Make mine a double?
A double or single what? We’re talking about whether you have your new list members double opt-in or not bother with that ‘extra’ step.
You may be asking what the heck is an opt-in anyway, never mind the difference between a single or a double… I’ll bet more of you know the difference between a single or double glass of fine single malt scotch. So, let me define what I mean.
If a person signs up for your email newsletter by giving you their name and email address and you put them directly on your email distribution list and they start getting your newsletter, that is a single opt-in. That is, they filled out the form and opted in to get the newsletter only once.
Now if, after they signed up for your newsletter, you sent them an email to verify their email address, that indicates that they really did sign up for your newsletter by asking them to click a special link. That is a double opt-in. Or in other words, they opted-in twice. Once when they signed up for the newsletter and once when they clicked the link in the email confirming that they wanted the newsletter.
So which is better… come on, you know the answer to that… the answer is, it depends.
Single opt-ins are:
- Easier for the user
- Less lost email addresses
- Your list builds faster
But they also:
- Put you at risk for getting a bad sender reputation
- Show less respect of the user’s privacy
- Open you up to spambots more
- Cause higher spam reports from people who did not actually sign up for your newsletter
- Put you at risk of sending to bad email addresses
- Cause lower email delivery rate
On the other hand, double opt-ins provide:
- Better list quality because you know that the people really want your stuff
- You can communicate with your new list member immediately without having to wait for the next newsletter addition… OK, you can do that anyway with a welcome email.
- Higher email delivery rates.
- Higher sender reputation
But there is no free lunch because:
- Your list grows more slowly
- People may not see or may lose the double opt-in email meaning you totally lost the person and they may figure that you are not fulfilling your obligations
- People may not appreciate the extra step and consciously decide it is not worth it to take that extra step.
So with that overview, what do I do… again, it depends on the situation, but I can tell you what I do by default with no other influences. I do both! WHAT, how can I do that? It’s easy, with Infusionsoft and probably other behavior-based marketing automation solutions.
I send a double opt-in email for my list sign up, give them a reasonable time to click the double opt-in link… say 3 days, then I’ll likely send another double opt-in email with different information and reasons for them to click… also give them another 3 days, then if neither email compelled them to double opt-in, I just go ahead with the single opt-in. Basically I want a double opt-in, but will take a single opt-in if I have to.
One key to getting them to double opt-in is to offer them something for doing it… a special report, a phone call, an infographic, whatever. Give them an encouragement… so that they are not thinking that this is another pain-in-the-butt step, but instead it’s a gift for them. A change in focus can make all the difference.
This is an admittedly brief introduction to the science of opting in, but it will give you a good base to work from as you create email lists in your business.