3 Ways to Create a Custom Opt-In Experience for New Subscribers

The email list opt-in process is something that shouldn't be overlooked. You should use it as another way to continue carrying out your branding.  I’m an advocate of keeping it custom, so whenever there’s an opportunity to let your brand shine through, I’m all for it.  You can easily do this when it comes to your opt-in forms and the whole process flow involved.  I’m going to tell you three things that you can do to make your opt-in process custom tailored to your brand and connect to your audience so that they feel special.

Before we get into this, if you’re a little lost and have no clue what an opt-in form is, check out this post for a little newsletter 101 to be brought up to speed.


Okay, let’s get started shall we?

1 / Use Your Words

In order to create a custom experience for your new email list members, you have to start with your wording.  Opt-in forms have come a long way from the “Sign up for my newsletter” boxes.  Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware that they have, because I still see them using the same, tired old wording on their opt-in forms.

Sign up for updates!

Sign up for my email list!

Join my list!

All of these CTA’s (call to action’s) get a resounding “HECK NO!!”.  Why?  Three reasons:

  • They’re not interesting enough- if you want people to join your list, you have to grab their attention and that wording isn’t going to cut it.  You should be using words and phrases that your ideal audience will understand, so the wording should align perfectly with your brand.  That means instead of your form saying “Sign up for updates”, it could say "Put the pan to the fire and lets get cooking".   Also, instead of the CTA on your subscribe button saying “Sign up”, it can say “For sure!”, “Yes, please” or “Mais Oui!”.

  • They’re not specific enough- Details, people, details!  You can’t just throw a generic form with generic wording out there and be disappointed when your opt-ins aren’t pouring in.  You need to tell and sell people on why they should join your list, how often they should expect to hear from you and what you will be talking about.  Email addresses are sacred and should be treated as such.  Show people that they can trust you by being transparent and honest from the start then they will be more likely to opt-in.

  • They’re not generous enough- People like free stuff.  It’s a well known fact.  People also get tons of emails every day.  In order for someone to join your list, you should consider wooing them with a freebie.  This way, they will feel like they received something of value in exchange for...something of value.  Literally.  The email address is such a powerful tool, and people are very guarded about them.  They don’t want to just give their address out to any and everyone.  What’s in it for them?  How will you make it worth their while? Quid pro quo...truly...and it’s fair.  That email address could be your next customer, so offer them something free for joining because it’s a great way to get people in.  You can do this either in your blog posts by offering a content upgrade (extra valuable information that is related to the blog post) or a standard lead magnet (something that is offered site-wide for free for joining you list like a free email course for example).

So to put these all together, your opt-in form would go from this:

“Sign up for updates” with a CTA of “Join”


“Hey you...yeah, YOU.  Join now for weekly blogging strategies that are exclusively shared with my squad...no one else... and get a free productivity planning worksheet just for being lovely!” with a CTA of “I’m down”.

See how much of a difference that makes?  This automatically peaks the visitor’s interest and they suddenly have a major feeling of FOMO since they don't want to miss out on that exclusive content.

(psst...Interested in a free list of alternate terms to call your newsletter and subscribers?  Click here to get the goods!)

“The key to great opt-in forms: Be interesting. Be specific. Be generous.” (Click here to tweet that out!)

2 / Redirect new members to a custom Thank You page

Oftentimes after signing up for a list, there is just a box that pops up saying “Thank you”.  Blah, that’s boring.  You should sexy that process up a bit.  Many lead generation sites offer the option to redirect people to another page after they sign up.  If you have that option, DO IT!  If you don’t have that option, explore other programs that do offer it (Sumome, Leadpages and MailChimp for example).  When you redirect to a Thank You page, you can customize that sucker like no other.  How?

  • Add a video of yourself thanking them and telling them a little more about an aspect of your blog/biz.

  • Add social share buttons and encourage them to share your freebie with their friends (of course not the ACTUAL freebie, just the link to your opt-in landing page so that they can sign up, too)

  • Include a “friendly reminder” that your confirmation email may have landed in their spam or promotions folder, so to check there if they don’t see anything in their inbox shorty and mark you as Important so that they won’t miss any of your awesome emails.

  • Include a link to a surprise freebie if the opt-in did not already include something free.  You can give them a free e-book, resource guide, blog post planning worksheets or anything else that your peeps will find valuable.  

3 / Jazz up that welcome email

Once your new member has confirmed their email address (if you use the double opt-in method), they may get a welcome email from you.  It’s up to you when this email goes out, but I suggest no longer than two days from joining.  You want to stay in the front of their mind, and the longer you wait to send a welcome email, the more likely they are to unsubscribe.  Your welcome email can be a multitude of things.  It may be the email that contains the freebie that you offered them on the opt-in form (if this is the case, send that email immediately after confirmation, do not wait).  It may be the first message in an email sequence that they were placed into after sign-up.  It may be an email that has helpful info in it and links to popular blog posts so that they can get an idea of who you are and the level of content that you share.  Whatever it is, be unique and awesome...this is their first email from you so you want to leave a good impression.


I’ve mentioned before that the Opt-in process is like the process of courting someone...I mean, you are trying to get their contact info, right?  So keep these three things in mind when creating your opt-in user process flow, because ultimately you want people to WANT to join your crew, be excited about it and look forward to getting your valuable content.