Have you ever looked at what everyone else in online business is doing and thought there must be a different way? Maybe you’re like me and you get a little rebellious when it comes to commonplace marketing advice.
That’s exactly what the reverse opt-in, a counterintuitive tribe-building and email list growing technique, is all about.
Typical List Building Opt-In Pages
The status quo is to drive traffic to an opt-in squeeze page, where the only option on the page is to either (a) opt-in or (b) leave. These types of landing pages are extremely effective, sometimes getting opt-in conversion rates from 20 percent up to 80 percent, in my experience.
It’s a technique that absolutely does work, but there’s a reason they’re called “squeeze” pages.
If you really want to build your tribe and email list and establish a community of people who share your amazing work for you, there is another way.
It’s called the reverse opt-in.
Introducing the Reverse Opt-In
When everyone else is zigging, sometimes it makes sense to zag.
As the name implies, the reverse opt-in uses an entirely different technique. Instead of requiring someone to opt-in to your email list, then giving them the goods, you give them something of value first, then you ask them to join your list.
Let’s look at a few examples to illustrate the difference.
With a traditional lead page, a person must sign up for your email list before they’re allowed to attend your webinar.
With a reverse opt-in, you would provide a no-obligation link to a webinar recording or a live webinar. On that webinar page, you would give viewers the option to join your email list.
When using it this way, it’s important to connect the webinar with the additional value your opt-in would deliver, whether that be another webinar, a downloadable checklist, an email series, etc.
A Free E-Book Opt-In
Say you’re giving away a free e-book. With a traditional squeeze page, you try to convince visitors that this e-book is amazing and perfect for them. Once they give you their name and email, they get access to the e-book.
The risk here is that the visitor doesn’t know how good your e-book really is. They’re asked to take a chance and hope that you’re not just full of hype. This can be a huge turnoff in certain industries that tend to over promise and under deliver.
With a reverse opt-in, on the other hand, you can send people to a page that gives them the download link for your e-book immediately. On the same page is an opt-in box, where people can choose to stay in the loop and get more of the same type of information you provide in your book.
See the difference?
If someone downloads your e-book and thinks it’s ho-hum, they won’t opt-in for more. But if you’re giving a super high-quality gift, people will be clicking that “opt-in submit button” faster than you can say “free”.
Subtle Benefits of the Reverse Opt-In
The reverse opt-in is part of the wooing process. Sometimes a first date doesn’t impress you, but a hard squeeze page might discourage people from even going on a first date with you or your business in the first place.
If someone downloads your e-book or attends your webinar without first opting in, they get to know if you’re a good match. This is especially valuable because people are becoming more discerning with their email addresses and the amount of emails that they sign up for.
The reverse opt-in is a gentler way of bringing someone into your world.
This method of tribe building actually helps you attract the right people, and it converts the skeptics who would have been on the fence or totally turned off by pushy marketing tactics.
I believe that utilizing the reverse opt-in technique can make us more human and approachable, too.
Reverse Opt-Ins Increase Social Sharing, Building Your Tribe Faster
The first time I used the reverse opt-in was in my first online business, where I was giving away a free e-book about healthy desserts. I had befriended a few influencers on Twitter and at large on social media but had a feeling that they wouldn’t be impressed if I approached them asking them to share a squeeze page.
So instead, I put the download link for the e-book directly on the page I wanted people to share. I also included an opt-in box in the sidebar on the site, so it was really easy for people who liked the e-book to get more stuff. I also explained what they’d get when they joined the list, which included things like recipe videos and a live webinar. The result of using the reverse opt-in and having a really awesome e-book that I was giving away for free: I added just under 500 new people to my email list.
I didn’t have to beg people to share the e-book. The people who downloaded it decided it was worth their time, and willingly retweeted and shared the link with their audiences.
When to Use a Reverse Opt-In
I don’t use the reverse opt-in exclusively on my site. I don’t necessarily believe you should give “everything you’ve got” away without asking for an opt-in.
There’s total value in using landing pages and opt-in pages, depending on what you’re promoting, but there are times when using the reverse opt-in will help your message spread further, and build your list even faster.
I recommend using the reverse opt-in when you:
- Want a super valuable piece of content to go “viral” on social media
- Plan on using retargeting ads later on to capture people who don’t immediately opt-in
- Want to make it super easy for affiliates to share your content and still get sales commissions if people sign up down the line (thanks to cookie tracking)
- Need to test how you talk about something to make sure you “nail” the language and best way to promote a gift or topic
So, Are You Feeling Rebellious?
If you’re feeling rebellious toward traditional list building landing pages, then it might be time to take the reverse opt-in for a spin!
A version of this post originally appeared on the author’s blog.