8 Best Practices for Email Marketing Opt-ins

Email marketing remains a key digital marketing strategy for any business. Content is key on the internet and thus more content is the best way to engage your audience. Who doesn’t want more value for free?

Essentially email marketing is an excellent way to give more valuable content to your audience, invite them to convert and make purchases and keep them thinking about your brand’s awareness and your business.

As a blogger or small business owner you’ve probably heard about opt-in email marketing, or as a consumer yourself you may have signed up for various email marketing campaigns via an opt-in. But what exactly is an email opt-in and how does it work?

Permission Marketing is the umbrella term used to refer to a type of marketing where the customer has a choice to engage or not.

An opt-in is a powerful tool used to gain the permission of your user to send then emails and marketing campaigns. If you build your email list and use it properly you can increase your revenue exponentially and upsell all of your products and services via the medium of communication.

In this detailed guide, we’re going to look at opt-in email marketing and everything it entails. By the end of this, you will be ready to create and launch a new email marketing campaign.

What is opt-in Email Marketing?

Using an opt-in process in email marketing gives new website visitors the option of signing up for your email list, normally by offering a useful free tool called a lead magnet or any form of incentive that promises to solve a problem or teach them how to do something that convinces them to offer up their email in exchange. This ensures that the persons joining your email list actually want to hear from you and enjoy the content you provide.

It is imperative when creating email opt-in forms that your prospective subscriber is given the option to physically acknowledge joining your list by checking a field to give consent. This ensures that you are GDPR compliant. More on GDPR compliance a little later.

The Double Opt-in and Why You Should Use it.

Every business owner that wants to be successful online should put in time and effort into building their email list. Think of this as the company Rolodex of old, when telemarketers were able to either purchase telephone list or acquire them from existing customers in order to market products, announce new promotions and upsell services.

In the past, well before GDPR compliance made it mandatory that users explicitly give permission to a company before they receive messages in their inbox, companies would purchase Email lists and spam their offers hoping for some percentage of conversion. This resulted in an unhealthy email list of users that either didn’t know the company or it’s brand’s focus and thus low open rates occurred and more often than not emails ended up in the Spam folder. With a healthy list, your subscribers want what you have to offer. They loved your lead magnet, the content on your company blog and they want more of it.

Building the integrity of your company

So how do you build and protect the integrity of your email list? You offer the double opt-in. You may have experienced the double opt-in yourself while signing up to a mailing list. The double opt-in works like this a user decides to opt-in on the website or landing page because they enjoyed the content and want the freebie from the company. The user enters their email address. At this point, an initial email or in some rare cases a text message is sent to the user asking them if they really want to join the list again giving a call to action to click a link below to get their freebie and join the list.

If the user goes through with the second opt-in they are added to the list and you the business owner knows that this user particularly wants to hear from you and enjoys what you have to offer. If another user decides it’s just too much to get your freebie (because that’s all they wanted in the first place) they won’t follow through and thus won’t be added to your list.

What is an Email Opt-Out?

We’ve talked a lot about opting in but what exactly is the email opt-out? This is simply a method for your users to unsubscribe from your mailing list. This can happen for a myriad of reasons but when it does you must ensure that you remove the user email from your database.

Most Email marketing software has automation for this to happen. It’s great to have an opt-out message to try to entice them to stay. You can have a brief messaging expressing you’re sad to see them go and then offer them an exclusive piece of content that hasn’t been published elsewhere.

Then if they want that content, they can click a link to opt back in. If not then they can continue to a link for them to unsubscribe.

8 Best Practices for Creating Opt-In Email Forms

1. Keep the Information Request Simple

Don’t go overboard asking for too much information. A quick and easy form that will entice users to engage quickly will have no more than 2 fields. The first field should ask for their name and the second field their email address. Alternatively, you can simply have 1 field that asks for their email address online.

2. Make your Opt-in or Lead Magnet an Enticing Offer

You want to draw your users in with something that will add value to their lives, solve a problem or teach them something. Ensure that it is something that aligns with your business and represents and builds on your brand’s awareness.

Great opt-ins can be a free e-book that answers a common problem your audience has, a checklist that can help them remember something, a video, a free webinar, a free podcast episode, etc. Make it worth their time.

3. Make your Opt-In Visible and Accessible

You want your email opt-in form to be visible and accessible on your website. Pop-up forms work well but can be annoying to visitors. Great ways to do this it to my it big and eye-catching with a form on your home page, contact pages, and specific call to actions at the end of blog posts. If you absolutely like the idea of an opt-in popup form then use an exit pop-up. When the user goes to leave your site to have a popup that asks if they want to get some added value in their inbox.

4. Use an Actual Form and Not a Link

This speaks to accessibility. You want your form to be easy access and readily available. While giving your users a CTA (call to action) at the end of blog posts is a great way to show engagement and get them to join your list, you don’t want them to have to click a button that takes them to a landing page where they fill out the info. Instead, have your CTA be the actual opt-in form in the post.

5. Use some Compelling Copy in your Opt-in Form

Your users should know exactly what they can expect to grace their inbox. So, use those compelling copy skills you have and let them know right on the form. For example, “Get weekly advice, freebies, and promotions in your inbox daily.”

6. Offer Discounts and Special Offers

If your website is primarily e-commerce based then offer your users a first-time discount code for signing up or promise weekly, monthly or whatever frequency you link in promotional codes to be sent to their inbox. Consumers love discounts and sales. You can also promise exclusive sales for new products before they are released on the website. Get creative.

7. Add an Opt-In Form on the footer of your Website

A nod to having your opt-in form as visible as possible. Putting it in the footer of your website ensures that it is on every page and users have every opportunity to see it and sign up.

8. Ensure consent is unchecked

Every opt-in form should have a check-box with text along the lines of “I would like to subscribe to {your business name} emailing list and receive emails from them.” Keep the box unchecked so that users can do it themselves giving their consent. This aligns with GDRP Compliance.


When it comes to having a content marketing strategy, your email marketing content should be a priority within that strategy. There is no better way to grow your business, consistently engage customers, keep your brand fresh in their minds and market specific products to them than email marketing. Following these best practices will help you grow your list with quality users that want to read your content.