The Essential Guide To Opt-In Forms: Seven Tips To Generate More Leads


It can be said that Internet marketers covet few things in life. A good product, decent email open rates and a huge list of subscribers are usually enough to get them through the day feeling all tingly and warm inside. Let’s focus for a second on that last point, the email subscribers list. To help with this, the team at MediaTown created a guide to opt-ins that will help generate more leads.

A large subscriber list usually yields better results when it comes to sales. There is strength is in numbers, right? That’s only partially correct.

First we need to remember that the quality of the list is a determining factor when it comes to running a successful campaign. No amount of trickery or hacks will help you out if a bulk of your readers are simply not ready to buy – or if what you’re selling isn’t worth a dime.

If you have a solid product that you’re confident about – and that you can usually sell in a heartbeat – but it’s just not working out for you when it comes to email – then chances are that you need to redouble your efforts. Try implementing these tricks of the trade and watch your opt-in rates skyrocket!


1. Consider Opt-In Form Placement

We often hear that we should choose a place where we want our opt-in form to appear and stick to it. For some reason, adding more than on opt-in spot on a page is still considered overdoing it. As you’ve probably gathered by now, this is simply not true.

Readers have a short attention span so if you have an opt-in form on the top of your page it’s already forgotten about by the time they scroll down. Consider adding more than one opt-in form and try to keep them in view at all times.

The important thing is that they are unobtrusive and that they don’t put a wrench in your reader’s on-page journey. For example, These are just some of the places your opt-in form should appear at:


– Feature Box

The feature box, usually displayed in a box before the page content. Chris Lema makes it easy for visitors to quickly notice the opt-in form and sign up for great offers.

Feature box opt-in form


– Top Of The Sidebar

The opt-in form from Conversion Lab is placed on the sidebar where it’s prominent on the homepage intrigues visitors interested in higher conversion rates right away.

Example of Top of sidebar opt-in form


– The Footer Of Your Page

Having the opt-in form in your footer allows the form to be noticed when viewers reach the end of the page, giving them the opportunity to continue reading on without any distractions. Optimizely does this well.



– Your About Page

Here’s a great About Page from Success Measured. The simplicity of this form is both simple, noticeable and elegant.

Example of About Page opt-in form

Okay, five opt-in forms on a single page is probably overdoing it but if you have three and they are correctly spaced, you should start noticing a percentage increase in your opt-in rates. Take a few minutes to learn why it’s important to vary your opt-in form placement and what can you expect in terms of increase in the rates for every one of those tactics.

2. Customize Your Opt-In Form

This one is a no-brainer really. Use your opt-in to deliver your message in a voice that is unique to you. As soon as you set it up, make sure to change those default fields. ‘Submit’ is a particularly painful one to look at. You don’t want any of your relationships to start off by people clicking on something labeled ‘Submit’. It is a little off-putting. Make your opt-in form personal and also remember to ask only for the bare minimum. The only thing you really need is an email address. Even asking for a name is pushing it. When it comes to increasing your opt-in rates, less is more. If you streamline the process and remove unnecessary roadblocks, you should notice an increase right away.


3. Colour Matters

Most people set up their opt-in forms and forget about them completely afterward. They might tinker with the placement or the wording – highly unlikely, though – but that’s about it.

However, understanding how colour influences your opt-in rates is crucial. A recent study by HubSpot revealed that a red call-to- action (CTA) button can increase opt-in rates by 21% percent. That’s huge! Now, don’t go changing your CTA button just because I said so. Make sure to run a proper A/B testing before you do that because your audience might really get a kick out of green and there is no need to change it.

All of this notwithstanding, make your CTA button interactive. Have it flashing red until your reader moves in to click on it. At this point, it should change its colour to green. Why? Red is a bold colour that signals importance but it’s also a colour that means STOP in traffic. Green, on the other hand, means GO. So you’re subconsciously signalling them to move forward, to proceed.

With all arguments about red versus green aside, Sales Force’s Desk shows that blue can be just as effective.

Example of Colour Matters for opt-in form lead generation


4. Give Stuff Away

Gated content is an excellent way of gathering people’s email addresses. Letting everyone know that you have something of value that will help them out is usually enticing enough to get them to opt-in, at least for the time being. Check out Jeff Walker to learn how he shows gives away free stuff.

give stuff away opt-in form lead generation

I’d like to emphasize something here. People know what you’re doing and most of them don’t appreciate it. Giving out a PDF file shouldn’t require people to leave their email, name, and social security number with you. People instantly peg that for what it really is; information farming. Depending on the value of the content you’re giving out, it will usually work, but in my experience, it means that you’re starting your relationship on the wrong foot.

If you’re interested in growing a list of qualified leads — instead of simply your run-of- the-mill subscribers – you might want to give out PDFs and videos without asking for anything in return. This is especially true if you already have a sizable list. Ask for emails only when it’s absolutely essential; for example, when you want to deliver an email crash course or when you’re running a giveaway for your product or service.

Check out this case study by Wishpond and learn how they managed to increase their article conversion rates by a whopping 1,650% by using gated content!


5. Ask People to Spread the Word

Consider doing more than adding a ‘Tell-a- friend’ button to your newsletter or an email blast. Actively encourage people to forward your content to other people. You know you’re delivering quality, your subscribers know that as well, so why shouldn’t their friends know it too?

The point is not everyone who needs to know about you, knows about you. People on your list of subscribers are the gate-keepers who can connect you with others that might prove to be qualified sales leads. Make sure to let them know you appreciate their help in spreading the word.


6. Use Your Popular Posts

Sometimes, your post will go viral. This will depend on your industry and your business, but it does happen and the key is to be ready to pounce on the opportunity when it presents itself. For example, add an opt-in form to the bottom of that post. It has the potential to generate new subscribers beyond your wildest dreams, at least for a short period of time. True, these might not be the most qualified leads you’ll gather, but at least, you’ll have a chance to nurture and deepen your relationship with them.

Also, make sure to edit out every post that goes viral by accident –this also happens; sometimes you just write whatever is on your mind and it seems to hit a chord with people. Add links to your other stuff wherever appropriate in order to extend the visitor’s time on site to give yourself an opportunity to pitch your CTA multiple times.


7. Make the Most Out of Splash Pages

give stuff away opt-in form lead generation

Splash pages are way less obtrusive than regular pop-ups, which you should avoid at all costs, as one older but still very pertinent study by Nielsen Norman Group shows that 95% of users report that their browsing experience is very negatively influenced by pop-ups.

Splash pages, like CoLofts are designed to show up just when someone lands on your homepage. They cover the entire screen and have a very big – if you can make it glow, do that – button that tells people that they can continue on the content without opting in. This is important because you don’t want to give an impression that you’re gating the site.

However, offering something right off the bat is a smart move. Explain, briefly, what it is you’re giving away and ask for an email address only. Over-complicating right from the start makes a bad first impression. You want people to perceive you as a lean, no fuss business that cuts to the chase immediately.

This list is not comprehensive, and much more could be said about how you can increase your opt-in rates, but trying out, at least, two of these tactics should allow you to grow your subscriber list considerably. After you’ve exhausted all of the tips here you can try offering special incentives for new sign-ins, using social media to encourage people to opt-in or anything else that comes to mind.

Just don’t let your guard down and allow yourself to grow complacent. Test everything and always shoot for the stars when it comes to those opt-in percentages and tweak things regularly to see what works best. Copy, style, colour, placement, nothing is set in stone and every once in a while you will have to go back to the drawing board. Don’t be afraid to do just that.


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