The Sweet Spot Of The Opt-In

This topic is something I see too often and have never addressed before. So, here it goes. It’s about the opt-in process and how much information you should ask for. So many people overlook this process and as a result the impact is a massive lost opportunity to consistently build their list.

In this article I share some of the reasons why determining the exact “sweet spot” of information to ask for from new subscribers will ultimately impact the size and quality of your list.

It boils down to this: the more information you ask for, the less number of people will opt-in. Yes, that is the formula. Ask for the farm and you’ll get squat. Ask for basically the least amount of information (email only) and you’ll be treating more people on your list like a number – not a person. That’s not very authentic.

So, how do you balance authenticity with quantity when it comes to the opt-in process? Let’s look at different options of what to ask for and review each.


No personalization at all means your ability to reference even a first name in your email marketing is non-existent. I personally don’t love this approach at all based on this fact alone. I do get a lot of emails from people in the Internet Marketing niche that don’t use first name or personalization and I do feel it’s somewhat inauthentic. But, you’re only asking for email so you don’t have to worry about asking for too much and thinking people won’t opt-in as a result.

Name and Email

This is the most popular combination to ask for since it allows you to personalize your email marketing AND you’re not asking for anything else during the opt-in process. It’s clean and simple. But, please be sure to use the name in the email marketing and reference it in the actual email body to make it even more personalized and conversation-like.

Name; Phone Number and Email

This is where asking for too much information starts to impact your ability to consistently build your list. For example – asking for a phone number raises a red flag that translates to you calling me and trying to sell me something. Why else would you be asking for my phone number? I’ve not even subscribed or received your IFO yet and you’re asking for my phone number? A lot of people use this as an approach to build phone numbers for prospects to call about selling a product or program – but I’m sure as a result it will significantly impact their ability to build their list first. You’ve got to build the list and build the trust before you try to sell something.

Name; Phone Number; Physical Address and Email

You need to think strategy if you’re asking for their address. If you’re not doing any sort of direct mail marketing (like postcard or letters in the mail) than I don’t see why you’d need to ask for all of their shipping information. If your IFO is a physical item like a free audio CD – than of course it makes sense. But filling out all those address fields takes a long time for people and as a result – less number of people will take the time to do it and as a result not opt into your list. If you’re asking for their address, do your prospect a favor and spend 30 minutes to build the web form for state and country logic so the user will choose from a pre-defined list – not some free form text field where they can incorrectly type the state or country information and make it impossible to ever send them something.

Name; Phone Number; Physical Address; Personal Information and Email

By personal information here I mean other subscriber info that may well be extremely helpful and knowledgeable to have – but will massively impact your ability to consistently build your list. I once had a 6-question survey presented to me during the opt-in process BEFORE I even opted into a list and I ended up not bothering at all. And, I was pretty motivated to subscribe – but based on all this other information they were asking for – it became too much. Questions like what industry I’m in or what business I’m in or how many years I’ve been in business, etc. I mean this is not ALL about you – it has to be about ME. Trick: send a follow up email or survey AFTER someone has subscribed and you can ask some of these questions. But, don’t bang them over the head before they even have opted in.

So, let the balance for you be what you think is best. There is no magic formula here. Personally, I like name and email to start and then follow up by asking for the other information (phone, address, survey questions) only when I have a DIRECT purpose for using that information. I would never ask for all of this beforehand. Think about what you are willing to provide when you opt-in and use that as a rule of thumb for your own list. Again, we are often times our best case study as a prospect for our own niche or market.

Until Next Time… Learn It, Love It, Live It!

Your Assignment:
Take some time to consider the different options for the amount of opt-in information you’re asking new prospects to enter before they join your list. What works best in your market and what would YOU be willing to enter when you opt-in to a list? Develop a strategy for the right balance of information so you can ensure you’re authentically and personally connecting with the people on your list and you’re not overwhelming them at the same time. Interested in finding out more about the opt-in process and other authentic Internet marketing strategies to help grow your online business? The Authentic List Building Coaching program can show you exactly how you can authentically add up to 1,000 new qualified prospects to your business each month. People who really “get” your message and are eager and ready to become your client or buy your products. And, you could do this authentically, quickly and consistently, without being spammy or icky, but just by being you. How would that make a difference in your life? I created this one-of-a-kind program to personally walk you through the same secrets we used (and continue to use daily) to add over 1,000 highly targeted and qualified leads to our list each month for the last 12 months. To see the presentation I created for you about authentic list building principles [IMPORTANT VIDEO], go here.
Want to use this article on your website or your own ezine? No problem! But here is what you MUST include:
Derek Fredrickson, Authentic Internet Marketing Specialist, is founder of the Authentic Internet Marketing System, the proven step-by-step program that shows you exactly how to authentically market your business online, in record time…guaranteed. To get your F.R.E.E. videos and receive his authentic internet marketing articles on attracting more leads and converting more sales online to multiply your current revenues, visit

8 thoughts on “The Sweet Spot Of The Opt-In”

  1. Thanks for this article Derek. I have been concerned that I am not collecting their addresses in my current opt-in but didn’t want to ask for them since I’m not doing any direct mail right now. I’m glad to hear that’s your advice but…..

    What do you suggest as a way to get their addresses later when I DO find I want to do a direct mail campaign?

  2. Derek, Great stuff as usual. It’s the little things that make the big difference and you are so good at making things clear and easy to follow.

    Lesley, Derek metioned in the last section that you can follow up to get any additional info you may need after thy opt in.

    If you did want to get their address offer them something of value in return. So for example if they opt in for a free video on your site. You could offer them a workbook that complements the opt in video on the thank you page in exchange for their physical address.

    Then its up to you if you want to digitally offer the workbook or send them a physical copy. It would be a good thing to split test to see which one converts better.

    **Bonus After they give you the address you could offer them the digital version for free or the physical workbook for a fee. Now your “free” workbook may bring in some money for you:) Obviously it all needs to be tested. Good luck to you.

    1. Great ideas, David. I’d definitely recommend putting in a 2 step process to get name and email first, then address later.

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