How the Reverse Opt-In Can Help You Build Your Tribe Faster and Smarter



Have you ever looked at what everyone else in online business is doing and thought there must be a different way? Maybe you are like me and you get a little rebellious when it comes to commonplace marketing advice.
That is exactly what the reverse opt-in, a counterintuitive tribe-building and email list growing technique, is all about.
Typical List Building Opt-In Pages
The status quo is to drive traffic to an opt-in squeeze page, where the only options on the page are to either opt-in or leave. These types of landing pages are extremely effective, sometimes getting opt-in conversion rates from 20 percent up to 80 percent, in my experience.
It is a technique that absolutely does work, but there is a reason they are called “squeeze” pages.
If you really want to build your tribe and email list and establish a community of people who share your amazing work for you, there is another way.
It is called the reverse opt-in.
Introducing the Reverse Opt-In
When everyone else is “zigging,” sometimes it makes sense to “zag.”
As the name implies, the reverse opt-in uses an entirely different technique. Instead of requiring someone to opt-in to your email list, then giving them the goods, you give them something of value first, and then you ask them to join your list.
Let’s look at a few examples to illustrate the difference.
List-Building Webinars
With a traditional lead page, a person must sign up for your email list before they are allowed to attend your webinar.
With a reverse opt-in, you would provide a no-obligation link to a webinar recording or a live webinar. On that webinar page, you would give viewers the option to join your email list.
When using it this way, it is important to connect the webinar with the additional value your opt-in would deliver, whether that be another webinar, a downloadable checklist, an email series, etc.
A Free E-Book Opt-In
Say you are giving away a free e-book. With a traditional squeeze page, you try to convince visitors that this e-book is amazing and perfect for them. Once they give you their name and email, they get access to the e-book.
The risk here is that the visitor does not know how good your e-book really is. They are asked to take a chance and hope that you are not just full of hype. This can be a huge turnoff in certain industries that tend to over promise and under deliver.
With a reverse opt-in, on the other hand, you can send people to a page that gives them the download link for your e-book immediately. On the same page is an opt-in box, where people can choose to stay in the loop and get more of the same type of information you provide in your book.
See the difference?
If someone downloads your e-book and thinks it is ho-hum, they will not opt-in for more. But if you are giving a super high-quality gift, people will be clicking that “opt-in submit button” faster than you can say “free.”
Subtle Benefits of the Reverse Opt-In
The reverse opt-in is part of the wooing process. Sometimes a first date does not impress you, but a hard squeeze page might discourage people from even going on a first date with you or your business in the first place.
If someone downloads your e-book or attends your webinar without first opting in, they get to know if you’re a good match. This is especially valuable because people are becoming more discerning with their email addresses and the amount of emails that they sign up for.
The reverse opt-in is a gentler way of bringing someone into your world.
This method of tribe building actually helps you attract the right people, and it converts the skeptics who would have been on the fence or totally turned off by pushy marketing tactics.
I believe that utilizing the reverse opt-in technique can make us more human and approachable, too.
Reverse Opt-Ins Increase Social Sharing, Building Your Tribe Faster
The first time I used the reverse opt-in was in my first online business, where I was giving away a free e-book about healthy desserts. I had befriended a few influencers on Twitter and at large on social media but had a feeling that they would not be impressed if I approached them asking them to share a squeeze page.
So instead, I put the download link for the e-book directly on the page I wanted people to share. I also included an opt-in box in the sidebar on the site, so it was really easy for people who liked the e-book to get more stuff. I also explained what they would get when they joined the list, which included things like recipe videos and a live webinar. The result of using the reverse opt-in and having a really awesome e-book that I was giving away for free: I added just under 500 new people to my email list.
I did not have to beg people to share the e-book. The people who downloaded it decided it was worth their time, and willingly retweeted and shared the link with their audiences.
When to Use a Reverse Opt-In
I do not use the reverse opt-in exclusively on my site. I do not necessarily believe you should give “everything you have got” away without asking for an opt-in.
There is total value in using landing pages and opt-in pages, depending on what you are promoting, but there are times when using the reverse opt-in will help your message spread further, and build your list even faster.
I recommend using the reverse opt-in when you:
-Want a super valuable piece of content to go “viral” on social media
-Plan on using retargeting ads later on to capture people who don’t immediately opt-in
-Want to make it super easy for affiliates to share your content and still get sales commissions if people sign up down the line (thanks to cookie tracking)
-Need to test how you talk about something to make sure you “nail” the language and best way to promote a gift or topic
So, Are You Feeling Rebellious?
If you are feeling rebellious toward traditional list-building landing pages, then it might be time to take the reverse opt-in for a spin!


BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.

Image credit: CC by Adam_Grabek

About the author: Nathalie Lussier

Nathalie Lussier is an award-winning entrepreneur, international keynote speaker, and founder of AmbitionAlly – a company designed to rethink the work world for ambitious women. She’s also the creator of the free 30 Day List Building Challenge for entrepreneurs who are ready to scale.

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