Let's talk about what an "opt in" itself actually is.
An "opt in" is nothing more than a prospect raising his or her hand virtually and saying that he or she has some level of interest in the product or service that you have or, at the very least, in the topic on which you have information about.
In other words they are giving you permission to contact them further. By using an opt in procedure to build your list you are going to have a much more highly targeted and more qualified list and they are going to be more likely to convert to a sale either immediately or some time in the future.
We have two types of optins. We have what is called a single opt in and a double opt in.
A single opt in means that the email address was entered and now they are in your list and you are going to start to market to them. If somebody comes to your site and fills out form for more information, that free report, video, etc., and now they are added to your database and you have what we call a subscriber to whom you can begin sending your marketing materials, your messages, your follow up sequence.
This person has actually requested information. You are giving them information and, as result, you have the ability to continue marketing to them on a regular basis.
The problem with a single opt in is that you are not 100% certain that the real owner of that email address has requested the information.
For example, I could enter YOUR email address into a form as opposed to my own. Technically it was manually entered by a huma,n but the human that entered it was not necessarily the owner of the email address.
This is not a huge problem in most cases. One way to overcome this is to require that in order to get your particular item of value, the new optin must retrieve a link from the email that you send through immediately after signing up.
They know going into this that if they do not give a real address, then they are not going to go ahead and get what they are opting in for.
The benefit of a single opt in is that you get everybody's email address that fills out that form on your website. The downside of this is that the subscriber hasn't actually confirmed their email address and they have not taken that extra step. So you don't know:
A double opt in is the other type of optin.
Again, with the single opt-in you actually have no guarantee that the email address that was entered is actually requesting the communication from you.
In order to combat this we have the double opt-in process.
How this works is that when somebody enters an email address on your form, they automatically get a confirmation email right away. So you want to let subscribers know right on the opt in page that in order to get that item, they have to check their email address immediately to complete the sign up process and access the information.
The email that they receive then has a URL in it that basically when they click on that URL then they go ahead and have double opted in. In other words, they "confirmed" that they do want to go ahead and get this information.
One way to increase the number of people that will actually click on that link is to provide the item of value on the page after they click the confirmation. If it is just a "confirm your subscription" link, your prospect has a different mindset. They might think, "I don't want to get spam from this person I just wanted this particular item!" But if you change the wording to say "Click here to collect your report" or "Click this link for instant download", then you're just exchanging value for confirmation.
NOTE: This is much easier to customize if you're using your own email solution as opposed to many of the 3rd party options on the market.
When you're using a double optin process, once the user clicks on that link, not only do they go into a "better" list, but they are also better prospects. If you use the double optin process THIS way, then you're using it as a sales tool and part of your marketing funnel!
This second step here is to the double part of the process and its function is twofold because now you validated firstly the address itself so if somebody had a typo that email address would not get into your database or into the one that you are actually mailing from and secondly they confirmed that yes I actually requested the information. This is going to keep you delivery rate much higher but, more importantly, from a psychological stand point these customers have now raised their hands and taken two steps to say, "Yes I am interested in this product or service."
So this is going to minimize the chance that your contacts later on are going to forget that they initiated this relationship and ultimately report this as spam.
This can be a win-win. Just keep in mind that there is no fail safe way to guarantee that a customer or prospect won't report you for spam down the line.
They may say, "Well I wanted your communication before but it is not easy to unsubscribe so I am just going to go ahead and hit the spam button."
Whether or not you are going to use the single or double opt in method really comes down to your particular business.
If you do choose single opt in, you will want to make sure that you are cautious and prompt with regard to unsubscribe request, failed attempts, bounced messages, etc. but there are valid cases and reasons for using both in your business.
If you are paying for a lot of traffic to come to your site then you may want to market with the single opt in and just know that you are going to have to maintain it a little bit more. But, the little bit of extra work or the little bit of extra money that you pay somebody to manage this for you will come back in terms of sales because you are going to be sending your messages to that many more prospects.
So, Double Optin vs. Single Optin?
Author: Heather Seitz
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