I know that you’ve heard by now that you’ve got to have an optin offer/freebie/lead magnet/gift/what’s-a-whosit to attract email subscribers. But deciding on what that optin should be and figuring out how to make one is the real challenge.

That’s why I’m here to break it down for you.

First, the most important part, the subject of your optin.

What is the purpose of the optin (for your customer’s sake?)

What is the problem they are having that your optin will help them to solve?

And it shouldn’t be a big problem, either. It should be a small piece to their puzzle that will introduce you to them and get them excited to work with you.

For instance, if you help people lose weight your optin subject wouldn’t be to help them lose all the weight. If that were true, they wouldn’t need you at all. How about some tips to help them deal with a sweet tooth or holiday eating or give them some recipes for delicious and filling smoothies or a grocery list or a checklist of things to avoid on a nutrition label?

Or if you specialize in helping people overcome stress, maybe a checklist for a calming before bed routine or an audio recording for them to listen to while they drive to work?

Find one specific small piece of the puzzle and give them a way to solve it in an easy and digestible way.

You also don’t want to overwhelm them with something that will sit in their inbox and never see the light of day. Keep in mind that attention spans are short, so make your optin impactful and quick.

Second, there are several different types of optins, let’s talk about it.

PDF Downloads

This covers checklists, worksheets, workbooks, toolkits/resource lists, guides, excerpts from a book, the pdf version a blog post (or several of them), menus, templates and email swipe files (the copy from a sales email usually.)

You can make your pdfs in Canva, Microsoft Word or in Adobe In Design, if you’re fancy. If you want to make them fillable (someone can fill them out on their computer), go to PDFEscape and it will help you to make that happen.

If you are wanting to convert your blog posts into a pdf, then check out Beacon.

Then save your document as a pdf and upload them to your website, a cloud storage solution like Dropbox or upload it directly to your email service provider like ConvertKit.

Audio Recordings

Maybe you have a guided meditation or a recording from a speech or class you taught or maybe even a song? You can record it using a lavalier mic with your iPhone or get a fancy Blue Yeti Microphone. To edit it, I recommend Audacity. And when you’re ready, you can upload it to the cloud like Dropbox or host it on SoundCloud (be sure to restrict the privacy to link only or else the world will find your recording.)

Video Recordings

This could be a webinar/class where you use slides or talk into the camera. It is also a great way to re-purpose an old webinar. For a great slide deck, I recommend checking out Creative Market‘s templates for PowerPoint and Keynote. If you expect someone to stare at a screen for 45-60 minutes, give them something nice to look at. If you are going to be doing some camera time, then you may want to buy a good webcam like Logitech HD Pro Web Cam*. The picture is great and it has stereo sound which will help if you don’t have a microphone set up.

To record and edit a presentation or your webcam video, you’ll need your screen captured and I recommend Screencast-O-Matic for that. It’s reasonably priced and really easy to use both for recording and editing. You can do a lot with the free version, but the pro version is only $15 a year. That is a STEAL.

Another popular option is Camtasia, but that will cost $99-$299.

If you are filming a yoga practice or something else not computer screen-related, then you can use the camera on your phone or the video option on your DSLR camera. Screencast-O-Matic and Camtasia can import and edit those files.

Vimeo or YouTube are the places to upload your videos if you want to embed them, just be sure that the privacy is enabled so only people with the link can see the videos. You can also embed the video in your web page, but be sure that the page isn’t in your menu navigation and isn’t indexed by Google.

Mini Courses

This is usually done one of two ways, it is either a sequence of emails or access to a free course module on a membership site.

In the beginning, you’re more likely to do the email sequence, so I’ll start there.

This could be a sequence of two on up to 30 emails that either offer great content in the email itself or it has links to a combination of all the other formats listed above. You set these up like autoresponders with your email provider and drip them out one per day (or whatever sequence that appeals to you.) Each day walk them through a micro piece of your solution (don’t overwhelm them with too much information.) The downside to doing multiple days is that their attention will start to wane around day three, so keep that in mind when you are outlining your email sequence.

If you’re doing the membership site route, then you’ll need to set up a free membership level and give them access to your course. S2Member and Wishlist Member offer that capability. Check out how to set up free memberships with those products directly.

Sorry, but you will need more than one.

I wish I could say that you just need to come up with one optin and never have to think about it again, but you will. Sorry.

As your services or products change and as you are introduced to new audiences, you’ll want and need to create new optin for them. No worries though, use the same process as before and you’ll come up with a winning combination. You’ll also have a lot more content that you can re-purpose as well from webinars, blog posts and programs.