The idea of doing something twice over usually doesn’t sound all that appealing most of the time. However, when it comes to signing up your valued customers and audience members as part of your email marketing contact list, incorporating a double opt-in approach provides a variety of benefits and opportunities that can enhance your brand awareness and reach. Don’t believe it? Let’s spend the next few minutes reviewing the case for double opt-ins to see if there really is any merit to the idea of being thorough on this front.
The Double Opt-in Difference
Of course, it’s probably worth stepping aside for a moment to discuss the particulars of the double opt-in method for those who aren’t quite as familiar with this corner of the email marketing world. As ClickZ’s Jeanne Jennings points out, the double opt-in method attempts to connect and verify the agreement between you and your new list member via multiple levels of connection.
The typical double opt-in process doesn’t end once these consumers drop their email addresses into the virtual submission box, but instead goes a step further and confirms that this address actually belongs to the individual in question. Usually some sort of confirmation code or URL makes its way into this message, ensuring that only those who receive and respond to this offering end up on the list. Naturally, incorporating resend options as a failsafe method helps guarantee that your brand doesn’t disenfranchise those viewers who are experiencing some technical difficulties.
The Types of Double Opt-in
Depending on how you approach the double opt-in process, Aaron Bolshaw of Business 2 Community explains that there’s a few unique paths your brand can take with this type of additional confirmation. Aside from the generic double opt-in with a confirmation message, your organization can go a step farther by offering up an explicit unsubscribe opportunity that goes beyond the legally required link in the email’s footer – a little more on this later.
Another way to establish this bond is by asking for a “whitelist” exemption. Whitelisting ensures that the consumer plans to stick around for the long haul by adding your branded addresses to his or her personal contacts. If you go down this route, don’t forget to include whitelist requests in your scheduled content moving forward so that you can also gain this connection with your prior list membership
Gauging the Benefits
So now that you know how it works, the discussion turns to why you would want to complicate and add more steps to the initial communications between your organization and its email subscriber community. While there’s no denying that the double opt-in approach does require more setup than a single opt-in alternative, the benefits of this approach consistently outweigh the additional effort associated with this practice.
First off, by creating this natural filter, your contact list will reduce the amount of dormant or disinterested users, as well as those who joined the list by accident or by some other mistake. Your raw list numbers might experience a slight drop, but the quality and responsiveness of this membership will rise significantly thanks to the increased density of interested consumers.
In addition to the refinement of your contact list, incorporating a double opt-in system also gives you a chance to connect with your subscribers instantaneously. Whether you add in a welcome as part of the sign up email itself, or simply build an automated response that fires off after the second confirmation occurs, making contact with this new subscriber can occur in real-time and not have to wait until your next scheduled message ends up in the inbox.
Thinking Long Term
At the end of the day, there’s nothing that says you absolutely have to go beyond the single opt-in system. However, the benefits of putting in a little extra effort and building a lasting connection with the people that make up your audience stands out in a clearly defined manner.
Outside of the immediate gains, the rising demand for consumer privacy and rights – Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in particular – ensures that even though double opt-in systems aren’t a necessity now, it’s hard to imagine a future in which this and other comprehensive tactics aren’t firmly entrenched in the status quo. With this in mind, as well as the imminent benefits of making the switch, the question isn’t whether or not double opt-ins should be a part of your email marketing approach, but rather how long are you willing to wait before you catch up with the cutting edge of the industry?