3 Steps to Growing Your Email Opt-Ins

Vladislav Podolyako
Aug 24, 2021
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The alternative title for this post was "How To Make Your Opt-Ins Less Annoying". According to the Twilio study in 2019, around 94% of buyers are annoyed with marketing emails that arrive at their mailboxes. Moreover, the chances of users unsubscribing or directly refusing to opt-in grow every day. New brands and businesses keep popping up, more companies go digital - no wonder users feel intruded every time they visit a website or check out a social media page. When they are asked to leave their email address or subscribe, they instantly imagine the flood of unnecessary marketing content coming straight to their inbox

Sometimes, when they are way too tempted to get access to a service, they would leave a freshly-made email address they're never going to use. Sometimes, they just won't subscribe or consent to receive emails. It's understandable: Nobody likes being bothered

However, you still need email opt-ins. Your inbound marketing campaigns depend on opt-ins, your Sender Score and domain reputation benefit greatly from interacting with opted-in users, so you must be working towards increasing your rate of email opt-ins and build up engagement. 

You don’t want to piss people off, but you need consenting recipients. You must grow opt-ins, but people hate opt-ins. 

From that perspective, it feels like an unachievable task, the one that traps you in a vicious cycle and makes you regret all your life choices. But don’t worry, you don’t have to torture yourself or your website visitors. It’s possible to increase your email opt-ins without coming off as an obnoxious sales-obsessed jerk - and it takes only three steps. 

Step 1. Learn to track your leads and data

Before getting started with strategies and tactics, ask yourself: do I know what to do? 

Do I understand the value of each lead? 

Knowing the answer will let you generate opt-ins at a higher and more sophisticated level. Instead of collecting email addresses blindly (and ending up with a heap of fake or dummy email accounts), you will turn each contact into revenue. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. To start tracking your leads, you should calculate the value of each lead. 

After doing the math, you will know your numbers. So, now you can see when your lead value increases and note the factors that influenced it. 

What else should go with trackable lead generation? Trackable data, of course! So many great opt-ins were lost to poor timing and pushy popups. Sometimes, websites ask visitors to opt in too soon. Sometimes, they’re so shy and discreet about it that visitors hardly notice the option to subscribe and/or leave their email. Either way, it happened because their owners didn’t research why and how users come to their websites. 

You can avoid their mistakes with some behavior-based marketing. When it comes to figuring out what your prospects do on your website and which page or product catches their attention, behavior-based marketing is just what you need. 

  • Look at your pages through Google Analytics. Which product pages have the highest traffic? How much time do your visitors spend on these pages? How do they find these pages (search engine, links on the main page, etc.)? Which pages get the largest number of clicks?
  • Check your conversion rates. Which offers have the greatest conversion rate? Which products convert slowly? Explore what makes your top performers so popular and use your observations to create new offers and fix the ones that have been failing to turn visitors into customers.
  • Use a website heat map to track your visitor’s actions. Tools like Hotjar allow you to see how users interact with your website. They generate a heat map that tracks cursor movements, such as scrolls and taps. It lets you see the hottest spots of your website (which CTA button gets clicked on most often, how often visitors scroll the website till the end, how often they interact with widgets, etc.) as well as the coldest ones, allowing you to understand the strongest and the weakest links of your led generation. You'll also be able to see how to introduce new elements and make sure that users don't ignore them. 
  • Personalize your opt-in offer, depending on the page. You won’t get very far by stalking your visitors and asking them to subscribe or leave their email addresses, but your potential buyers would want to get as far away from you as possible. Be a little bit more interactive with your opt-in requests - base them upon the actions your visitors perform on a certain page or the subject/item that got their interest. Popups don't make people angry when they feel natural. 


Here's another thing to give you a head start: If you want to use popups for motivating users to opt in, make them appear when visitors are about to leave your website, not when they have just arrived. At that moment, they don't know what they want and whether they want to buy it from you. Assaulting them with popups feels as welcoming as slapping them in the face. Let them take their time and poke around. After their curiosity is satisfied and they're more aware of your brand and your supply, they will be more inclined to interact with a popup and leave their email address.

Step 2. Make an offer they can’t refuse 

No, we don’t mean cliches like “offer of a lifetime” or “Brand X is everything you have ever needed in your life.”

These offers are shallow and don’t even scratch the surface behind what’s going on inside your prospects’ heads when they are browsing your website.

You’re probably not the first service provider they came across. They’ve visited at least ten websites before you and they’ll keep on looking after exploring your website. They don’t owe you an email just because they came to research your online store. You must make it rewarding to leave an email and interact with your messages

Let’s say you have a great website that features an amazing product gallery with detailed descriptions and great photos. Awesome, you got it covered. However, when the visitor looks through your gallery and sees something they like, they don’t immediately think, “I’m gonna buy it!” They take notice and start comparing prices on other websites, trying to secure the most beneficial deal possible. It’s up to you to tip the scale in your favor. 

So, what can fuel your visitor’s desire to give their address and interact with your content?

