How To Create A Freebie For An Email Opt-in


By Nicole Bandes

Founder, CEO of Virtual A Team

Read more by Nicole

Do your eyes glaze over when you hear terms like email marketing lists, email opt-in, subscribers, click through rates, and so on. To know them is one thing, to use them successfully is quite different. If you have a business, and I assume you do if you are reading this, then it’s important to have a solid understanding of how to use email marketing.

While email marketing is important to businesses, many people still struggle with it. Why? One reason is that they dislike getting email themselves. And, if you don’t like something, you are less inclined to use that method to market.

Another reason is that people don’t like to write, or they don’t have time. So the idea of creating consistent content for email marketing is daunting.

And finally, there’s the challenge of getting people to subscribe and to be active subscribers.

Are you one of those people who struggle with your email marketing list? Do you get frustrated by the low rate of subscribers your email opt-ins are getting? Is your business one of the few that email marketing doesn't seem to work for?

If you belong to any of the categories above and are ready to throw in the towel, wait just a bit.

Read through this article before making any decisions. In this article, we will look at email opt-ins and how to use them to gain more subscribers.

First, let's take a look at what an email opt-in is and why it is essential to your business.

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What is an email opt-in and why are they important?

An email opt-in is a request. It’s how a business asks permission to send a person email about the business.

This request usually ends up with the business getting the person's email address and their consent to receive emails from them.

Using an email opt-in is important to businesses for several reasons. However, there are two significant reasons.

Email is one of the few things you own in your business. You don’t own your content on social media. And social media can change in a flash. Remember the days when businesses paid to get fans on their Facebook pages? And then Facebook said you’d have to pay to get those same fans to see your posts?

With email, you own that email address until someone opts out.

By using an email opt-in, you are getting permission to send your contact email. This is as opposed to buying lists of email addresses and sending unwanted emails, otherwise known as spam!

Having contacts opt in to your list means they are more likely to read your emails, more likely to engage and far less likely to send your email to the spam folder.

Keeping your emails in the primary inbox is the goal here, and an extensive email marketing list is no good if half of your emails are in the Spam folder.

email opt-in

How does Email Opt-in Work?

At its most basic, an email opt-in is a simple form where your contact adds their email address and clicks submit.

Generally speaking, visitors to your website will see the email opt-ins as a call to action, either a button or pop-up. What they are being called to do is give over their email address. Think of it like those little notes you send to your crushes in grade school did.

This time, instead of a “Would you like to be my girlfriend" note, you have a “Would you like to receive emails from me" message. Email opt-ins also come with a yes button.

All email opt-ins will contain at least two things:

  •    A Call to Action Button
  •    A request for the subscriber's email address

However, to get even better results an email opt-in should also contain some type of a free gift, also called a lead magnet or freebie.

What is an email opt-in freebie and why is it important?

Look at your email opt-ins as a fishing adventure. When you go fishing, you always have bait with you. That's what email opt-in freebies are -- bait.

We use them to gain people's attention and give them a reason to take action. It’s a form of currency. You give me your email address and I’ll give you something of value.

It works because people love free things and great deals. It's easier to get someone to consent if they know that there is something in it for them.

Having a free offer in your email opt-in really isn’t optional. If you want to grow your list, you have to give something away.

The bigger question isn’t whether or not to have a freebie. The bigger question is, what will I offer as a freebie? Not all freebies are created equal.

Three years ago, I was on a mission to create one freebie a month for the entire year. Out of the 12 freebies I created, only 3 of them performed well. The other 9 received very few (if any) subscribers.

The lesson I learned? It's not just any freebie that works; you have to have the right freebie for the audience you want to attract. You need to have something too irresistible for subscribers to pass up. This brings us to the next step.

email opt-in

How to create a freebie that people will want to subscribe to

A lot goes into creating a freebie for your email opt-in. This is chiefly because it is your ace in the hole - your one chance to lure in a prospective subscriber.

You have to make it so catchy that prospects wouldn't be able to pass it up. The more irresistible your freebie is, the more chances you have of getting a higher turnout.

Remember that email opt-in freebies are your hook and bait all rolled into one. You need to make it too good to pass up.

There are steps to follow in creating a kick-ass email opt-in freebie.

Research Your Audience and Know What They Want

Before you can offer your audience a freebie, you have to know what they want. You can't go fishing with a carrot as bait. You won't catch any fish.

It's essential to know your audience very well so that you can tell what would interest them. The first and most crucial step in creating a great freebie is to know your audience.

This is where the research comes in. Find out who your audience is. Most importantly, find out what are the common problems they deal with?

Armed with this knowledge, you can do more research into the difficulties they face. Use every means available to gain first-hand information that will pay off when your number of subscribers begins to rise.

