Create a Compelling Incentive For Subscribers

In the last post, we discussed Newsletter Ideas. We’re now in Chapter Five (pages 35-45) of List Building for Bloggers, as we walk through it here in the LBFB Series.

Why Do People Sign Up For Your Mailing List? Or, Why Should They Sign Up For Your Mailing List?

This week in Brainstorming Hour with my private mastermind group, we did live reviews on opt-in boxes and opt-in copy. It was an enlightening session where we discussed placement, color, copywriting and the use of opt-in incentives.

Today we'll go over ways you can increase your conversion rate and get more (high quality) subscribers to your mailing list using incentives...

Your Objective: Why Did You Set Up An Email List?

Before you brainstorm your opt-in copy, or the type of incentive or bonus you want to offer when people subscribe to your list, you should analyze your objective.

What are your plans for your mailing list, and what do you hope to accomplish with the messages you send to subscribers?

Take out a notepad and jot down all of the ideas that come to mind. Now, cross off those that serve you (ie, make more sales, earn more advertising revenue, etc). The end result should be a list of ways you can best serve your specific market via email.

Next, describe your ideal subscriber.

Who are they? What do they need and/or want most? What do they struggle with, what problems are they facing, what can YOU help them with?

Knowing WHO you want to serve, and HOW you are going to serve them, is the first step to creating a profitable email list.

Using Incentives & Rewards To Encourage Sign-Ups

The copywriting (text) you use to encourage visitors to sign up for your mailing list should be in line with your primary objective (above). You want to keep your targeting as tight as possible. Use your incentive to speak directly to your target market, and invite the very specific type of people you want on your list.

How you get people to subscribe, or WHY they sign up, will determine the quality of your mailing list. If your incentive is tied in closely to your follow-up series, or the context of your emails to that list, you'll have a more loyal readership and see higher click-through & conversion rates.

"A great way to grow your list is to use an incentive. Your incentive should obviously be compelling, valuable and relevant for your target audience. What you don't want to do is attract tire-kickers who are just in it for the reward, so plan it carefully..." -Phil Hollows, LBFB page 36

Types of Opt-In Incentives

The most common form of opt-in incentive is an ebook or report the subscriber can download once they confirm their subscription. But there are many other incentives you can use as well. Get creative! Some ideas include:

  • An Ebook or Report
  • Notifications/Updates
  • Free Software or App
  • Coupon or Special Offer
  • Free Trial
  • Entry into Prize Drawings

One idea that Phil shared in his guide is to hold a drawing that is eligible to current subscribers every week, month or quarter. I love this idea! You could give away a product of your own, an Amazon Gift Card, etc. Again, get creative!

Improving Your Opt-in Copy & Incentive

Studying the Heat Map and Color Psychology guides was a real eye-opener. Michael Campbell teaches which colors you should use to sell which products, for example. Where elements should be placed on your page to get the most action, etc.

Grab a copy while it's on sale, if you haven't downloaded it already.

I encourage you to study your subscription forms today.

What incentive do you give visitors to subscribe to your list? Is this incentive compelling? Does it attract the ideal subscriber, and lead into the objective of your list? Are the emails you're sending to that list related to the reason people subscribed? And - are you split testing copy & incentives??

My own subscription forms here on ClickNewz are rather boring. There are two: one in the sidebar above the fold, and one below each post. So don't feel bad, we're working on this together! 😀

I'm in the process of completing a new opt-in incentive, with a cover graphic and new subscription forms. Inspired by this series, of course! Right now I only offer updates/tutorials as an incentive, though I do have an unadvertised bonus for subscribers once they sign up (hidden! ack! lol).

If you need help or feedback, or you're looking to hire out some of the technical aspects of this task, jump over to the ClickNewz Forum and ask away. If you need step-by-step help creating an ebook or report to give away, click here.

Next we'll look at different options for creating professional opt-in forms that really catch your visitor's attention... Stay tuned!


p.s. If you don't yet have a copy of List Building For Bloggers, and you want to follow along in the series this month, grab a copy here and use the coupon code "clicknewz" for $10 off. 😉 That makes it only $14.95!

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Hey, Lynn:

    This may sound silly, but I think the issues I have with my email list or email marketing in general as it relates to my G34 Media site is that I don't know exactly what I am promoting.

    I mean ideally what I want to promote is my guest blogging service, but I want those who accept guest posts on their sites not those seeking the service.

    Any tips or advice on how to set this up as part of my email marketing campaign?

    If you visit my blog, you'll see my opt in box on the right sidebar where I petition those that accept guest posts, to sign up to my list.

    Let me know.


    • When I visit your site, the first thing that gets my attention is the guest blogging invite - at the top right sidebar where you invite guest bloggers for *your* site.

      The subscription form is just for blog updates - to get notification of new posts.

      I didn't find anything about your Guest Blogging Service. You lost me a bit with that - unless you're referring to the form further down in your sidebar? So what do you mean by "service" exactly, is this something you do for hire?

      • Yes! I offer a guest blogging service for hire and want to recruit more blog owners who accept guest posts on their blogs. And yes, the sign up form I am referring to is the one that you found lower in the sidebar.

        I am working on a special landing page where I send these visitors to, similar to this:

        My aim is to beef up my mailing list for this purpose.

  2. E-books and sometimes freebies like coupons really works good on encouragement part for getting subscribers, but making them loyal takes quality and valuable services/product or content.

  3. Peter Lawlor says:

    Best optin incentive I've ever tested and now use fairly widely are free video courses. People perceive (and get) a great deal of value. Moreover, videos - especially tutorials - are easy to make.

  4. I agree, give readers incentives to not only sign up, but to return again and again by providing quality content.

  5. Thanks, Lynn - this post is my "aha moment" for mailing lists!

    I've always struggled with "what exactly should I send to my list?"

    And now I see - that's the wrong place to start! I need to start here:
    1)"What are your plans for your mailing list, and what do you hope to accomplish with the messages you send to subscribers?"
    2)"WHO do you want to serve, and HOW you are going to serve them"

    This has lifted the huge weight of "what SHOULD I send?" and replaced it with the feather-light "what do I WANT to send?"

    So, for those few people on my list - they're gonna get a whole new batch of messages - soon - and those who aren't in my now better-defined target market have my permission to unsubscribe :)

    Thank you!

  6. Thanks Lynne for the informative post.I use a free report as an incentive to get people to subscribe to my list. Once people have subscribed the follow up emails are so important. Like you said,they should be relevant to what the people opted in for. This is still a learning curve for me. I found this post very helpful.
    Once again,thanks.

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