opt-inHow do you encourage people to sign up for your marketing emails? If you’re very lucky, you can simply put a sign up form on your website and the subscribers will come to you. However, most potential subscribers need an incentive; something to encourage them to sign up to your list in the first place, and keep them subscribed into the future. This is where the opt-in incentive comes in.

An opt-in incentive is something (usually a freebie, discount or offer) that helps persuade your customers to sign up for your marketing emails. Opt-in incentives can be beneficial for both you and the customer: the customers gets something that either they want or can help them, and you get a new subscriber to your list. However, you have to make sure that your opt-in incentive is something that is interesting and beneficial to your customers and clients. Otherwise, all your hard work will be wasted, and your customer will unsubscribe as quickly as they signed up.

So, what is the perfect opt-in incentive? Here are some examples:

A Free eBook

Free eBooks are one of the most popular opt-in incentives, particularly for business-to-business companies. The Modern Tog, a website that advises people on how to set up their own photography business, offers this eBook to their new subscribers:

Photography eBook

An eBook is a great opt-in incentive because most customers will be visiting your website because they are newcomers to the service that you offer. An eBook can help them learn a little bit more about your field of business (as well as letting them know the particular benefits that your service offers).

The topic of your eBook should be something that your customers will be interested in. Use your blog for inspiration: if you have a particular blog post that has attracted a lot of views or comments, you can expand on that topic for your eBook. Or, if time allows, create a number of eBooks for your potential customers to choose from. You can always ask your subscribers for feedback about how useful and informative they found your eBook.

A Free Sample or Discount

Opt-in incentives are not just the preserve of B2B companies. B2C companies can also offer an incentive, like a discount or free sample, in order to get more people to sign up for their emails. H&M offer their new subscribers 25% off their next online purchase:

H&M Incentive

An incentive like this is good because, not only does it encourage people to subscribe to your list, it also encourages them to make a purchase. The discount you offer needs to be something that is both enticing to your customers and financially viable for you. It should also be made as simple as possible for your customers to use the discount (for example, a promotional code can be automatically applied when a customer clicks through from the email).

Free samples also make excellent opt-in incentives. They can encourage customers to try products that they wouldn’t otherwise have thought of buying. And, hopefully, once they are hooked, they will continue to buy!┬áTeaMonger offers new subscribers free samples of their tea for this very purpose:


Just like with discounts, you need to make sure that the free samples you offer are of interest to your customers, and that you can afford to give some of your products away.

These are just two possible opt-in incentives, but there are many other things you can offer. The key is to put yourself into the mind of your customers; create something that will quickly grab their attention and will be valuable to them. No one knows your customers better than you!