You can create short questionnaires, carry out polls, or even find out from your subscribers. The bottom line is that you get all the information that you need to know about your audience. Then we plot.

Plot out ways to solve their problems or tips to help them deal with whatever they are going through. These tips and solutions would make up your freebie.

What is more irresistible than the solution to a problem that I've been dealing with for so long?

It's important though that you pick a problem that is common and central. That way, you can have that personal effect where your audience feels as you're focused on them alone.

Do your eyes glaze over when you hear terms like email marketing lists, email opt-in, subscribers, click through rates, and so on. To know them is one thing, to use them successfully is quite different. If you have a business, and I assume you do if you are reading this, then it’s important to have a solid understanding of how to use email marketing.

Pro Tip

Be sure to pick a problem that, by solving it, leads them to needing your services. A fitness coach might offer a basic Intro to Fitness guide. A relationship coach might offer a First Date Conversation Tips.

Keep it useful

While you brainstorm on ideas for your freebie, remember to keep it useful. People are not going to subscribe to an email opt-in with a freebie that isn't beneficial to them. No matter how great the freebie is, if it does not cater to the people's immediate needs, then it's going to be a dismal failure.

For example, let's say you have a website that focuses on therapeutic ways to manage stress. It would not be a good idea to offer an email opt-in freebie like “10 Ways To Live Your Most Adventurous Life".

It won't give you the turnout you want since adventure can often be equated with stress. Your audience is on your website because they need help with managing stress. They are not looking for adventure; they want to manage stress.

However, a freebie that offers them “The one thing you can do right now to manage your stress” is more likely to get them to subscribe. And, by offering them an immediate solution they need to manage stress, you also help them get to a place where they are able and willing to hire you for additional services.

Come up with a solution and create it

The research is the easy part. Coming up with a solution to solve the problems is the tough part. But if you want those subscriber numbers to climb up, then you have to do it. You have to find answers to the questions that your viewers have.

The solution might come in so many different ways.  It could be an ebook that explores several topics, or it could be a document containing a few tips.

There are many tried and tested forms in which your solution can be arranged. Let's take a look at some of the ways you can arrange your solution.

email opt-ins


Ebooks or Guides are a common freebie to offer your audience. Just make sure they are short and offer a win.

Pro Tip

In your ebook, include links back to other articles or resources you have available and remember to plant seeds about the other services you offer throughout the text.


A free webinar, which offers a solution to a general problem, is a great idea. In order for someone to attend, they must first subscribe. Webinars can be a little more work but may be a great option if you love to speak or present.

Tips and Cheat Sheets

Creating a document containing tips or a checklist is another great idea for a solution. These are sometimes the simplest options and create some instant wins. A stress management coach might list the top 5 tips to reduce anxiety. A travel agent might offer a Packing checklist.


Another great option is to create a survey or quiz. Let subscribers answer a series (no more than about 5 or 6) questions and share with them the results. For the fitness trainer, this might be what type of fitness would work best for them.

Don’t Skimp on Detail

Your freebie is the first impression your business makes. It should be on brand and well designed. Sending out an unformatted word doc just won’t cut it if your goal is to convert new email subscribers to clients.

Be creative with the wording

After designing your freebie, now it's time to put it out there.

By putting it out there, I mean putting it on your email opt-in page or landing page.

For example, let’s say you are offering your subscribers a pdf document that contains information on how to grow their email marketing lists.

You need to find an engaging way to word your gift so that your target audience would be prompted to click on it. You can have a great email opt-in freebie, but if your wording is clumsy, you will still find it difficult to get subscribers.

The reaction you should expect from your target audience is a “Wow, just what I've been looking for. I need to have this."

Just like the entire email opt-in, the freebie should be short, sweet, and concise. More than that, it should prompt action.

Following the example above, would say; “Having trouble growing your email marketing list? Find out what you're doing wrong".

This can be followed by a call to action button. From the example above, we managed to highlight their problem while offering them a solution to it.

In Conclusion

Email opt-ins can be a great way to grow email marketing lists. This is because they are very successful in converting your traffic. An email opt-in doesn’t just generate subscribers; they generate interested prospects.

Knowing how to use this tool is a must if you want to convert your website traffic successfully. The efficacy of a great email opt-in lies in the freebie.

Before you give up on email marketing, follow the steps outlined in this article. Come up with a great, irresistible freebie and design an email opt-in. You would be surprised at how many people would sign up.

And now that you have your opt-in and lead magnet, you'll want to know what's next! Check out our article, I Have a Lead Magnet, Now What?

To know more about email opt-in freebies, hit us up with your questions. Here at the Virtual A Team, we are dedicated to helping your business grow.