Do you have an email list, but feel frustrated with slow growth?

Well, in this episode you’ll learn about 10 simple email opt-in offers you can use to kickstart your list growth ASAP.

These are tried and tested strategies being used in the internet marketing world right now. 

After you listen, pick ONE of these exciting methods and implement it in the next 2 weeks. You’ll be so happy you did!

What You’ll Learn

  • Ten easy opt-in offers you can use to grow your list
  • TONS of real life examples
  • Stats on how my various opt-in offers have performed
  • Endless inspiration to apply these tips to your own business

Episode Show Notes

Erica Julson: I've got a question to start out this episode today - Do you have an email list? And if you have no idea what an email list is or what the benefits are of having one, please hop over and listen to Episode 35 of this podcast first, that will make this episode make a whole lot more sense. But if you do have an email list, but are frustrated with somewhat slow growth, today I thought I'd share one of the lessons from my email marketing magic course, that goes over 10 simple email opt-in offers that you can use to grow your email list.

Erica Julson: In this, kind of, video excerpt, I use the term "lead magnets" to describe a lot of these offers. And that's a really common term in the email marketing world. A lead magnet is just something awesome that you offer to your audience in exchange for their email address. And you display this offer on your website or anywhere else that you have an audience and people can enter their name and their email, click submit. And your email marketing platform will automatically add them to your email list and send them that item that you promised. Offering lead magnets is a really common and popular way to grow your list. And it's relatively simple to set up. So that's what we're going to focus on in this episode. We'll cover 10 ways to grow your list that are relatively easy to implement so that you can pick one or two that jump out at you and implement right away.

Erica Julson: And since this is an excerpt from my online course, you may hear me mention things like, oh, the links are below the video, et cetera. Obviously this is just a podcast, just as audio, there is no video. So those links don't exist here for you to click on. But hopefully you can still get the gist of the lesson by listening. And of course, if you're dying to see all of the examples in the links that I talk about in the video, you can always join my course and get immediate access to the lesson and the entire email marketing system that teaches you how to get set up on an email marketing platform. Specifically, I go over ConvertKit and MailChimp. I show you how to grow your list, how to send regular emails and how to automate emails so that you can leverage your list to create sales funnels that will scale your online offers.

Erica Julson: You can find more information about this course and all of my courses at The Unconventional RD BB (for Business Bootcamp) .com. And I should mention really quick since we're headed into the Black Friday/Cyber Monday season, I am going to be offering somewhat of a special deal. Basically after Cyber Monday, I am going to temporarily take down the sign up page for all of my courses while I do some revamping on the backend and roll them out one at a time in an evergreen format, meaning there's going to be sort of like an online system that you go through to be able to sign up. So it's not going to be the same way it is now, where you just go to the page and you click sign up and you join. So that's all going to be rolling out starting in 2021. So I'm going to take the pages down, the enrollment pages are going away as of... Let me check my calendar for the date here. As of Tuesday, December 1st, you will no longer be able to enroll in any of my courses at the current pricing.

Erica Julson: So if you are looking to get in at a discount, because the prices are going to go up significantly when I roll out the courses again, when they're revamped. So if you want to get in now, and if you buy now, you get access to all the new and improved content as it comes out in the future. You're kind of like in forever. So that's going to be my Black Friday deal this year. So you can buy now, it's sort of a last chance sale to get in at the current pricing before everything goes up by a lot. But also the content is getting revamped as well. So I'm really excited. The new stuff will hopefully be coming out in 2021, starting with the SEO course. So go to and click on the courses tab, or just go directly to my courses page by going to

Erica Julson: So let's get into the tips for this episode. All right, so first step, we're going to go over those beginner opt-in options, and these include newsletters and downloads. First step is the classic newsletter opt-in. And this is something that most people mess around with on their website at some point, it's often the first type of opt-in that someone makes, because it's not that intimidating. All you really need to do is include some sort of form on your website that allows people to enter their name and their email address. And you say, "Hey, want to keep in touch? Please join my newsletter to get X, Y, Z." So this was an example of my newsletter opt in form on my food blog that I'm no longer actively working on, but it's still out there on the internet. So this was actually located in the sidebar of my website. So off to the right hand side, and it said, "Newsletter, don't miss the goodies I share only with my subscribers. Sign up to get recipes, wellness tips, and exclusive offers sent directly to your inbox each week."

