Double opt-in is a relatively new sign-up method in email marketing, as opposed to single opt-in. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Depending on the context, you’ll want to use one or the other. Selecting the right opt-in approach for your campaigns is an important part of generating leads in general.
Let’s take a look at how double-opt in works compared to single, when you should use each, and the sort of results you should look for.
Email Double Opt-In: Best Practices and Strategies
First of all, what’s the difference? Single-opt in is, very simply, exactly what you think it is: a contact fills out a form and submits it, and you get their information, along with whatever other data your form saves (like the date and time they converted, for example). Single opt-in is great for a streamlined sign-up experience.
Double opt-in is basically the same idea, but instead of directly opting them in, your form fill triggers a confirmation email. Once they click that, they’re added to your database.
Sounds like single opt-in with extra steps, right? One of the advantages is that with a confirmation email, you can be certain that your new contact’s email is a real address that’s actively monitored.
Which One is Better?
That depends. If your inbound content is generating a lot of fake or low-quality contacts, double opt-in can do wonders for cleaning that up. Conversely, if you’re having trouble growing your audience size, single opt-in might be more effective.
Double opt-in is inevitably going to slow down your audience growth, sometimes quite dramatically. It’s not uncommon for double opt-in to chop your inbound lead numbers in half. The strategy behind this is the assumption that by requiring a confirmation, your list will be smaller but higher quality.
When to Use Double Opt-In
Here’s an example. How often do you double-check your email address in a form before you hit submit? Most people don’t bother, and that means that a lot of potential leads left on the table with single opt-in. On top of that, you’re going to get a hard bounce when you send a campaign to that address.
Hard bounces aren’t great for your sender reputation, and it’s important to identify and filter out problematic addresses early. Double opt-in can handle that for you, because the confirmation email won’t actually hit the inbox – meaning that typo-ed address doesn’t end up in your list.
Double opt-in is awesome in conjunction with high-value gated content. It prevents people from tossing in a made-up account just to get their hands on your lead magnet.
In general, if you’re seeing issues like high bounce rates, spam complaints, low open rates or a lot of unsubscribes from your opted-in lists, it might be worth swapping to double opt-in to alleviate the problem.
When to Use Single Opt-In
If you aren’t running into the above-mentioned issues, single opt-in is probably still the way to go. If you’re using email lead generation (ELG), it’s definitely the way to go.
Here’s why: you’ve already got your contacts’ emails in your ELG list. If you’re using Clickback, that list gets cleaned up automatically when you upload it, so you don’t need to worry about things like misspelled addresses or deprecated contacts. You know the emails you’re sending to are valid.
On top of that, leads you generate from ELG campaigns are likely fairly motivated already. Converting on a cold email is a powerful indicator of intent already, and your goal is to remove as much friction as possible from that conversion.
Picture this: you receive an email, click through and convert on the offer, only to receive an email requesting you to confirm your address. The same one you received that first email in.
If that seems a bit redundant, that’s because – in this particular context – it is. You don’t need that confirmation, and all it does is add an unnecessary extra step your contacts have to take. Which is exactly what you don’t want to make them do.
If you want to split the difference and get some of the benefits of double opt-in without the added friction, here’s a good trick: have your form fill trigger an automated email and check whether it gets opened. If it does, then great – you know someone’s got eyes on that inbox, but you didn’t make them click through to reconfirm.
You can even remove addresses that don’t open your confirmation email if you want to be really careful.
All in all, there are powerful arguments for both approaches, but there are also clear cases where one is better than the other.