8 min read

7) Opt-in form

7) Opt-in form

This lesson is a little long but you only have to do it once.


A key component of making this local event list system work (so you can become the most popular marketing expert in town and get local clients reaching out) is by using an email newsletter service.

Once a week, or every couple weeks, you'll be sending a quick email to local folks highlighting a few upcoming events and linking to your full event list page.

This newsletter method has worked better than any other method I've tried for getting local folks to keep visiting my event list page, hands down. My weekly open rate hovers between 50-75%, that's insane for emails.

If you do this correctly, your open rate will be similar and you'll be reaching hundreds of local folks every week (possibly even a few thousand depending on your city size).

It's almost like when you send emails that folks actually want, they'll open them. Crazy, right? Folks wanna know what's happening in your town, and you'll be the one delivering it to them.

And when folks actually look forward to your event list updates, it's SO MUCH EASIER to also let them know about your expert services without being spammy. It's almost natural, and your local name recognition goes through the roof!

Can you see how a local newsletter builds your credibility yet?

Getting Started

Before we begin this guide there might be a chance to save you a little time. Choose an option that best describes your current email newsletter status for how to approach this lesson:

I already use a service like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, AC, etc.

Great! Any newsletter service will work for this step since they all kinda have the same features. I'll be using ConvertKit in the examples below, but the principles remain the same. Follow along as best as you can and implement what you can using your own provider. You might have to google search for help docs for your specific ESP. You can also reach out to me anytime. Skip to step 2.

Leon's email:

No newsletter service yet

Perfect! This whole lesson walks you through the setup of a free service to get your newsletter rolling start-to-finish. If you have any questions about any of this just email me directly.

Leon's email:

1) Signup & Setup ConvertKit

If you're just starting out on making an email newsletter I recommend signing up for a service called ConvertKit (not an affiliate link, I just like them and you'll find out why). It's free for your first 1,000 subscribers, AND the easiest to use of the big name providers that I've found.

On their homepage click the free trial button in middle, or the sign up button in top right menu.

Create your account.

They might ask you some questions to find out about your business, but I recommend just playing dumb and saying 'no' to whatever they ask.

Eventually you'll reach the dashboard, but nothing is really official yet until you verify your account. Check your email and click on the verification link.


Once back in your ConvertKit dashboard, click on your account name in the upper right corner and select 'Settings'.

Use the following:

  • Login Details: add a profile picture of your face and enable two-factor authentication. Save.
  • General: use your name. Save.
  • Creator Profile: add pic & fill out as you wish. Save.
  • Email: add a mailing address (this is required if you wanna avoid instant spam filters). If you don't have a business addy just use your personal address. It will add to the legitimacy of your local presence. Save.
  • Email: turn off unsubscribe survey. Save.
  • Email: for the GDPR setting, select the option that says 'Show only to subscribers in X, Y, Z countries'. Save.

After setup is done, scroll up and click the convertkit icon in the upper left corner to get back to your dashboard and begin the next step.

2) Create opt-in form

If you already use an email service then just copy what we're doing here (but using your own specific provider of course). The idea is simple, we're gunna create an opt-in form for a local event newsletter and embed it on your site.

Tip: if using an existing email service I recommend creating a new 'list' or 'tag' inside your provider's dashboard and title it as your community. Then when creating your opt-in form choose that 'list' or 'tag' in the form settings so new signups get put on that community list/tag. This will keep your local signups separate from any existing subscribers you already have, and make it easier for you to send local event updates to only local subscribers (and not your entire list).

In your ConvertKit dashboard, look to the top menu options and click on 'Grow', then 'Landing Pages & Forms'.

Halfway down the page on right, click the big red 'create new' button.

Select 'Form'.

Select 'Inline'.

Then choose 'Cocoa' for template.

You should now be in the form editor.

On the right side look for an option to 'replace background'.

Hit that and pick an image familiar to your town (if you don't have a good pic of your town saved yet then hit 'cancel' and open up a new tab in your browser and search for 'your city name' on google, hit the 'images' tab, find a good pic of your town and save it to your computer).

Replace background with a local image.

Click the big text that says 'join the waitlist' and change it to:

  • (Your Community) Events Newsletter
  • Highlight the text so the formatting popup appears, make left-aligned.