Erica Julson: And then they could click sign me up. And honestly, this isn't recommended as something to have as your only lead magnet, because this is probably one of the least effective types of lead magnets, just because, I mean, who's really dying for another newsletter in their inbox, unless someone is really already committed to your brand and they really know, like and trust you and want to hear from you. This is probably one of the least enticing offers, the least exciting thing that you could offer someone in exchange for their name and email. So, yes, of course it's better than nothing because if you don't have any sort of opt in form, you're not going to be growing your list at all. But it's not super, super effective. So just to give you some data, this exact form that was on my food blog, it brought in about 20 subscribers per month. And I had about 5,000 sessions on my website per month on average for years.

Erica Julson: And that's about a 0.04 conversion rate. So less than half a percent. And honestly, if there's any opt-in form on your website, that's under 1%, it probably needs some tweaking. Because remember the average is 1.9%. So this was a pretty poorly performing opt-in form. And that's not really a shocker because if you really look at it, A, I'm not calling them in with anything exciting. I'm literally calling this opt-in form newsletter. I do try to give them some sort of sense of exclusivity. I say, "Don't miss the goodies I share only with my subscribers." That might draw them in. But then the offer itself is a little weak. I'm saying you get recipes, wellness tips, and exclusive offers in your inbox each week. But I mean, they can already get recipes on my blog. So that's not that exciting.

Erica Julson: Wellness tips is too vague. Who am I talking to? And what type of wellness tips? What am I really offering? Part of the problem was, I didn't know, because I was still sort of nailing down my brand and my ideal client. And exclusive offers might sound exciting, but offers for what? I'm not selling anything on this website. So that's confusing as well. So that's in some probably what explains the low conversion rate. However, if you get creative, you can still offer a newsletter type of opt-in in a different way and get way different results. So for example, as you guys probably know, I run a Facebook group called The Unconventional RD Community. It's free and open to anyone, but you have to request to join. And I have to approve your request before you're admitted.

Erica Julson: And as the admin of the group, I'm able to set up questions to ask the people who want to join and they can leave answers. And those answers can decide whether or not I admit them to the group or not. So I tried to keep the group limited to dietitians, students or other wellness professionals. So if someone is trying to join and they're not a wellness professional at all, then they're going to get rejected. So I ask them about the type of work they do. And then this is the clincher, for question number two, I ask them if they want to join my email list, and then I tell them exactly what they're going to receive if they do so. So I say, "If you'd like to join The Unconventional RD email list to receive blog posts and other content about making passive income as a dietitian, type your email address here."

Erica Julson: And that actually has over a 33% opt-in rate. So roughly a third of all the people who request to join my group, leave their email address. And then all I have to do is go in manually and add them to my email service provider, which isn't that big of a deal. And I'll show you guys how to do that later in case you have this type of opt-in offer. So as you can see, it's the same offer really. Except the newsletter one performed at a 0.04% conversion rate and the same sort of question when people want to join my exclusive Facebook group has a 33% opt-in rate. So why is this? Well, part of the problem is probably opt-in fatigue/opt-in blindness on websites. I mean, if you think about it, we're so bombarded with people asking for our name and email on websites that we almost don't even see it, unless something's popping up at us or they're offering us something that we really, really want, then we might not even notice that the form is there.

Erica Julson: And I think that's probably what was happening with my newsletter opt-in. Also the fact that that newsletter opt-in was in the sidebar of my website and sidebars don't show up on mobile. And more and more and more people are looking at websites on mobile. So that's something to consider as well. And I think in contrast, when someone's requesting to join my group, which is something they already want and they already want to join the group to learn more about starting a business as a dietitian and making passive income. And in that scenario, they're just straight up being asked a question directly and they have to answer the questions to get in the group. So, I mean, they don't have to leave their email, but that is an option for them there. And I think being asked the question directly is way more effective than just having something passively sitting there on the side that they may or may not notice or see. And I could probably play with the way that I'm phrasing this and get an even better opt-in rates.

