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No doubt you’ve heard about the importance of building a list. It makes sense, algorithms change on social media platforms constantly, and one shift can lead to a dramatic drop in your reach on Pinterest, for example. To build a list, you have to do something to convince people to sign up, the easiest way to do that is to offer an opt-in freebie!

Right now, I am heavily reliant on Pinterest for my traffic, but I am making strides to build my list. Yep, that little box near the bottom of every blog post is my attempt to convince you to give me your email address. I never spam, but in exchange for providing me with your email address, I will give you a free printable guide or checklist.

So, if you’re looking to build a list (and if you want to sell your products online eventually you SHOULD be building your list now) and want to know five simple things to keep in mind, read on! It’s easy to get carried away, and many new bloggers make mistakes, but these five tips should help you.

Building an email opt in freebie can seem overwhelming, but keeping these simple tips in mind will help focus your mind!

Don’t Give Away the Farm

You are offering a free item for your website visitors. Your freebie should be easily digestible and immediately useable. For example, I have a social media scheduling planner (scroll down to the bottom for more details). Take a single problem your reader has (or you think they have) and address it.

My rule of thumb is if the freebie is going to take more than a single afternoon to put together, you should consider offering it as a paid product. The freebie I provide at the end of this post, for example, took about two hours to put together. I already had the research readily available, so it was the actual design portion in Canva that took me the longest. I addressed one problem: how to post on social media when you can’t afford to buy a fancy scheduler tool to figure out the optimal times and frequency for you.

No Wild Goose Chases

If your visitors have to search for it, they are not going to bother. Make sure your freebie is easy to find on your website.  I recommend putting it in three spots:

  1. Pop up
    1. I recommend setting it to appear after about 15 seconds, not immediately. 
    2. Ensure that your visitors can easily click away from it.
  2. Sidebar.
  3. Embedded in your blog posts.

You also want to make sure your freebie is easy to access once they’ve opted in. In my case, once you confirm your email, you get the option to download my freebie on the confirmation screen. Two steps and you have it.

Test It Out

Make sure everything is working. Have a trusted friend go through the steps as well; they can offer you an honest critique which can be useful. If you belong to any blogger groups on Facebook, you can post it in there for advice as well.

Tell Them What They’re Getting

I like to use language such as “Join my community and get [freebie name]” or “Join my list and as a thank-you, get my [freebie name].” This phrasing will indicate to most that you’re still going to email them occasionally about things and they are free to unsubscribe if they don’t like it. If you have a weekly email, you can also indicate that.

Promoting on Social Media

Once you have your opt in freebie designed, be sure to promote the heck out of it!

Having a pin or a Facebook post is a great way to get your freebie out there and build your list. Just as you use these platforms to drive traffic onto your site, you can also drive traffic onto your list.

To create a pinnable image, you should be using Canva or some other photo editing software. I recommend creating a landing page for your opt-in freebie. You can do this via your email provider or create your landing page in WordPress (check out this excellent tutorial from MonsterInsights).

Most Important of All: Get Started!

So those are my five absolutely “don’ts” when building an email opt-in freebie, but I wanted to leave you with one last thought…Done is better than perfect. I resisted putting together an opt-in freebie for a long time and promoting it on social media, and I think my list would be much larger now had I started when I bought my hosting and set up my blog over a year ago!

Also, don’t fret if your first freebie is a flop, I got one whole subscriber from my first one and then a big fat zero on my second one! I know several bloggers who went through numerous opt-ins before they found one that hit home. That’s why these tips are essential. They’ll save you from slaving away for hours on something that might flop.

I hope that you found these simple tips useful, and if you did, please share it with your network and pin it to Pinterest. Also, if you have other tips or want to leave a suggestion for new content you’d like to see on the blog, be sure to leave a comment down below!

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Want some extra tips on scheduling your social media posts to drive organic traffic to your site? Join my list and check out my free social media posting guide and weekly schedule printable!

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Next week I’ll be writing a fiction writing post, all about why you may wish to plot out your novel or short story instead of “pantsing” your way through it. Until then, stay crafty my friends!

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  1. Glad to have found this! I’ve gone round in circles with my opt-ims and still don’t feel like I’m doing it right. I needed to hear your tip about switching it to a paid offering if it takes more than an afternoon. I really think I’m overcomplicating it and I need stick with simple and done instead of trying to make it perfect.

    1. It’s so easy to overthink everything, isn’t it? It felt great during my research to find other bloggers who were like “Oh I did like twenty opt-ins before I got a hit.” I felt it just took the pressure off. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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