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How to Maximize the Earning Potential of Your Opt-In Forms

We’ve all heard it before: “The money is in the list.” Despite there being countless methods to earn a living online, accumulating a list of contact information for highly-targeted consumers is by far one of the most lucrative options possible. One could make a case that email marketing is the bread and butter of the internet marketing world. That means that optimizing your page for improving opt-ins should be high on your priority list. 

Let’s take a look at email marketing by the numbers:

  • According to the global information services group, Experian, for every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.
  • In 2013, there were 3.6 billion email accounts. By 2016, the number of total emails will reach 4.3 billion. (The Radicati Group, Email Statistics Report, 2012-2016)
  •  44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email. (Convinceandconvert.com)

Needless to say, email marketing equates to increased revenue for any business. Unfortunately, convincing a potential consumer to give you their email address can be difficult. To some, an email address can be personal, like a digital identity, which many only want to offer up to those that they deem worthy. As an internet marketer, it is your goal to create a website that builds trust and entices those to provide you with their prized “digital identity.”  It’s easier said than done.

Believe it or not, there was a time when I would only get 1 or 2 opt-ins a month. Obviously, this killed any chance of reaching out to potential consumers and definitely hit my bank account with the force of a tsunami. I was down on my luck, but continued to test various methods, in an attempt to persevere. That was a long time ago and many things have changed since then. Eventually everything began to click. The opt-ins began flowing in at an exponential rate, which soon led to being able to live what most would consider a very comfortable life from my online earnings. In that time, however, I learned A LOT. 

There are certain techniques that seem to work extremely well when applied correctly. In this post, I plan to touch on several of these techniques in hopes of helping my readers to improve opt-in rates in order to build more revenue for their business so that they don’t have to endure the same “growing pains” as I did when I first started out. Whether you are having difficulty building your email list or simply want to maximize the amount of people that you reach, then these simple, yet effective techniques can help you. 

The Opt-In Box

This is a no brainer. Every marketer knows that it is impossible to procure email addresses without a form in which visitors to your site can fill out. One plugin that allows for users to highly customize their opt-in forms is Magic Action Box.   

What I want to touch on is how to ensure that your opt-in box acts like a magnet and draws your audience members in. 


Ensure that your main opt-in box is in the right sidebar, above the fold, meaning that visitors do not have to scroll down the page in order to find it. Your box should also be at mid-page. In 2006, the Nielsen Norman Group conducted a study on the eye patterns of people when they view a website. The results were extremely insightful as they concluded that almost all people tend to look at a website in an “F” pattern. When placed on the homepage of a website, the top horizontal line will typically follow along the main menu. If placed correctly, your opt-in for should be in line with the second horizontal line of the “F” effectively making sure that viewers see your form. 


Why do people come to your site to begin with? In most cases, it will be to read the content that you’ve posted. Why not take advantage of this by placing an opt-in form at the bottom of all of your blog posts? If your content is solid (which it should be), then your viewers will read all the way down to the bottom. If they were genuinely blown away by your article, then they may be interested in receiving more information. Make it easy for them. Instead of having to scroll all the way up the page to opt in, present them with a more convenient option. That is where you will place your second opt-in form. 

The added bonus is that in many cases, after the viewer has finished reading the content, they will check out the comments at the bottom (admit it, you do it too). By placing your opt-in form below your content, but above the comments, there is a very good chance that their gaze will look directly at your opt-in. 

The Color of Your Box

Your choice of color should match the shade of your theme. It should stand alone, but still add aesthetic value to your website. No one wants to place their information in a form that is an absolute eyesore. In a study conducted by Rice University researchers, Jen Benway and David Lane, an astounding amount of people suffer from an odd phenomenon know as “banner blindness.” Because of the overwhelming bombardment of ads and other sales-oriented material on the web, many people actually subconsciously tune it out. 

The researchers asked test subjects to conduct a simple search on a controlled website for items such as a hotel’s email address. Despite placing a large, flamboyant banner that literally told the subjects that they could find the information if they clicked on the link, the majority of people didn’t even see the banner and found a smaller, less conspicuous link at the bottom of the page. Obviously, an opt-in page isn’t a banner, but this information shows that if a form attempts to attract too much attention, then it may be ignored entirely. So, a happy medium should be found where it gains the eye of the audience, but doesn’t “try too hard.”

Your Offer

By offering some sort of incentive to sign up, viewers are more likely to do so. For years, marketers have found that the best way to convince viewers to part with their precious contact information is to offer something in exchange. BUT, in order for this to happen, the juice must be worth the squeeze. The offer MUST be enticing enough for them to offer up their contact information in return. For many marketers, this can be hit or miss. 

Instead of wasting your time, effort, and sanity on creating an offer that your audience may or may not want, why not just offer them something that you KNOW they want? Here are two methods to find what your potential consumers are interested in.

  • Dig up your most popular articles, the content that your audience fawns over, the one with the most views and the most comments posted. Take this article (or articles) and create a more elaborate report, short course, video, etc. 
  • Simply ask them what they want. This can be done through social media or setting up a box with possible options for them to check off on your site.  After you’ve conclusively discovered what the majority of your readers want, then offer it to them through your opt-in box.

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The fun still is yet to come. In the future, we’ll be covering even more in-depth methods to improve opt-ins, how to create killer content that sells, generating sales through enticing headlines, and many more strategies that WILL increase revenue. Many of these tips I’ll be sending out through my emails, so if you aren’t on my email list yet, then you can join below. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you next time!

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...


  1. Where you direct subscribers after they complete the form is also a factor. Thank you pages can be a great place to promote your products, services, or affiliate products.

  2. What software do you recommend for options for WordPress. I use awebber for the processing.

  3. Very interesting and in-depth information here, well worth the read!

  4. Those statistics at the start sparked my interest particularly. I can’t believe that that many people have made a purchase based on an email.

    • Well, I could not agree more. I am a numbers guy, so I crunch numbers like this all day long to see where we can squeeze every ounce of response out of our paid campaigns. If you don’t know the numbers you throw good money away…

  5. Would there ever be a chance of going more in to depth with this article? II enjoyed it quite a bit.

  6. Magic Action Box! I’ve been using that for a while and it’s very powerful.

  7. It’s really quite interesting to learn about how to position the elements of your page so that a viewer will be more likely to see what you want.

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