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8 Email List Opt-In Ideas for Your Local Business

Inbox: 55 new emails!

Do you ever open up your computer to see that ⬆️ staring back at you? Yeah, me too. So when another brand asks me to “join their newsletter,” I’m usually inclined not to, unless I know and love the owner or I’m pulled in by their opt-in.

What’s an opt-in? Opt-ins are incentives you can use to show people the value of signing up for your list. “Join our email list,” doesn’t quite have the same punch to it as “New email subscribers get 30% off their first purchase!”

Now that’s a reason to join a list.

As a local business owner, you’re always seeking new ways to connect with your community and meet new people who may be interested in your brand. Emails are one of the best ways to showcase who you are and what you have to offer but they do very little if no one’s on your list.

So how do you draw them in? Opt-in’s!

Many times, people are willing to exchange their email for whatever is on the other side. Let me tell you about that “other side.” 

I’m offering up 8 different email list opt-in ideas to help you get that list growing in a positive direction instead of deflating with the push of too many unsubscribe buttons. 

1. A Checklist

Everyone loves a good checklist, right? The feeling of checking off that small square is an ounce of satisfaction you can’t find anywhere else. And checklists also keep us on task and prepared, something we seek out when our life feels like it’s spinning. The great thing about checklists is that they can be tailored to your brand. Own a local plant shop? Create a checklist each quarter telling people what they need to do to get their plants ready for the next season. Have a tile and stone store? Create a checklist with all the ways people can clean their countertops. These can easily be created in a design platform like Canva and made into downloadable PDFs for people to print, save, and use. Here’s one we created for a module in one of our courses.

2. A 3-5 Page PDF (a.k.a. “Lead Magnet”)

Lead magnets are well-known in the marketing world as ways to draw an audience in with a free digital product. These can vary greatly across different categories (even a checklist can be considered one) but here I’m talking about a 3-5 page PDF that offers up your expertise. Think of it as a guide or a super simple booklet. These are valuable to your customer and related to your local business. A photographer could offer up a guide sharing how to capture beautiful iPhone photos of your kids for the holiday season. A residential construction company could create a guide called “Everything You Need to Know About Building Your First Home.” Anything that your customers want to learn from you and will help them build up trust and credibility in your business can become a lead magnet

3. A Coupon

Tried and true, a coupon is an easy yet highly effective way to draw in new and old customers alike. Driven by discounts, customers who might not have considered shopping with you before are willing to give you a shot. After purchasing, they might come to see the value and quality of your business and want to buy again. We teach our students how to create a remarkable brand in the our free training to ensure that repeat business… in case you were looking for a little extra help in that area. :) Ten percent off just doesn’t have the same urgency or motivation that 20 or even 30 percent does so consider upping the ante if you really want this to be an effective opt-in.

4. A Giveaway

Giveaways are great because they can have the same effectiveness of a coupon without giving away dollars to every signup. You can choose to give away one product or service every month or do one big sign up push for a limited time to win.

5. First to Know…

Exclusivity is another motivating factor for humans and offering people the “first chance to know” is enticing enough for some to input their email address. Whether you’ve got regular product launches or new events popping up, offering your email subscribers first dibs is a great way to make them feel appreciated and valued, especially if you tend to have a lot of “new” things happening. The more specific you can get the better. If you host events, you could say that for every event, five email subscribers are given the chance to claim a spot for free before tickets go on sale. People will want to join the “club” to have a chance at these opportunities.

6. A Quiz

These are fun because our innate desire to know ourselves is such a prominent one. Even if it’s just what kind of ice cream flavor we identify with, we love to find out more about who we are and then share that with others! If you’re a brand who has offerings that can easily be transferred into a quiz format, try it out. Whether it’s a local bookstore sharing “What Book Should I Read Next?” to a yoga studio offering a “What Yoga Pose Am I? Quiz. There are so many options out there. Side note: If you create a quiz, send me a DM on Insta, I want to take it. I’m a sucker for a good quiz :)

7. An Online Workshop

With so many things moving to virtual this year, I’m sure you’re more than familiar with online learning opportunities. You’ve seen ours, right? :) But that doesn’t mean they’re ineffective. Hosting an online workshop on a topic you’ve got knowledge on and your audience wants to learn about can be an easy way to build up community around your brand and trust with you as the owner. And if you’ve been around here long enough then you’ve heard me say, “People buy from people.” So inviting people to a space to connect, even if it’s online, along with offering them value, is a magical credibility-building concoction. 

8. A Video Training

If you’ve got a local business that can easily offer a video training on a specific topic, then by all means go for it! A florist could show a super simple way to make a holiday wreath or a cookie baker could offer a tutorial on creating a detailed iced cookie. This doesn’t have to require super fancy equipment-it can just be you and your iPhone (turned horizontally!)-but it can go so far in further proving your credibility and expertise to your audience. 


If you flew through this post, thinking “opt-in’s? Emily, I barely have my list started,” then no worries! I’ve created a super simple 5 day email marketing mini course that you’ll finish with a fully functioning email marketing platform and strategy. Sign up HERE!




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