Proven email opt-in ideas to grow your email list

You should always be striving to expand your email list. Being able to reach your target audience with your email marketing campaigns is crucial if you want to increase conversions and sales.

But how to convince your website visitors to share their email address? Just a bland “Subscribe” won’t do the trick. You need to make them an offer they can’t refuse.

In this article, you will find all the best email opt-in ideas which will help you collect more email addresses than ever.

Let’s check them out!

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    What is an opt-in offer?

    First, let’s make it clear what an opt-in freebie or opt-in offer is. This is any piece of content that you give away in exchange for an email address. It is also known as a lead magnet and could be an ebook, PDF or any other (digital) product.

    Often, an opt-in freebie is used to lead your website visitors to a paid product or service, but it isn’t necessary. You can start by using your email list to connect with your audience, give them valuable information and make them trust you.

    Top 5 rules for effective email opt-in ideas

    Here are some useful tips for creating a great opt-in form that is bound to attract and persuade viewers to take the action you want them to.

    1. Keep it short and simple

    Your “freebie” shouldn’t be too long or complicated. People don’t have much time to spare anyway. They want quick and easy solutions to their problems.

    A one-page cheatsheet or a 5-minute video will be great. Give them something they can benefit from in no more than 15 minutes.

    1. Provide a solution to one problem

    As noble as it would be, don’t aim to solve all of people’s problems simultaneously. That will only confuse them. Instead, your offer has to be focused on solving a specific problem of your audience. Your opt-in should be a quick sample of the kind of information the visitor will find on your website.

    1. Provide value

    Maybe you are worried that you’ll give away all your secrets for free? The goal here is to give just some valuable information that will reveal to your prospects what exactly you have to offer and how they can benefit. Moreover, this will help them see and trust your expertise and authority on the subject.

    1. Be relevant and consistent

    Your opt-in freebie must be relevant to your business idea and your customers. There is no point in gathering a mailing list with consumers who aren’t interested in receiving your products or services. That’s why the opt-in offer has to be related to your business. You can’t be selling smartphones and offering a dietary guideline freebie.

    What’s more, try to think from the reader’s point of view. If they landed on a page about healthy eating and enjoyed your article, they would expect something along those lines when they click on your targeted sign-up link. If you suddenly change the subject, you’ll lose their interest and drive them away. Consistency is a must.

    1. Keep in touch

    This might be obvious but don’t just send the freebie to your new subscriber and just leave it at that. Follow up with an automated welcome email offering additional information. Continue sending them regular helpful content via your email newsletter.

    Now that you know the basis, let’s get inspired by these awesome email opt-in ideas! 

    Proven email opt in ideas

    Here are all opt-in freebie ideas you can choose from.


    One of the easiest (and quickest to consume) options is to prepare a checklist that your email subscribers can download and print. People love checklists because they save them time.

    You can update one of your existing checklists or create a new one to help people learn a process or remember the steps to something.

    If you’re using this as a content upgrade for a blog post, you could turn the steps you outlined within your article into a checklist. For example, a “packing for Singapore” checklist.


    Another good idea for an engaging opt-in freebie is a quiz. Many people love taking personality quizzes. However, the point here is to make the quiz relevant to your business and not only fun, but also informative. People just need to enter their email to get access to the quiz or their results at the end.

    Plus, quizzes are great for segmenting your audience. While they learn something new for themselves, you learn about your potential customers. It’ll be smart to segment them accordingly by creating tags in your email service provider.


    This is one of the most popular email opt-in ideas. Almost every business can create an ebook and sell it or in this case, give it for free to subscribers.

    There are many such mini ebooks with recipes and fitness exercises. Again, it depends on your business idea. Think what your target audience will be interested in.

    Chapters from books

    Speaking of books, you can also take one or two chapters from your already published book or paid ebook and offer them for free. This will save you time, but it is also a great chance for publicity and for readers to sample your writing.

    Ecourse or workshop

    Do you want to showcase your expertise? You can take some information out of a paid ecourse and share it as a preview or put one together using your already published articles, interviews and so on. You can also write a completely new one.


    People love templates and cheatsheets and everything that helps them do things faster and easier. This type of a freebie won’t take you much time and effort, since it’s best to keep it up to 2 pages long. If you don’t know where to start, think about customer FAQs and answer them in a template or a cheatsheet people can download.

    Email course

    You can offer an automated mini course in the course of 7-10 days. The aim is to provide your audience with educational content about your topic that leads to one of your paid offers— like a digital product or online course.


    You can create an opt-in freebie that lets your readers answer open-ended questions about your lead magnet topic, with space to fill out their answers.


    A workbook is similar to a mini ebook but it is much more action-driven and provides your readers with specific tasks they need to do to reach their goals.

    Audio files

    In general, people prefer listening to reading. Why not offer a free audio training as a kind of sample to your potential customers? And if you do interviews or podcasts, you can compile a collection of your most popular ones and give it away.