Erica Julson: So this is on my list, to sort of AB test this. So AB testing is when you have version A and version B of something and you spend a certain amount of time showing version A and then you switch it to version B for the same amount of time. And then you compare which one had more opt-ins. So I could totally do something like that here. I've never even changed this question. It's been the same since I started the group and realized I could ask for people's email addresses. But if I made it a little more exciting, like maybe I offered them some sort of fun download that might be even more effective. So something to think about there. And again, a newsletter is better than nothing. So if you currently have no opt-in, you can totally start with a newsletter, if that sounds manageable and less intimidating for you. All that would really involve is you just committing to regularly communicating with your audience.

Erica Julson: You don't have to create any fancy download. You don't have to... If you don't have a clear focus on who your ideal client is, and you don't know what they would want, that's fine, you can start with the newsletter. Just know going into it, that your opt in rate is going to be on the lower side. But at least you're getting some people on your list and you can always improve your opt-in and try other things as you get more clarity on your business and your brand. So if you do go this route and you want to make an opt-in form that is asking people to join your email list, it's just most important to highlight the value that they're going to get. So when someone joins my email list, I could make that more specific. And I could say, they're going to get weekly recaps of the best Facebook group discussions, exclusive discounts for courses, products and services, and tested tips for creating passive income so you can leave your nine to five.

Erica Julson: That sounds way more exciting than just join the newsletter for updates, right? So as the more clarity and systems and consistency that you can get in your newsletter, then you can translate that into the newsletter opt-in form and the offer that you're presenting people. Again in the beginning, you might not know what types of stuff you're sending. It did take me like maybe six months to figure out that I wanted to send weekly recaps of the best Facebook group discussion. So that wasn't even something that was on my radar when I started my list. So grow, try stuff, tweak, see what's popular. And then just go from there. So below I'm going to share some examples of good newsletter opt-ins because as I said, the example I showed of my own opt-in form was not that great.

Erica Julson: So I did some digging. I looked all over the internet at some of my favorite websites and people who just do a really good job with marketing. And I'm going to link to these below. I didn't, for obviously for legal reasons, want to include pictures of other people's work in my paid product. I don't think that's ethical. So I'm going to link to these pages. And so you can go to their actual website, they can get the page views and you can get some real life interactive examples of websites that have good newsletter opt-in forms. All right, let's move on to the next beginner type of opt-in, which is downloads. And this is probably the category that most of you guys are going to be in, in terms of the type of lead magnet you decide to create at the end of this week.

Erica Julson: So this is a very large and popular category, and it includes all of these items. As you can see here in this list, everything from cheat sheets and checklists to worksheets and workbooks. So I just put this in alphabetical order, and we're going to go through, I'll explain what each one is. And again, linked to some great examples. And I spent a lot of time looking for these examples. So I hope they're helpful. Obviously the point here is to see how they're being offered so that you can emulate those things on your own website if it's something that looks appealing to you or if you want to see what the actual downloads look like, you can totally opt into these people's lists and they will email them to you. And then on top of seeing the actual opt-in PDF, you're going to be able to also see their email flow.

Erica Julson: So you can see what the initial email looks like when you get it. Are they doing double opt-in, are they doing single opt-in, which is stuff that we're going to talk about next week. But basically, are they just sending you the freebie straight up or are they asking you to confirm first? So if you have to confirm that's called double opt-in, if you never have to confirm again that single opt-in. All right, so the first item is cheat sheets and checklists. And the perk of these is that it helps people save time and time is money. So people are always looking to experts to boil things down for them, give the info to them in a cheat sheet format or a checklist. So if you have any sort of complicated topic that you teach on, boil it down to just the essentials, format that into a cheat sheet and a checklist, and you'll be golden.

Erica Julson: And if you're just starting out and you're not really sure what type of information to put into a cheat sheet and a checklist, probably the most helpful tip is to just think of the main topic you teach on and then create a cheat sheet or a checklist around that. Then you can use that opt-in all over your site. So what is the point of your brand? What's the main thing you stand for? Can you create an opt-in around that topic so that it applies to basically all the content on your site. And don't hold back on these. They need to be enticing and worth downloading. If your idea can easily be found with a quick Google search and there's tons of free stuff that doesn't even require an opt-in, that's probably not going to cut it. So how can you make your offer even better and more valuable?

