Understanding What a Double Opt-in Is
By Emil Kristensen CMO
@ Sleeknote

In today’s world of digital marketing, email marketing is a vital tool for businesses to reach their target audience and promote their products or services. However, with the increased effectiveness of email marketing comes the risk of sending unwanted and unsolicited emails to people, which can damage a company’s reputation and negatively impact their email deliverability rates. This is where the concept of “opt-in” comes into play.

What is an Opt-in?

An “opt-in” is a marketing strategy that involves obtaining permission from people before sending them promotional emails or newsletters. Generally, it involves asking people to subscribe to a mailing list by providing their contact information voluntarily. Once they have provided their contact information, businesses can send them relevant emails regularly. In essence, opt-in is a way of protecting people from unwanted spam emails and ensuring that businesses are only sending emails to people who are genuinely interested in their products or services.

The Importance of Opting in for Email Lists

There are several reasons why opting in for email lists is essential for businesses:

  • It helps build a more engaged audience: When people opt-in to a mailing list, they are demonstrating their interest in a company’s product or service. This often translates to a more engaged audience, as these subscribers are more likely to open emails, read them, and take action.
  • It enhances email deliverability rates: ISPs (Internet Service Providers) filter out spam emails to protect users from unwanted content. If a company sends too many emails that recipients consider spam, ISPs are more likely to label them as spam and block them. Opt-in ensures that businesses’ emails are only sent to people who are genuinely interested in their products or services, which improves email deliverability rates.
  • It helps businesses comply with email marketing regulations: In many countries, there are strict laws governing email marketing. In the US, for instance, the CAN-SPAM Act requires businesses to follow specific guidelines when sending marketing emails. Not complying with these regulations can result in hefty fines or even legal action. Opt-in ensures that businesses are abiding by these laws and regulations.

What is a Double Opt-in?

A “double opt-in” or “confirmed opt-in” is a method of obtaining permission from people before sending them promotional emails. It involves asking people to sign up for a mailing list and then sending them an email to confirm their subscription. To confirm their subscription, people need to click on a link in the email that confirms they want to receive emails from the company. This second step of confirming their subscription is what makes it a “double opt-in.”

The Benefits of Using a Double Opt-in System

There are several benefits to using a double opt-in system:

  • It verifies email addresses: When people are required to confirm their subscription, it ensures that the email address they provided is valid. This lowers the chances of a company sending emails to non-existent email addresses, which improves email deliverability rates.
  • It protects a company’s reputation: When people confirm their subscription, it demonstrates that they are genuinely interested in a company’s product or service. This results in a more engaged audience, which helps protect a company’s reputation and builds trust with subscribers.
  • It reduces the chances of receiving spam complaints: When people confirm their subscription, it reduces the likelihood of them considering a company’s emails as spam. This reduces the chances of receiving spam complaints and improves email deliverability rates.

The Risks of Not Using a Double Opt-in System

Not using a double opt-in system can have several risks for businesses:

  • It can damage a company’s reputation: Sending unwanted or unsolicited emails can damage a company’s reputation and make people less likely to engage with their emails in the future.
  • It can increase spam complaints: When people receive unwanted or unsolicited emails, they are more likely to mark them as spam. This can increase the number of spam complaints received by a business, which can damage their email deliverability rates.
  • It can impact email deliverability rates: When people mark a company’s emails as spam, it can damage their email deliverability rates. ISPs filter out spam emails to protect users, and if a company’s emails are consistently marked as spam, it can result in blocked emails or blacklisting by ISPs.

How to Implement a Double Opt-in System

Implementing a double opt-in system is relatively easy. Here are the steps involved:

  • Build a mailing list signup form on your website.
  • Add a checkbox that asks people to confirm their subscription.
  • Set up an autoresponder that sends a confirmation email to subscribers after they sign up.
  • In the confirmation email, include a clear call-to-action that asks people to confirm their subscription.
  • Once subscribers have confirmed their subscription, add them to your mailing list.

Common Misconceptions About Double Opt-ins

There are several misconceptions about double opt-ins. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Double opt-ins reduce the number of subscribers: While it is true that double opt-ins result in fewer subscribers than single opt-ins, it is important to note that these subscribers are more engaged and more likely to take action. This often makes up for the reduction in the number of subscribers.
  • Double opt-ins are complicated and time-consuming: Implementing a double opt-in system is relatively easy and can be done using email marketing platforms that offer this feature.

Examples of Companies Successfully Using Double Opt-ins

Several successful companies use double opt-ins to build their audience and increase email deliverability rates. Here are some examples:

  • Hubspot: Hubspot uses a double opt-in system to build its email list. They send out a confirmation email that subscribers need to click on to confirm their subscription.
  • MailChimp: MailChimp, an email marketing platform, uses a double opt-in system for their default signup form. They send out a confirmation email that subscribers need to click on to confirm their subscription.
  • Unbounce: Unbounce, a landing page platform, uses a double opt-in system to build its email list. They send out a confirmation email that subscribers need to click on to confirm their subscription.

Best Practices for Maximizing the Effectiveness of a Double Opt-in System

Here are some best practices for maximizing the effectiveness of a double opt-in system:

  • Make the confirmation process simple and easy to follow: The confirmation email should include clear instructions and a prominent call-to-action.
  • Provide an incentive for confirming the subscription: Offering a free ebook or discount can motivate people to confirm their subscription.
  • Optimize the confirmation page: The confirmation page should thank subscribers for confirming their subscription and provide clear instructions for accessing the content or offer.

Conclusion:

A double opt-in system is an effective way of building an engaged audience and improving email deliverability rates. By ensuring that people have actively consented to receiving emails from a company, it protects a company’s reputation and makes it more likely that people will engage with their emails. By following best practices and providing clear instructions, businesses can implement a double opt-in system that maximizes its effectiveness and helps them achieve their email marketing goals.