So you wanna build an email list.
First thing you gotta know is that if people are going to give you their email address, you need to have a super-sweet incentive to offer in exchange.
But creating the perfect opt-in that your ideal client will swoon for isn’t exactly simple… UNTIL NOW!

This post breaks down the types of opt-ins you can offer as well as what kind of content you could generate to create THE perfect opt-in + build an email list full of quality prospects.

Let’s take a look at the types of opt-ins you could offer that would fit your bill.
 Note that these opt-ins aren’t mutually exclusive + you’ll often find that there is overlap to the categories. This is designed to help give you an idea of what direction you want to take with your opt-in + what feeling or goal you want people to have about what you have to offer.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s use an example + pretend you’re an aspiring paleo coach for moms.


Habit-based opt-ins will usually — but not always — take place in the form of a challenge. In this case, you could offer 10 Days to Paleo + deliver daily tips to your subscriber’s inbox every day through an automated email sequence (don’t worry about how to set that up — we’ll get to that later, but just know that it is an option for you to be able to create challenges + send daily emails to support that.)
You can also create booklets or work sheets for habit-based opt-ins such as “10 Days of Paleo Lunches”.
Other examples of habit-based opt-ins include :: The 10-Day Digital Detox or Couch Potato to 5K.


This is where you offer the path to a complete + definitive goal that has an end-result to mark its success, that has a “I did it!” moment.
For instance, “Lose 10 pounds of Baby Fat in 1 Month of Paleo” would be results-based as would “How to use paleo substitutions your family won’t even notice.” An opt-in that is results-based helps the reader achieve something they otherwise may not have been able to.
Other examples of results-based opt-ins include :: How to Create Facebook Ads in Power Editor or Build Your Own Tiny Home


You’re the subject matter expert delivering the know-how to the young grasshoppers here.
“20 Paleo Snacks Your Kids Will Love” is informative + provides a resource new paleo moms wouldn’t necessarily have known or thought about. You could also host or record a “Paleo 101 Masterclass” where you guide viewers through the grocery store + talk about what fits versus what doesn’t. Knowledge-based opt-ins are all about bedazzling your audience with your wealth of knowledge so if this is what you’re rolling with, make sure that what you drop shines bright.
 Other examples of knowledge-based opt-ins include :: Learn to Code HTML or How To Plant an Urban Garden


Activity-based opt-ins also tend to take the form of challenges + typically involve some kind of social engagement + interaction. Depending on your niche, you may want to reserve this kind of opt-in to revolve around a product launch or when you want to hype up your existing audience. Of course, this makes for a great on-going opt-in as well, where you deliver a calendar every month where your subscribers can #showmethepaleo on Instagram with special prompts for each day of the week.
Other examples of activity-based opt-ins include :: Yoga Pose Of The Day or How To Get Comfortable In Front of The Camera

Great! Now you have a solid understanding of what kind of opt-in you want to create. Now let’s give this mother some life!

Decide how you want to distribute your opt-in + stick to reading that section before moving on to the next chapter.
Not sure about your method of delivery? Read through the ones that you think would work, decide which works best + roll with that. When you’re deciding, keep in mind what your opt-in is trying to accomplish + how you want your new followers to feel when they work through your content — and then you can decide which one best suits your goals.


When you create a checklist, you are guiding someone through a process to make sure they don’t miss or forget anything. If you plan on upselling something like an e-course or a coaching session, this is the most efficient (+ hella easy!) method you can roll with because you’re basically just mapping out your table of contents. You’re giving the WHAT away for free but you charge for the HOW.
For instance, let’s say you’re a real estate agent + you create a checklist for all the things to consider when you’re buying your first home. You will list things like “submit an offer on the condition of a pending home inspection” that is the WHAT has to be done + you are selling the HOW.
Just make sure you include your brand name +/or contact information directly on your checklist to make it easy for them to know who to turn to when they’re looking for that HOW.


This is a great method of “proving yourself” as being super-knowledgeable in your field, especially if you are in a niche that has a lot of competition.
It’s tricky, though, because each day has to include content that does 2 things ::
1) introduce concepts that are knowledge-bombs your reader will be blown away by; and
2) action items that your readers will see immediate results from (or, at least, will see some kind of growth or pay-off for doing before the end of the challenge.)
There are no rules about how long or how frequently your sequences are going to be delivered but do take into consideration your reader’s attention span into consideration. Especially if you’re upselling!


Establish yourself as a person who knows what-the-hey they’re talking about in 8 pages or less — because that’s basically what workbooks + worksheets do!
The real purpose of these is to ask the reader questions they probably would not have thought of on their own. It guides them towards coming up with solutions they otherwise may have overlooked + creates an opportunity for them to work out areas they don’t necessarily have the expertise or know-how to pull out of themselves.
To create an effective worksheet or book, you have to be confident that you know the right questions to ask that will get someone the results they’re after; otherwise, you’re just creating more work for them to do + nobody wants that.


People who teach + those of you offering services — this is your jam!
Some great examples of people who can deliver monthly freebies would be someone who sells stock photography + send one image per month for readers to use as they wish, or maybe if you’re a fit chick who creates monthly workout calendars + you upsell your list to private coaching or supplements or cute workout gear or your YouTube income stream (or all of the above!)
Regardless of what you deliver, be prepared to commit + deliver on a monthly basis without fail. Even if it’s a freebie, you’d be surprised how many people quickly count on your ability to deliver that to them each + every month, and if you fail to do so, you’re affecting your credibility by being seen as someone who isn’t reliable. No bueno!
 #PROTIP :: Products + services that excite their subscribers month after month tend to make for a great community platform. Consider generating a #hashtag either for your offer in general or maybe generating a new one every month. You should also consider giving your followers a moniker or a nickname to further encourage the sense of community + create calls-to-action that makes it easy for members to find each other through social media.


Think of this as a test drive or a preview for your offer. It’s the sort of opt-in that works best when you’re trying to upsell to an e-book or maybe a course that you want to tease your readers with some great content by delivering a free sample chapter.
A great example of this is Denise Duffield’s Get Rich Lucky Bitch where she’s collecting email addresses from highly motivated prospective clients in exchange for a chapter of her book. Growth + upselling = YESSS!!!


Often called discovery calls, this is when you get on the phone or have a virtual meeting with someone where your expertise shines. We typically associate these sessions as coaching calls but so many other serives can offer similar mini-consultations for areas like wedding planning or virtual services or web design, or even dog training or language lessons.
The best way to do this is to use a client booking tool + there are a few free options for you. Check out this video to see which option is best suited to your specific needs ::


People love quizzes (hellooooo Buzzfeed!) + if your area of work revolves around “types”, this is a fun way to get them to find results that they feel are personalized to them, indicates that you “get” their individuality + you’re the person prepared to cater to it.
You can actually could easily create a quiz using Buzzfeed that you can embed on your website by using their platform for free. Make sure that in your results page for each “type” you create, you include a link to your sign-up page where they can get their personalized booklet or download. It’s a good idea to include this in your final results image, too, for good measure.
Keep in mind, this is a little bit more labor-intensive as you will have to create a separate page + separate download for each type or result you create — but for the right audience, it’s a hell of an incentive!

So there you have it — all kinds of opt-ins to suit all kinds of needs + help on how to create them!

Originally published at on August 16, 2016.