Three Big Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Best Email Opt In Offers

So you want to write a great email optin offer - you want to create something so great that people are practically throwing their email addresses at you, begging to subscribe, right?

But it's not as easy as it used to be...

We're all suffering from email fatigue, and we no longer give our addresses to any opt-in with a pretty face, right? I mean, you can only subscribe to so many of those "One Quick Tip That Will Change Your LIFE!!!!" email lists before you start to get really wary - and your potential readers feel the same. 

Here are a few major mistakes to avoid so you can zoom past their skepticism and create an offer so good they'll beg for more (instead of rolling their eyes and scrolling past...) - 

Email Opt-In Offer Mistakes to Avoid Like the Plague! 

Are they laughing at your opt in offer?! 

Are they laughing at your opt in offer?! 


1. The lame opt in offer. 

Back in the day, it was no big deal to get people on your list. They’d sign up for a tiny discount, or a quick tip.

Now, these things STILL DO WORK, but there are a few things to know about them.

First, for the discount thing to work, they have to be ready to buy from you right then and there. Ten percent off of a purchase I plan to make RIGHT NOW is cool. Ten percent off of some random thing from someone I don’t even know that I might buy from at some point in the future? Not gonna get my email. So, yes, this works for selling goods – assuming I’m familiar with you – but not so hot for services.

Also, when you start your relationship out on the discount foot, you’ve just created a relationship dealing on price. And you don’t want to do that – when the relationship is based on price, you’ve just gotten yourself in with a cheap-o. You know what happens next.

And now for the other idea – the quick tip.

The problem with this is that it’s been abused to heck and back and now people are really leery. WAY too many people promise an awesome, life-changing quick tip, and then it turns out it’s something you could have found out from a quick Google search, or worse – something you already knew.

Even if you’ve gotten their email address, you just lost their trust. YES, you lost their trust on day ONE of the relationship – how are they going to react when day ten gets here and you ask them to buy?

It’s gonna be Unsubscribe time, baby. Unsubscribe, Ignore and don’t even open, or worst of all – SPAM. Even if they signed up and opted in forty-seven times over, they will still label you as spam if you annoy them enough.

You don’t want that to happen ever, if you can help it. It hurts the deliverability of all your other emails, and if your stuff is no longer being delivered to the inbox, your chances of success are worse than those of your local Nigerian prince.

So if you’re going the quick tip route, this tip had better be GOLDEN. Make it like your actual best tip ever – if you’re a personal shopper, say, it can’t be something like, “Wait for a sale, and then clothes will cost less money.”

It’s got to be something like, “If you go to Bloomingdale’s on the third Thursday of the month, and ask for Jolene, she’ll take you to the secret hiding place where all of us stylists get our greatest deals!”

Now, some people worry that this is giving away the farm. But let’s be honest – what are the odds that I’m ACTUALLY going to get off my butt and go to Bloomingdales on the third Thursday of the month every month and scoop up discount stuff and never hire you? Very slim.

If I DO choose to go one month, I’ll find out that you’re an extremely legit person and you gave me a great tip.

I will like you. I will trust you. I will still need your services, because remember – I looked up personal stylist services because I suck at buying clothes for myself, and when your next email comes in telling me about your signature service? I will be THAT much closer to hiring you.

OK, now SECOND overall mistake to avoid –


2. The one size fits all strategy.

This is a huge one – assuming that the opt in you’re creating now, today, for your specific business and your specific ideal client has to appeal to everyone from your BFF to your mom to your plumber to your great-aunt Nelda to your priest to your kid’s teacher… etc. You get the point.

When you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one, and by making a super generic opt in, you will be doing just that.

If you’re a photographer and it’s like, “What to wear to your shoot” and the answer is “you can wear jeans to any shoot at all!” Well, if I’m a bride, that doesn’t apply to me. If I want trendy family photos, that doesn’t apply to me, if I want corporate headshots, that doesn’t apply to me – again, you get the point.

What WOULD work is – let’s take that corporate headshot idea – what would work is something like, “17 outfit ideas to wear for your corporate headshot session so you can stand out from the crowd but still look totally profesh.”

Which would you opt in for when you needed fresh headshots? Obviously, the second one.

Now, let’s say that you’ve decided you’ve conquered the corporate headshot world, but you ALSO want to take on family portraits. You can take the same structure, change up the content a little bit, and in almost no time at all, you can add a new opt in called “11 outfit ideas to have the easiest, cutest family photo session ever”. Drive new traffic to it, put a little tag on subscribers or segment it however you like, and voila – you have a whole additional list of folks to sell to.

Do not fear specificity; specificity is your BFF.

This brings me, to mistake number THREE –


3. Fearing the tech.

A lot of people don’t put together an opt in because they don’t know HOW, or they don’t know how to get it automated, or… I don’t know. Some fear of the tech holds them back.

This is something people get tripped up with a LOT, but it is a super simple one to get past.

No matter who your email provider is, if they’re worth their salt at ALL, there’s a resource library. There’s a team of customer service professionals who are paid money to answer your questions and not laugh at you no matter how dumb the question is. And trust me – I know, I’ve called my providers with some super basic issues.

Barring that, there’s YouTube and Google, and if you’ve ever felt alone in the world, you will STOP feeling alone when you google whatever your issue is and realize that 63 people have dealt with it before, and PS, here’s the way to solve it.

If you can’t even GET that far, find your smartest entrepreneur friends and get them on the phone. When I don’t even have the vocabulary to look up a solution in ConvertKit, I call my friend Alycia, describe the problem to her, and she either tells me how to solve it or she tells me the words I need to Google. I am lucky to have such a friend, and the price I pay is when she can’t quite word something, she’ll call me and I’ll help her out. You know you’ve got a friend like that, so lean on them when you must. Your income literally depends on it.


When you ignore your list and let fear or uncertainty get in the way, it’s like you’re turning off the money tap that could be flowing into your business. So stop fearing email, tackle this once, tweak and improve from there and watch the money come in.

All right - enough about email sins and deadly mistakes. If you want to play along and build a killer email opt in offer of your own, subscribe here and we'll work through the steps together. 

Sound good? Yes, you, too, can build an incredible opt in offer and an Uncommonly Good Biz!

- Misha

Misha Hettie