The Truth About Double Opt-In

By December 11, 2017 Email Marketing One Comment

There has been a huge lie propagated on marketers.  Something that was dreamed up by Email Service Providers to protect their email deliverability rating, claiming that you never know when someone could put someone else’s email into an opt-in form (have you ever done that without that person knowing that you did it?), so it is the “responsible” way to manage the process when you get a new lead.

Confused?  Double Opt-In is when you complete a lead capture form so you can gain access to download a PDF that you want.  It might be an eBook, or cheat sheet.  And you want it.  So you complete the lead capture form, and then, you receive a confirmation message telling you that you’ve been sent an email, and you must “confirm” that you completed the lead capture form, and THEN you will receive an email with a link to the document you requested by completing the lead capture form.

So, couldn’t they just send the email with the link?  Yes, they could.  But Double opt-in was dreamed up.

And I just received an email from an email marketing agency, pointing me to a blog post they’ve just written about “5 Simple Methods to Improve Email Deliverability”, and item number 3 of their 5 tips is this:

“Double Opt-In over single opt-in e-v-e-r-y-time” … the blog goes on to say, “Single opt-in means there is a high probability that a lot of the e-mail address’ you have within your list will either be invalid, or non-existent.”  So therefore, always confirm the email.  Well, we haven’t experienced this at all in our experience.

Here’s what we’ve experienced:  Using Double Opt-In suppresses opt-ins by about 50%.  That means going to single opt-in, and sending an email with a link to the Attractor (aka lead magnet), directly to the email entered by the visitor.  If it’s bad, you’re not going to send another email to them, and if it’s good – you’ve provided an awesome and streamlined process for that potential customer.  And you’re getting a lot more leads by not introducing the friction inherent with Double Opt-In.

And you inbox deliverability has not suffered.  At all.

If you’re not in the United States, I know what you’re thinking… The laws state you MUST do double opt-in.  OK — think about this as a solution, that will be within the law (please note that I am not a lawyer, and you should speak with your attorney about this):

Visitor completes an opt-in form for a free gift.  You send an email with a link to the free gift.  They click through the link and download the gift.  They have double opted-in.  You might need to have some language in your confirmation email that delivers the free gift — but you DO NOT have to send an unsolicited email that asks them to click a link (meaninglessly) to “opt-in” when they’ve already done that by completing your opt-in form AND downloading your free gift.

You will need tracking.  Our Activity Stream acts as an audit trail.  In the Interest Profile for that person, you will know when they opted in, and from which IP address.  You will know you sent them the confirmation email.  You will know when they clicked through.  You will see they downloaded the PDF file.  Done.  Best yet, you can set automation rules up that take actions based on those events.  The people on your list aren’t receiving emails that are essentially no-value add, and you’ve followed the “law”.

There are other factors that DO contribute to reaching the inbox, and we go into them in our Email Deliverability eBook.

We have worked hard over the past nine years, assembling an email sending platform, that is now the #1 inbox delivery platform across the email service provider industry.  We measure it every three days, because we wanted to know where we stood.  We’ve been tracking this for the last 18 months, and we’ve learned a TON in the process about what’s happening with email deliverability… that no one, especially not you when using an ESP, gets any insight into the truth about how emails are sent.

When you see the data, and you understand what we do to manage our email delivery server cloud, it leads to questions and hypotheses about what is happening.  And we also learned what makes a difference with how you send emails that make THE difference in making it into the inbox.

But whatever you do — if you think people are entering bad emails, then include an email confirmation field on your opt-in forms – so they must enter it twice and they must match each other — that is a far better “immediate double opt-in” – with a lot less friction.

Quick tip — but if you want more, get our Email Deliverability eBook:

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About Kim Albee

An in-demand marketing consultant, speaker, and educator, Kim is a respected visionary with a great sense of humor who has made her life goal to make marketing easier and more accessible for small business owners. When not changing the course of marketing history, you can find her at a tiny cabin next to a Wisconsin lake with people and critters that make her happy.

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