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What is Email Opt-in?

Email marketing is all about establishing customer-brand relationships, and those relationships must be built on mutual trust and respect between both parties if they are to be sustainable and ethical. Moreover, with the proliferation of spam to such an extent across the web, there are now more guidelines than ever before outlining what email marketers are and are not permitted to do.

All this is to say that the modern email marketing industry operates on an ethical permission basis. As such, email opt-ins have become a crucial method for obtaining consent from leads.

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What is email opt-in? What’s the difference between a single opt-in & a double opt-in? What are the use cases for different email opt-in approaches? List growth
List maintenance
Improve your email deliverability rate
Conclusion

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What is email opt-in?

An email opt-in is a type of subscription process that email marketers use to build up their mailing lists for send-outs. During the opt-in process, internet users voluntarily provide their details to the marketer through a signup form.

The email opt-in approach is the ethical way to grow email lists, as opposed to purchasing lists, which is not recommended for a variety of reasons.

There are two distinct types of email opt-ins in modern email marketing: the single opt-in and the double opt-in.

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What’s the difference between a single opt-in & a double opt-in?

The single opt-in and double opt-in are slightly different in nature, with quite distinct use cases.

The single opt-in is a method in which leads are only required to complete one action to become subscribers. Users typically do this through an opt-in form on a website, where they provide their email addresses and subscribe.

The single opt-in method only requires users to provide their details once, so they do not have to confirm their consent further. From the moment they complete the form, they become eligible to receive marketing emails from that organization.

On the other hand, the double opt-in requires two separate actions from the user. As is the case with the single opt-in, the double opt-in necessitates that users complete the signup form on a company website. 

However, upon the completion of the form, users will then receive an email containing a confirmation link. Clicking this link signifies that users are knowingly giving unequivocal permission for the marketer to add them to a mailing list. If a user doesn’t click the confirmation link, you don’t have permission to add them to your mailing list.

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What are the use cases for different email opt-in approaches?

There are no hard and fast rules about which email opt-in method you should choose, as it essentially boils down to the specific goals that you want to achieve with your campaign.

List growth

When it comes to email list growth, the single opt-in offers a clear advantage over the double opt-in, as the absence of a second step in the subscription process means that users can subscribe more quickly and easily. Consequently, marketers who are looking to expand their email list to gain more coverage within a short time frame may decide to use the single email opt-in approach.

Conversely, double opt-ins take longer, so they naturally have a lower completion rate. This means that growing an email list with a double opt-in can require a greater time investment.

However, growing a list with a double opt-in is slow but steady, while the powerful speed of the single opt-in creates a more volatile list.

Since the double opt-in process requires users to confirm their participation definitively, it generates a higher-quality list of subscribers who are actively interested in your brand. In contrast, single opt-ins allow you to reach more people at once, but at the cost of engagement.

In essence, it’s a question of quantity or quality.

List maintenance

By extension, your choice of email opt-in will have an impact on the hygiene of your email list, as well as how you maintain it.

In this regard, the double opt-in arguably edges out its competition. Since the nature of the double-opt-in automatically weeds out the least engaged users, the lists it generates will contain relatively few invalid or inactive email addresses. This means the amount of list cleaning needed will generally be minimal.

By contrast, the single opt-in brings in subscribers who may lose interest more quickly, which means that list cleaning is needed more regularly. Moreover, since users don’t receive a confirmation email during the subscription process, there is no guarantee that the addresses on your list won’t include typos. This further intensifies the need for list cleaning, as misspelled addresses can put you at risk of hitting spam traps.

Improve your email deliverability rate

Spam traps, bounces, and other concerns negatively impact your deliverability. Because ISPs use spam traps to catch spammers and consider your bounce rate when calculating your sender reputation, your deliverability can suffer if these unwanted email addresses end up on your mailing list.

Spam traps and email addresses that cause bounces aren’t capable of confirming an email opt-in. Requiring an email opt-in — and specifically, a double opt-in — helps you avoid spam traps and bounced emails, improving your deliverability rate.

Conclusion

Both the single opt-in and the double opt-in are viable email opt-in approaches, and the two are equally popular with marketers worldwide. Your choice depends on your objectives and whether you wish to prioritize speed and growth potential or engagement and reliability.

Whatever your choice, an email opt-in subscription method is highly recommended as it helps you to adhere to best practices, keeping your operations ethical and compliant with regulations.

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