The 10 Best Opt-in Email Strategies (with Examples)

opt-in email

While executing your inbound marketing campaigns via email opt-in forms, what’s your email opt-in rate?

According to 2019 data from The Balance, you should aim for an email opt-in rate of anywhere from five to 25 percent.

Your chances of getting leads to opt-in via opt-in forms increases when you create a squeeze page, or a landing page made exclusively for gathering email addresses.

Okay, so let’s talk about that current opt-in rate of yours. Where does it linger? At around one percent? Perhaps it’s lower.

If so, then you should know you’re far from alone. Many marketers just like you have once struggled to get more leads opting into their emails.

By following certain methods and click to confirm strategies, they were able to overcome their difficulties and see an opt-in email rate increase. What are these strategies? We’ll tell you!

If you want to work on your marketing automation, particularly email marketing opt-ins via opt-in forms, then you don’t want to miss this article.

In it, we’ll define opt-in email marketing best practices, explaining why it matters so much. We’ll even delve into the differences between single opt-ins and double opt-ins.

Of course, we’ll cover 10 awesome examples of opt-in email strategies worth emulating for your own email marketing campaign.

What Is Opt-in Email Marketing and Why Is It Important?

Before we get into our 10 opt-in email strategies and best practices, we should define opt-in email marketing. This form of email marketing involves getting leads to join your email lists by incentivizing them.

To incentivize them to join your email list, you offer them a lead magnet, a piece of content, or even a freebie.

No matter the offer, it needs to have enough value for visitors to join your email list. The concept of value differs depending on your audience segment.

Some want to learn something that will help them improve their business. Others want to save money. If your offer provides that value, then it becomes hard for them to resist joining your email list.

The lead decides to take advantage of your offer and gives their email address to you.

In doing this, they hope they will get more of the same kind of value you provided them in the initial offer. You plan to do so, but now you’ll charge them for that value.

The opt-in email offer provided a taste of what’s to come while your follow-up emails and offers are the main courses.

Why should your small business or startup focus on this area of marketing if you’re not already? It’s simple! Your company relies on new leads entering the pipeline to pad your revenue.

Also, without them, your customer base stagnates. You have your current customers, sure, but will they stay customers forever? That’s hard to say.

With the fresh leads you convert, you can always make up for inevitable customer losses.

What’s the Difference Between a Single Opt-In and a Double Opt-In?

There’s more than one type of opt-in email strategy you can employ for your small business. For instance, there’s a single opt-in and double opt-in.

What’s the difference between these two? Read on for opt-in email examples and best practices.

single vs double-opt-in

Single opt-ins, sometimes called SOIs, are somewhat self-explanatory. The lead only has to give you their email address for your email list, inputting it in the opt-in forms.

Then boom! They’re subscribers.

Your lead will receive your welcome email and you’ll begin the nurturing and engagement process to hopefully convert them to a buying customer.

Single opt-ins make it very simple for your lead to finish opting in through the opt-in forms and sharing their email address for your email list and immediately begin receiving content and value.

Then there’s the double opt-in. As you might have guessed, this requires an extra step before the lead can complete the process of opting in and joining your email list.

Have you ever signed up for a service and then received a confirmation email to your email address to proceed with the registration?

You had to finish the registration via a link in that email to complete the confirmation step, right?

That’s a double opt-in email in action. If you only do the first part of the process, then you’re not completely opted in via the second confirmation email and it doesn’t count.

Here’s an example of a double opt-in email marketing-in in case you’ve never seen one before.

emailing opt in

Image courtesy of SendPulse

Why do some companies go to the effort to require a double opt-in? There are two reasons. The first, the simpler reason, is to cut down on spam.

No one wants an email list populated with spammy accounts. This can inflate a contact email list to the point where it looks healthy, sure.

However, once you cut down on all that unwanted spam, you quickly see your email list doesn’t have nearly as many subscribers as you thought you did.

The bigger reason for double opt-ins? It shows a higher level of dedication and interest.

Since it takes an extra step to finish, the leads that bother filling out the double-opt-in prove that they’re more committed to becoming a part of your email list.

Others with less interest will see that they have to go through a second step and decide not to opt-in to your email list at all.

While you’d still have to go through your leads and score them, you can assure you have a higher-quality lead with a double opt-in confirmation email.

Which is better for your business, single or double opt-ins? That depends.

If you just want a contacts email list with a lot of people on it, then single opt-ins work fine.

If you’re craving higher-quality leads for your email list, then you might want to consider a double opt-in.

