The Art of Writing an Email Opt-In

by Julie Foley Second Street

Crafting the Perfect Opt-In Section

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you are designing the opt-ins for your registration pages:

  1. Be clear about what your customers are opting into. Have you ever signed up for an email list only to receive something entirely different? It’s not a good feeling. Bait & switch tactics will only get you unsatisfied customers and opt-outs.
  2. Separate your lists. If the choice is all or nothing, many customers who may have opted into individual lists are more likely to choose nothing. Instead, create separate mailing lists for different topics that you send email about – this allows your customers to select only the ones they are truly interested in.
  3. Make your offers compelling. Would YOU want opt-in to your email list? If the answer is no, the odds are it will be for your customers too. Show your customers that they will get something for opting into your list. Remember, a coupon, an offer, or a free gift is always a great incentive! If none of those are an option, the art is in the wording. After all, which would you rather check?

    • “Sign up for our promotions email.”
    • “Yes! I want to be the first to hear about promotions from [insert media company name]!“
  4. Stay short, sweet, and to the point. You don’t want your opt-ins to stretch to more than one line if you can avoid it. Explain clearly what you have to offer – and sweeten the deal with an offer or coupon if you can. Additionally, try to cap your list of opt-ins at 3-5. Any more than that, and you will end up with a large block of text that no one will want to read.
  5. Check all the boxes by default. This requires your customers to make an effort if they don’t want to opt in, and makes it more likely that they will read through all of the options. However, before you do this you should be sure to check with your legal team that this doesn’t violate the terms of service of your email provider.
  6. Add at least one opt-in to EVERY promotion registration page. As Tim d’Avis, Digital Director at the Quad-City Times and Director of Digital Media for Lee Enterprises, said, “Every touch point with a consumer is an opportunity to capture an email.” Never miss those opportunities.
  7. Be consistent. Always place your opt-ins in the same spot on the registration page, and don’t switch up the wording between promotions. You want to make it as simple and straightforward for your customers.

Opt-Ins to Include

The possibilities for opt-ins to include are as extensive as the possibilities for segmented email lists. That being said, you should ALWAYS include an opt-in to your promotions newsletter.

Some others to consider are:

  • An opt-in for your advertiser or sponsors
  • A generic opt-in to build a list you can sell to local advertisers
  • An opt-in for weather alerts or school closings

In short, if you have a list you are trying to build, make sure that you include an opt-in for it on your registration page.

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