Beginners Guide

Lesson 6, Single Opt in, Confirmed Opt in & Double Opt In

Lesson 6, Single Opt in, Confirmed Opt in & Double Opt In

The biggest factor that affects your Deliverability from the offset is your data collection process, which in turn directly affects your data quality. Here we are not just talking about who you enter into your database but also how you do that. The first thing is you need to be clear with your sign up process about setting expectations for perspective members, and making sure it is relevant to them. There are many issues that we face naturally from poorly designed sign up forms, for example if the syntax of the email isn’t checked we are likely to encounter an increase in bounces, which will in turn have a negative affect on our reputation.

That is key, now it’s time to talk about how you enter members into your database and differences in the methods. In regards to the layout and design of your subscriber form, i found this blog post which had some good tips in regards to sign up process. No matter which method of sign up you use, it’s always important to validate your data on sign up, check out a basic form here there is of course many ways of doing this. It is also important to see where your users are signing up from.

There are a few opt in processes, they are: Single Opt In (SOI), Confirmed Opt In (COI) and Double Opt In (DOI) below i will go into more detail about each form:

Single opt in (SOI)

Single Opt in, is the most basic form of Opt in. Typically this requires the user to sign up to a newsletter via a webform. Once the user has signed up, they are then entered directly into the mailing list of the business. Although this is good from a marketing perspective, it’s easy to have more subscribers, there are a few draw backs from a deliverability angle, they are:

– Email is not verified
– Possible for emails to be injected unwillingly
* eg: spam traps from blacklists or people who didnt want to be opted in
– The email address was typed incorrectly, and the form validation didnt cover this; resulting in bounced emails

Confirmed Opt In (COI)

Confirmed Opt In, is similar to single opt in, only with a slight difference.
The difference being the email address that has opted in would receive a thank you/welcome email, and inside this there would be of course an unsubscribe link. See here for SpamHaus’s definition of COI.

– If you didnt sign up to receive an email in the first place, would you open the welcome email anyway? Would this then change a lot.

Double Opt In (DOI)

Double Opt In is the most securest way in which to add subscribers to your mailing list. With this approach the user signs up, they then receive a confirmation email;
within this email the user is requested to click a link, to verify that they truely signed up and want to recieve the email(s) stated. Of course the best way is also collect sign up information from the user, for example the time stamp of sign up, location, IP address, these can always be used as references if questioned in regards to opt in permission.

– draw back from a marketing perspective is this makes the sign up process more complicated, what if the member doesnt click the link or misses the email?
– plus side from marketing point of view, promitions or ads can be increased in the welcome email as this member is typically more targetted than a single opt in member.
– a Major advantage from a deliverability perspective is the email is 100% confirmed, not only have they signed up, they have also clicked the link to authenticate they want to receive the emails. This protects the database from spam traps, or black listed addresses.

double opt in

Summary of methods discussed:

What should you choose? From experience it is always the best approach to use double opted in data, you avoid the majority of the issues we then try and avoid post email campaign. We see an improvement of results between the single and double opted in method; bounces are reduced, quality of data is increased therefore engagement rates are increased. Typically most email marketing platforms will have this feature, so its just a case of asking. It really is worth the investment of time, you won’t be disappointed by the results.
Please go to the 7th installement in the series, Lesson 7, Feedback Loops (FBLs)

By Anthony Mitchell

Anthony Mitchell is a Deliverability Consultant with ten years of experience in all areas of E-Mail Deliverability & Abuse Management.
A Blogger & Youtuber, discussing all things email

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