For three years in high school I worked at a grocery store as a bagger. Then, thanks to my incredible food-in-bag-placing skills, a checker.
Across those years moving cans of creamed corn from one conveyor belt, across the scanner, to another conveyor, I noticed something interesting. Because beside that scanner was almost always something to donate to. Often it was a little plexiglass box for a nearby food pantry or children's home.
Now, I believe that the vast majority of people are genuinely good, but do you know how many folks donated to those causes?
If I pointed it out and asked them to donate? Perhaps 10-20%.
Now think about this for a moment. These people, collectively, are buying hundreds upon hundreds of items. Each of those costs roughly the amount of a single donation to that box. Their wallets were out. They were ready.
Why? Because instead of giving value in return, they're simply asking for a donation.
It's why so many fundraisers now donate a part of your purchase or give you something small in return. People want to be charitable, but most also want something more than good feelings in return.
The vast majority of email opt-in forms are exactly like that donation box.
It's there, there's tiny print reminding folks how it works, but there's a fundamental thing missing: the reality that an email address is currency and an opt-in is a transaction.
And in that context, most opt-in forms are asking for donations instead of giving folks something valuable in return. Just like shoppers at a store, people give out their emails all day every day buy only when they get something in return.
This is exactly why I love the call-to-action in Chase Dimond's recent tweet.
He's not asking for a donation, hes giving you something valuable to buy.
And the price of that valuable thing?
Just your email address.
Nice one, Chase. A great one for many of us to be reminded of or learn from.