Ten value packed opt-in ideas for coaches and consultants

Offering something valuable in exchange for an email address is internet currency.

I know it’s 2018, and some people seem to think that email is dead and we’ve moved on to Facebook groups or something else, but I (and plenty of others) disagree.

Email is where you have one-on-one access to someone who has shown interest in what you do. There’s no algorithm to fight, you don’t have to be a professional photographer, you don’t run the risk of the platform changing and your posts being left out in the cold - you just have to be able to provide little bits of value on a regular basis.

So if you aren’t already offering a free opt-in or some kind of incentive for people to join your email list, I hope you start seriously thinking about it.


Email must follow the golden rule of internet marketing: Give, give, give, ask.

That value part is important, by the way. We all get a lot of email… I probably delete 90% of mine without even opening it, if we’re being totally honest.

But the emails that stand out, that I read or save to read later, almost always provide value in the form of good advice, funny stories, little free digital downloads, or tutorials.

The people who email me three times a week just trying to make a sale typically don’t last very long.

Email is a relationship. You offer value in exchange for someone giving you access to their inbox, then you keep up your end of the relationship by continuing to offer value in whatever form you’ve promised.

You’re building trust, so that when you do have an offer to sell you aren’t coming out of nowhere - the relationship is there.

To start that relationship you usually need to offer something worth turning over an email address for. It should be useful or enjoyable, something you can afford to give away for free, and something that somehow relates to your main offer. You probably don’t want to try selling web design to an email list of people who signed up for your quinoa recipes.

It can be hard to think of something useful, unique, and okay to give away for free though.

If you’re in a product industry, especially digital products, your opt-in might be as simple as a sample version of your product. One chapter of an ebook, a scaled down graphics pack with only a few items in it, or even a coupon code for your shop would all be great options.

It’s a bit harder to think of something when your main offering is your time.

Service providers and consultants shouldn’t give away free samples of their time.

Don’t get me wrong - you can definitely offer a free discovery call to people interested in working with you, and I recommend that.

But giving away your time to everyone joining your email list would be super overwhelming and inefficient. So we need to think of something else that is useful, unique, and relates to your main offer - without taking up much time on a regular basis.

Here are ten of my best opt-in ideas for consultants, ready to pack with your own special sauce:

1. A checklist of some kind

You could create a simple launch day self care checklist for your business coaching clients, free range egg collection safety guidelines if your focus is homesteading entrepreneurs, or whatever type of checklist would give your readers a valuable structure to work from. This is one of the simplest ideas and a great one to start with.

2. Free automated mini class in your area of expertise.

This can be the equivalent of seven blog posts that are automatically emailed to new subscribers, one per day for a week. You could take it a step further and add video or a downloadable workbook to follow along with, but you don’t have to. Pick a topic you feel confident teaching, that relates to your main offer, and start simple. Apps like MailChimp offer easy to set up automation.

3. Access to a free Facebook group where you offer your time to many people at once.

You don’t want to put all your eggs in Facebook’s basket, but there’s no reason you can’t incorporate a group element. Just make sure you’re also collecting email addresses and occasionally staying in touch that way. Use your opt-in as a way to send people information about the Facebook group, maybe in addition to a checklist or something of tangible value.

4. Resource library with access to all your other opt-ins.

Have lots of ideas for opt-ins? This might be the perfect solution! You can create a password protected page on your website where you provide links to download your different freebies, and offer access to email subscribers. This could also be converted to a paid access at some point if you feel you’ve got so much value you don’t want to give it away.

5. 5-10 page PDF workbook or guide.

This is another one that’s fairly simple to put together. You could write a short guide to doing something that you’re asked about a lot, or a workbook helping people discover more about themselves or a certain topic. If you have an extensive blog you could even pull a few blog posts together as a guide and save people from having to search and piece together the info.

6. Pre-recorded webinar or video class.

This is a twofer, because you can first get signups by promoting a live video class or webinar, then later offer the recording as your opt-in. You could also use a series of pre-recorded webinars as a mini class, or store them in a resource library. You could even offer a short video class as an opt-in, then later offer access to your full recorded webinar as a paid product.

7. Run a live (or automated) challenge

This would work for just about any industry, but it’s really great for coaches and consultants. You could do a live challenge where every day you show up with a live video on your favorite platform (live is great because you can interact with people!) and walk them through some sort of transformation. Maybe it’s a smoothie challenge, and every day for a week you share a different green smoothie recipe from your own kitchen and answer questions. You could do the same thing in daily emails or with recorded video. The important part is to make sure you get an email address in exchange for joining the challenge, and provide tons of value.

8. Weekly or bi-weekly newsletters, packed with stuff they want to read.

Your opt-in doesn’t always have to be a thing. There are at least two newsletters I signed up to with zero promise of anything except well curated, enjoyable to read, regular content. Offer subscribers something of value on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, then deliver just that. You can use this space to have a weekly conversation or just share your recent how-to posts, art, or curated collection of other people’s posts. In fact, no matter what you offer as an opt-in, you should also be nurturing your list with regular content.

9. Digital downloads like a monthly phone background with an inspirational quote.

This type of opt-in is popular in the product world, but can still be super fun for a consultant. It’s pretty easy to learn how to create phone or desktop backgrounds using apps like Canva. All you need is a nice stock photo, or one you’ve taken, and a motivational quote in a neat font. This is great for consultants and consultants. Another idea that I actually receive from a service provider every month is a desktop background with different colored squares for you to visually organize your folders (this could be fun for a professional organizer!).

10. Trackers, journal pages, or worksheets that work with your ‘system’.

You could create a simple 3 page PDF fitness journal, a mood tracker, or a quick pricing workbook to offer new subscribers. As with all the others, make sure this is something that can lead to your bigger offer, and that it’s scaled back and bite-sized but offers hefty value.

I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below! Let’s help each other out!

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