Growing Your Email List with Multiple Opt-In Incentives (How to Make Money Blogging Day 3)

For Day 3 in my How to Make Money Blogging Series, I zoom in on one of the most important things you should do if you really want to make money blogging: start and grow your email list.

The first part – starting – is ridiculously easy (you can set something up in 10 minutes or less) but the real work comes in to actually grow your email list.

But before I walk you through some tried-and-tested tips to grow your email list, I’ll give you the top 3 reasons why you need a list to begin with.

Read the rest of the How to Make Money Blogging series:
Learn how to grow your email list using multiple opt-in freebies. And get to know how to nurture your list so that you can make money blogging.
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Why create an email list?

I’m glad you asked. And honestly, there’s one very, very, very important reason at the very top. (If you’ve been following my blog for a while, care to guess what I’m about to say?) Yup, you guessed it!

Your money is in your list!

Reason 1: Monetizing your blog

Listen up, yo.

It’ll be very, very hard to monetize your blog without having an email list!

I’m not saying it’s impossible. But the chances of monetizing your blog from the very beginning skyrocket when you create an email list.

You see, the people who subscribe to your blog have already given you something very important: their emails. An email isn’t a friend request on Facebook or a QR code to their Snapchat. Getting into somebody’s inbox as opposed to the ever-distracting, algorithm-heavy social media networks?

That’s absolute gold, baby!

Which leads me to my next reason…

Related: How I Made Money on My First Month of Blogging

Reason 2: Gaining subscribers’ trust

When you get a thousand likes on your Facebook page or even a thousand followers on Instagram, there’s no guarantee people are going to see your newest posts or read your latest updates. But landing in someone’s inbox?

That gives you the golden opportunity to get noticed and get read.

And when people read your emails, they begin to trust you more. And an amazing cycle happens.

They trust you, they read more of your emails, they trust you even more, they look forward to your next emails. And when the time comes, they buy from you.

Pretty sweet, right? Soon you won’t even be thinking about how to grow your email list – it just will!

And the last reason why you need to grow an email list from the very beginning…

Reason 3: Social media isn’t forever

I hate to say it because I love social media (I mean, how else am I going to connect with my great-aunt Ermintrude?!), but social media might not last forever.

(cue horror music.)

Facebook is still alive and well, but remember that recent 2018 breach they experienced? I bet Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t happy about that! I’m glad they got themselves out of the hot water and are making sure they regain their users’ trust, but what if they don’t?

Imagine that, one day, Facebook announces that they’re shutting down. Imagine all those followers you’re going to lose! How will you reach them if social media sites shut down?

An email list is something you own. Even if your email marketing provider one day decides to shut down as well, you still have complete access to your entire list.

Besides, imagine when new social media apps and sites come popping up. You don’t want to exhaust yourself trying to be visible in all these things, do you? That’s a lot of time you could be putting into something else, man!

So grow your email list now, yo.

How to grow your email list using opt-in incentives

If you’re new to email lists, let me tell you a secret: you’ve got to be some special kind of snowflake if all you do is put up a form saying “Join my newsletter!” and expect people to sign up.

Things aren’t that simple anymore. But that’s okay!

Nowadays, you have to grow your email list using some kind of opt-in incentive – meaning, in exchange for someone’s email address, you send them something valuable in return.

Because I know you’re an excited little cookie that wants to grow your email list right now, here are a few simple opt-in incentive ideas.

  • A checklist
  • A mini email course
  • A toolkit
  • A discount code or coupon
  • A quiz
  • A giveaway
  • A webinar
  • A free service

(On a related note, Convertkit makes all these things very easy to do. You just plug in a form, attach the valuable incentive to it, and voila! You can plug in as many opt-in incentives you want. It’s easily the best email marketing software to grow your email list out there.)

So you see, if you want people to subscribe to your blog, you need to convince them that you’re full of value for them. The right people will eventually subscribe, so keep promoting those freebies!

How many opt-in freebies should you have?

First of all: great that you’re now convinced you need multiple opt-in freebies!

And second: there’s no real number you’re meant to follow when it comes to how many opt-in incentives you should have on your blog.

But my personal recommendation is experimenting with at least 5 different opt-in incentives at first. Over time, try and see which ones are getting you the most subscribers and try to make those more visible. And for the ones that aren’t converting, you can probably just replace them or think of something better to offer.

Let’s bring this to an example so you understand better.

Say I run a blog on fitness for young career women. I have a few post ideas that I think they’ll love, such as a list on 5 easy rice bowls they can prepare before work, 20 different exercises they can do from their desks, and 10 of my favorite paleo recipes.

One opt-in incentive I can offer for the 5 easy rice bowls list is a mini ebook for 5 more rice bowls recipes they can try.

Related: How to Find a Profitable Blogging Niche

For the 20 different exercises at their desk, perhaps a special link to access 5 exclusive play-and-follow workout videos they can do in their room. (Because I know my readers are busy girlbosses with no time to hit the gym!)

And lastly, for the list on my 10 favorite paleo recipes, I can even offer a discount code to my digital cookbook containing 150 paleo recipes.

