People don’t share their email addresses easily these days.
With the millions upon millions of content pieces floating around (many of which are spammy), most people are protective over who they let into their inbox.
For online businesses, customer email addresses are a form of currency.
If you want access to your target audience’s inbox, you need to offer them something equally—if not more—valuable than their email address.
That’s where a lead magnet, or opt-in, comes in.
Opt-ins can be traditional PDF downloads, or they can be interactive content, like quizzes.
Either way, if you want to convert website visitors into email subscribers, leads, and ultimately customers, then you need to offer a valuable opt-in on your website.
To do that, figure out which type of opt-in—a PDF or a quiz, for example—you should create for your brand.
Here’s what I’ll go over in this article:
Let’s dive in!
What is an opt-in, and why do you need one?
Opt-ins are essential for building email marketing strategies and generating leads.
No matter the type of opt-in, whether a PDF download or an interactive quiz, opt-ins help build email lists because they give people an incentive to sign-up.
People are protective of their inboxes. In fact, the average email opt-in rate is only 1.95%.
But when a website visitor is promised something in exchange for their contact information, the chances are much higher that they’ll opt in.
And building trust through an opt-in, whether it be an e-book or a product recommendation quiz, is essential to easing your way into your customer’s digital world.
According to Marketo, a whopping 96% of website visitors aren’t ready to make a purchase.
But when they’re receiving valuable content in exchange for their email address, that’s a transaction visitors are more willing to make.
Make sure what you offer is valuable, relevant, and helpful to your audience. Your opt-in should be something they genuinely could use and find value in, even if they don’t end up buying your product or booking your service.
You never know who may come back to your site or make their way through your sales funnel because of a helpful resource you gave them!
Types of opt-ins
Now that you understand the purpose and value of creating an opt-in on your website, let’s highlight the common types of opt-ins online businesses use.
Opt-ins typically come in the form of either a traditional downloadable PDF, like an e-book, or something interactive, like a quiz or survey.
There’s a lot of room to get creative with the content you offer—the only real requirement is that you offer something enticing enough for your audience to opt into your email list.
Here are some common types of PDF opt-ins:
There are also a ton of quiz types to choose from, including:
- Personality quiz
- Product recommendation quiz
- Buzzfeed-style quiz
- Assessment quiz
- …and many more!
Personality quizzes and product recommendation quizzes are the most common quiz styles for online businesses, like coaches or e-commerce brands.
Ready to find out which opt-in is right for your brand? Let’s compare a quiz to a PDF opt-in.
Quiz vs. PDF opt-ins
While quizzes and PDF opt-ins are valuable in their own ways, one may be better for your brand than the other, depending on your marketing goals.
There may even be room for both forms in your marketing strategy! It depends on what kind of leads you want to generate and your ultimate goal.
Here’s an overview of the three main differences between a quiz and a traditional PDF opt-in:
- Interactive vs. static
- Audience insight and data
- Personal vs. helpful
Let’s go over each of these in more detail.
Interactive vs. Static
The most significant difference between a PDF opt-in and a quiz is that the former is static while the latter is interactive.
To illustrate the importance between being static and interactive, here’s a breakdown of what the typical journey of a (static) PDF download looks like:
1) Customer discovers the lead magnet on your website.
2) They enter their email to get the download immediately.
3) They skim it and tell themselves they’ll look at it more later. (Spoiler alert: They probably won’t!)
4) The PDF collects virtual dust in their downloads folder.
While it might not always go this way, this is a pattern you may want to consider before creating a PDF lead magnet.
Your target audience may be interested in it initially, but life happens—they may or may not get around to checking out your planner or using your checklist. And if they do, what’s next?
With a static lead magnet like a PDF opt-in, you need a lead nurturing strategy that follows to keep your audience engaged.
Create follow-up content, like an email sequence, to continue piquing their interest after downloading your PDF.
Quizzes, however, are interactive from start to finish.
There’s nothing more intriguing than stumbling upon a quiz that promises to give you insight into yourself. Just take a look at these titles:
- What is your brand personality?
- Which product is missing from your skincare routine?
- How much do you know about wellness?
People love learning about themselves and exploring products based on their personalities or preferences, which is why a quiz is a great interactive lead-generating tool.
