What is double opt-in and should you use it?

What is double-opt in?

Double opt-in is a process used when building up an email marketing mailing list. It requires a visitor to actively confirm that they’ve requested to join your website’s email list. This is done by sending a confirmation email to the visitor after they’ve completed your online sign-up form. The email requires the visitor to click on a unique link which confirms that they own the email address in question and that they do want to hear from you in the future.

A detailed breakdown of the process is as follows:

  1. Sign-up

    This is the initial step in the sign-up and double opt-in process. A subscriber completes the signup form on your website.

  2. Thank you page

    Once the sign-up form is submitted, the subscriber is presented with a message which instructs them to check their email account inbox for a confirmation email.

  3. Confirmation email (this is the crucial part)

    When the subscriber checks their email inbox, they’ll see an email with a unique link which they must click on in order to confirm their subscription. If they don’t click on this link, they won’t be added to your email list.

  4. Final thank you page

    After the subscriber clicks on the confirmation link in the email, they’ll see a page that confirms they’ve been added to your email list successfully.

Advantages of the double opt-in method

  • The double opt-in method targets only those subscribers who genuinely want to hear from you. Lists that utilise double opt-in tend to have higher levels of engagement, fewer bounces and less unsuscribes compared with lists that don’t make use of this feature. If you’re paying to send emails “per subscriber,” you don’t want to be paying to email people who aren’t interested in hearing from you.

  • Malicious users won’t be able to subscribe on behalf of other people who didn’t give their permission to be added to your list. The result of this is fewer spam complaints or “duff” email addresses being added to your list.

  • Visitors won’t be able to subscribe to your list using fake and non-existent email addresses, since a fake address won’t have the ability to receive the double opt-in confirmation email required to join the list.

Disadvantages of the double opt-in method

  • Not everyone will bother to check their email and follow through with the double opt-in process, and therefore you might lose subscribers.

  • Double opt-in requires an additional email and action on behalf of your visitor which could discourage them from completing the process. For example, if you ask customers whether they’d like to subscribe to your list when they place an order on your ecommerce site, the additional step might be confusing or easily overlooked.

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