Are you familiar with the Captain and Tennille classic?
In this song from 1979, Tennille sings the following…
Say those words again like you just did
Tell it to me once again
What girl wouldn’t be in love with with sweet talk from a glassy-eyed man in a yachting cap? Unlike the Captain’s loving words, your clients/prospects don’t want to say the same thing twice. Specifically…
Prospects HATE the double opt-in
The double opt-in is required by some email service providers and suggested by most. It’s the practice of asking your shiny new subscriber to confirm they want to be on your email list. Usually your ESP will immediately send an automated email asking your prospect to click a link to ensure they want these emails.
The double opt-in was created by ESPs to guarantee the integrity of their servers. Far too many spammers were adding unsuspecting consumers to email lists without their permission. Hence, SPAM complaints were through the roof. So ESPs took to requiring you to prove people wanted to be on your list with the double opt-in.
While the double opt-in allegedly builds a higher quality list, it also adds a giant hurdle in your email process.
You are relying on your prospect to take TWO actions
As a business owner, I’m sure you know how hard it can be to get someone to take only one action. Let alone TWO!
You’ve got the prospect to fill out a form requesting your emails or whitepaper. And now you want them to prove they really did fill out the form and ask for your emails or whitepaper. It’s insulting.
Any time I’ve used the double opt-in, I notice a certain percentage of users stuck in the ‘waiting for confirmation’ phase. These are people I paid for through time and energy. I don’t want to set up a roadblock once they are so close.
Some would say “If they won’t click a confirmation link, they aren’t a very good prospect.” To which I say “maybe.”
There are so many things that can go wrong here. They don’t get the email. They grew impatient and lost interest while waiting for the first email. The phone rang. The doorbell rang.
How about they just plain got pissed off at the extra step and said SCREW IT!!
Maybe they were about to be your best customer ever but were having a bad day and hit delete?
Why take any of these risks?
If your ESP allows single opt-in — use it
Some ESPs allow the single opt-in. I always take that option. If I were to see a fair amount of SPAM complaints from new subscribers, then I might reconsider and change to a double opt-in. But I never start there.
SPAM isn’t the only concern you should have. You’ll also need to monitor things like bounce rates and open rates. The quality of your list is something you should never take for granted. Watch how your list is interacting with your emails. Cull your list on a regular basis.
Obviously, you need to be doing things the right way if you’re going to use single opt-in. You’re taking a risk with your ESP and your list quality. If you do experience a large run of SPAM complaints or hard bounces you could be shut down or blacklisted. So make sure you are doing things the right way when collecting email addresses.
NEVER add someone to your list without their permission. If you meet someone in the ‘real-world’ and want to put them on your list, send them a link to subscribe. Don’t just add them.
Don’t buy a list and dump it into your ESP. Not a good plan either.
Do the things you should be doing as a responsible emailer and single opt-in should never be a problem for you.