20 Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your Email List

20 Opt-in Ideas to Grow Your Email List @ bit.ly/20optinideas

We all know that opt-in freebies are the best way to grow your list, deliver amazing value to your readers for free and give them a taste of what it looks like to work with you or join your products and programs.

And the question I get asked all the time is: What format should my opt-in freebie be?

The truth is — it depends.

I know people hate hearing that, but it really does depend on the content you want to create, the preferred format of your audience and what you feel most comfortable doing.

So, once you know what you’ll be teaching in your opt-in freebie, it’s time to decide what format your opt-in should be.

I’ve rounded up 20 different formats for your opt-in freebie in the list below, with examples!

These ideas can work for lead magnets, content upgrades and any other opt-in freebie you want to include in your content marketing arsenal.


Tip: Pin this image for later when you’re about to create your opt-in freebie and aren’t sure which format to choose!

20 Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your Email List @ bit.ly/20optinideas

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Here are the 20 opt-in ideas you can use to grow your email list:

1. Video Series

This is a common lead magnet for an online course, because the video training is typically much higher value and leads into the topics you’ll learn inside the course. These can help support a live launch or an evergreen launch.

Example: Product Launch Formula Video Series

2. PDF Guide or Mini eBook

This is a super common type of opt-in freebie, because it’s easy to create and easy to consume. It can also work for a variety of topics and audiences.

Example: The Blogging Toolkit

3. Quiz

Quizzes can be great list builders, because they’re really interactive and fun. Have your readers take the quiz, but then have to opt-in to your email list in order to get their results. Or, provide an additional resource that helps explain their results behind an opt-in form.

Example: Primary Brand Archetype Test

4. Templates

Think: graphics, google docs/spreadsheets, etc. This type of lead magnet is meant to give your readers the templates you use or your clients use to achieve a specific result.

Example: Irresistible Offer Planning Kit

5. Video Training or Tutorial

This is like a mini version of the video series lead magnet, which usually just consists of one video training and maybe a small PDF download that goes with the video.

Examples: Find Your Niche & Choose Your Profitable Product Idea / Copy Cure

6. Webinars

This could be a recording of a past webinar or registration for a live webinar. This is a great Step 1 if you’re running an evergreen sales funnel, because the appeal of a free live (or recorded) training is much higher than a free PDF.

Example: How to Create and Deliver Your First 5-Figure Webinar

7. Swipe Files

Think: emails, copy, examples, etc. People love it when you give them stuff they can swipe, so these are usually an easy draw for new leads.

Examples: FB Ad Design & Copy Inspiration Swipe File / Monthly Marketing Plan

8. Checklist

These always make awesome opt-in freebies, because people LOVE checklists. If you’re using this as a lead magnet for a paid program, you could put the steps to the process you teach into a checklist. If you’re using this as a content upgrade for a blog post, you could use the steps you outlined within your blog post and turn them into a checklist.

Example: The List Builder’s Blitz Campaign Checklist

9. Audio File

This could be a series of audio files or just a single audio file that teaches your reader about a specific topic. It could also be secret episodes of your podcast, audio bonuses from your course or something else similar.

Example: Learn How to Meditate in 5 Days

10. Resource Guide

This resource guide is meant to be a roundup of your favorite resources, tools, software, etc. that will help your readers skip past the trial and error stage of testing out different resources.

Example: Digital Product Rolodex

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Want even more format ideas? Download the free guide below and get 5 EXTRA opt-in freebie format ideas you can create to grow your email list!

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11. Expert Roundup Guide

This is a free resource that polls a group of experts to provide thoughts and ideas on a specific topic.

Examples: Surprise & Delight Guide / Achieve What Matters in 2016: 8 Strategies Super-Successful People Are Using Now to Accomplish More This Year

12. Audio Transcript

You could record yourself reading your blog post and give that away as a free lead magnet as an easy way for people to be able to listen to a blog post, rather than read it (especially if they are moms or someone who doesn’t have a ton of time to sit and read a post).

13. Behind-the-Scenes Content

Everyone LOVES behind-the-scenes stuff, so whenever you can pull back the curtain, it’s sure to be a winner. In 2013, I did a program called PowerPlay that included bi-weekly emails sent to my list about what was going on in my biz, what I’m focused on, what I’m launching and so much more. People loved it and it turned into my first paid eBook.

Example: Invisible Office Hours Secret Google Doc

14. Email Course

Email courses are a great option for a lead magnet if you have a series of steps you want to share with people. Break up the steps into separate emails and deliver them to new subscribers over the course of 1-2 weeks.

Example: Productize Crash Course

15. Free Workshop

This could either be a one-time workshop, a free online course or something in between.

Example: Free Blog School

16. Live Calls

These Q+A calls would be exclusively for people on your email list so they get first priority to ask questions and get recordings to each of the calls.

Examples: Drunk Webinars / Elle Chats

17. Free Trial or Discount Code

This can be a great way to build your email list if you have a physical product-based store or monthly membership site.

Example: Fizzle Free 2-Week Trial

18. Access to a Private FB Group

With the uprising of private Facebook groups, it makes sense to start requiring an email opt-in from people before they can join the group.

Example: Blog + Biz BFFs Facebook Group

19. Free Challenge

This opt-in freebie idea is mainly used for accountability and based around a specific skill or problem-area. Challenges can range in length, but should be kept short enough so people stay engaged and long enough so people can actually achieve a result.

Examples: Fired Up and Focused Challenge / 30-Day List Building Challenge

20. Resource Library

This is a great idea if you have a lot of smaller opt-in freebies and you want them to all be stored in the same place. This is nice for your subscribers, too, because they only need to opt in once to get all of the downloads. The value also looks much higher because of the number of opt-in freebies you’re giving away.

Example: The Nectar Collective Resource Library

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Once you know the topic of your opt-in freebie, it’s time to decide on the format.

Use the list above to decide on the perfect format for what you’re delivering. Not sure what format to try still? Ask your audience what style they’d most likely download.

Want even more format ideas? Download the free guide below and get 5 EXTRA opt-in freebie format ideas you can create to grow your email list!

3 thoughts on “20 Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your Email List”

  1. Claire - StartACraftBlog

    This is an excellent post! I’ve taken note of a few of those to try and convert a few more people as I’ve made some opt in’s that just fell flat. I’ve done a few and just keep tweaking and testing. Just a wee note that some shortcodes are appearing in your post, you might want to fix that. Claire 🙂

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