If Your Opt-In Sucks Nothing Else Matters

Published about 1 year ago • 4 min read


If Your Opt-In Sucks, Nothing Else Matters

I clicked on an ad in a newsletter and went to a landing page that boosted pretty impressive numbers for their newsletter.

I had been interested in running an ad myself in this newsletter.

So I knew the price of this ad and was looking to see if I could learn something from their experience from the outside.

I was ready to sign up as I kept reading the short description, bullets, and testimonials.

Then I saw right below the signup form a tagline with "2021" in it.

It's 2023!

It made me wonder if any of the impressive stats were relevant and if the newsletter was still that good.


I didn't sign up.

We'll discuss:

  • Using forms vs. landing pages and why you may want to use one over the other.
  • Conversion killers that stop visitors in their tracks from signing up
  • The #1 reason you should use native opt-ins over integrations.

Before diving in…

The terms I just introduced were:

  • The form is the set of entry fields (i.e., email, first name, etc.) the visitor fills out to opt-in (sign up)
  • The landing page is the web page with a URL that the form is on.
  • The conversion is the act of the visitor signing up.
  • A native opt-in is a form that’s built within [CURRENT_ESP GOES HERE]
  • Integration is a form built with other software (ex: a plugin, Typeform, etc.) that you then connect into [CURRENT_ESP GOES HERE] to get their email address onto your list.

Your business’ curb appeal

The opt-in is the front door.

The opt-in is the curb appeal for you, your email marketing, and your business.

It's what the visitor looks as they are about to opt in.

How it looks is critical.

How it reads is critical.

Every bit of it needs to be on point.

If one part of it is off, that visitor could be lost forever, even if they are your ideal customer.

For every $1 spent on email marketing, between $36-42 (depending on which report you look at) is made back. By far the best return on any marketing channel. So you don't want your front door to look like a piece of plywood with spray paint.

Forms vs. Landing Pages

You'll have cases on your blog articles where you want a form to have someone opt-in.

💎 The fewer clicks someone has to make, the more likely you'll get them to take action and convert.

But you'll want to have dedicated subscribe pages, or landing pages, in most cases, for social media, events you attend, podcasts you guest on, etc.

There are three simple rules to live by with every landing page.

  1. Explain why it’s relevant for the visitor when they opt-in
  2. Add some element of social proof
  3. Change the button text–aka the call-to-action (or CTA)–to the value behind the click

When creating an opt-in, the ideal way is to build a very minimal form within [CURRENT_ESP GOES HERE] and then put that form on a custom landing page within your website using embed code.

While it may require a few extra steps and may mean you need to forego some of the shiny features a plugin might have, the actual advantages far outweigh them.

Especially since we'll get into reporting in a future email.

The advantages are:

  • You stay on brand
  • You control the layout
  • You own what the URL looks like
  • You have total control over ALL the tracking and analytics
  • You know you'll get every single opt-in that tries to opt-in

If you use a plugin or another software to build your form and then connect to [CURRENT_ESP GOES HERE] that’s an integration. If someone unsubscribes from you (and they will) but then tries to re-subscribe or buy from you later using an integration, two bad things happen.

  1. They won't be added to your list due to security reasons that email platforms put in place to block spammers.
  2. They won't know they aren't added to your list because everything will act as if they are.

That experience sucks for everyone.

That experience is a conversion killer.

Fix the conversion killers

Some other conversion killers are:

  • Not changing the default text of the button. ❌ Subscribe ✅ Get The First Lesson
  • Slow page load time
  • Too many fields Don't collect everything. Collect the email address and, maybe, the first name. Everything else you can get during the onboarding sequence.
  • Big words Use the language that your audience uses.
  • No Social Proof We don't like being the only one doing anything. Putting a quote, a social media post, or the number of subscribers you have makes the visitor understand this is valuable to others, so it must also be to them.

Here are 4 favorite landing pages:

You may not control what the visitor does, but you do control how you look to the visitor.

If you want to grow your list in Y and beyond, look no further.

Your next steps are to:

  • build a landing page using a native form
  • review and remove any conversion killers

Then take the URL of your landing page and put it across all your social media profiles.

You'll see an improvement and growth in your email list right away.


Tips, Strategies, Resources, and More

ICYMI: Top Video of the Week: Tags vs. Segments - What is the difference between tags and segments in ConvertKit

Opt-in Page Breakdown

ChatGPT and AI: The Pros and Cons of Content Creation

Is there a benefit to using native CK form or landing page?

5 Tips To Write More Like A Human (And Less Like An AI Bot)

7 tips for writing engaging emails

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy today's newsletter about landing pages?

I teased something this week on Twitter that has sparked quite a bit of interest.

Today's newsletter is a bit of a sample to that.

Before the end of the month, the email course that I shared the outline to will be live.

If you are a using email marketing to sell online courses or a membership and happen to use ConvertKit in the process, this is ideal for you.

If you want early access to it and get in on the early-bird pricing, click here.


by Jason Resnick

I'm on a mission to simplify email marketing and automation. You don't need to know everything, but I'm here to help you understand the 80% that matters. Whether you’re a Creator selling courses, memberships, or programs online, Evergreen turns automation from daunting to doable through relatable stories and lessons six-times-a-week in no more than 2 minutes.

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