I get an email pretty much daily about my opt-in.
“Cerries – what plugin did you use?” (www.viralquizbuilder.com)
“Who designed your PDFs?” (I did)
“How long did it take you to develop?” (Research: years. Logistics: days)
But the one that seems to be on many minds right now is this:
“Do I really have to have an opt-in?”
I asked myself the very same question towards the end of last year.
There have been some really thought-provoking conversations lately between my Alchemy Study members about the whole opt-in thing, and I felt it appropriate to reflect on and share what I have learned through my experiences.
I have always been very cynical of the ‘opt-in’.
Although I completely understand the reason and importance behind it, I can’t help but feel that we, as online consumers, are getting kinda bored with it now.
Our inboxes are bursting to the seams. We are bombarded with messages every minute of every day, both solicited and otherwise.
Even if we do give our email address willingly (because we are genuinely interested in what the sender has to say), our circumstances and the world around us are changing at such a rapid speed, that what was relevant for us yesterday may no longer be relevant for us today.
Many courses will tell you that if you want to succeed in running an online business, you MUST grow an email list (current conventional wisdom is that when it comes to your email list, size really DOES matter). And, of course, the gateway to that list is your opt-in incentive.
When I started The Brand Alchemist, I really did my homework on the whole opt-in situation.
As a business owner, I understood the reasons why one would be beneficial. I understood that in these testing times, we must stay in front of our customers (and not expect them to come to us). I also understood that not building up a collection of the names and email addresses of people who WILLINGLY want us to grace their inboxes may not be the smartest move…especially with the fact that other channels for communication (such as social media) come with no guarantees whatsoever.
But as a consumer, I also knew that I am actually more likely to NOT opt-in, in my efforts to minimise sales messages flooding my inbox. I understood that consumers have seen it aaaaalll before. That one opt-in incentive is just the same as the next, just packaged a little differently. That people don’t need more and more PDFs / audios / worksheets / videos cluttering up their storage.
The question was…
Was I going to opt-out of having an opt-in?
As it turned out, I decided that I would have an opt-in, but on MY terms (not the terms of what anyone else said it should or shouldn’t be).
My opt-in has become, in some ways, the engine of my business. Could I have gotten this far without it? Most certainly not.
I’d like to say that size doesn’t matter (and on many levels, it doesn’t) – but there is no escaping the fact that the majority of my business flows to me as a direct result of emailing out to my ‘list’.
So…why did I choose to have an opt-in, when I very rarely choose to opt-in to other sites myself? And how did I go from being unsure as to whether I even wanted to have an opt-in, to making it such a pivotal part of my business?
The answer is simple:
I created my opt-in from a place of gratitude, and from the perspective of my higher intention.
Sounds a bit woo-woo, but it isn’t really when you think about it…
I’m often asked why I don’t charge for the PDFs I share as part of my opt-in (because, let’s be honest, at nearly 9000 subscribers I could have left a LOT of income on the table).
The first reason is gratitude.
I am GRATEFUL for every single person taking the time to visit my website (even those who have no intention whatsoever of ever buying anything from me).
I am GRATEFUL for the connection with each person, because each connection brings a lesson of some kind.
And I am GRATEFUL for them giving me permission to contact them once a week or so (people’s time and energy are not commodities that we should just expect for nothing in return).
The second reason is my intention.
It is my INTENTION to make my work available to whoever needs it most.
It is my INTENTION to be a torch-bearer for the lessons I have learned from greater souls who have gone before me.
And it is my INTENTION (and my privilege) to change the life of another human being, even in the smallest way.
Also, from a business perspective, my opt-in is an opportunity for people to experience my work BEFORE they decide whether they want to invest in it further. By giving something without expecting anything in return, I establish trust…and the place from which the archetypal branding journey must begin.
And, above all else, the Universal Law is always consistent:
[Tweet “The more you give, the more you receive”]
The jury is out in my own mind as to whether opt-ins have lost their magic, or whether you do or do not need one for your business.
The question you need to ask yourself is this:
Can I use an opt-in to GIVE, without the expectation of RECEIVING?
If the answer is yes, then my advice would be to go forth and change the world, one little opt-in at a time.