5 ways to create terrible opt-ins

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If you have been in business (or blogging) for a while now, you know that you should collect your visitors’ emails. This way, you have an almost direct access to them via email.

It’s great and all, but do you know what the average opt-in rates are? Well, it depends on many factors, such as the industry, your audience, and the opt-in itself, but… the average conversion rates can be anywhere from 10% to 25%.

So, if you are not getting a lot of people in your email list, no worries! If you are anywhere between the 10% and 25%, it means that your website is actually very average.


In order to figure our the percentage of people signing up to your email list, you’ll have to do some math. “Oh, no!“, I can already hear you shriek. Don’t worry, it’s going to be very simple.

The hardest thing for you to do will be figuring out how many unique views you’ve had on your website. In order to do that, you can either use a plugin like Bloom, which will calculate all of this for you.

But, if you don’t have an opt-in plugin, you can go to your Google Analytics and look up how many views the page with your opt-in form has had so far.

In order to do that, go to your Analytics dashboard, scroll down and click “Pages report”. There, you’ll find a list of every blog post and website page of yours that has received unique views and how many.

Now, you just need to find out how many people have already opted in. You can do that using your email autoresponder. I personally use and recommend Mailerlite. It’s extremely easy to use and it’s totally free for up to a 1000 subscribers. A bargain, if you ask me!

In Mailerlite, I use different groups for different opt-ins for easy automation. So, when I go to my Mailerlite dashboard, I click on Subscribers and then Groups. This way, I can see how many subscribers each of the opt-in has.

Now that you’ve got your numbers, it’s time to do the eaaaasyyyy math! Here’s the formula:


Here’s an example:

282 (opt-ins) ÷ 520 (unique views) x 100 = 54% (conversion)

Now that you know how to look up your conversion rate, let’s talk about how to completely and utterly destroy it!


I bet you’ve seen opt-ins on blogs that ask you to “subscribe to their newsletter”. Have you ever actually subscribed to any of those? Unless it was a blog by Oprah, I highly doubt that you have.

Here’s the tea — in order to get people on your email list, you have to provide them something in return. Whether it’s a checklist or an ebook, it has to have a high perceived value.

So, unless you want crickets in your email autoresponder, don’t ask people to subscribe to you. Give them something ACTUALLY valuable.


This one is quite controversial. I honestly believe that sometimes, it’s best to keep things SO SIMPLE that it’s even ugly. But, it has to be SMART ugly. And since it’s just easier to make something pretty than smart-ugly, you will probably benefit from making your opt-in pretty.

I personally use Bloom plugin for WordPress for this. And there’s also a reason why there’s a cute smiling icon on the opt-in. It captures attention. It makes people curious. It makes them SMILE.

If you can’t currently use a fancy plugin to make your opt-in pretty, then at least make it nice and clean. It has to capture attention, but still be easy on the eyes.


Okay, let’s get real here. You clearly understand that you don’t know the names of all your subscribers. And the only reason you ask for their name is because you think it will make them open the email more often if you include their name in it with a clever {name} tag.

Well, you see, people aren’t dumb. They, too, understand that you don’t give a flying duck about their name. So why even ask for it?

Even worse, add fields like “telephone number”, or “address”, or “city”. If you aren’t going to use this information and you aren’t doing A/B testing, then why add all that?

This is the reason why I only ask for an email address. I am bad at remembering people’s names in real life already, so how am I supposed to remember my subscribers’ names?!

Once you subscribe to MY email list, I will refer to you as my chill sprout. Or sproutsicle. Or, just plain sprout. Because I love you and you are a part of the sproutfam, But I could not, for the life of mine, remember your name!


I could have added this to the “make it ugly” section, but the button is a little bit different. I’ve recently read somewhere that, while testing, a business owner found that their conversion rate was higher when the button was really bright and stood out.

Specifically, they used green and red buttons for the test. You’d think that green performed better, since it’s the color for “go!”, right? Wrong. The red button performed better, because it stood out so much.

That’s the reason I chose bright pink buttons on my sales page HERE. My website is all pastel and mellow, but once you get to the bottom of the sales page, BAM! BUTTONS! PINK! This is what I call smart-ugly.

It’s ugly because the color does not match my website palette at all, but it stands out while still being sort-of cohesive in terms of other elements, like font and shape.

What have you learned from this? Make the button stand out!


Okay, so this one also depends on the context. Usually, I tell people to add their opt-ins above the fold, and to make sure that there’s at least 2 CTAs on the page (leading to the same thing).

But, when it comes to blog posts, for example, it’s usually best to follow AIDA. I’ve written about it HERE.

And since an opt-in is the Action part of the formula, it’s best to keep it at the end of the content. But, it really depends on many factors, so, EXPERIMENT!

Now that you know how to frak up your opt-ins, I hope that you WON’T do it. Do yourself a favor and download my printable checklist from the VIP Vault for optimizing an opt-in. You should use it every time before you publish a new content upgrade or a freebie for your website.

And, most importantly, experiment!

Originally published at chillsprout.com on August 11, 2018.

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