Opt-In 101: How to Create an Effective Opt In for Your List Building Activities

Hands down, the number 1 blind spot for most travel business owners, when it comes to marketing, is list building.  No one is showing you how to add NEW prospects to your contact database on a regular basis.  When you don’t, you end up marketing and remarking to the same contact list, with no growth.

What is list building?  Quite simply, list building is when you add contact details of a prospect to your database. List building can occur both online and offline.  Traditional offline list building activities include:  exhibiting at a trade show; speaking; networking and establishing joint venture partners.  Typical online list building activities include Facebook ads and driving web traffic to an “opt-in” on your website. 

When it comes to online list building, a critical component is an opt-in or Irresistible Free Offer. In other words, you must have something of value to offer the prospect that makes them willing to enter their name and email address to receive it. 

For example, if you visit the GIFTE website at www.travelbusinessu.com, in the top, right-hand corner, you will see our “opt-in” offering our free gift of 20 Invaluable Tips to Monetizing Your Passion for Travel.  When someone visits the GIFTE website for the first time (or one of the first times) and he or she would benefit from what GIFTE has to offer, giving him or her valuable content for free is a great way for the visitor to get a small taste of what they would get in a paid GIFTE program.  It’s like a free sample. 

It becomes a win/win if he or she chooses to submit his or her name and email address, because GIFTE gets the contact details of a prospect and the prospect gets valuable information. Since GIFTE now has the prospect’s contact details, the business can continue to market its services to the prospect.  The act of opting in by the prospect is considered online list building. 

The Irresistible Free Offer or opt-in is also used extensively in Facebook Ads.  You have to be living under a rock to not have seen this strategy at play.  There you are, scrolling through Facebook, when voila!  an ad pops up in your feed or on the right hand side.  If list building is your goal from a Facebook ad, and you want it to be effective, you must have a GREAT opt-in. 

Having a weak or less than desirable opt-in is often the reason your Facebook ad doesn’t work.  Think about it…people are on Facebook to be social, NOT to purchase products or services.  So if they see an ad that looks sale-sy or is not interesting to them, they will go right by it.  But if an ad is offering something of tremendous value to them, you might actually get their attention and get an opt in. 

So this begs the question, HOW do you come up with a GREAT opt-in? The answer to that question lies in 3 words:  Stop Being Lazy!  The way you come up with a great opt in is to do your research. 

First, you must figure out WHO your target market is.  Get super clear so that when you target your audience in the ad, it appears in front of the right people. 

Second, you must figure out WHAT they want. What is their burning question?  What do they spend time engaging in?  What do they like to read about?  What information are they most interested in? 

For example, if you were to ask me that question, I would tell you that my target market is business owners selling travel. I would also tell you that one of the topics on which we get the most questions is service fees.  How to charge them; When to charge them; What to charge, etc.  Therefore, if my purpose was general list building, a great FaceBook ad would offer the cheat sheet on charging service fees for travel professionals. 

Your Assignment: 

A question I get all the time is, “Meredith, what would make for a good opt-in for my website or Facebook Ad?”  I can’t answer that question because I don’t know your target market and what they like and want.  Do the research.  Take the time.  Figure out what triggers get them to take action.  Then go create it.  It can be a written PDF, it can be a video tutorial, it can be a video series, it can be a podcast.  Figure out what they want and how they want to consume it, then create it.  It’s worth the time, I promise.

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