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The 10 Best Opt-in Email Strategy Examples

  • 1. Use Social Media, Especially Facebook Ads
  • 2. Create a Privacy Statement
  • 3. Give out Freebies
  • 4. Write Awesome CTAs
  • 5. Create a Sense of FOMO
  • 6. Revise and Redesign Your Opt-in Form
  • 7. Use Exit Intent Pop-ups
  • 8. Include Social Proof
  • 9. Entice with a Lead Magnet
  • 10. A/B Test

By this point, you know your company needs an opt-in email strategy. You’re just not sure how to go about it. Luckily, these 10 examples ought to give you a great starting point.

1. Use Social Media, Especially Facebook Ads

As a small business or startup, you’re surely on social media, right? You may even have a decent-sized following across several channels.

If you do, then why not use Facebook Ads and other social advertisements to bolster your email opt-in rates? While this isn’t free, it’s a useful measure.

What if you’re a pretty new business and you don’t exactly have thousands of people engaging with you across social networks? That’s okay.

You can use the Lookalike Audience feature on Facebook. With this, Facebook reviews the audience you do have on the site to determine which unreached portions of people you can market towards.

You don’t just want any ol’ advertisements for this purpose, by the way. It’s ideal if your audience can opt into your marketing emails through the ad itself.

Check out this example to see what we mean.

2. Create a Privacy Statement

More so than ever, customers care about their privacy. If they give you their information, they have one chief concern: what do you plan to do with it?

They don’t know you that well, after all. They want to make sure you’re not going to spam them 10 times a day or sell their email addresses to some other completely unrelated company.

That’s why your company needs a privacy statement. This should appear on the opt-in forms before the lead signs up.

They’ll know exactly what they’re in for and how their email address and other contact information will be used. The lead can then decide if they’re okay with that.

If they are, then they’ll proceed. If not, then you lose them.

opt in marketing

Image courtesy of Pam Neely

Having a privacy policy on your opt-in form gets results. Check out these surveys from marketer Pam Neely. The first policy says “100 % privacy – we will never spam you!”

It’s okay, but it’s not very informative. Plus, the informal tone can put off some would-be customers. Such a privacy policy will reduce the rate of opt-ins by 18.70 percent.

This occurs even with a statistical confidence rate of 96 percent.

Compare that to the language in the second policy. That one reads, “we guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared.” That says a lot more, right?

By adding a few more words and writing in a formal style, this second opt-in form earned more leads by a rate of 19.47 percent. That’s still with the same statistical confidence of 96 percent.

3. Give out Freebies

As a small business owner, you might not have a lot of free time, but you still have to think about what it’ll take to incentivize leads to sign up for your email newsletter.

If you’re not always working on something new to give them, then you’re at a disadvantage.

Freebies work because, well, they’re free. Just because something is free doesn’t mean you should put any less heart and soul into it, though.

Yes, it’s true, you’re not making any money from this content now, but it can pay back dividends if done correctly.

Perhaps you write some blog posts that don’t go on your website but only to new subscribers. You could compile a list of great resources as an exclusive.

You might even write a free e-course just for those you want to encourage to opt-in to your email list.

Here’s one example of that:

opt in email campaign

Image courtesy of Dish It Out Social

Take a look at this free e-course from Tiny House Build.

opt in email marketing definition

Image courtesy of Tiny House Build

In this online course, which lasts a week, subscribers will learn about roofing and siding, mechanical and plumbing, electrical, framing, foundations, design, codes, and downsizing.

That’s a lot of value in one free course!

Since the leads will get so much value, they’ll continue to read Tiny House Build’s emails to keep reaping those benefits.

4. Write Awesome CTAs

If you’ve read this blog before, then it should come as no surprise to you that your CTA matters, and not just whether it’s a link or a button, where you place it, or which color you choose for it.

Arguably one of the most important elements is what the CTA says.

Boring text like “download now” won’t do much for those leads on the fence. You want a CTA button that sings. Look at this one for a Crazyegg course.

opt in e mail list

Image courtesy of Neil Patel

It says “show me my heatmap.” What’s a heatmap? If you don’t know, you’re going to want to click because it seems like knowing your heatmap will help improve your site.

What if you have your CTA framed in a yes/no style? Here’s another example from Neil Patel that shows how you can make it more interesting.

Instead of just saying “yes” or “no,” the buttons elaborate on each point. By clicking yes, you’re getting the free case study. There’s no question about that.

By choosing no, you’re refraining from opting in right this moment.

We like the language in the “no” button. It doesn’t torch the bridge because the lead isn’t interested right now. Instead, it says “maybe later,” implying the lead might come back.

With CTA button language like that, they just might.

Another thing we like about this opt-in is the colors of the CTA buttons. The “yes” button in bright blue catches your eye first.

In fact, the gray hue of the “no” button with the white text almost fades into the background. That’s entirely by design so you’re more likely to click the “yes” button.

5. Create a Sense of FOMO

Here’s another strategy for bettering your opt-in email marketing that’s also related to your CTA. You know about FOMO by now, right?