In fact, Interact has found that 65% of people answer all questions of a quiz once they click the start button, and 40.1% of people become leads.
A quiz will capture your customers’ attention from the start and keep them engaged by delivering results and sharing relevant content afterward. Quizzes are fun and will retain your customers’ interest for much longer than a static PDF, which is something to keep in mind if you want to engage your audience for the long haul.
Quizzes offer more insight into your audience
Another key difference between a quiz and a PDF download is the audience data you receive.
If you’re thinking, Data? I thought we were talking about content here!, then let me explain.
When someone downloads a PDF from your website, other than their email address and maybe their first name, what information did you receive? What else do you know about them?
Here is some data you might want to gather from your website visitors:
- What brought them to your site?
- What are their needs/goals/desires?
- What type of product or service are they looking for?
While you could create a detailed opt-in form with questions, most people don’t want to take the time to fill out a long form in exchange for a free download.
One study even found that only 49% of site visitors filled out a form after viewing it, and of that 49%, only 16.5% completed it.
With a PDF download, your best bet is to keep the opt-in form simple and only ask for an email and maybe a first name. Then, you can gather more information about your audience later on through your sales funnel. But that leaves you yearning for more audience insights in the meantime.
With a quiz, you can gather key data from the get-go.
When you use a quiz-builder like Interact, you can see how quiz-takers answer the questions, which questions are performing well, and how engaged people are from start to finish.
Quizzes work great for online businesses, like e-commerce and coaching.
Both coaches and e-commerce brands can benefit from knowing what their audience likes and dislikes, their needs, and what they’re looking for.
A quiz is essentially like conducting a focus group: You get to hear directly from the source what they think and feel.
For coaches, understanding your audience can help you refine your ideal customer and tailor your offerings around their exact needs.
For e-commerce brands, data on what types of products quiz-takers are looking for can help you understand which products are the most popular and who is shopping for them.
Direct data is invaluable when figuring out how to market your offerings. But this level of insight is not something you’re likely to get from a static PDF.
Personal vs. Helpful
There’s no denying how helpful a traditional PDF download is.
For instance, if you offer an e-book as a lead magnet, chances are it’s packed with knowledge, tips, and industry insights that your audience can learn from and potentially apply to their lives or business.
This resource can be an excellent way for SaaS brands or service providers to position themselves as go-to experts or industry thought leaders.
But a 20-page e-book is not necessarily personal or specific to the consumer. E-books are a great way for a customer to learn more about a topic, but they don’t usually address the personal needs or pain points of your target audience.
The same goes for checklists, templates, and any other type of traditional PDF download.
Quizzes offer something that static PDFs cannot—personalization.
A PDF usually focuses on a brand and what it offers; a quiz shines light on the person taking the quiz. A quiz speaks to each quiz-taker, making them feel seen and understood.
A quiz can give you valuable insight into your audience and helps you get to know your customers.
And the more you know about your audience, the more you can personalize your marketing. Personalized marketing will help you segment your email list and serve your audience content or products you know they’ll like.
Research has found that segmented email marketing campaigns drove a 760% increase in revenue.
If you want to increase your sales, personalization is the way to go, and an interactive quiz can help you get there.
Email is a prized possession for consumers. Once you gain access to their inbox through an opt-in, that’s not something you should take lightly!
To gain trust and warm up to your audience, you need to offer an engaging and helpful opt-in, like a quiz or a PDF download.
To recap, here are the key differences between a quiz and a traditional PDF download:
- A quiz is interactive; a PDF is static.
- Quizzes offer specific insights about your audience, whereas PDFs don’t offer context as to why someone is downloading it.
- A quiz is personal, while a PDF is a knowledge resource.
Traditional PDF opt-ins are helpful resources that have their role in a digital marketing strategy.
PDF opt-ins can build trust by offering something valuable and helpful, positioning your brand as a resource your audience will come back to when looking for insights or tools.
But if you want to increase your chances of securing emails and generating leads from your email list, then an interactive quiz opt-in is the way to go.
Whether you’re a health coach or a DTC jewelry brand, online businesses of all kinds can benefit from creating a quiz to grow their email list, get to know their audience, and convert leads into customers.