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10 Best Opt-in Email Strategies with Examples & the Perfect Places to Use Them

Opt-in Email

While we are well-acquainted with email marketing already, opt-in emails are still less widely known, although they are quickly emerging as one of the safest and most efficient marketing tools. Wondering why? Let’s explore.

Imagine this scenario – you open your mailbox early in the morning, and your first course of action entails sifting through a horde of flyers and advertisements that you do not remember signing up for. Sound familiar?

Chances are you have probably come across this spray-and-pray tactic that marketers use to extend their reach far and wide. The digital equivalent of this practice exists in the form of marketing emails that are sent to unsuspecting inboxes every day. The technique is a part of outbound marketing and is a great way to ruin your brand’s reputation for good.

Opt-in email, on the other hand, is an inbound strategy that takes the more ethical approach of asking for your customers’ express permission before establishing any communication.

Why opt-in email marketing works better than its counterpart is a no-brainer. The real question is, how can you create a field that not only gets your visitors to drop their emails but drop them willingly? That’s exactly what we intend to cover in this blog.

Blog Overview

  • Opt-in email marketing is a marketing strategy in which companies use a permission-based email collection approach to grow their mailing list.
  • Single opt-ins do not ask for reconfirmation once a customer has entered their email address in a field. Double opt-ins do.
  • Like everything else, opt-in emails are peppered with a fair dash of good and bad. Advantages include risk-free communication, a more engaged audience, and customer-centric marketing, while the disadvantages are potential miscommunication, legal troubles, and data privacy violations.
  • Opt-in emails work the best when the email form is aesthetically pleasing, offers something of value, uses simple, relatable language, and provides an easy solution to problems.
  • The best strategies for opt-in email marketing include good CTAs, attaching privacy statements, giving freebies with each subscription, creating a sense of FOMO, and more.
  • To ensure your opt-in emails work, place them in strategic positions like the header, sidebar, landing page, about section, and/or blog pages.

What Is Opt-in Email Marketing?

Opt-in email marketing is a marketing strategy in which companies use a permission-based email collection approach to grow their mailing list. In other words, opt-in emails are sent only when a customer signs up for them, be it through newsletter subscriptions, in lieu of a product, service, discounts, or more.

What sets opt-in emails further apart from the usual email campaigns is that it’s not a channel to bombard your subscribers with advertisements from the get-go. You can also use these emails to nurture your leads as they go through the sales funnel. Some of the best approaches include:

  • Invitations to interact – Inform your email recipients about your entire online presence, from social media to blogs, and how they can find you to engage more.
  • Light nudges towards conversions – Every advertisement creates a juncture between persuasion and choice. Leverage this fine line by showcasing why your product is a necessity. Illustrate with examples if needed.
  • Follow-up emails – Ever had a hot lead turn cold and go inactive, abandoning everything, including their cart? The reasons could be many, but a polite push here and there reminding them of your existence (and preferably more) never hurts.
  • Promotional emails Got clearance sales going on? Exciting discounts or offers? Opt-in emails are the perfect media to get these announcements across and boost conversion without sounding too pushy.

Many companies prefer to go for double opt-ins over single opt-ins. This avoids adverse reactions from users who offer their email addresses in a form without being aware it could place them on the opt-in email list. Double opt-ins remove the scope of miscommunication by asking the users to reaffirm their consent after entering the email once, whereas single opt-in does not.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Opt-in Emails

As extensive as the benefits of opt-in emails might be, like everything else, this too is peppered with some not-so-savory aspects. This section offers a comprehensive view of what you can expect from opt-in email marketing – the good, the bad, and the in-betweens.


1. Risk-free Communication

Opt-in emails are created only after the user signs up or subscribes. This eliminates the chances of your emails being tagged as spam and harming your company’s reputation in turn.

2. Targeted Marketing

Instead of throwing your message to the wind and hoping it reaches the right ears, opt-in emails narrow down your prospects and let you utilize your energy more efficiently. Targeting emails zero in on specific audiences who have already interacted with you and are thus more likely to convert.

3. More Engaged Audience Base

It is safe to say that people who go the extra mile and offer their email addresses may, in fact, be actually interested. This gives you a cleaner mailing list with an audience that shows high prospects of converting somewhere down the road – saving you time, money, and effort.

4. Customer-centric Marketing

Rather than creating mass-bound emails with little substance or use, you can use opt-in emails to identify your customers in their journeys and send them specific emails accordingly.

For example, if a customer signs up at the initial stages of your interaction, you can segment them into a list that introduces your brand/products, while someone signing up at the later stages can be pushed with emails focusing more on conversion.


1. Miscommunication via implicit opt-ins

Implicit or single opt-in occurs when a customer signs up for a third-party database, and the email address is subsequently shared with the sponsors. In this case, receiving an email from someone the subscribers did not directly approach can still be considered spam and is often responsible for breaking your brand’s credibility.