Erica Julson: So here's some good examples if you'd like to see them. They're all linked too below. Number one is, Seven Steps to Exponentially Grow Your Audience, Influence and Revenue with Virtual Summits, Free Cheat Sheet. This is from Navid, I don't know how you say his last name, Moazzez, maybe. He's an online marketing guy. But can you see that's exciting, that makes me feel like, Oh yes, I want to grow my audience. I want to grow my influence. And I definitely want to grow my revenue. Oh, with something called virtual summits, what's that? Let's download the free cheat sheet and see what it's all about. And by saying free, that's exciting and cheat sheet makes me feel like it's not going to be overwhelming. And he's just going to give me obviously the seven steps that I need to know to understand whether this might be a good fit for something I want to try in my business. So that's a really great opt-in.

Erica Julson: And then we have Pat Flynn who to be quite honest, gets away with not having to do that much snazzy marketing, because he himself has built such a valuable brand and people really know, like, and trust him. Mostly from consuming his podcast content, but he also has wonderful blogs and webinars and things like that. So his title is less exciting, it's called The Podcast Cheat Sheet. But he's such an authority in the podcast space that they assume, oh, this is going to be really high quality if it's coming from Pat Flynn, he's been podcasting for like a decade. This podcast cheat sheet is probably going to be super, super valuable. So since podcasting is one of the main things he talks about on his website this is an opt-in that makes sense. And it aligns with his paid offers because he has a podcasting course as well.

Erica Julson: So once you opt in for the podcast cheat sheet, that's you telling him that, "Hey, I'm here because I want to learn about podcasting." And he knows that you would be the right person to eventually mention his podcasting course to via email later on. SEMrush, if you guys have taken my SEO course, you're probably familiar with SEMrush. They are a paid tool that you can use for SEO purposes. They're great for keyword research. You can audit your website and they help with figuring out if your content is set up well in an SEO friendly way. So they're a very big and reputable brand as well. And they have on their website, something called the content marketing checklist. So this is a checklist to help you make sure that you're doing a good job with your content marketing. So you're blogging, are you promoting it well? Are you creating it well? All of those things.

Erica Julson: So for people who are on SEMrush, because they want to increase their blog traffic, a content marketing checklist makes a lot of sense, right? These are all people who want to get more blog traffic, they're busy, they just want to know what works and a checklist to make sure that they're doing all the right things when their content marketing is very appealing. And in other related fields like WeddingWire, if you guys have been planning a wedding at all in the recent years, WeddingWire is a very, very popular website to help you do so. And they know their target market. So just like SEMrush offers a content marketing checklist, the WeddingWire website offers a free wedding checklist because there's so many moving parts with planning a wedding. I haven't personally done it yet. But seen many of my friends go through the process. In a free wedding checklist, just to make sure that you didn't forget anything or you're doing things in the right order, in the right timeframe. That's invaluable.

Erica Julson: So they offer that as an opt-in on their website. And then finally, Amy Porterfield, who is another online marketing expert who is sort of... She does a really popular podcast. And she was known originally for doing Facebook ads. And then she started teaching about online courses and now does some stuff on email marketing as well. But she has a really great opt-in. She got really fancy, actually. She used to do opt-ins, high quality opt-ins paired up with her podcast episodes. So whatever she was talking about, she would create an opt-in to go with the podcast episode. So the people who were listening to that episode, were probably interested in that topic, so then they would opt-in to get whatever extra bonus went along with a podcast episode. So just combing through some of her stuff, I actually looked through my own computer to see what opt-ins I had downloaded and this was one of them.

Erica Julson: Back in the day I downloaded her project plan checklist and it was so, so, so well done. So I thought I'd share it here in case you guys wanted to check that out. Basically, she just broke it down, like if you want to take on a new project, like putting out an online course, what do you have to do? What are the steps that you and your team need to make sure you're on top of? And what timeframe should you be doing each step to get this product out there into the world in an organized and systematic way? So these are all examples of some really good cheat sheets and checklists that you can go and download yourself if you'd like, or maybe just check out the website where they're hosted so you can see sort of how they're presented, get your [inaudible 00:21:41].

