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Double opt in

Double opt inIf you're not collecting email addresses on your site, you're missing out opportunities to turn one-time visitors into best customers. When you buy something, you get a confirmation email. It's pretty nice, reassuring. Same works for Email Marketing. Double opt in is like any mail based newsletter or e-course where people sign-up through Web either on a webpage or sending mail to mail list management software. What makes an email list "double opt in" is that any person who subscribes must confirm their request twice. A user has subscribed for newsletter or other marketing messages by explicitly requesting it and confirming the address to be her own. It's usually done by responding to a confirmation email sent to the address in question.

Just get the email addresses to start. Your visitors' and customers' trust must be earned and this only happens over time. As the sender of these emails, your small business can benefit from opt-in confirmation emails significantly. Not only does this give your contacts a feeling that you're taking care of them (email says something like "We ask for your confirmation to protect you from receiving unwanted email. If you do not respond, your email address will NOT be added to this list."), but it decreases your chances of getting marked as spam. This online management tool improves your deliverability rate and thus, your brand reputation grows within the Internet Service Provider networks.



Why is Double opt in important?

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There are several reasons why double opt in is necessary, but a few key reasons I believe make it mandatory. The double opt in confirms that the person who entered their email address actually wants to subscribe to the list. If this extra confirmation is not present (single opt-in) then any person could enter any email address to sign-up any other person.

Imagine if you upset someone and they decided to get revenge on you by entering your email address into hundreds of pornographic email newsletters. You would be forced to abandon that email account (unless you really really like porn) if these lists were single opt-in.

From the email list owner's perspective it's important that only people who genuinely want to be on your list are signed up. If you use a single-opt on method and, like the example I gave above, someone entered hundreds of email addresses of people who did not want to subscribe to your list, you would end up with a very poor quality list. Those "spam" subscribers wouldn't respond to what you were offering since they are not your target market.

How to set-up Double opt in?

I use AWeber (aff) to handle all my email lists (you can read my review of AWeber) and it has a switch you can flick on any email list to make it double opt in. Be warned though, once you flick that switch there is no going back to single opt-in for that list, you will have to create a new one if you want single opt-in (you get unlimited autoresponder lists with AWeber though so it's not that big a deal). The AWeber software handles the double opt in process automatically and has plenty of customization options so you can determine what message is sent back to the user in the confirmation email.

GetResponse (aff) also has a double opt in facility and I'm fairly confident that most robust third part email list manager/autoresponder services should have the double opt-in feature. If they don't then they are not keeping up to date so I would recommend moving to a company that does.

If you use your own software, either custom built or purchased online, then you may or may not have a double opt in feature. That's a question for your technical person.

With time, it may be made compulsory, by law, for companies to have a double opt in system in place before initiating an email marketing campaign. Your list may be shorter because of this double opt in system; however, you can expect better returns from it in the long run. The way we see it, double opt in email is the way to go!


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