10 Unconventional Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your Email List

10 Unconventional Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your Email List

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They are omnipresent these days. Popping out of corners, smacking you in the face unexpectedly, following you on the sidebar as you scroll through content.

Opt-ins seems to be the thing that everyone is using as a growth strategy. And with due reason. The amount of email subscribers you can gain from a great opt-in can be unreal.

You not only want to make sure you have a seriously helpful opt-in, you want to make sure you have your email organized with easy marketing software like ConvertKit (what I’ve used and love from the start).

ConvertKit is a great way to kick off your email list journey because there isn’t a steep learning curve and it won’t overwhelm you (which is absolutely what all bloggers want to avoid the most). But that’s a post for another day.

But a lot of your opt-in success also depends on the TYPE of opt-in. The difference between having a good opt-in can make or break your list building situation.

The four most usual mistakes bloggers make with opt-ins are:

  1. They don’t make the copy about their audience
  2. They are too vague
  3. They are too boring
  4. They over promise and under deliver

To read more on these four points you can check out: The Problem with your Opt-In: The 4 Most Usual Blogger Mistakes

Try some of these ten opt-in ideas to use and adapt to your site + take it a step further than a boring printable checklist that no one clicks on.

1. Detailed Case Study With An Actionable Promise

In this opt-in the devil is in the details.

You can’t just promise to deliver information, you need to promise real actionable steps right to their inbox IF they decide to give you their information.

Case studies with a promise work great for those bloggers with experience with unusual traffic growth, for example, or viral posts.

It’s a great way to say ‘If I can do this, you can too’ with an experienced example of something you’ve done that’s worked for you exceptionally well.

As an example, say your case study is about how you got 10,000 email subscribers in one month, your opt-in could go along the lines of:

Get my case study on how I used this ONE detailed opt-in to reel in 10k subscribers in one month.

You’ll learn:

  • The exact method that worked in getting the attention of new visitors
  • The copy I used through the whole process to get visitors to take action
  • Actionable steps on how you can achieve the same results

How irresistible is that?

A case study can be applied to:

  • How you grew your e-mail list
  • How you got published in an important outlet
  • How you were able to get a ‘yes’ on guest posting
  • How you designed your money-generating sales funnel

It all revolves around how to get a desirable outcome that answer’s your audience’s pain point.

Framing it as a case study, you’ll send the message to the possible opt-in that they will be getting valuable detailed information.

If you pair that with something of value that bloggers actually WANT to learn about—whether it’s for beginners or intermediates, and that isn’t easily findable elsewhere, then you have a winning opt in.

2. Specific Scripts

Everyone loves scripts.

They make life easier. They’re even better when they’re free.

Is there sales funnel copy that got you great results?

Is there a kicking welcome email that got you great responses?

Scripts are a great opt-ins if they’re appropriate for your blogging niche.

As an illustration, your opt-in copy could go something like this:

I used this exact email script to land me as a regular contributor in The Huffington Post.

Learn EXACTLY how I did it and contact that big name site of your dreams today!

If you are using a script on how to create a great funnel as an opt-in you could say:

Learn how to craft a sales funnel email series with the word-by-word script that I used to generate 15k in revenue in just 5 days.

This opt-in is all about making other’s live’s easier. Just make sure you make it intriguing enough for them to want in.

3. Infographic Templates

This opt-in can work best for a more design/art centered blogger.

Specifically, this opt-in delivers premade templates to their inbox.

You can use popular design programs such as Canva, Photoshop, Illustrator, or PicMonkey to design your infographic templates.

Your copy could look like this:

Get a set of 5 beautiful pre-designed Canva infographic templates right to your inbox. 

-personalize the copy
-change the colors to your liking
-add your own pictures to the pre-cut templates

Just let me know where to send them below:

Infographics are great sources of easily digestible information and they are being included in blogs more and more. Bloggers are continuously adding them to their content.

While this opt-in might take some time to put together, it is nothing short of creative.

4. Round Up Of How To’s

The first example I ever saw of anyone doing this is the opt-in by Mary Fernandez from the MaryFernandez.co blog where she blogs and publishes podcasts on marketing.

Here opt-in is rightfully names The Giant Guest Blogging Index and man does it deliver.

It is a compilation of prominent blogs, sorted by their specific niche, with specific directions and guidelines as to how to guest post/apply to guest post on each one.

Genius. Pure genius.

So far, the opt-in has helped Mary gain more than 2k subscribers.

A round up opt-in can be a great resource for your audience if the round up is of value and usable e.g. not just ‘expert’ advise without any clear actionable steps.

What makes Mary’s opt-in so valuable is that it’s all the information in one place and it saves you the hassle of looking up everything yourself.

Mary did the hard work for you.

You could do the same with specific tools you use to achieve something like:

  • Top SEO optimization tools
  • An index of the top ten bloggers and how they are making an income
  • An index of the top places to find freelance work
  • The top productivity apps ranked by rating

You get the idea.

5. Mystery Gift

Ah the mystery gift.

Curiosity kills the cat (but at least he dies knowing) is an appropriate saying here.

Everyone has a curiosity lever in them. It can be used as a part of your opt-in.