  • Discounts. Simple, yet efficient. By offering a 20% subscriber discount, you gain an advantage over your potential competitors. The visitor knows that they can buy a product from your website at a lower price just by leaving their email address. With such an offer on the table, they are ready to get out from the shadows and opt-in. 
  • Free stuff. Freebies should be handled carefully. Offer too much - and you will come off as desperate and self-sabotaging, offer too little - and you will come off as greedy and manipulative. However, people love getting gifts, especially when those gifts do something. Think of what your prospects can get by opting-in. Do they get a little free extra stuff added to their first purchase? Do they obtain an opportunity to expand their professional knowledge through a free e-book or webinar? Do they get to consult with an expert without paying? The opportunities are endless as long as you keep your prospects' concerns in mind. 
  • Urgency. Overabundance makes people lazy. Scarcity stirs them up. Nothing fuels the wish to commit to the sales process like that frantic thought, “I’ll never get this opportunity again!” However, just like with freebies, you must be very self-conscious about your offer. Don’t put a clock on your visitors. Be subtle: If you see that some of your products are going to be sold off soon, offer your prospects to leave their email address, so you could inform them about the last-minute opportunities or alert them when the product is back in stock.

Whatever your choice is, it's extremely important to show your visitors that opting in benefits you both. No, "you get to receive cool marketing content" is not a benefit - it's an annoyance. It should be something that makes things easier for your buyers, lets them save money, or gives them access to the most exclusive and valuable offers. Only then will your prospects believe that you're willing to walk an extra mile just to make their experience a bit more pleasant.

Step 3. Let them choose 

So, you’ve managed to persuade your prospects to fill an opt-in form. What comes next? 

You give them control by letting them choose the type of emails they want to receive and decide how often they would like to get them.

When filling this opt-in form, your prospects tick the boxes and make their choice. After this, you gather data from opt-in forms and use it to break your inbound marketing list into segments. For example, you can divide it into Group A, Group B, and Group C. Group A wants to receive marketing emails twice a week, while Group B is interested in blog updates and case studies only and wants to hear from you only once a week. Group C wants to receive transactional emails without any other content. Based on that, you can build separate schedules for sending emails and start crafting inbound marketing email campaigns that fit the taste of each group. 

It sounds a bit dangerous: As a business owner, you have to be selfish sometimes and prioritize your needs over the wishes of your prospects. Otherwise, you won’t get any brand awareness and revenue at all. This assumption is not entirely correct - yes, modern consumers are more inclined to avoid interacting with a brand until they need its products and services again. 

However, it happened because they had to deal with tons of irrelevant content, and they don't want to go through this experience ever again. They're sick and tired of never getting to choose or feeling out of control. So, if you offer them something entirely different, they won't be in a hurry to disappear from your radar. They would be glad to have a say in what content they want to see and what pace they're comfortable with. Consequently, they will be more eager to participate in email exchanges and take an interest in all the events you plan. 

Also, a golden rule of getting an email opt-in from your visitors says: Don't ask too much. Modern users aren't comfortable with leaving their data on an online platform. So, don't make them copy the information from their ID - an email address with a double opt-in would be more than enough for you.


When it comes to gathering email opt-ins, it’s hard to stay in your visitors’ good graces, yet extremely easy to fall from grace. But it doesn’t mean that you should give up or satisfy yourself with minimal results.

  • Give, not take. Prove that you’re here for your prospects’ sake. Naturally, you’ll benefit from getting their email addresses, but so will they by staying in touch with a knowledgeable vendor who is ready to address their needs. 
  • Prioritize user experience. Don't push your visitors into making a decision. Let them gather the information and subtly motivate them to take the next step. Make your website as accommodating to the customer's journey as possible by removing elements that aren't interesting to your visitors and highlight the elements that boost interactions. Provide multi-language options to encompass all segments of your target audience and connect with your buyers on a deeper level.   
  • Give your prospects control. The only way to know for sure when and how often your prospects want to receive emails…is to ask them. Allow them to choose the type of content they want to see from you and regulate the frequency. It will give you more clarity about your sending schedule and let you re-market your buyers more efficiently, while your prospects will be more comfortable with opting in. 
  • Develop your content. Whether it's your blog, your company's official YouTube channel, or your LinkedIn page, it should contribute to your effort of persuading users to leave their email and tolerate your presence in their mailboxes. Displaying creativity and producing entertaining or useful content that can be shared on social media platforms turns you from just another vendor into a source of positive emotions and a solution to information starvation. The more consistent and original you are, the less your visitors oppose receiving messages from you - even if it's just a newsletter.  
  • Use technology to track your results. Giving your prospects respect and freedom to decide for themselves will guarantee that they won't unsubscribe from you anytime soon. However, it's also important to monitor your progress through all available tools. From Google Analytics to website heat maps to mailbox audits, everything is important. It allows you to glean data on your prospects' behavior and make sure that you're going the right way. So don't hesitate to make the most out of the great arsenal that is available right now and monitor your progress every day, week, and month. 

You must be assertive about your wish to communicate with subscribed users. Don’t hesitate to employ the power of human psychology and behavior-based marketing. By basing your strategy on these pillars, you will present your services and products in a way that would make your prospects want to stay around. 

Vladislav Podolyako
Vladislav Podolyako
Founder & CEO
Vlad’s decades of entrepreneurial wisdom and business building experience have allowed him to successfully mentor a diverse group of business owners, entrepreneurs in growing their companies. A recognized expert in the areas of transforming organizational culture and leadership development, B2B Sales, Marketing, spent more than 10 years building technology products, with a background in communication networks and electronic device engineering.

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