(This is a revamp of a vintage Betty Means Business post from 2014 — whew, time flies! You may recognise a few of these ideas, but we’ve fleshed out and doubled the number of tips. So let’s jump in!)
Today we’re talking about something so many coaches and online business owners love a lot, but might also dislike a teensy bit:
The often elusive, powerful-if-you-get-it-right tool of… an opt-in gift.
For the uninitiated: an opt-in gift is something you offer in exchange for someone’s contact details – and is commonly used to entice people to subscribe (or ‘opt-in’) to your newsletter list.
When you get your opt-in right, not only will your subscriber list grow much more quickly, but you’re more likely to easily attract your dream clients, and start your relationship with them off on just the right foot. (Read: Priceless)
That’s the “love” bit.
Now for the “dislike” bit:
These days, if you don’t get your opt-in gift right (or if you don’t have one at all), building your list will be a much harder slog.
Not only would you have wasted time and effort on something that isn’t delivering the ROI you were hoping for, but you’ll have the ongoing frustration of struggling to build your list.
Before we dig in, it’s worth mentioning that an opt-in gift can be anything you want it to be. You don’t have to limit yourself to an eBook (although those can be great!).
For example a free video series, printable poster, audio download, mini-course, a ticket to an event, sample or discount – or something else entirely – might work really well for you and your ideal client.
So, whether you’re creating your first opt-in gift, or want to make sure the opt-in you have is right for you, here are 10 tips for creating your own killer opt-in:
TIP #1: Set an intention for the experience you want for your subscribers.
This is of the utmost importance because it underlines the overall vibe you want to create as soon as your new subscriber signs up.
Your opt-in gift should both show the value of the awesome work you do, and give clients a taste of what it’s like to work with you.
For example, I set the intention to be *generous* and focused on that idea as I created my opt-in gift. That’s because I wanted to give newbies the insight that I’m really here to help them, and am not going to keep valuable information I know can serve them under wraps.
I’ve actually now had lots of peeps specifically use the word ‘generous’ in their feedback/testimonials. How cool is that?
TIP #2: Figure out what your ideal clients value and deliver that.
Ask yourself (and ask your existing clients, of course, if you can):
What would people who are just meeting you for the first time, or have heard about you perhaps from friends or colleagues, really find valuable? What’s the problem they usually have when they land on your site that you can fix for them?
For example, something my ideal clients really value are practical tips and shortcuts for business that are high-impact and easy to use – so I made sure I delivered that type of content in my opt-in gift.
Here are some ideas of what your people may value: feeling organised, seeing beauty, creating fresh ideas, DIY, feeling prepared, saving money, feeling more connection to spirit, feeling healthy/balanced, etc.
TIP #3: Design counts.
The look and feel of your opt-in gift is kind of like the front door of your business/your calling card. Again, it’s basically an ambassador for your work and should give anyone meeting you for the first time an idea of what it’s like to be in your world.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure the design represents you and your brand values. From personal experience, I know that getting stuff professionally designed really can make you feel like the serious businesswoman you want to be and like you really are ready to launch.
TIP #4: Set your work free.
OK, confession time: Now that it’s live and out there – and now this is tricky for me to share – I’ve spotted 2 typos in my opt-in gift.
I take a lot of pride in producing work of a very high standard – but I know (hard as it is to admit) it’s not perfect. I’ve had to spend a lot of time letting go of “perfect” as a “must-have” for everything I create, and here’s why:
Perfect is less important than getting your message out there and sharing your gifts with potential clients. Obsessing over perfect wastes valuable time that you could be spending growing your list and your confidence, and supporting the clients you’re best meant to serve.
TIP #5: Outsource the stuff you’re shit at.
Another confession! (Whew, I’m feeling honest today aren’t I?) I’m shit at heaps of stuff – most things actually.
For example, it took me days longer than it should have to release my opt-in because I was locked in a beyond frustrating fight with some of the technology I use.
The lesson there was that I needed to add a Technical VA to my team pronto, so I could focus my energy/time on the parts of the project I’m awesome at.
Whatever you’re struggling with — whether that’s design, copywriting, idea generation, proofreading/editing, building opt-in pages, autoresponders, etc. — outsource as much of it as you can so you can keep your momentum going. Experience tells me that anything else is a false economy.
TIP #6: Solve a practical problem.