Say, for example, that you want to ‘gift’ your reader with a list of tools to help generate SEO friendly headlines, a couple of stock photos, and/or access to a private webinar where you shower them with value.

Making it a mystery can be a fun way to get more opt-ins.

Your opt in copy could go along the lines of:

I want to send you a ‘basket’ of useful goodies as a thank you for visiting my site. But I can’t quite tell you what’s inside. Find out for yourself and tell me where to send it below.


I’d like to send you a special thank you gift for visiting my site. Tell me where to send it below (hint: It’s time sensitive).

Now, the secret to delivering on a mystery opt in is to under promise and over deliver. That way you genuinely surprise and please your audience once they find out what you’ve sent them.

Also, the content you send them should be broad enough or a diversified combination of things within your blog niche that maximizes the probability of being useful to whoever clicks on it.

6. Free Consultation

This one almost works like a sweepstakes.

This opt-in reels in your audience at a chance to get a free consultation by simply typing in their email address.

This works best for more established bloggers who are in the consulting/services niche.

The rules by which you choose who gets a consultation and who doesn’t is totally up to you as the administrator.

Also this can work doubly for you as a blogger if you’re also attempting to get valuable reader insight.

For example, your copy on the opt-in could look like:

Enter for a chance to land a free 15 minute consultation with me and get tips on optimizing your blog content for more traffic + engagement! You’ll get directions on how to enter by entering your info below:

If they give you their email, they can be greeted with an email thanking them and asking them to answer three questions to enter them into the drawing.

This is where your questions, if filled out, could provide you with valuable insight—if you ask things such as ‘what are you struggling with the most in your blogging journey? What type of content is most helpful to you? How can I make your blogging life easier?’

After the allotted time (whatever you make that as the administrator) you pick a (or a few) winners, you can email all who entered informing them that they didn’t win but thanking them for participating.

As an added bonus and a way to build rapport and connection you can encourage them to ask you one specific question and you’ll get back to them with an answer as soon as possible.

Do you see how the scenario this opt-in sets up can function as a win-win ?

Your opt-ins get feedback from you, and you also get feedback from your opt-ins.

7. A Workbook

Too many times I see an opt-in that says something like:

‘click here to get my two free e-books’

Cricket. Cricket.

They say nothing about what the books are about. Put yourself in the opt-in’s shoes.

Why would they want to opt-in to two e-books without at least knowing what value the e-books will bring to them?

Now, a ‘how t’o workbook is different.

Often [eople are simply at a loss at simple and easy-to-follow directions on how to DO something.

Does your blog revolve around design? Or around using online tools to better SEO?

Send them a how to workbook or email series!


Get my easy to follow workbook on how to get started with Canva/Illustrator/Photoshop/WordPress [ insert whatever it is here]! Just tell me where you want it sent below:

Want to better your content SEO? Who doesn’t! Get my free step-by-step workbook on optimizing the heck out of all your online content. Give me a reliable address where I can send it below:

Everyone craves hand holding when they don’t know how to do something. A workbook is a great way to deliver value and build credibility in your niche.

8. Quizzes

Quizzes! Everyone loves quizzes.

Wonder why sites like buzzfeed capitalize on quizzes? That’s why!

So, without further ado, come up with a kick ass quiz.

People love being told things about themselves.

There are plenty of quiz making apps out there you can use.

Oh and lets not forget the opt-in copy.

It could look something like this:

Take this personalized quiz to find out which blogger archetype best fits you and how you can capitalize on your strengths. Get it in your inbox to keep your findings.


Ever wonder what kind writer you are? Tell me where and I’ll send you a free quiz to hone down on your writer identity.

9. Personalized Critic

Now this one can be daunting if you get tons of subscribers. But if you are just gaining some traffic traction it’s worth the try.

Your opt in copy could look something like this:

Get a personalized blog critic sent to you below from yours truly. Just enter your information below.

You can ask for their name, email, and blog URL and promptly send them a short email with 2-3 suggestions on what they could modify/add/make better on their site.

If you’d like you can also send them a welcome email first and ask them a question and THEN send them their personalized critic.

This opt in requires time. Though it does give you the opportunity to connect with individual readers on a personal level and hopefully convert them into raving fans later.

10. Video Opt-in

As the platforms we use to communicate online shift, there is a growing demand for video.

In many ways, it trumps static words on paper and can serve to give that extra memorable and entertainment factor.

An opt-in video is a great way to do this.

Your video could be anything from a ‘how to’ video to ‘The 5 Mistakes Beginner Entrepreneurs Make and How To Fix Them.’

For a good video opt-in, you need to make sure your copy is specific and again, that your video is full of value and over delivers.

Your video opt-in copy could look something like this:

Don’t have time to read? Get this 3 step video on how to create more persuasive copy in under 10 minutes! Let me know where I can send it below:


Get my video right in your inbox to teach you the formula I use to stand out in an overcrowded market with 5 practical steps you can implement TODAY.


Opt-ins are a great way to enter into your future audience’s life as a trusted source of valuable content.

Finding out what works best for you is often a game of trial and error. Try some of these ideas out and see what kind of results you get.

Tweak, scrap, and refine as necessary.