Inboxes are sacred. When someone gives you their email address, they invite you into their personal online space. As a small business, you need to prove why your newsletter deserves a spot in your subscribers’ inboxes. 

Building a healthy subscriber list goes beyond mere numbers. It’s the start of genuine online connections, paving the way for you to deliver meaningful content that your audience will always look forward to landing in their inbox. 

Whether you’re a small business, entrepreneur, or content creator, following best practices in your email opt-in strategy is important. Doing so will help you build a thriving subscriber list that isn’t just about quantity.

What is opt-in email marketing?

Opt-in email marketing is a permission-based approach to sending promotional messages and content to an audience. It’s a mutual agreement where subscribers willingly share their email addresses, signaling an interest in your content, products, or services. This agreement is usually obtained through sign-up forms, where readers provide their email addresses and, in some cases, additional information like their birthdate, communication preferences, and more.

This approach vastly differs from cold emailing, where messages are sent without prior permission. Cold emailing lacks the personalized and permission-based approach of opt-in marketing, which can result in a lower engagement rate and a higher likelihood of messages being marked as unwanted spam.

Opt-in email marketing prioritizes consent. This practice is considered more ethical, respects user preferences, and helps build a more active and responsive audience. It also ensures your emails reach an audience who is genuinely engaged and interested in what you have to say—and sell.

Single opt-in vs. double opt-in

Single opt-in is the straightforward opt-in method. With single opt-in, subscribers sign up and are automatically added to your subscriber list. It’s quick and simple, reducing friction in the process. However, the downside is a potential uptick in unsubscribes or spam reports. Some subscribers may hastily opt-out after the first email, forgetting why they signed up.

On the flip side, there are double opt-ins—a method that ensures subscribers confirm their interest by clicking a link in an automated follow-up email. While the double opt-in process adds an extra step, it also adds a layer of commitment. Yes, it’s true; not everyone opens that opt-in email. Your opt-in rates may dip, but those who complete the process are often more engaged, less likely to mark you as spam, and more appreciative of the value you deliver to their inbox.

Ultimately, the choice boils down to your audience and your goals. Single opt-in for simplicity or double opt-in for a bit more assurance—it’s all about finding the balance that suits your unique email journey. If you decide to set up a double opt-in, make sure your opt-in email is as short and sweet as possible. It should be a frictionless experience that subscribers can do quickly.

Best practices for email opt-ins

Embracing best practices for email opt-in forms isn’t just a checkbox—it’s the secret to nurturing a thriving, engaged community. By weaving these practices into your strategy, you’ll also align with local and international privacy regulations and build a bond of trust with your audience.

Let’s dive in.

1. Make the value proposition clear

When building a subscriber list, clarity is king. Opt-in forms should succinctly summarize what the reader gets from signing up—like a freebie, a discount code, or an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into your business. 

Break it down and make it crystal clear with your messaging. Your opt-in form can also share a snippet about who you are and what else you bring to the table—apart from an amazing newsletter. You’ll have fewer opt-outs when people know what they’re signing up for, as there’ll be no surprises when the first newsletter lands in their inbox.

It’s important to deliver on your promises right away with an irresistible welcome email. Impress new subscribers by using a stunning welcome email template that grabs their attention and reassures them of why they opted in in the first place.

2. Collect subscribers’ names and email addresses

Collecting names and email addresses on your sign-up form isn’t just a matter of collecting data; it’s an opportunity to create a connection that goes beyond the generic “Hello.” With your subscriber’s names, you can personalize your emails. 

Some businesses may opt for a streamlined approach, collecting only email addresses to minimize sign-up friction. However, we recommend using at least a two-field sign-up form, as it sets the stage for personalized content and transforms your emails into a bespoke experience. Plus, it’s nice to have a name behind an email address.

To do this, ensure your opt-in form experience is smooth and seamless. To reduce friction, you could choose to make filling in the name field optional for sign-up. That way if some people prefer not to provide their name, it won’t stop them from opting in. Giving them the option can help them feel more in control of the opt-in process. 

themomlifehandbook form

3. Offer a freebie for signing up

Offering a freebie for signing up is like giving your subscribers a delightful welcome gift. It’s a way of saying thanks and creating an instant connection—plus, it helps to encourage new subscribers to opt-in. 

For it to work, you need to make your freebie truly valuable. It should also be something related to your business offering, acting as a lead magnet to attract potential customers.

