You’ve been told that building an email list is one of the best ways to communicate value and stay top-of-mind to your audience, and an absolute must if you want to create a successful business online.  So you dutifully installed an email opt-in form on your site and created something of value to send to your subscribers, then eagerly anticipated all the sign ups you would get, many of them potential clients and customers who would buy your products or services.

But when you check your email sign up stats each week, the needle isn’t moving on the number of subscribers, even though you’ve got consistent traffic coming to your website.

What’s the Problem?

If you’re getting consistent traffic to your website but virtually no one is signing up for your email list, the problem could be as simple as the copy on your opt-in form.

Something I see over and over again, especially with creative entrepreneurs, is generic opt-in form copy that doesn’t demonstrate value or relevance to the target audience, which is critical to getting people to sign up for your email list.

I’m talking about opt-in copy like this:

  • “Sign up for updates and special offers”
  • “Join my newsletter”
  • “Newsletter signup”
  • “Join our mailing list”
  • “Get email updates (It’s free!)

Now the truth is, you will get some sign ups with copy like that, but if you want maximum results, you have to get specific and focus the form copy on the main benefit your subscribers will receive, based on a problem they want to solve or a pleasure they want to gain.

How to Optimize Your Opt-in Form Copy to Get More Subscribers

Your opt-in form copy should answer the all-important question for your audience of “What’s in it for me?”

To create your own irresistible opt-in form copy, follow this simple 4-step process:

  1. Understand your target audience and what they struggle with
  2. Create an opt-in offer that helps solve this problem
  3. Focus the opt-in form copy on the main benefit of your free offer & the results your audience will achieve
  4. Lose the generic language and add some personality

Let’s take a look at 4 examples of opt-in copy that focuses on benefits & results specifically geared to a select target audience and what they’re struggling with.

Product-Based Business: Tracy Matthews Jewelry

Is your jewelry box a mess?  Sign up to receive your FREE guide: Clean It Like a Professional and Keep It Tangle & Tarnish-Free!  Added Bonus:  By becoming a member you are instantly privy to FREE jewelry giveaways, special jewelry offers, and video tutorials.

The opt-in copy here leads with benefits: how to keep your jewelry tangle and tarnish free, plus access to giveaways, special offers and video tutorials.

Product-Based Business: Archie McPhee

Sign up for the Cult of McPhee Email Newsletter and you’ll receive free monthly emails (normally a $700 value!) announcing our upcoming events, contests and specials. You’ll also get advance notice of our coolest new products and qualify for special members-only deals!

The Archie Mcphee website sells goofy novelty items, but I use it as an example here because their copy is brilliant, hilarious, and full of personality.  As funny as the opt-in copy is, notice it’s still focused on benefits:  contests, member-only deals, advance notice of products, and so on.

Service-Based Business: Interior Design

Enter your email below to grab your free guide, “From Chaos to Calm: 7 Simple Steps for Transforming Your Busy Young Family’s Home into an Oasis of Practical Luxury.” (Plus weekly design tips and inspiration I only share with email subscribers.)

I came up with the idea for this free offer and wrote the corresponding opt-in copy for an interior designer whose target audience is busy young families on the go who want elegant, sophisticated design that stands up to kids, pets, and crazy schedules.  The opt-in copy focuses on the result her target audience wants to achieve:  transforming a chaotic home into an oasis of practical luxury.

Service-Based Business:  Copywriting

Enter your email to get instant access to the FREE Creative Rebel Guide to Writing an Ideal Client Attracting About Page (so you never have to accept work from someone simply because they have a checkbook and a pulse, ever again.)

This is the current copy on my own opt-in form. My audience of creative service professionals often struggles with getting the right kind of clients – clients who understand the inherent value in hiring a creative pro, and are happy to pay a premium price for that that pro’s services – so that’s the benefit I focus on in the opt-in copy: writing your About page in a way that attracts ideal clients.

The biggest objection people have to sales offers – “do I really need this?” – is the same thing they’re thinking when deciding whether or not to sign up for your email list, so you have to give them a clear, compelling, benefit-driven reason to do so.

If you’re already getting consistent traffic to your website and you write your opt-in form copy to highlight the main benefit of signing up to your list as in the examples here, you should begin to see the number of subscribers to your email list increase.