Erica Julson: The second type of opt-in is formulas and spreadsheets. And this works really well for technical topics. These help people be more organized and have systems. So this might not work for every niche, but it's worth mentioning in case you teach something a little bit technical. So for example, HubSpot is a blog that talks a lot about blogging. And one of the things that they offer their readers is a social media calendar spreadsheet, which makes a lot of sense because people who are blogging and posting on social media, they want to know what the fancy holidays are so they can remember, Oh, today is a National Entrepreneur Day. I probably want to post about that or something like that. So they offer a free social media calendar spreadsheet that you can download with all of the dates and you can probably edit it and add your own stuff as well.

Erica Julson: Similarly, I found this website here, I'm not familiar with their brand specifically, but I was just looking for good formula and spreadsheet ideas, and they offer a spreadsheet called Budgeting Your Private Practice, Excel Budget Spreadsheet. So this person knew that their target audience was, I think this might be a therapist, was talking to other therapists who wanted to start a private practice and had no clue how to start their budget, what was realistic, how to keep track of their expenses and things like that. So she just shared her own personal budgeting spreadsheet as a private practice person herself. And that was a really effective opt-in. But again, this only makes sense if your target audience is other private practice, dietitians or therapists or whatever. If you're targeting lay people, this would not be a good example of an opt-in. So see how it matters. You want to think is this thing that I'm offering attracting the right person that I eventually want to sell to.

Erica Julson: Number three is guides. So this can be a PDF on a certain topic and they're often either quick guides, which in my opinion are better because the point of an opt-in usually is to save people time. But some in-depth guides do well if they're coming from a subject or if they're on a subject that people care about and they're coming from a brand or a person with a lot of authority on the topic. So for example some of you probably are familiar with Jenna Kutcher. She's kind of like a marketing business woman. So she has a podcast and a blog with information on starting her own business. I think she started out as a photographer, but now she's more known as sort of like a business advice person. So she is really good at Pinterest. That's one of the main cornerstones that she talks about in her blog a lot.

Erica Julson: So she's attracting people who want to learn Pinterest and she has a Pinterest course. So of course her free opt-in is ultimate Pinterest guide. So you could use something like that too. If you have a course on a topic, you could create a quote unquote, ultimate guide on it. If you wanted. I would say in general, you probably want to keep it to no more than maybe 10 to 20 pages. It doesn't need to be a giant eBook. That's not the point. You just want to show that you know what you're talking about and give people some actionable tips and takeaways. Search Engine Journal, which is a blog about everything SEO, has something called The Link Building Guide, which is also very aligned with their offers. So they talk all about SEO. So it makes sense for somebody who wants to learn how to improve their search engine optimization, would want a link building guide because building links is a huge part of SEO. And Search Engine Journal is a reputable person to get that guide from because they are an entire website that teaches SEO.

Erica Julson: So you want to make sure if you can, that it's outcome focused. So Ultimate Pinterest Guide is by the end, hopefully teaching someone everything they need to know, to wrap their head around Pinterest and same thing with The Link Building Guide. So after they're done reading through the guide, they should feel comfortable and confident with what link building is and how to get started. So could you create a guide around whatever you blog about? Probably good. D, letter D is meal plans. So these work really well, obviously for food and nutrition bloggers. It does need to be aligned with the type of person that's coming to your site and the type of recipes and meal plans that they would want. And the reason I said meal plans and not recipe PDFs, yes, you could say, "Hey, download my 10 most popular cookie recipes or something."

Erica Julson: But that's not as effective as a meal plan. And the reason is because your cookie recipes are probably already on your blog for free, and it's not that hard for someone to just poke around and find them. In contrast, a meal plan typically is laid out by the days of the week, it's saving them time. So they're taking away the brain power of having to figure out what to make for dinner. You're doing that for them. You're telling them exactly what they're going to have on what days. And you're giving them the recipes and you're giving them a shopping list. So that is much more high value than just a PDF of some recipes. So if you're a food and nutrition blogger, this is one type of opt-in that you could consider.