Great opt-in freebie ideas include:

  • Downloadable e-books or guides
  • Handy checklists or worksheets
  • Exclusive access to webinars or video tutorials
  • Free challenges
  • Useful templates and printables
  • A free mini-course
  • Special discounts or promo codes
  • Members-only resource library
Email opt in form example

Transform your social media profile into a subscriber magnet with a Flodesk Link in bio. It’s the ultimate way to build your opt-in email list effortlessly. In under five minutes, you can create a fully branded and customizable landing page that reflects your unique style and showcases what you have to offer with your email marketing.

Flodesk’s Link in bio beats traditional opt-in forms by converting 40x better, turning your social audience into eager subscribers right within their social app. It helps you stand out from the social crowd with the best designs that showcase your brand’s fonts, colors, and imagery. You can even add a personal touch like a script font signature, ensuring every click is an extension of your brand story.

A Link in bio acts as the perfect email opt-in form, helping you promote, sell, and measure your success without a website—completely free.

Turn followers into subscribers with a Flodesk Link in bio

Capture followers’ emails right from your social profiles to grow your list.

5. Allow subscribers to self-segment based on their preferences

Allowing subscribers to self-segment based on their preferences helps you tailor your email marketing to suit their interests. Whether it’s a preference for weekly newsletters or a keen interest in exclusive promotions, the power of segmentation lies in understanding what your audience truly wants.

Businesses can use this and other techniques to segment their audience into interest groups, ensuring the content they send out is what people are opting-in for. Flodesk’s form preferences help you do this by adding customized questions, segments, and options to your email opt-in form. 

Two common preferences questions to ask include:

  • What do you want to hear about?
  • How often do you want to hear from me?

These help you better understand what type of content your subscribers are interested in and their preferred email frequency. A well-segmented subscriber list reduces unsubscribes throughout your email campaigns. 

Email opt in form questions

6. Create beautiful opt-in forms

Flodesk form example

First impressions matter, which is why beautiful opt-in forms are so important. Aesthetically pleasing and well-designed opt-in forms serve as invitations, encouraging visitors to take that crucial step of joining your email list.

While a stunning sign-up form encourages opt-ins, it also communicates professionalism, establishes brand identity, and builds trust. Beyond their functional purpose, these forms convey a message—an introduction to the brand’s personality and a promise of the value subscribers can expect.

With Flodesk, crafting stunning forms is simple. Just like our email template builders, building a sign-up form requires a quick drag-and-drop as you customize each section. The platform’s intuitive and visually appealing editor empowers you to transform a simple opt-in form into a captivating visual experience that aligns seamlessly with your brand identity.

Convert followers into subscribers 40x better with a Flodesk Link in bio

Grow your list. Capture followers’ emails right from your social media profiles.

7. Provide a clear opt-out option

Placing an opt-out option prominently within your emails, such as in the footer, is crucial. Firstly, it aligns with ethical email marketing practices, demonstrating your commitment to subscriber choice and explicit consent. It’s also a preventive measure against subscribers marking your emails as spam or blocking your communications. And most importantly, it’s now a requirement by major inbox providers, like Gmail and Yahoo.

By providing a straightforward and hassle-free way to opt out, you not only adhere to legal standards but also mitigate the risk of negative interactions that could impact your sender reputation. 

It reflects a commitment to delivering a positive user experience, even when subscribers decide to part ways, safeguarding your brand reputation and maintaining the integrity of your email communications.

8. Clean your list

Over time, email lists can collect inactive or disinterested subscribers, diminishing engagement rates and potentially harming your sender reputation. Cleaning your list ensures you maintain an engaged, healthy email list—enhancing the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts. 

Experts recommend cleaning your email list regularly, ideally every three to six months, depending on your industry and email frequency. This proactive maintenance ensures that you consistently reach an audience genuinely interested in your messages, leading to improved open rates, click-through rates, and overall campaign success.

To rekindle interest from inactive subscribers, consider incorporating a re-engagement strategy—sending targeted emails to rekindle their engagement and bring them back into the fold.

Create opt-in forms that make people want to sign up—completely free with Flodesk

Flodesk is your go-to solution to effortlessly craft opt-in forms and rapidly grow your list with a Link in bio designed to seamlessly capture subscribers from your social profiles. 

Beyond forms, Flodesk excels in email marketing, providing a simple yet powerful platform to create visually stunning emails. Tailored for small business owners, creatives, and entrepreneurs, our user-friendly interface and customizable templates simplify the process of building effective marketing emails. Choose from our fully customizable opt-in form templates and build a healthy email subscriber list that you can grow, nurture, and sell to all year long.

Turn followers into subscribers with a Flodesk Link in bio

Capture followers’ emails right from your social profiles to grow your list.