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What Is An Opt-in?

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, building an email list is one of the most import things that you can do for your business. It’s a great way to stay connected to your audience and build relationships. If you only connect to your audience on social media, your fate is in the hands of Facebook or Instagram or whatever social media platform you use. Don’t get me wrong, social media is very important, but for different reasons. When you build an email list it’s yours, and you own it. The algorithm will never change; you will always be able to connect to your list and get your message across. And, email lists are one of the best ways to convert prospects into clients.

So, how do you build an email list? It starts with an opt-in offer.

“Opt-in” is the short way of saying “opting in” and it is referring to the act of giving someone permission to add you to their email list.  (Note: It has to be their choice, and adding them to your list without asking is actually illegal.)

When you’re trying to build your list, it’s smart, and pretty standard, to offer something in return for people who opt in. After all, why would someone sign up to receive periodic emails from you if there’s not something in it for them?

This is usually done via a short form on your website where you require your name and email address in order to download a freebie.  These freebies themselves are called Opt-ins, or Freemiums, or Lead Magnets.

Chances are, you’ve come across dozens of these before and may not have even realized it. They’re check lists, worksheets, free e-books and free video trainings and like I said previously, they’re one of the best ways to convert prospects to clients.  They give a little taste of your offerings for free, and the idea is that it’s so good, people can’t resist!  

It takes some setup on the back end of your email service provider (creating a form, and an auto-responder email that delivers the freebie via a link,) but what happens essentially is that when someone enters their name and email address via a form on your website or landing page, your freebie will be automatically and immediately sent to them. This is the beginning of their “funnel” meaning the first email in a series of 3-8 emails that will automatically drip out to you on a set schedule.  (The setup portion of this is so important that you get it right, and it differs depending on your email service provider. This is something I can help you through in my 1:1 consulting package-set up a call and we’ll chat about how I can help!) 

For example, my main Opt-in currently is my Monthly Brainstorm Worksheet. It’s a single-page worksheet that helps people to plan out an entire month’s worth of content.  You can grab this on the main page of my website, and I’ve linked to it from a number of blog posts. This worksheet is a foundational element that I use with current clients and it’s a phenomenal tool to get into the groove of creating consistent content to promote your business online.  

Some other examples might be a 7-day meal plan for a wellness expert, or a workout schedule for a fitness trainer.  A store or restaurant may offer a coupon for joining their email list, and there are a number of other ideas that will work!  

Now that you know what an opt-in is, and just how important it is to your business, it’s time to create one! Remember, you don’t have to be a designer to create the perfect opt-in. For your first one, keep it simple and use a tool like Canva.  

Do you have an opt-in?  Are you stuck on creating one?  Tell me in the comments!





  • Amie Herrera

    Hi! I have an opt-in. I think in three months it’s brought in only one or two sign ups! The one before that wasn’t a winner either. I sell pastured meats and I collect emails at farmer’s markets, but I’d really like to get folks coming to me! Farmer’s Markets are long days, sometimes with little return. And worse, since I only see my hubby on weekend, and most markets are on weekends, it hurts our relationship when I attend and am gone all day. I love what I do, and I need to make my online marketing more productive!

    I’m torn on the idea of making the opt-in a coupon. It’s been pointed out to me that folks get hooked on the discounts and will wait for that next discount to purchase again. Farmer’s really can’t afford to always have everything on sale, we make little enough money as it is. And I get that, after 2.5 years of HARD labor, I’m finally starting to pay the pig feed bills, cows still are in the red, and let’s don’t talk about the chickens and ducks…

    Ok, and I’m not sure how to show you my opt-in! The website is The opt-in should pop up.

    Thanks! Amie

    • Stacey Post author

      Hi Amie! I think your opt-in looks good! How are you telling people about it? You’ll have to post about it on a regular basis in order for people to know about it. Let’s get on a free call and talk about some other ideas I have for you!

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