The Problem With Your Opt-In: The 4 Most Common Blogger Mistakes

The Problem With Your Opt-In: The 4 Most Common Blogger Mistakes

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Opt-ins are a growth steroid to your email list.

They, if constructed accurately and with your audience in mind, can give you pretty sweet results when it comes to rapidly (or at least consistently) growing your email list.

But only a specific kind of opt in.

A blah opt-in will attract blah results.

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.

Right now, when it comes to crafting compelling opt-ins—

The four most usual mistakes 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

Let’s take a closer look at each one:

They Don’t Make The Copy About Their Audience

It’s me, me, me. Sign up to MY email list, get MY free e-book, Get MY most valuable content.

Dale Carnegie, the author of the best seller ‘How To Make Friends And Influence People’ says it best when he explains:

“First, arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.”

When Carnegie talks about ‘arousing in the other person an eager want’ he is referring to the most common mistakes we all make when trying to convince someone of something.

We fail to see things from their perspective.

We fail to prioritize their wants over our own and capitalize on it.

Putting yourself in your audience’s shoes is a great way to see things from their perspective to get a better sense of how they would react to an opt-in.

It’s vital to ask yourself a few questions:

  • As a potential opt-in, where does traffic from your site come from the most?
  • Does that have an effect on the type of opt-in you offer?
  • What are the people you are trying to target like?
  • How do they speak? How could you emulate that to better communicate your opt-in message?
  • What images/colors are they most drawn to?
  • What kind of call to action would they be most likely to respond to?

Psychologically, people are most drawn to an opportunity when it’s framed in a way that will benefit them.

It appeals to the selfish side we all have in us.

What’s in it for them besides getting a piece of YOU?

Will they learn something? Will they get something they can use? Will they be informed? Will they be entertained?

Some Important words to use in your email copy to hone in on this effect are:

  • you
  • your
  • we
  • help
  • free
  • exact
  • learn
  • how to
  • create
  • gain
  • add

Words pertaining to three things:

  1. Them (you, your)
  2. Not having to pay (free! Everybody that has a body loves free!)
  3. Doing (learning, gaining, applying, creating)

help to stay away from capitalizing YOU and instead capitalizes your audience and their growth + well being.

After all, If you have a business, it’s all about your audience and setting them up for success.

In the end, if they succeed, so do you.

They Are Too Vague

I’m not exactly sure what I’m getting if a box of donuts only says ‘donuts inside’ now do I?

I want to know how much they cost, if they’re chocolate or sprinkles or both, how fresh they are, if they are gluten free, when they expire, etc.

Without specifically labeling goods they would be harder to sell.

Likewise, without being specific, your opt-in is harder to ‘sell.’

People want to know exactly what they are getting.

They want to know exactly what problem you’re addressing

‘Get my latest blog post idea. Just enter your email below’…what does that mean? What will I, as the ‘opt-inner’ get out of it? How is this worth my time?

Sometimes, the problem isn’t that we are being too vague in that we aren’t descriptive enough, it’s that it’s too vague because we try to offer solutions to three, four, or six problems.

Sometimes being presented with too many choices can make us freeze and not really want to make a decision.

That’s why it’s better to focus on ONE problem to solve or address.

Instead of saying:

‘Learn how to grow your e-mail list, optimize your blog, make the perfect omelet, and start your day off right with this pack of worksheets! Sign up below!’

Solving ONE problem would look like:

‘Learn how to grow your email list and add 5,000 subscribers in under three months with this step-by-step actionable plan.’

It’s easier to be enticed and make a quick decision when you are faced with one choice instead of a mix of many things that can obscure each other and make your message unclear.

They Are Too Boring

People can’t be bored into ‘buying’ your idea.

Take a minute to imagine the amount of opt-ins the average user has come across. You can bet many people have seen or at least feel like they’ve seen it all.

But not with your opt-in, not if you pay more attention to detail and pay attention to some key points.

Being forgettable and boring can be remedied with a few things:

  • exclamation points (used sparingly)
  • vivid words
  • color
  • an unconventional opt-in

Exclamation points

…can be dangerous if overused but effective when used properly.

A good rule of thumb is to keep it limited to one added to the sentence that holds the most excitement or punch in your opt-in copy.

Vivid Words

Vivid words over dead words any day.

Try switching:

Awesome → awe-inspiring, stunning, staggering, powerful, impressive

Good → great, helpful, actionable, quality

Helpful → beneficial, valuable, advantageous

The art of vivid writing is simply switching weaker words with power words. Words that pack a punch, are more descriptive, and evoke more emotion in people than others.


If possible, adding color to your opt-in adds a great way to grab attention.

There are many opt-ins out there that are gray and sad. You wouldn’t want your audience to feel like that’s what they are opting into.

An Unconventional Opt-in

And of course, you could do everything listed here and still not do as well as you could if the actual opt-in isn’t valuable or wakes up enough curiosity.

To get some ideas on unconventional opt-ins read: 10 Unconventional Opt-In Ideas to Grow Your Email List

Lack of call to action is an opt-in serial killer—when there is no specific and vivid language to get you to do what the opt-in is set out to do…to opt in!

Make sure you are adding verbs in there:

  • Get
  • Use
  • Apply
  • Steal
  • Create
  • Incorporate
  • Swipe
  • Take
  • Advance
  • Grow
  • execute
  • organize
  • solve
  • influence
  • enable
  • develop
  • adapt
  • lead
  • manage
  • improve

These words and many others add a much needed actionable punch to your opt-in. Don’t be afraid to command an action.

They Over Promise and Under Deliver

Or they promise you something with low barriers to entry, read: your potential opt-in has probably come across your opt in somewhere else and has no real motivation to give you their email.

But back to over promising.

People are, for the most part, pretty smart individuals. It’s a big let down when you tell them you’ll give them something awesome and then you never actually do and they get poop instead.

It’s better to switch that up and under promise while over delivering instead. Switching the equation makes for better results in terms of blogging credibility in your particular niche.

Under promising does not equal being vague though. It equals designing or researching the sh*t out of that one special opt-in.

It means the person that opted-in has no idea the value party they’re in for once they receive your content. It means that, once they open that opt-in, they’ll be hooked and excited once they get your next email. They’ll actually want to read what you have to say.

Ideally, opt-ins are specific while being about your audience while arousing exciting/curiosity and while over delivering. A great opt-in multitasks and does all four of these things.

Time To Put Your Creativity To Work

Opt-ins come in all shape and sizes for a variety of things across infinite niches.

The ones that can get your email list growing are effective and focus on not being vague, boring, or misleading.

In many ways, your opt-in could boil down to two main questions:

what is that ONE question my target audience wants/needs answers to?

How can I put it out there in a way that intrigues them enough to get the answer from me?

Don’t let perfection stop you in your tracks when offering an opt-in. The worst thing you could do for your blog is be undecided and not take action. Instead, focus on an idea and execute it the best you can while keeping these four points in mind.

Perfect opt-ins don’t exist. Instead, focus on refining it to fit your niche’s tastes, needs, and wants while keeping THEM at the center of your focus. Your readers and your email list will thank you for it.

So tell me, after refining the art of the opt-in with the four most common mistakes above, what will you create next?