Click on the smaller sub-text and change it to:

  • Get a weekly email of events in (your community)!
  • Highlight the text so the formatting popup appears, make left-aligned.

Here's mine so far:


(title, sub-text, and background of my community)

Next, under the email address box hit the "+" symbol to make a new field. A new blank box appears. Hover your mouse on the left side of it and click/drag it above the email box.

Then on the right-side menu edit the following:

  • Save as: custom field
  • Custom field: select first name
  • Required: on/checked

Lastly, back on your form, double-click the orange download button so it highlights the text. Change 'download' to say 'Get Newsletter'.

Here's my completed form for reference:


When you're done with all this be sure to hit the 'Save' button in upper right corner of the editor to save your work!

If using a different email service you should have a similar looking form at this point (obvious using your own city name and background image though). If your email service doesn't offer a form template with a background image that's okay.

3) Edit form settings

Before getting the embed link we have to change a couple settings quick. If using a different email service other than ConvertKit you'll want to look for similar options and adjust your form settings so it functions the same way we're doing here.

You should still be on the form editor looking at your form.

Near the upper-right corner click the 'Settings' button.

This shows a popup to adjust the form settings:


Edit the success message to say:

  • "Success! Now check your email to confirm and see this week's upcoming events."

Before saving, within this popup box, click on the left-hand menu item that says 'Incentive'.

Leave the 'Send incentive email' checked ON, and click the button right below that says 'Edit Email Contents'.

In the new popup it shows the first email they'll receive. Edit the subject line, body text, and button to copy what I have below (using your own city and name of course):


Hit the red 'Save' button.

You'll be back to the form settings popup box in the incentive tab again.

IMPORTANT: while still on the incentive tab, change the following option highlighted in blue to your own event list page URL:


  • In a new tab open up the web page where your event list is embedded. Copy the URL then come back to the redirection option here and paste it in. You want YOUR calendar page URL in the same place where mine is highlighted in blue above.

Then hit the red 'Save' button.

You should be back on the main form editor looking at your form again.

Hit the save button in upper right again just to make sure all your progress is saved. You're now ready to publish and embed this form on your live site!

4) Publish & Embed Form

In this final step we're going to add the newsletter form to your website so it's public and local folks can sign up to see your event list.

Note: If you followed the earlier alternate lesson to embed your calendar on a new domain using the Carrd.co service, click here for instructions to embed your newsletter form on a new carrd.co page.


This next part involves your website again. And just like before where I don't know your exact setup, I have to use a birds-eye-view approach to help you get this step done. The good news is you already did this process before by embedding your event calendar on your site. We're just doing the same exact thing here but now embedding your newsletter opt-in form on a new page.

To start, inside ConvertKit, you should still be looking at your completed opt-in form in the form editor. It's ready to go.

Hit 'save' again just to be safe.

Then hit the red 'Publish' button.

A new box appears with embedding options.

Javascript is already selected by default, hit the little red 'copy' button next to the code to save the it to your clipboard.

Note: if using Wordpress as your site software follow the wordpress instructions instead.

In a new tab open up your website editor and navigate to the placeholder 'Newsletter' page you made in the earlier step. Remember those 2 pages you made previously?

  • mydomain.com/town-event-list
  • mydomain.com/town-newsletter

Within your website editor go to the page for the newsletter (or create one if you haven't yet) and get to the specific newsletter page editor where you can embed the signup form code.

Note: this should NOT be the same page where your calendar lives, your newsletter opt-in form needs it's own page. That's why we've created 2 separate pages (one for the calendar & one for the newsletter opt-in form).

Just like last time with embedding the calendar, look for the custom code element and drag it onto your page canvas.

After the custom code element is on your page open it up (if not already open), then paste in the embed code you copied from ConvertKit.

Save & publish your newsletter page.

In a new tab open up the live, public-facing newsletter page to see how it looks.

Here's the live version on my site:


Easy, simple, and straightforward. That's all you want.

Open up the same page on your phone to see how it looks on mobile too. Again, two-thirds of folks will be viewing this from their phone so it's important it looks solid on mobile.

Need help? Send me a note. My email is on the workshop home page.

Assuming all looks good and you're satisfied, start the next step.

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