Email Marketing: Double-Opt Ins are GOOD for You

This post (along with other posts and pages on this site) may include affiliate links. If you make a purchase from an affiliate link, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.

Hey Brandi,
My email program makes people confirm their email address before they're added to my list. I want to turn this off – it's too much work for them, and it's keeping people off my list! Why do they make us jump through these hoops?

What do double opt-ins and kale have in common? They're both really good for you, but they're both hard to love. I'm not going to try to convince you to love kale (although its not bad to hide in smoothies and soups), I am going to lay out the nitty gritty on why a double opt-in is better for your email list (even if that means your list is a little smaller).

  1. What is a double opt-in? 
    A double opt-in requires that a subscriber takes a secondary action to confirm their subscription to your email list. Usually, this is in the form of an email sent to the email address they filled out on your form.
  2. Why do I want it? 
    First, you want a double opt-in because it helps keep bad email addresses off your list. Have you ever accidentally typed or htomail when you're filling out an email form? Well, those email addresses won't be confirmed – which is good, because they'd be undeliverable. You're never going to reach someone with that email address. Since most email programs charge us based on the number of subscribers, those are names you don't want to pay for.

    Secondly, it keeps out “revenge emails.” (Yes, this is a real thing that I didn't make up.) Let's say your coworker is always bringing tuna casserole for lunch with an extra side of onions. Instead of confronting them head-on, you passive-aggressively decide to sign them up for some cooking emails. Because of double opt-ins, they'll get emails requesting them to confirm their subscription. It thwarts your devious plan, but as the list owner, it helps protect you and your business against SPAM complaints.

  3. I'm not worried about revenge emails. I just want those sweet sweet email addresses. 
    Instead of looking at the confirmation email as a road block, think of it as an opportunity to communicate with your subscribers right away. Your confirmation email is a great way to start engaging and thanking them for subscribing.
  4. What about my free eBook (or course, printable, eCourse, etc.)?
    If you have a lead magnet or freebie on your website to encourage people to subscribe, that's all the more reason that you want to use a double opt-in. Don't give away the goods until the email address is confirmed. This makes sure you get what you earned in (the email address), and they held up their side of the bargain.
  5. But {so-and-so expert} says it's better to use a single opt-in.
    There are certainly people who think a single opt-in is better. It does reduce the barrier-to-entry and can help your list grow faster. But I'm not about QUANTITY of subscribers; I'm about QUALITY. (Remember it's like kale – quality.)

Not convinced? Well, consider this: The bad email addresses on your list affect the deliverability for everyone. There's a whole lot of technical stuff behind this (that I may write about at a future time, or have a trusted colleague do so), but essentially, if enough someones click that little “mark as spam” button in their email program, all your emails get marked as spam for everyone. And let me tell you, it is harder than h-e-double-toothpicks to get off that list. Huge companies spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours trying to get their IP addresses and email domains off those lists. I'm guessing you don't have thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours that you want to spend like that. (If you do, let me know and I'll be happy to help you out with that!)

So, maybe you're not convinced to love double opt-ins. But I hope now you understand why they're valuable and will stop trying to look for the “hacks” to bypass the systems email systems put in place to keep your list healthy. Don't skip the kale in your smoothie either – just add an extra handful of blueberries.

Don't skip the kale in your smoothie either – just add an extra handful of blueberries.

Get the 1-Page Marketing Plan & Weekly Marketing Tips!

Grab the printable version of the Minimum Viable Marketing Plan 1-Page Marketing Plan my clients use to ensure they're focused on what matters most. PLUS, get access to the full Minimum Viable Marketing resource library and the weekly newsletter with expert insights, including trends in marketing, business and productivity today.

PS. I hate SPAM even more than you do. (Not even the bacon SPAM is tempting.) Your email address will never be sold or shared with a third party.