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


How do you get people to give you their email address so that you can build your contact base or email list?

We know it’s tricky!

Lucky for you, we’ve gathered the 10 best opt-in email strategies for you.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the differences between single and double opt-in email, and then show you some incredible ways to entice customers to subscribe to your email list and ultimately become loyal customers.

We’re talking social media, testimonials, privacy statements, A/B testing, and more. 

We’ll also show you how you can exploit FOMO to your advantage.

Happy reading!

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

So what’s opt-in email marketing?

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

Your ‘lead magnet’ needs to have enough value for visitors to join your mailing 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 you offer value, then it becomes hard for them to resist joining your email list.

By offering their email address, they hope to receive quality content and resources that can benefit them. 

The opt-in email offers a taste of what’s to come.

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 single opt-in, and then there’s double opt-in.

What’s the difference between these two? 

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.

Then boom! They’re subscribers.

Your leads will receive your welcome email, and you’ll begin the nurturing and engagement process to convert them into buying customers.

Single opt-ins make it very simple for your lead to finish opting-in through the forms and sharing their email address, and they can 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 wholly subscribed. This ensures that the people subscribing to your mailing list are authentic and want to read your content. In a way, a double opt-in email (also called subscription confirmation email) improves privacy and email deliverability — the subscribers are willingly offering consent to send them marketing material. 

Here’s an example of double opt-in email marketing:

double opt-in email marketing example
Source: Mailjet

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

No one wants an email list populated with spam 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 more significant 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 lesser interest will see that they have to go through a second step and decide not to opt-in to your email list at all.

Read also: How to Write an Introduction Email to New Subscribers

The 10 Best Opt-in Email Strategy Examples

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 ten opt-in examples ought to give you a great starting point and the best practices to get the most out of your email campaigns. 

#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 what untapped portions of the social audience you can market towards.

#2. Create a Privacy Statement

Customers care about their privacy. Period.

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 ten times a day or sell their email addresses to another 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.

opt in marketing

Image courtesy of Pam Neely

Having a privacy policy on your opt-in form gets results. Check out these surveys from email 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%.

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

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?

Read also: How to Create Great Email Newsletters [with 7 Free Templates]

#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.

You can write 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 a great example:

opt in email campaign
Source: Dish It Out Social

Read also: 14 Inspiring Newsletter Sign-Up Examples From Top Brands

#4. Write Awesome CTAs

Arguably one of the most important elements of a landing page or marketing emails is the CTA or Call-To-Action.

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 email strategy
Source: CrazyEgg

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.

eCommerce Email Marketing Simplified: 15 Examples + Tips

#5. Create a Sense of FOMO

Here’s another strategy for improving your opt-in marketing that’s also related to your CTA. It’s FOMO, and it’s quite real!

With everyone parading their lives on social media, 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 a handy digital 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 email example
Source: Help Scout

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.

Adding a number like this for FOMO purposes also showcases your company’s value. 

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

👉Need a break from your email marketing hustle? Have a laugh with these relatable email memes for marketers! 🤣

#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 years ago and haven’t touched it since.

To inspire you to create a more appealing opt-in form, here’s our own recently redesigned home page with a CTA that makes it super easy for interested visitors to sign up:


#7. Use Exit Intent Pop-ups

Let’s say your opt-in didn’t work. What’s next?

You could use what’s known as an exit popup. With this, you get one last chance to swoop in and try to save the day. This popup only triggers right before the lead clicks off your site.

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

opt-in email strategies
Source: Search Engine Journal

The pop-up tells website visitors that they can learn how to build links from a webinar, and it doesn’t even explicitly ask for the email id. If you click on the button to reserve your seat, you’ll be redirected to the webinar landing page where you can enter your details and sign up.

Isn’t that neat?

👉Discover the most effective marketing strategies that will transform your campaigns in our detailed article! 📈

#8. Include Social Proof

Another powerful tool you have in your arsenal is social proof. 

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 solid social proof. If you have such a review in your back pocket, now’s the time to pull it out.

Here’s some social proof for EngageBay:


This type of proof shows that many review websites have awarded EngageBay and hold it in high regard. That’s pretty powerful stuff.

#9. Entice with a Lead Magnet

Throughout this whole article, we’ve talked about offering value. That’s how you hook in leads and get them to opt into your email newsletter.

One of the best means of providing value? Lead magnets.

Lead magnets work so well because of their great versatility. You can send your email 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’s one example:


opt-in email example lead magnet
Source: Digital Marketer

#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.

We’ve mentioned a lot of techniques in this blog post. Make sure you A/B test them!

A/B testing opt-in emails
Source: Lead Pages

Sometimes making your opt-in more powerful comes down to minor 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.

Read also: What is Permission-based Marketing and How Does it Work (Examples)


Now that you’ve seen the different opt-in email strategies, it is time to put them into practice. 

Though there are dozens of email marketing software out there, you need one that caters to all facets of your business. 

There’s a caveat, though. Most platforms are quite expensive, and become unbearably costly as you scale your business. 

That’s where EngageBay is unique.

EngageBay is one of the most affordable software in the market today. It’s an all-in-one marketing, sales, and customer service software that offers everything you need to keep your business running smoothly. Oh, and you get a free integrated CRM. 

EngageBay’s opt-in tools give you complete control over your email list-building process. You get single and double opt-in features, segmentation, a drag-and-drop email form and landing page builder, email marketing campaign management, exit-intent popups, A/B testing tools, a social suite, and email marketing automation.  

The best part? It’s priced so that even small businesses and startups can easily afford the software while also being scalable. Even the most advanced plan costs under $80 a month.

Compare this with EngageBay’s competitors that charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month for similar features, and you’ll know what we’re talking about!

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