2. Violation of legal codes

Some states have legal restrictions imposed on single opt-ins. Including email addresses gathered from a trade show list or any other activity that you sponsored in your mailing list. Using email from these sources may result in unsolicited marketing, even if not intended, and could land you in hot water with the law.

3. Data privacy concerns

If your customers unwittingly submit their email addresses in a form without explicitly agreeing to sign up for future promotional attempts, they may miss the connection and get wary of your website – not a pleasant scenario when you are intending to build your base on trust.

10 Best Opt-in Email Examples

Your opt-in email forms don’t need to sparkle and shine; they need to work. The safest bet is to make them simple, catchy, and promising. The clearer your stance, the better the chances of attracting your customers’ eyes.

Let’s see some examples that can effectively build your opt-in email list:

Example 1: Picreel

Picreel - Opt-in email

Why Does This Work?

  • It has a clearly visible, compelling headline that asks users to stay when they intend to exit the page.
  • The reward is apparent and immediate.
  • It asks the user to perform a simple step that doesn’t require much effort.

Example 2: Wrike

Wrike - opt-in email

Why Does This Work?

  • It offers plenty of details about the product beforehand.
  • It offers resolution through a clear Call to Action button after piquing the user’s curiosity.
  • It promises to keep all private information safe with a link to the brand’s privacy policy.

Example 3: Larry Law Law

Why Does This Work?

  • The questions directly address students’ pain points – these are queries they probably have searched before.
  • The progress bar at the top creates a sense of urgency to go all the way and complete the process.
  • Its Call to Action takes an affirmative, benefit-oriented approach instead of the usual, instructive tone.

Example 4: Upworthy

Why Does This Work?

  • The copy starts off with a strikingly memorable imagery of cats. Aside from being humorous, it also instills a sense of efficiency in the readers’ minds.
  • It creates urgency and offers the solution right away, all at once.
  • The CTA is consistent with the tone of the body – no unnecessary news except what’s best!

Example 5: Kapsul

Why Does This Work?

  • The copy offers exclusivity, a perk that almost always appeals to the masses.
  • It has a minimalist design with only the important bits highlighted. This makes the process transparent, and the users know exactly what they are signing up for.
  • The steps are simple, easy to follow, and clutter-free.

Example 6: Content Management Class

 Why Does This Work?

  • The copy leverages the FOMO mindset well by mentioning a number that makes potential users want to be included in the fun.
  • The CTA button is easy to locate and more user-benefit oriented.
  • It offers a long-term, impactful benefit (launch your own content marketing program) for free.

Example 7: FabFitFun

Why Does This Work?

  • The design is aesthetically pleasing with a visual representation of the promoted goal attached.
  • It clearly states the benefits you will reap as a subscriber.
  • The CTA is clear, highlights a holistic advantage, and uses the power word “Free.”

Example 8: Summer Tomato

Why Does This Work?

  • It states a problem and offers the solution exactly how most people want it to be.
  • The reward pointers hint at the immediate benefits of subscribing but just enough to prompt the user to take action.
  • The language is relatable and zeroes in on user pain points accurately.

Example 9: ThePeachBox

Why Does This Work?

  • The layout is simple and catchy, with an image that helps the user visualize the reward as a tangible item.
  • The offer is displayed prominently while keeping the condition/catch relatively obscure.
  • The effort it would take to subscribe on the users’ part is made to seem minimal compared to the potential reward.

Example 10: Sazerac

Sazerac - opt-in emails

Why Does This Work?

  • The theme is catchy with contrasting colors and bright visuals.
  • It creates a sense of urgency with the timer.
  • The reward is assured and prominently displayed at the top.

Having studied all the examples above, the common attributes that are apparent in all the opt-in email layouts are that they… 

  • offer valuable content,  
  • use simple, relatable language, and 
  • provide an easy solution to problems.

We’ll explore more about these strategies in the next section.

Let’s go!

10 Best Opt-in Email Marketing Strategies to Reach Your Target Audience Better

Now that we have browsed through the examples of some perfect opt-in email forms, let us dive deeper into the specifics that make them work.

Below is a list of ten strategies that will help your popup forms capture more emails from your target audience.

1. Use Exit-Intent Popups

An exit-intent popup senses when a user is about to leave the website and swoops in just as the cursor hovers near the close tab option. With this, you get one last opportunity to retain your customer with lucrative offers, coupons, or services that were not apparent before. It is also a great way to collect your users’ email addresses in exchange for something of value just as they are leaving, even if they do not buy anything outright.

Read More: 12+ Best Exit Popup Software

2. Write Awesome CTAs

One of the most important parts of your website is the CTA, or call to action. As a feature that works as a gateway to user actions, your CTA cannot be boring or bland. Arouse your customer’s interest and sense of urgency using terms that bend more towards a benefit than just plain old instructions. For example, a CTA for a news agency that says “Keep Me Updated” will work more than a simple “Sign Up.”