Erica Julson: Some examples include the Seven Day Diabetes Meal Plan from dietitian Lori Zanini, a link to that below. Weekly Meal Plans from The Feed Feed. The Feed Feed is like a pretty big blog and to get people to join the list and then want to stay on the list. They actually offer free weekly meal plans, which is a huge value. I'm actually subscribed and they're really fun to receive. And then sometimes they give me... I don't necessarily follow those meal plans every week, but I do open them and look at them for good, fun weeknight recipe ideas. So that's an option if you're really invested in the food and nutrition space and you want to continually offer high value to someone and keep them on your list. Or the blog, 100 Days of Real Food, they offer five free real food meal plans which is kind of exciting. So you can get not just one meal plan, but five, if you offer your name and your email address. And as I mentioned, these are much more effective than recipe books.

Erica Julson: Letter E, is planners and calendars, and these help people get more organized. And I don't know about you, but I always could be more organized. I have a mess that makes sense to me. I'm not the most organized person. So any sort of help that I can get with that, it might be something I'd be willing to give my name and email for. So some good examples, there is a blog called Making Lemonade and they have a 2019 yearly planner for their audience. So if you are... This is more like a lifestyle blog and that's something that they decided their audience is interested in, just getting plans, seeing a higher level view of the whole year and having a plan. Or HubSpot, again, and talking about blogging and social media. They have a social media content calendar template as well. This is similar to the Excel spreadsheet, but it's not in Excel spreadsheet, it's in calendar format. So that works as well. Whatever fits with your audience.

Erica Julson: So if you have any sort of thing that you have people do, like maybe you're a fitness blogger, could you help them come up with a fitness planner or a calendar or something like that? That could be an option as well. Item F is printables. So not just something they would download and maybe read on their computer and forget about, but something they would download and print out. So similarly, as you can see, calendars are popular. There is a blogger called Blogilates who offers printable calendars on her website. So I'll link to that below and you can actually print them out and use them. And then that keeps you top of mind because they're like, "Oh yeah, these are these cool calendars I got from Blogilates."

Erica Julson: Little Gourmet Baby offers a baby led weaning food list printable. So not just a food list that's designed to be read and left on your computer, but something that they promote for you to print out and hang on your fridge. And then inaudible has actually a library of free printables. So some people make like a whole business out of principles and they sell printables, but they'll maybe offer a selection of some of them that are free. So if you enter your name and email, you're going to get a password to be able to enter the area on their website with a whole library of free printables. And for someone who's really into printables, that might be really exciting offer.

Erica Julson: Letter G, is reports. And this is a little more complicated and probably not a beginner really level opt in, even though I know I put it in beginner opt-in. I put in beginner because it's easy to set up. But it's not easy to put together. So a report would be when you collect data and present it in a report. So this is usually done by bigger brands with large following because they have the people to reach out to and survey and collect the data. But it can be really massive for boosting your authority. So a really good example is social media marketing, sorry, Social Media Examiner. They have a social media marketing industry report that they put out every year and they've been doing it for 11 years. So at this point it's known as a really high quality piece of content that people who do social media marketing professionally want to get their hands on.

Erica Julson: And even lay people who are just getting into social media marketing wants to know what's going on in the industry to see if they're focusing on the right things. So it's a very good opt-in. It attracts people interested in social media marketing from all ranges of experience. And their website does target people from beginner to advanced. So it's a good multi-purpose opt-in that they could put all over their website and get a lot of people opting in. So, as I said, this is their 11th annual report that they have up right now. It's 46 pages long, although I will say it's not texts, it's mostly pictures and charts. So that's why. It's like one chart per page basically, and divided up by category.

Erica Julson: To make this report, they surveyed over 4,800 social media marketers in order to get all the data. And they're collecting information on industry trends, the biggest questions people have about social media in that year, what they perceive as the benefits of using social media, et cetera. And then as a perk throughout that report, they sprinkle in ads for their social media marketing conference that they put on every year. So it's not only a good lead magnet that shows their authority in the space, but it's also a marketing tool.

Erica Julson: Letter G is resources. So what resources do you use all the time around whatever niche you teach about? So for me, since I teach about business and entrepreneurship, I just have to think about what resources I use in my business and share that with other people, because they're naturally curious and interested in what successful people are using. So just compile all of those resources into a PDF, and you can use that as an opt-in. So I'll share a link to this below if you want to check out what mine actually looked like. I'm not actively promoting this as an opt-in anymore, but this was the first type of opt-in that I ever created for The Unconventional RD brand. And it's an okay opt-in. I mean, I could do a lot better at this point now that I have paid products that I'm offering people.

