incentives to grow your email list

You know that taking the time to build an email list is one of the best ways to invest in your business or blog. After all, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are great ways to reach people, boost traffic to your website, and build an online community. But because you don’t own your social media accounts, these platforms can get shut down at any time and you’ll be completely out of luck. With email, you own your list of subscribers and can contact them at any time. And let’s not forget that email also converts way better than social media does.

So how do you build an email list from scratch or skyrocket the size of one that’s growing at a snail’s pace? Give your audience awesome value in exchange for their email address. Check out these 10 effective opt-in incentives that will help you get more email subscribers.

 

How do you keep your email subscribers from unsubscribing? By delivering tons of value in your emails. Need some ideas?
Download my free tip sheet on 19 types of emails you can send to your email list.

 

 

1. Offer a discount or coupon

It’s hard to resist free money. And that’s essentially what you’re offering when you encourage your audience to sign up for your email list in exchange for a discount or coupon. As long as you sell a product or service and are willing to discount your price or rate, this incentivization strategy can be a win-win.

Example: Banana Republic offered a 15% discount on my next purchase in exchange for signing up for their email list.

 

email list incentives

2. Run a contest or giveaway

With this strategy, you offer a prize to one or more winners of a contest or giveaway. You can run your contest in any way as long as it doesn’t violate the rules of the platform you’re hosting it on. Be sure to collect participants’ email addresses as part of the process. And select a prize or giveaway that’s related to your business. For example, if you’re a social media manager, you could offer a free online social media course as your prize.

Keep in mind that contests and giveaways can add lots of subscribers to your email list. But because some people may participate just for the prize and not be interested in your business or blog, be prepared to gain some subscribers who aren’t very engaged.

Example: Buffer grew its email list by asking people to sign up in exchange for having the chance to win a free Buffer plan for life.

 

email list incentives

 

3. Create a lead magnet

You don’t have to use a paid product or service as your opt-in incentive. You can also encourage people to sign up for your email list by creating a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a free resource that you offer to your audience in exchange for their email address.

Your lead magnet can be anything that your audience would find useful and that’s relevant to your business. For example, if you’re a social media manager, you might offer an annual content calendar as your lead magnet. Alternatively, if you’re a wedding planner, you might create a wedding planning guide to offer as your lead magnet.

Your lead magnet doesn’t have to be anything particularly fancy. But it should be valuable enough to your audience that they’d be willing to hand over their email address to get it.

Related: 5 ways to get more leads from your blog + free call-to-action cheat sheet

Example: Caitlin Bacher offers a Facebook group road map as her key lead magnet.

 

email list incentives

 

4. Make an online tool

If you visit other websites and blogs, you’ll see that most lead magnets are digital resources that you download as some sort of electronic file. But your opt-in incentive doesn’t have to be something that you send to your subscribers. You can also build your email list by creating an online tool and asking your audience to sign up for your email list in exchange for using it.

For example, CoSchedule created a headline analyzer tool to help users write better headlines for blog posts, landing pages, and other content. All you have to do is paste a headline into a box and the tool will analyze it and give you suggestions on how to improve it. It’s an incredibly useful tool that’s used by a ton of copywriters, content writers, and marketers. And it’s completely free. The catch? You need to sign up to use it.

Creating an online tool can be resource intensive, especially if you don’t have an in-house developer who has time to create a free resource. But if you are able to create one, an online tool can give you massive amounts of traffic and boost your email list. In fact, CoSchedule gained over 37,000 email subscribers just from its headline analyzer tool!

Example: CoSchedule’s headline analyzer is a great example of an online list-building tool.

 

How do you keep your email subscribers from unsubscribing? By delivering tons of value in your emails. Need some ideas?
Download my free tip sheet on 19 types of emails you can send to your email list.

Send me the free email tip sheet

 

 

5. Add content upgrades to your blog posts

Content upgrades are lead magnets that are specific to a particular blog post. They’re meant to be an actionable resource that will help your blog readers implement the information you’ve provided in the blog post. For example, in my blog post on how to write a welcome email series, I offer a welcome email series copy template as a content upgrade. The idea is that my blog visitors will first read the tips in the post and then sign up for the copy template so that they can get started on writing their own welcome email series.

Content upgrades come in all shapes and sizes, but some of the most common ones are templates, worksheets, checklists, resource lists, guides, and ebooks. (I find that templates work the best on the Inpression Editing blog.) The key is to make sure that your content upgrade is highly relevant to your blog post, actionable, and valuable to your readers.

If you have several blog posts on the same general topic (for example, how to write a great blog post), you can create one content upgrade (for example, a blog post template) and use it for all them. But you don’t want to use the same content upgrade on all of your blog posts (because then it’ll just be a general lead magnet).

