The Value of Double Opt-ins

Posted by on Jan 22 2009

When creating an email mailing list, there is a feature you should consider using: the double opt-in.

A double opt-in works like this: First, a person who wants to be on your mailing list either fills out a form on your website or gives you their email address in some other way. That’s the “first opt-in.” Second, the mailing list system sends a confirmation email to them, asking them to click a link to confirm their email address and that they really DO want to subscribe to your mailing list. That’s the second or “double opt-in.”

These are my thoughts and feelings on double opt-in:

  1. In the end analysis, it’s a good thing.
  2. Yes, some people will subscribe, but not click the confirm link in the opt-in email. It’s the risk of doing business online. (Just like some people move to a new house but don’t tell you their forwarding address and all your marketing brochures get sent back to you.)
  3. By using the double opt-in feature from your mailing list system provider, your email will be sent from a “proven clean” mail server, which will decrease the number of bounces and spam rejections you get.
  4. It stops spammers from signing up to your mailing list in order to swipe your email address from the newsletters you send them. Spammers rarely will click the confirm link.
  5. You can see who has not confirmed yet, and if you want, you can email that entire list once a week and ask them if they want to confirm or not.
  6. Most people now understand the double opt-in concept and look in their Inbox for the confirmation email they’ll receive. Not everyone knows to look in their spam or junk folder, so you remind them about that as they are subscribing.
  7. By having your mailing list in the same database as your shopping cart, you have a huge benefit of sales and leads data that you wouldn’t have if they were in two separate systems. You also have the benefit of upselling to previous customers, thereby increasing your revenue.

Some people focus on what they’ll lose if they ask people to confirm an opt-in. Don’t focus on what you’ll “lose.” Focus on what you’ll gain: a clean list of motivated subscribers that won’t bounce or be marked as spam.
And remember:

  • Your list size does not determine your loveability or your business success.
  • Your list size does not tell you if you are a good person, or if you are worthy of the best things in life.
  • People who don’t opt-in in are not rejecting you personally; they’re probably just getting too much email and want to cut back.
  • People who DO optin are saying, “Yes, I like what you have to say and would like more of it.”
  • Many business owners making over $100K per year have lists under 3,000 people.
  • It’s not the size of your list that matters, it’s what you DO with it that counts.  🙂


3 comments for now

3 Responses to “The Value of Double Opt-ins”

  1. […] The Value of Double Opt-ins […]

    23 Jan 2009 at 3:05 pm

  2. Paula GNo Gravatar

    How do you handle the people who want to sign up (ex: asked to be added to the list at a speaking engagement) but then never get the opt in email ? (it wanders to spam folder, junk folder, or they don’t know what to do with it even though you sent them a personal email explaining so)?

    Have you run into this & how do you handle it?

    Other than this somewhat frustrating scenario I think double opt in is great.

    27 Jan 2009 at 10:38 am

  3. Karyn GreenstreetNo Gravatar

    Truthfully, I don’t handle it. If someone doesn’t know how to check their spam folder (or just doesn’t want to), then anytime I send something that triggers their spam filter, my email will go into a folder that they won’t look at anyway. It’s a no-win situation.

    When you have 100 people on your mailng list, then offering some sort of “help desk support” to help them find their spam folder may be possible. But when you have 5,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 on your mailing list, it becomes impossible.

    I give them instructions on how to white list me, and I think that’s the best I can do to help people to make sure they receive emails from me, or from anyone they subscribe to.

    08 Feb 2009 at 11:56 am

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