It stands for a fear of missing out, and it’s a very real fear.

With everyone parading their lives on social media readily, you can always know what your friends, coworkers, and even old high school classmates are up to.

The more people that do the same thing, the more you want to join the crowd. This psychological herd mentality, which we’ve written about before, makes for an incredibly useful marketing tool.

If you can tell your reluctant lead how many other people have downloaded your opt-in offer, wouldn’t you?

It turns out, you can.

opt in bulk email marketing

Image courtesy of Neil Patel

Just look at what customer service company Help Scout did for their CTA. They tell you how many people have already signed up for their newsletter.

In this case, it’s over 51,000 subscribers. Do you really want to miss out on something if 51,000 other people use it? No.

Adding a number like this for FOMO purposes also showcases your company’s value. If more than 50,000 people have decided to sign up for your email newsletter, it must be pretty good.

That can push reluctant leads to finally share their email address.

6. Revise and Redesign Your Opt-in Form

Sometimes, a lead’s decision to not opt-in might have nothing to do with them not wanting to give you their email address. They might not even mind your two-step opt-in.

What they don’t like is how your opt-in form looks.

That’s a fair complaint, especially if you used some basic form template once years ago and haven’t touched it since.

If you’re suffering from the following opt-in form sins, then you need to redesign your form stat:

  • You didn’t optimize your opt-in form for mobile
  • You used some cheap font that looks terrible
  • The colors clash
  • The copy says too much or isn’t very clear
  • You wrote mountains of text in the form
  • You asked for way too much information
  • Your CTA could be better
  • The form has no personalization

To inspire you to create a more appealing opt-in form, here are some great examples.

affordable opt in email marketing

Image courtesy of The EmailOctopus Blog

7. Use Exit Intent Pop-ups

Let’s say your opt-in didn’t work. There are lots of reasons why, as we talked about already.

Regardless, with an exit pop-up, you get one last chance to swoop in and try to save the day. This pop-up only triggers right before the lead clicks off your site.

Besides trying to win the lead back, you’re still trying to get their contact information. See what we mean in the example below.

bulk opt-in email marketing list

Image courtesy of CampaignMonitor

Perhaps those numbers (the 23,857 marketers) make you stop for a moment as your sense of FOMO gets triggered. You decide you want to opt-in after all. That’s a best-case scenario, and as such, not always realistic.

Even if your lead decides they’re not interested, then you at least know you did as much as you can to get them to opt-in to your email list at this time.

You can always try a re-engagement campaign later or just leave this audience segment behind in search of new pursuits.

8. Include Social Proof

Another powerful tool you have in your arsenal is social proof. This sort of works like FOMO does but without the sense of fear.

Before you buy any new product for the first time, you probably comb through the reviews, right? Maybe you watch a video or look at images of the product in action as posted by real users.

That’s because we’re somewhat jaded consumers. We know any company will try to make its product look like a million bucks.

If it’s a five-buck product instead, then reviews will expose the product for what it is.

One popular form of social proof includes testimonials and reviews from real customers. If the product changed a customer’s life, then that works as really strong social proof. If you have such a review in your back pocket, now’s the time to pull it out.

Now, this can work in other ways. For instance, look at that exit pop-up we showed you before. That part where it says how many marketers use Search Engine Journal?

Yep, that’s a form of social proof.

Here’s more.

email opt in examples

Image courtesy of Neil Patel

This type of proof shows that these other businesses, like the BBB and Inc. 500, have vouched for That’s pretty powerful stuff.

9. Entice with a Lead Magnet

Throughout this whole article, we’ve talked about providing value. That’s how you hook in leads and get them to opt into your email newsletter. One of the best means of providing this value?

With a lead magnet.

Lead magnets work so well because of their great versatility. You can send your subscribers a video, a whitepaper, several chapters of an eBook, a report, a PDF checklist, or blog posts.

There’s no limit to what you can do if it’s valuable.

Here are some great lead magnet ideas to inspire you.

email opt in strategy

Image courtesy of DigitalMarketer

10. A/B Test

We saved our most important point for last. As this article proved, there’s a lot you can do to make your opt-in emails more effective.

If you’re not already using the strategies in this article, then you’re going to want to start.

Before you begin implementing wholesale changes, make sure you A/B test them!

ab testing

Image courtesy of Leadpages

Sometimes making your opt-in more powerful comes down to small tweaks, as seen above. You want your opt-in emails to perform as well as possible, and they can only do that if you A/B test them first.


If your opt-in email marketing campaigns with your email marketing software are a little lackluster now, don’t despair.

With the examples we provided in this extensive article, you shouldn’t find it hard to make better opt-ins that will boost your signups and grow your email list and soon, your conversion rates and sales as well.

Good luck!

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