    This freebie can also be secret or bonus episodes of your podcast or course, an audio transcript of you reading a blog post, etc. After all, audio books are very popular right now, so this will be a great opt-in offer for those who don’t have much time to sit down and read your content.

    Video recordings

    People love video. It’s a fact – visuals are much more attractive and engaging than text. Why not offer some video interviews, video training or tutorials? What’s more, if you have a product, you can do a cool demo video with fun and creative ways to use your product.


    Printables might be overdone but they’re still popular and they do work. Creating them is really easy so if they convert well with your audience and in your niche, take advantage of them! Bring some fun by sharing desktop wallpapers, inspirational quotes that can be printed out and so on.

    Swipe files

    Swipe files are a list of ready templates or resources that are relevant to your audience. For example, a template like “30 topics to write on” for creative writing bloggers for when they have writer’s block. Swipe files are extremely popular.

    Resource list

    This is a list of resources that you use to grow your business. Both you and your reader benefit from them. How, you ask? Well, your reader will be extremely grateful because they get a shortcut on what tools are actually worth investing in, while you can get some passive income thanks to affiliate links.

    Resource library

    Resource libraries are multiple freebies in a password protected page. They are commonly used and effective for list-building.

    However, because of the great amount of information in them, they don’t let you segment subscribers. There is no way to guess what each subscriber is indeed interested in so you lose a way to confidently promote to them future paid products. But if your products are similar enough, you can always try this tactic.

    Physical products

    We are talking mainly about digital freebie ideas but you don’t have to limit yourself. This is something that not all businesses can afford but it is worth a try.

    It’s true that a physical freebie like a CD doesn’t have the instant gratification factor as a digital download but it can be used smartly together with a digital product. Another idea is to offer a valuable physical book that subscribers will get for free except for the shipping fee.

    Free consultations

    Free consultations and coaching sessions are a great way to get to know your audience and vice versa while building your email list.


    A product giveaway or a gift card contest is an amazing idea for an opt-in because everyone will want to participate and try their luck. Who doesn’t like games, winning and receiving free stuff? Plus, you don’t have to create anything – the opportunity is already there.

    You could have a monthly contest where one subscriber would get a T-shirt or a gift card for Amazon, for example. The possibilities are many.

    Exclusive content

    You can offer a members-only content or subscriber specials like monthly deals and discounts, for example. You’ll get more sales, and customers will be happy as well!

    Templates or a PDF

    Templates can be Google Docs, graphics, spreadsheets, anything you can think of. A PDF guide can be like a mini ebook and is also widely used.


    You can use a recording of a past webinar or registration for a new, live webinar. This is an effective Step 1 if you’re running an evergreen sales funnel since the appeal of a free live (or recorded) training is much greater than a free PDF.

    Expert roundup guide

    This is a free resource where a group of experts share thoughts and ideas on a specific topic.

    Behind-the-scenes content

    People love getting access to exclusive content and bonus scenes. If this applies to your business, you can offer a similar opt-in freebie.

    Live calls

    Offer Q&A calls exclusively for people on your email list. They will get the chance to ask questions and get recordings to each of the calls.

    Free trial or a discount

    This is a great way to expand your email list if you own a physical product-based store or a monthly membership site. Offer a free trial or a discount code to persuade visitors to subscribe to your emails.

    Free challenge

    This email opt-in idea is usually used for accountability and is based on a specific skill or problem-area. Challenges should be kept short enough so that people remain engaged but also long enough so that subscribers can actually achieve the desired result.

    Access to a private online group

    You can use social media to your advantage too. Create a private Facebook group with exclusive content that requires an email opt-in from users before they can join it.

    How to find more email opt-in ideas?

    We’ve made a long list of great opt-in freebie ideas but you still want more? Here’s where to start:

    • Look at your popular blog posts – which of them are getting the most traffic? Build a similar opt-in to make sure it will resonate with your audience. Even if you aren’t getting much traffic yet, you can upgrade your blog content to provide a suitable offer.
    • Find out what’s trending in your niche with Google Trends or similar free tools.
    • Stalk the competition – what are others doing? What can you do similarly?
    • Survey your subscribers – what would they like to get more of?

    To sum up

    Whether it will be a free report, a roadmap, a free review or access to something, make sure you offer what will appeal most to your target audience. You can easily design opt-in offers with a free tool like Canva.

    Now that you have read all these incredible tips and email opt-in ideas, you are no doubt eager to begin creating powerful opt-in freebies.

    But wait.

    Did you know there are many other ways to grow your email list and drive conversions?

    Use Catchfull – our brand new digital marketing tool – to easily create attractive campaigns that will help you gain subscribers, convert visitors, boost sales and grow. It’s for bloggers, small businesses and larger businesses alike. Subscribe now to get a 3-month free trial!

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