Erica Julson: My next level of upleveling my email marketing is to get much more specific and focus my opt-ins around the topics that I teach courses on. At this time when I created this opt-in I didn't have any courses. I didn't even know really what I was trying to do with The Unconventional RD blog. It was mostly just me documenting my experiences, the things that worked and the things that didn't work. We're trying to start a blog and an online business. So at that time I thought something that was valuable was just helping share the resources that I used to create the blog and create and run my business. So I put together this opt-in form, 25 Must Have Resources For Online Entrepreneurs. I could definitely get more specific now and maybe say something about dietitians in there.

Erica Julson: And I said, my favorite tools for running an online business, work smarter not harder sign up to get my 25 Must Have Tools. And then I did an okay job with being a little more exciting. I said, "Do you ever consider, or do you ever wonder where online entrepreneurs get their photos? What they use to design graphics? How they schedule social media content? Sign up to receive a list of my 25 Favorite Resources with quick and simple descriptions of why they are must-haves. For real, this list will save you hours of time and energy." Yes. Send me the goods. So that's a much better opt-in. I was getting better. Then when I was just putting that little newsletter blurb on my previous blog, then I sort of fell off of best practices. And this is the only way that I was promoting it.

Erica Julson: So on the bottom of each blog post, I had this really confusing and messy piece of text that said, "PS, if you haven't checked it out yet, I totally recommend joining The Unconventional RD Community on Facebook." So first I'm asking them to join my Facebook group, then in the same paragraph, I'm saying sign up to get my 25 Must Have Resources For Online Entrepreneurs, which is good, but I mean, it's a little confusing, because it's all together in this paragraph and it doesn't stand out. And then I ask them for a third action, connect with me on social media and link to my three profiles. That's way too much going on in one paragraph. Someone's either going to just ignore this paragraph completely, or they're maybe going to do the first action. They're probably not going to sign up my 25 Must Have Resources For Online Entrepreneurs.

Erica Julson: So because I didn't present it in a very good way, if someone clicked on this link here, that's when they would see this page. Maybe it would have been better to have a screenshot of this or something as a picture and then link to the page. There's so many ways I could have done it better. But anyway, the conversion rate was just okay, I had it at the bottom of 24 blog posts on The Unconventional RD website. It's still there. I didn't go back and remove it or anything. Around 18,000 unique users have seen or have been to those blog posts, visited them, whether they scrolled all the way to the bottom and actually saw the opt-in is debatable.

Erica Julson: But 18,000 unique users have been to those blog posts. And I got 290 subscribers total after having it up for two and a half years. So that ends up being a 1.6% conversion rate which is still slightly below average. So it obviously needs to be way more clear and more highlighted as an action that I want people to take. And I also need to get more traffic. 18,000 users over two and a half years is not a lot of traffic to this blog. And that's mostly because I've been focusing on my Facebook community for nurturing my brand and forming relationships with people. And I haven't spent a lot of time blogging within The Unconventional RD brand. But that is all going to change in 2020. So stay tuned. I'm excited as I keep experimenting to share with you guys what's working or not working as I blog more with this brand. So as I said, this was an okay opt-in when I didn't have a product yet, but now I can do better. So I really should be making something that's aligned with my paid offers. So an opt-in related to SEO, blog monetization, or email marketing.

Erica Julson: And the second to last option is templates, scripts and swipe files. And this works really, really well for business and marketing niches. So basically what you're trying to do with this type of opt-in is save people the mental energy that is required to create from scratch. Creating and writing is a really big hurdle for a lot of people. So templates, scripts, or swipe files, which are basically just a collection of ideas. So like a swipe file of email subject lines or a swipe file of blog post titles, or anything that you can think of, a swipe file of a Facebook ad copy. Templates, scripts, and swipe files they basically give people a place to start. So they're not going to copy that exactly, but they're just looking for somewhere to jump off from. So they want confidence to know that they're not wasting their time and they're following a proven framework.