3. Include Social Proof

Humans, as social animals, tend to rely on other human beings for a variety of things, including opinions and reassurance. In the business world, this translates to the attitude of people trusting peer-reviewed products more than unreviewed ones. Attach testimonials and the extent of your social expansion around the opt-in form to promote reliability.

4. Entice with Lead Magnets

To receive something as significant as your customers’ email addresses, you must also offer something of value in return. One of the best ways to highlight the value of your offering is through Lead Magnets, which could be a free product, service, tour, or more. The end goal of Lead Magnets is to be enticing enough that users find it difficult to avoid the lure.

5. Create a Privacy Statement

Customers care about their privacy. When users give out an email address, their first concern, quite obviously, is what you intend to do with it. A well-crafted Privacy Statement goes a long way in eliminating this wariness by providing a clarifying, legally binding stance on what you can and cannot do.

6. Revisit & Re-Design Your Opt-in Forms

Sometimes, a lead deciding not to subscribe has nothing to do with your offer and everything to do with how the opt-in form looks. It simply may not be attractive, informative, or scannable enough. A fair complaint, especially if you created the form years ago with a basic design and haven’t touched it since. Consider redesigning your forms from time to time with relatable aesthetics and updated information that effectively gets them to subscribe.

7. Create a Sense of FOMO

Given the visibility that social media provides to everybody else’s lives, FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out, is real and is here to stay. You can leverage this as a handy marketing tool and craft your CTAs to offer insight into how many other people have done the same thing and what your user is missing out on if they don’t join too.

8. Give Out Freebies

“Free” is a powerful word in the marketing world. Everybody loves free stuff, and as counterintuitive as it might seem, giving out free products or services is a compelling motivator to get your users to subscribe, whereas they wouldn’t have done so otherwise. 

Remember, you may not be making any money out of it now, but the dividends freebies can provide later makes it worth the momentary loss.

9. Use Social Media

Social media is another solid strategy to bolster opt-in email rates, especially for startups and small-sized businesses. Although not entirely free, social media platforms allow you to access their millions of followers as a viable target audience base. Features like “Lookalike Audience” on Facebook even segment users on similar parameters and let you market to portions still untapped. 

These factors raise the chances of increasing your brand awareness and getting more users to opt for you, should you choose to leverage them.

10. A/B Testing

A/B testing or split testing is what you do when you let multiple versions of the same copy run to gauge what works the best. Sometimes, making your opt-in forms more effective comes down to minor tweaks and changes here and there. You want your opt-in emails to work as well as possible, and the only way to know what works is to A/B test them.

Read More: 9 Simple A/B Tests You Should Perform On Your Website

What Are the Best Places to Use Opt-in Emails?

Looking to get more email signups from your webpage? Signup forms can capture quality leads for you, but not if you aren’t placing them in the ideal spots.

Here are 5 places to put your opt-in email forms to get the most conversions:

1. About Page

Did you know, your About page is one of the most visited sections on a website? Most people who land on your site will want to know who you are, and the most consolidated information they can find on the topic is, of course, your About page. This implies a lot of traffic that could be seeing your opt-in form and deciding to subscribe. 

Additionally, the subscribers you gain from About pages tend to be more engaged and more likely to convert, as they have already gotten to know you to some extent.

2. Blog Web Page & Blog Posts

Putting opt-in email forms on web pages and blogs is a popular and good idea. If your readers are enjoying what’s written, why not give them the opportunity to explore more right there? Adding CTAs that speak of regular and/or exclusive content for the subscribers can act as a great lead magnet to draw more users in. You can embed the forms at the top or the bottom of the page or pepper them throughout the body – both work equally well!

3. Header

First impressions can be pretty impactful in creating your brand’s image in the audiences’ minds. Headers lend a hint to readers of what’s to come, and placing an email opt-in form there automatically increases its visibility, and by extension – the chances of more people filling it up. As they say, top of the page, top of the mind!

4. Sidebar

Most pages are formatted so that the primary content fills the central parts, leaving plenty of space to the side – space you can use to strategically place your email opt-in forms. It’s a convenient position to attract your visitors’ eyes without distracting them from the main sections. It also provides them with ready access whenever they wish to subscribe.

5. Landing Page

If you are offering a lead magnet in your CTA, consider building a separate landing page. Add an  opt-in form that opens directly when the CTA button is clicked to motivate undecided traffic. This is especially a great way to go if the page enlists more information and benefits for signing up. Including an email form on the landing page also gives you plenty of space to elaborate on your brand to further entice your customers.

Are You Ready to Bring in More Subscribers?

Every business needs an effective opt-in email strategy to establish a secure, rewarding connection with its customers. After all, you don’t create your products just for them to sit on the proverbial shelves and collect dust; you want people to take notice, buy, and come back for more.

While using emails as a channel to advertise has been in vogue for years, the recent shift has shown how important consent is for your efforts to go in the right direction and not backfire, which is exactly what opt-in emails do. They provide a choice.

If you deploy all the techniques and best practices in your email forms as discussed above, you’ll not just encourage your customers to engage with you more but also open up scopes of conversion from them too.

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