Pretty creative exercise, don’t you think? That’s the beauty of having multiple opt-in incentives! You can offer something very specific on the blog post that someone might be visiting on your site.

That’s probably the easiest way you can grow your email list from scratch – just ask any successful blogger out there!

What tools can I use to create and send my opt-in freebies?

I’ll be talking about the two email marketing providers I’ve actually tried and tested for this purpose: MailChimp and Convertkit.


Okay, I’ll be honest: MailChimp has beautiful templates and e-commerce integrations that look perfect if I wanted to put up an online store or an online publication one day. In fact, some of the biggest names in the biggest industries use MailChimp for their email marketing, and it’s not hard to see why.

Everything looked sleek and easy to use, and I didn’t have a problem understanding how the site worked at all.

I successfully grew my email list consistently using MailChimp – up to 1,000+ new subscribers on a brand new blog in just 3.5 months!

Related: How I Doubled my Email List Subscribers in Just One Month

The problem with MailChimp and Multiple Opt-Ins

While I had a great run with MailChimp to grow my email list from scratch, there was one tiny problem with the platform – you couldn’t deliver multiple opt-ins to one list.

Long story short, it’s a lot harder and a lot more tedious (though not impossible) to get done. That’s because, by default, MailChimp is a list-based provider, meaning that whenever you get new subscribers using one of their built-in forms, they’re added to one list for every form or opt-in.

So to deliver multiple opt-in incentives through MailChimp, most people actually set up more than one list – which isn’t very cost-efficient in the long run, because you end up paying for one subscriber more than once if they decide to opt-in to more than one of your blog’s freebies.

But while I was still growing my subscriber list, I was on MailChimp. So when I found this amazing course that helped me navigate multiple opt-ins on MailChimp while keeping everything in a single list, it was a great help and definitely worth the investment.

So if your heart (and budget) is set on MailChimp, take advantage of the Ready Set MailChimp for Bloggers course to learn how to grow your email list using some awesome MailChimp hacks.

You might also want to consider purchasing through my affiliate link – you’d be helping me keep this blog running with the small commission from the sale at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much!

Click to take the course and grow your email list using MailChimp!

But now, I use an email marketing service that I find absolutely perfect for bloggers.

Get a free trial of Convertkit and grow your email list with ease!

At first, I’d been hesitant to sign up for a Convertkit account because there was no free tier, which could have been helpful for new bloggers and business owners only starting to build their brand and list.

However, I started to take my blog and biz more seriously and realized I needed an email marketing service that was more dedicated for bloggers and business owners. And while I knew Convertkit wasn’t free, I also knew it would be my best bet.

So I took the plunge and signed up, even though I wasn’t earning nearly enough to justify the monthly (much less, annual) cost.

To better understand why I chose to switch to Convertkit, here’s a short and sweet rundown.

Convertkit’s built-in form-to-incentive email feature
How to add multiple opt-in freebies with Convertkit
See how easy Convertkit makes it to add multiple opt-in incentives???

When you create a new sign-up form on Convertkit, you can customize it to promote a certain opt-in freebie or content upgrade on your blog post. Then, right within that form, you can attach an opt-in incentive to send once readers confirm their subscription.

It’s different from MailChimp because you don’t have the option to do this quite as easily.

Convertkit’s tagging and automation rules
Easily add subscribers to tags and segments with Convertkit

And with Convertkit, you can add tags to your subscribers automatically. Their built-in automations (you can build them using Rules or Workflows) also save you a lot of time – there are infinite ways you can make them work for your blog and biz!

For example, you can create a rule where, should somebody sign up for a content upgrade on, say, free vegan recipes using a specific form on your blog, you can add them to a tag called Vegan Recipe Content Upgrade.

Adding automation rules with Convertkit is ridiculously easy with the visual builder

That way, you can send them personalized emails specific to their interest group. After all, you might blog about a myriad of things, so not all your subscribers are going to want to get emails about everything you write about.

Keeping subscribers in one list

But perhaps the best part is this: no matter how many opt-in freebies or content upgrades your readers sign up for, they all stay in one list. So no more paying for the same subscriber more than once!

Like I said, Convertkit is a subscriber-based platform, not a list-based one. So you never have to worry about making multiple lists to send out to different content upgrades or freebies.

Me being honest: I wish I’d invested in Convertkit from the very beginning, even when I wasn’t earning from my blog yet.

I’ll soon be putting up a comprehensive post to explain all the reasons I decided to make the switch and investment, but in the meantime, why don’t sign up for a free trial here?

Be sure to sign up to my newsletter if you want to get first dibs on when I put that post up!

Read for more blogging monetizing strategies:

What other tools can you use to make money money blogging?

Everyone knows I looove me a good toolkit, so I’m glad you asked! So now I’m giving you access to my Ultimate Guide to Profitable Blogging, which includes a step-by-step checklist of the most important things you need to start and grow a blog from scratch.

Plus, catch the special segment on how to build and grow your email list from scratch. Tools for creating opt-in freebies included!

The list is full of highly-recommended free and paid programs, apps, and software based on all the latest research and reviews – perfect for new and experienced bloggers with all kinds of goals and budgets alike. Don’t be shy, and steal my secrets today! 😉