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The Ultimate Guide to Email Copywriting — Part 3

How to get anyone to give you their email address

How to get anyone to give you their email address
Download the free PDF: 'The Ultimate Guide to Email Copywriting' and learn the exact strategies to get 1,000 email subscribers in the next 4 weeks, and the copywriting secrets behind emails that readers can’t wait to open.

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Let me ask you a simple question: Why should I (or anyone) sign up for your email list?

If you don’t have a crisp answer, you’re not alone. When most people get asked this question, they list of tons of obscure reasons. Or worse, they don’t have an answer at all.

That’s a huge problem.

Because if you — the business owner — don’t know, how can you expect your readers to?

I learned this the hard way. When I started my site, my opt-in copy used to be hidden in the sidebar with this horrible language:

Who wants another “free newsletter” in their inbox?

Fast forward to today. Now, I’ve learned how to create opt-ins that people want. For example, I included this opt-in at the end of a post on crushing writer's block:

If you were crippled by writer’s block, would you opt in for this?

Of course you would!

It’s almost irresistible. It speaks to your exact needs. And it gives you an immediate solution to your problem.

You can do this, too.

All you need is this proven, 2-step process:

  • 1. Create an irresistible offer or “bonus”
  • 2. Sell the offer with ultra-compelling bullets.

Here’s how to do it.

10x your response rate with an irresistible offer or “bonus”

Whether you call them carrots, lead magnets, or bonuses, the key is to have the RIGHT one for your audience.

You can use a simple rule to figure out what the right offer is:

Identify your audience’s single most pervasive and persistent problem...

...then offer them the single most valuable, concrete and immediate solution.

The key word here is “single.” Focus on solving 1 specific pain point for your readers and they will jump on your offer.

Here are 5 examples of “good” versus “great” opt-in bonuses. Notice how specific the great opt-in bonuses are:

Here's how you can do the same:

Brainstorm a list of problems your audience has.

Next, think about which problems you have immediate solutions for.

For example, you shouldn’t try to create an entire passive income system. That would be too in-depth.

But you could create a guide that helps someone find a profitable business idea. It solves the immediate problem and moves them closer to passive income.

That’s the perfect crunchy tactic people want to opt in to your list for.

Once you have an idea for the problem you can solve, fill in this proven template to create a simple headline for your opt-in:

Here are a few examples of this template in action:

  • “Tired of unsuccessful cold calls? Get my 3-part sales script and learn how to triple your sales”
  • “Feeling tired all day? Get my power lunch recipe and beat the afternoon slump”
  • “Sick of all the clutter in your house? Get my 12-part decluttering checklist and get your house clean and tidy”

See how that speaks to your audience’s pain? And see how immediate the solution is?

Now you’ve got an idea of WHAT your opt-in bonus should do, let’s talk about how to create one.

3 simple ways to create your first opt-in bonus

1. Write a free report or ebook

Who hasn’t joined an email list for at least one free report or ebook?

They’re easy to create. All you have to do is write a short report (a few pages is plenty) and convert it into a PDF.

But don’t let the simplicity fool you into thinking they’re not effective. Some of our most popular opt-in bonuses are only 4 pages.

You don’t even have to write your report from scratch.

You could:

  • Compile a bunch of your best blog posts into one easy-to-reference, easily digestible guide
  • Pull pieces of content out of one of your existing products. For example, I often give away a free chapter of my book to new subscribers
  • Interview experts on a subject and compile the answers into a report (many people are happy to do this as long as you provide a link back to their business)

Here’s an example from our site, where we give away the first chapter in my New York Times bestselling book:

Notice: We’re crystal clear on what we’re offering (a free chapter of my New York Times bestseller). And we’re creating some urgency around opting in for this offer (“get it now before I come to my senses and take it down”).

Also, notice that there’s nothing else you can do on this part of the page. Yes, you can scroll down. But the action is clear: Push that button (yes, you’ll have to give us your email) and you’ll get a free chapter of this book — right in your inbox.

It’s simple but effective.

2. Give away a tool or some other “freebie”

You can also give your readers a free tool — something tangible they can take and immediately use.

For example:

  • If your audience is into creative writing, you could give away the actual template you use to write a post.
  • If you help people with online dating, you could give away entire transcripts of texts you send — that your readers could swipe and use for themselves.

Here’s an example of a free email template that one of our Zero to Launch alumni, John Corcoran, gives away to his readers:

Notice:

  • It’s crystal clear both WHO this bonus is for (people who want to network with VIPs)
  • And WHAT the promise is (email outreach templates). This is a perfect example of giving people a useful tool!
  • The “Join Over 20,000 people” adds social proof and credibility to his offer

This is an awesome example of a tool you could offer to your readers.