Related:

Example: In my blog post on the 7 most effective types of email subject lines, I offer 63 free email subject line templates as a content upgrade.

 

 

content upgrade tip

 

6. Bundle your lead magnets or content upgrades

Ever notice how your Internet service provider always tries to get you to buy more than just Internet access? They tell you that if you purchase a bundle of services—Internet, cable, and phone—you’ll save a ton of money. You can use a similar strategy with your lead magnets or content upgrades.

Specifically, instead of offering just one lead magnet or content upgrade, offer a set of related resources. For example, if you run an organic food blog, you might offer an organic food guide, a recipe ebook, and a weekly grocery list template all together. By offering multiple related resources instead of just one, you can sweeten the pot for your audience and get more people to sign up for your email list.

Example: CoSchedule offers a micro influencer outreach bundle in its blog post about Instagram influencer marketing.

 

 

email list incentives

 

7. Create a resource library

This strategy takes the “bundle” idea a step further, and it’s great if you already have several lead magnets or content upgrades. Instead of offering just one lead magnet or a set of resources, create a resource library that contains all of your resources. You can create a resource library on your website or blog and ask people to sign up if they want to access it. By giving you their email address just once, they can access all of your existing resources and any new ones you add in the future. That’s a huge amount of value for your audience, and it’s a great way to grow your email list.

Example: Melyssa Griffin offers access to her resource library as an opt-in incentive.

 

email list incentives

 

8. Host an online webinar

Your opt-in incentives don’t have to be resources that people consume on their own. You can also make your opt-in incentives more interactive by hosting a free online webinar. You can use this incentive to grow your email list by offering free spots in your webinar in exchange for an email address.

Make your webinar valuable by providing high-quality information or actionable tips on a particular topic. For example, if you’re a baking instructor, you could host a webinar on how to make bakery-quality cupcakes.

In addition to positioning you as an expert in your field, webinars give you the chance to interact with your audience, appeal to people who prefer to learn in interactive settings, and even pitch a paid product or service at the end. You can also get more mileage out of your webinar by allowing people to view a recording of it in exchange for signing up with their email address.

Example: Amy Porterfield builds her email list by getting people to sign up for her free webinars, which she uses to pitch her paid online courses.

 

email list incentives

 

9. Offer an email course

Email courses are like online courses. But instead of giving people access to 15 modules all at once, you break the course up into different sections and send each one out in a separate email. For example, if you teach people how to grow their business with social media, you might create an email course on how to use Instagram to boost their web traffic.

Email courses usually offer detailed instruction on how to do something complex, so people tend to view them as valuable resources. And because people understand that you need their email address to deliver the course, they tend to be more open to signing up for your email list and receiving messages from you.

Example: Pat Flynn offers a list-building email course to grow his email list.

 

email list incentives

 

10. Host an email challenge

Like the idea of an email course but don’t have the time to put one together? Consider hosting an email challenge. With an email challenge, you identify a goal that your audience wants to achieve and a series of tasks that will help them achieve that goal. Each day or week, you send them instructions for a different task. The idea is that if your participants complete all the tasks by the end of the challenge, they should be able to achieve the goal.

Email challenges are a great way to grow your email list because they’re engaging and highly valuable. After all, they help your audience achieve a key goal. And because email challenges focus on goals that are relevant to your brand, they’ll help you attract your ideal email subscribers.

Example: Simple Green Smoothies builds its email list by hosting a 7-day smoothie challenge.

 

email list incentives

 

Leverage FOMO to build your email list

When you put in the effort to create high-quality opt-in incentives to build your email list, your audience won’t just be excited about signing up. They’ll be worried about missing out on the massive value you have to offer in your content upgrade, webinar, or email course. After all, there’s nothing like a bit of FOMO to get people off the fence and ready to sign up.

Use the tips I’ve shared above to brainstorm ideas for killer opt-in incentives for your website or blog. They’ll help you grow your email list and build an engaged community of subscribers who actually want to buy from you.

 

How do you keep your email subscribers from unsubscribing? By delivering tons of value in your emails. Need some ideas?
Download my free tip sheet on 19 types of emails you can send to your email list.

Send me the free email tip sheet




 

 

email list opt-in incentives

 

 

10 effective opt-in incentives that help you grow your email list + free tip sheet
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2 thoughts on “10 effective opt-in incentives that help you grow your email list + free tip sheet

  • August 10, 2018 at 11:10 am
    Permalink

    Thank you for the ideas. I definitely need to build a better resource bank to offer.

    Reply
    • August 10, 2018 at 4:41 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Nuha. If only there were more hours in a day to create them, right? 😉 Creating attractive opt-in incentives definitely takes time, but the results they generate make it all worth it.

      Reply

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