Erica Julson: So some good examples, the website RD2RD as you guys probably know, I'm a huge fan of that website. And it's a website that allows dietitians to upload digital goods like handouts and things like that to this marketplace and sell them to other dietitians who are looking for those types of resources. And as the owner of RD2RD, Megan Boitano, she realized that one of the biggest hurdles for getting people to create digital goods to sell on the website was that they felt uncomfortable with design. They didn't know how to create a good looking handout. And then they felt like that was holding them back from ever putting something up on the site for sale. So she created a free opt-in for Canva templates for nutrition professionals, and she made it, I think, a limited time opt-in so that people would be excited and want to get it. It's not just always available. She put a deadline on it.

Erica Julson: And then I think after the deadline, she might start selling it. But yeah, she put out Canva templates. How genius is that? So if the thing that's holding back, her ideal customer from engaging and creating products to sell on her site is lack of comfort with design, she just solved that problem with the free template or a free opt-in. So that's a fabulous example of a highly aligned opt-in that not only gets people on her list, but brings her ideal customer one step closer to uploading items to her site for sale. And then she earns a profit when those items are sold. So that's such a good idea. Example number two, is from the Female Entrepreneurs Network. So this is obviously a business focused on helping female entrepreneurs be successful in their business.

Erica Julson: And as you can see, when people do discovery calls and things like that, and they're talking to their prospective customers, one of the things that marketing experts will often ask you to do is to work on overcoming objections. But as a new marketer or as a new business owner, sometimes that can feel really awkward or uncomfortable, or you don't even know what people are talking about, when they say that you're like, "Okay, overcome objections but what do I say? How do I lead into that conversation? What do I need to say to overcome the objections? How do I know what the objections are?" So they put together an overcome objections sales script which is a free opt-in to help people with that problem.

Erica Julson: And then the third example is just from another sort of branding company, 28 Facebook Ad Swipe Files For Creatives. So if you're ready to get started with paying for Facebook ads, they give you 28 ideas for the copy that you can put in the Facebook ad to be effective. So those are all things to think about. Do you have anyone in your audience who is struggling to just get started with something? Is there a format or a template or a script or a set of ideas that you could present to them to help them get started? And that's a really popular opt-in. I'm sure I'm going to be creating this type of opt-in for The Unconventional RD brand, as I start creating more blog content.

Erica Julson: And then the last option is worksheets and workbooks. And these help people organize their ideas on a topic, which then helps them take action. So this is a really timely example. From last week when we were doing the ideal customer avatar exercise, this is a popular concept that's all over the internet. You probably have seen it before. And some people write blog posts about it and then create opt-ins to go with it. So for example, the blog, Digital Marketer, they know that a lot of people have heard about this ideal customer avatar concept, are Googling it, they're trying to figure out how do I do this for my business. And it makes a lot of sense to offer a worksheet around that topic. Because that is a type of topic where writing down your ideas helps you flesh it out and get more clarity.

Erica Julson: So is there something that you teach in your business where writing it down or organizing things or answering prompts can help them? If that's true, then you could totally create some sort of worksheet or workbook to help your ideal client. So I know that was a lot of options. We went from A to J with examples, but definitely take some time here, pause for a moment, check out the links below this video. So you can really get some concrete ideas on what this stuff looks like. Not only how they're asking you to join their list, but maybe sign up for the ones that speak to you and get the freebie. So you can also see how it's formatted and laid out. Because later on today, we're going to talk about how to create the opt-in to look good and having examples can really help.

Erica Julson: Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode and were taking furious notes along the way. My action item for you today is to pick one of these 10 list building methods and implement one of them in the next two weeks. That gives you 14 solid days to choose your strategy, create the lead magnet, if needed, set up the tech and start building your list. I promise you'll be so happy that you did. And again, if you're not sure why you should build a list or what to do after you have one, definitely check out episode 35 of this podcast, where I talked more about this. And as always hit the subscribe button, wherever you're listening on this podcast or listening to this podcast so you can get the newest episodes right when they're released. So see you next week.

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Erica Julson is a registered dietitian turned digital marketing pro. She has over 12 years of experience blogging and building online businesses and has taught over 900 wellness professionals inside her signature program, SEO Made Simple.