“Should You Do Double Opt-in in Email Marketing” written by Mike Marko.
Have you heard about the debate about double opt-in vs. single opt-in for email lists?
Maybe I’m a bit ahead of myself… because you may not even know what single opt-in or double opt-in means.
Double Opt-In: You require your subscribers to actually “subscribe” twice before they join your email mailing list. Once when they put their emails into your subscription form, and then again when they have to confirm their email address by clicking a link that is emailed to them.
Single Opt-In: You only require your subscribers to “subscribe” once, and that is when they put their information into your subscription form. After that you are free to email them until they unsubscribe.
Double Opt-in vs Single Opt-in
So should you do double opt-in in email marketing?
Let’s first look at the advantages of double opt-in…
Advantages of Double Opt-in in Email Marketing
There are a few reasons why you should consider using double opt-in:
- You’ll have a “cleaner” list because you know you have real emails.
- You’ll know that your subscribers definitely want to be on your list, and therefore minimize the risk of SPAM complaints.
- It’s the standard (default in many autoresponders), and it’s an email best practice.
- If they don’t click on the link to confirm their subscription, maybe they didn’t really want to get on your list.
Sounds like great arguments in support of double opt-in, right?
Disadvantages of Double Opt-in in Email Marketing
Let’s look at the drawbacks of double opt-in in email marketing…. What if 80% of your leads click on the link to confirm their subscription? That means you lose 20% of your leads!
Remember you paid for your leads!
Some will claim that 80% conversion is great! That it’s better than any other conversion you can get.
Why would you just throw that lead away?
Here are five reasons to avoid double opt-in in email marketing:
- There isn’t a single email provider (autoresponder) that can promise that everyone who is sent a confirmation email will see it. Nobody has a clue how many actually reach the intended recipient!The only somewhat effective way to get around this is to bribe your lead to find your confirmation email and click it with some sort of “free gift”.
- Do you really want to make the customer jump through hoops to get information? Is that the best first impression to give?
- You are throwing money out the window! You are paying for lead generation by banner ads, pay-per-click, or some other media buying. Why would you just through those leads away? If you are losing 20% of your leads because of the double opt-in (keep in mind it can be much higher) then you are effectively throwing 20% of your money away.If you want to help ensure you are getting good emails, tell the subscriber right away before they subscribe that you will be EMAILING them a link to their free gift. That will make them think twice before giving you a bogus email.
- So you may get SPAM complaints. Really, so what? And there are better ways to help reduce them. We put instructions how to unsubscribe toward the top of our email. If they want to unsubscribe we want to be as accommodating as possible. Otherwise they will either mark your email as SPAM (which is a mark against you) or not open your email (which will affect your analytics).Note that the CAN SPAM Act doesn’t make SPAM illegal. You just follow the rules (which autoresponders typically help you keep within, and you’ll be fine.
- If you really want information or a product, how would you feel about a obstacle like the double opt-in preventing you from getting what you want? It is annoying at best.
How To Turn Double Opt-In Off
Parting Words About the Double Opt-In In Email Marketing
While there are some perceived advantages to the double opt-in in email marketing, in my opinion those advantages are far outweighed by the disadvantages.
What do you prefer?
Single opt-in or double opt-in?
Let us know in the comments below.
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