3. Shoot a bonus video

Videos are another great way to entice readers to opt in.

Especially if you’re good on camera or just prefer shooting videos over writing copy.

Here’s an example of a video opt-in bonus from a Zero to Launch graduate, Selena Soo:

Notice:

  • She calls it an “exclusive training video,” not just a “video.” Why’d she do that? This isn’t just fancy wordplay — it’s about positioning your material in the best way possible.
  • Also, pay close attention to the bullets she chose to describe the video. Who wouldn't want clients seeking them out? Who wouldn't want to be featured in the media?

The format for your videos can be simple. You can use PowerPoint and Camtasia to record them, as long as they’re delivering genuine solutions to people.

That’s HOW to deliver your opt-in bonus.

The final step is to make your offer irresistible with ultra-compelling copy to sell it.

The 3-Step Fascination Formula to grab people’s attention

Here’s how this works. Start with the main benefit of your opt-in bonus. Then take it through the following process:

Step 1: Pump the energy level up to 110%

Step 2: Add a surprise or counterintuitive “twist”

Step 3: Add as many specific and vivid details as possible

Let’s run through it once, using an example of a bonus for career seekers. One potential benefit might be:

“Get your dream job”

This copy isn’t “bad.” Who doesn’t want to get their dream job?

But it’s flat. And it’s generic.

Let’s give it a makeover with the 3-Step Fascination Formula.

Step 1. Pump the energy level up to 110%

When you’re writing opt-in copy, you’ve got to have energy behind it. Take it to the extreme.

Why?

People browsing the web are basically sleepwalkers. They sleepwalk from site to site until they find something that jolts them awake.

The solution? Pump the energy WAY up.

So let’s go back to the original bullet you might put beneath your opt-in offer:

“Get your dream job”

How could we pump this up with more energy?

How about…

“Find and land your dream job”

Hey, that’s not terrible. But we can go one step further:

“FIND and LAND your dream job in months instead of years”

Now we’re talking! This copy isn’t perfect, but this is a good start.

Let’s take a look at the next step.

Step 2. Add a surprise or counterintuitive “twist”

It’s not enough just to sell the benefits of your offer.

You also need to pique your reader’s curiosity. The best way to do that is to add something surprising or counterintuitive to your copy.

So how would we pump up the bullet we were working on before:

“FIND and LAND your dream job in months instead of years”

How could we make this more intriguing?

Maybe this:

“FIND and LAND your dream job in months instead of years — even if you don’t know what your dream job is”

Wow! If I were a looking for a better job BUT had no idea what my dream job was, I’d want this.

There are several ways to add intrigue to your offer. You can:

  • Add an “even if” statement (“learn how to network… even if you’re an introvert”)
  • Give a warning (“miss this critical step and kiss your job offer goodbye”)
  • Hint at a secret (“most men go on dozens of dates and NEVER know they’re doing this wrong”)
  • Name a technique (“my Briefcase Technique that helped me land job offer after job offer”)

Note: It goes without saying that whatever your twist is, your material has to deliver. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Which brings us to the last step...

Step 3. Add as many specific and vivid details as possible

There’s one more thing we can do to take our bullets to the next level, and that is to make them as specific and vivid as possible.

Let’s recall the previous bullet:

“FIND and LAND your dream job in months instead of years — even if you don’t know what your dream job is”

This isn’t bad. But it doesn’t conjure up an image in your mind.

How could you take this copy and make it more vivid and specific?

Let’s take a look at 3 different tweaks we could make to make the copy more specific:

“FIND and LAND your dream job in 6 months — even if you don’t know what your dream job is”

“FIND and LAND your dream job in 6 months — even if you’re up against people with 10+ years of experience”

“Flood your inbox with job offers — even if you have zero experience, want to switch industries, and have no network to help you out”

That last one is strong. You can imagine getting emails with job offers — right in your inbox.

Now let’s take a step back and compare the original bullet with the one we’ve just created for our opt-in:

“Get your dream job”

vs.

“Flood your inbox with job offers — even if you have zero experience, want to switch industries, and have no network to help you out”

Which sounds more compelling? Which would more likely to convince you to sign up?

Here are a few more real-life examples of before and after bullets:

Drag the arrow in the center from left to right to reveal the headlines
Writing mouth-watering bullets isn’t magic. It’s easy, using this 3-step formula.
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Once you have your opt-in copy squared away, you'll want to start driving traffic to your site.

If you’re interested, we created a free report on the 21 best traffic-boosting strategies that helped us grow our blog from ZERO to more than 1 million monthly readers.

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Go to the next part:

The anatomy of killer emails

How to get anyone to give you their email address