An awesome member of Team Betty made a great analogy recently: An opt-in should be like calamine lotion for a mosquito bite.
The bite (a.k.a. the practical problem the client has that you can solve) isn’t the end of the world, but it is uncomfortable for them. So you swoop in with your calamine lotion (this is the opt-in gift you’re choosing to provide) and dab it on the bite.
Ooh! Instant relief! They’re so grateful… and they want to know where they can get more lotion for the next time they have a bite – or a problem they know you can help with.
So, what constitutes a “practical problem”? It’s something that’s causing your ideal client or customer pain every day.
Of course, there are a whole bunch of different kinds of pain. It might be physical pain (though unlikely), it may be emotional pain, or financial pain, or time management pain (so your perfect people are missing time with their families, or time away from their laptops, etc.).
Really think about how you can use your opt-in as a way to help people solve that practical problem that is causing them pain every day. That is how you create opt-in gifts that are able to cut through all of the noise of everyone else out there, and become very captivating for your ideal client.
TIP #7: Think about the next step that you want your new subscriber to take.
One mistake a lot of solopreneurs make at the beginning is that they hand over their opt-in… and just wave goodbye!
This is a major strategic error, because once someone gets to the end of your opt-in, it’s essential that you capitalise on all the happiness and relief you’ve built up for them.
So at the end of your opt-in (or peppered throughout), I recommend including a call to action of some kind. For example, perhaps the next step that you would like people to take is to visit your About page. So, in your eBook, you might have hyperlinks right there to your About page, or something with a call-to-action clearly stated at the end of the eBook.
Perhaps you have an eCourse or eBook that’s available all the time and it’s your entry-level product. So the next step of your opt-in gift would be to invite people to check out that entry-level eCourse/eBook. Also: you offer some kind of discount code or other incentive to help people feel more compelled to take action.
Another great call to action would be a discovery session. So, for example, if your opt-in is a video series, include a specific call-to-action and maybe a button that people can click that takes them to a page where they can apply for a discovery session with you.
Whichever next step you choose, always make sure you’re clear and specific about what you want your new subscriber to do next.
TIP #8: Make sure your opt-in is aligned with a service, package or offering on your site.
Alignment is key. So, let’s say you’re a life coach specialising in women who’ve been divorced, and are trying to get their lives back on track, and you offer a coaching package tailored to that client.
Maybe your opt-in gift is “7 Days of Self-Love” to help them spend a week treating themselves and feeling great as a way to begin healing from their divorce. Then, at the end of your opt-in, you can mention your program and make a call to action inviting your new subscriber into a discovery call, where they can learn more about you, ask questions, and you can talk about your package.
TIP #9: Think about how this opt-in will complement the rest of your sales funnel.
By sales funnel, I mean the steps or experience that you take your leads through to help them decide whether or not they want to work with you, and whether they feel you would be a good fit for them. Every step of your sales funnel should “qualify” the great leads who are a perfect fit for you, and disqualify (with love!) anyone you either don’t want to work with, or aren’t qualified to work with.
For example, perhaps your funnel sequence includes an email sequence and/or a video series and/or a particular call-to-action and/or a few different calls-to-action along the way. Spend a little time planning out exactly how the opt-in that you’re going to be creating will fit in and really compliment the rest of your sales funnel, so that everything feels like it flows really nicely and naturally from one step to the next.
TIP #10: Have more than one opt-in gift. (If you wish!)
One caveat to this: If you’re creating your first opt-in gift, don’t stress out about this. Just focus on getting your first opt-in gift out and awesome for your right people to absolutely love.
But, if you’ve already got a solid opt-in, consider taking things to the next level by creating different opt-in gifts for different types of ideal clients, or leading into different types of promotions, or for your different packages.
Get creative! There’s no need to limit yourself and think that one opt-in gift has to be everything to everyone and be the only chance you get to work with an ideal client. There’s no reason why you can’t have three different opt-in gifts if you would like – maybe even five or ten if that works with your business model.
Which brings us to the end of this epic opt-in gift tutorial.
I hope you find these tips crazy helpful.
If you did, I’d love you to please share this post with your friends using the buttons below.
And, as always: I’d love to hear from you in the comments so we can learn together: What tips/lessons/ideas do you have when it comes to creating great opt-ins? What are some opt-ins that really worked for you (and some that didn’t)?