Permission Email Marketing: Single vs. Double Opt-In
By Mario Sanchez
The best and most profitable way you can use
Email Marketing is to develop personal one-on-one
relationships with your clients and prospects.
These personal relationships are the key to
the long-term success of your business.
Effective Email Marketing is based on two
pillars: permission and respect for privacy.
In order to send customers or prospects a
message, you must first get their permission
(they must opt-in to your mailing list). At
the same time, you must agree to never sell
or share your list with anybody else.
Opt-in Email Marketing (also called Permission-Based
Email Marketing) has proven to produce the
best response rates compared to other marketing
methods, such as direct traditional mail or
Opt-In Email comes in two forms: "single"
opt-in and "double" opt-in.
A "single" opt-in list is usually
created by inviting members to join via a
web form or by sending an email message to
a "subscribe" email address. Once
readers send the form or the email message,
they are subscribed to the list.
A "double" opt-in list, also called
a "confirmed" opt-in list, requires
the subscriber to reply to a confirmation
message to activate the subscription.
The advantage of the "single" opt-in
method are that your list will grow faster.
However, there are some pitfalls, like the
fact that people may subscribe friends or
family, who may not want to receive your messages
and who could, in the worse case scenario,
accuse you of spam.
The advantages of the "double"
opt-in method is that you will have a higher
quality list (since only interested readers
will take the time to go through your confirmation
process). "Double" opt-in lists
also command higher advertising rates because
they get far better responses from readers.
Double confirmation also makes list administration
easier, by keeping the email list clean with
valid addresses of willing subscribers (clean
lists are also delivered faster, because the
server doesn't spend time retrying bad addresses).
The main disadvantage of "double"
opt-in lists is that many people may not understand
your confirmation message or may not want
to go through the extra step. Some Email Marketing
companies consider the percentage of people
who fail to confirm to be as high as 50%.
All things considered, we strongly recommend
the "double" opt-in approach. It
is not only the most ethical way to create
a list, but the one that builds more valuable
memberships. Also, with the current increase
of anti-spam legislation, double confirmation
may soon become the only safeguard against
being blacklisted by anti-spam organizations.
Finally, a couple of suggestions on Opt-In
Email Marketing etiquette:
Always include a short line of text at the
beginning of the message reminding your readers
that they are receiving your email because
they subscribed to your mailing list. This
is important because we receive so much email
these days that we may easily forget that
we have subscribed to any particular list.
Always include clear and easy-to-follow instructions
to unsubscribe. You must not make your subscribers
jump through hoops if they want to stop receiving
your messages. You must either include an
"unsubscribe link" (which most mailing
list hosts will provide) or a "mailto
link" where readers can send a blank
message to unsubscribe.