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07 Jul
single or double opt-in

Email is, by far, the most impressive tool for communication as 99% of consumers check their emails every day. That is probably why email marketing has a 4,200% ROI

But sending emails to users alone doesn’t guarantee conversions. It requires you to have a valid and engaged subscriber list. 

Increasing conversions via email marketing campaigns also depends on whether you prefer single or double opt-in. While deciding on investing in email marketing campaigns might be easy, it is not the same when choosing single opt-in or double opt-in. Fortunately, knowing the obvious risks and benefits of the two can help. 

In this blog post, we will do a detailed comparison of single and double opt-in marketing and their use cases. By the end of it, you will be able to make an informed decision about which option will offer better conversions for your ecommerce brand. 

Single Opt-In vs. Double Opt-In: Comparing Risks and Benefits 

Both single opt-in and double-opt-in work by involving customers through emails. 

In a single opt-in, the new email address is added to your mailing list without any active confirmation from the subscriber. 

In double opt-in, also called a confirmed opt-in, there is an additional step for confirmation. This is done by either clicking on a confirmation link during subscription activation or sending a confirmation email request after filling out the form. 

In a double opt-in approach, the signup process includes a simple unchecked opt-in box. Once the user submits the form and checks the opt-in box, they receive an email asking them to give their consent, implying a confirmed opt-in. This active approach has a better success rate as the subscriber actively seeks to engage with your business.

Another more passive approach is pre-checked opt-in boxes. Users who stumble upon your brand and sign up to know more often ignore the pre-checked consent boxes and give their personal information. 

Once users complete the form submission, it is taken as a confirmation of their participation in email marketing. The form submission could happen from anywhere—an online trade show, an e-commerce store, in a lead generation form, on social media pages, or in a highly-incentivized interaction with brands like a contest. 

At a first glance, a single opt-in appears to be the better option because it does not put an additional onus on the customer. However, this may not always be the case. The risk-benefit analysis is necessary to understand how and where single and double opt-in work best. 

The following points help analyze these two methods:

Mail List Growth

The one-step process of a single opt-in means the completion of the signup process is quick, and the scope of failure due to lack of completion is low. Your email subscribers come from various sources including lead magnets, pop-up forms on your ecommerce website, and signup forms. These forms require voluntary data submission by the user. In such a scenario, confirming if users really want to give their details seems unnecessary. 

Based on this point alone, a single opt-in offers a faster way for email list growth. And using it can lead to around 20-30% speedier list growth.

In contrast, a double opt-in is a two-step signup process with lower opt-in completion rates. But it also means those who complete the process are serious about their engagement with your business. 

Total Engagement 

Following up on the last point—a double opt-in process is a better approach to engaging customers. It reduces the possibility of spamming subscribers, thereby ensuring higher engagement and lower unsubscribe rates. 

Since a double opt-in process requires a user’s confirmation twice, it helps build high-quality leads and weeds out bots from your list. On the other hand, a single opt-in approach has lower engagement and a higher unsubscribe rate.  

Deliverability 

Double opt-in subscription results in higher deliverability as the emails are sent to recipients who have shown willingness and eagerness to engage with your brand. The odds of spamming, in this case, are low as it offers more robust protection from malicious signups and typo spam traps.

In the single opt-in signup, the deliverability of the mail is at a higher risk, which can potentially impact your email sender score. The email service provider (ESP) might recognize your marketing emails as spam and eventually, junk, or in the worst case, block your emails. It can be an uphill task to fix your email domain reputation after that. 

Proof of Opt-in 

Again, double opt-in provides more substantial proof of consent than single opt-in. Double opt-in is a better option for minimizing risks of financial penalties, while single opt-in leads to higher rewards and risks. 

Further, some businesses can only opt for the double opt-in process because: 

  • Their ESP mandates it. 
  • Country-specific laws such as CAN-SPAM laws, Canada Anti-Spam Laws, and GDPR demand businesses seek customer consent. 
  • They lack sight into their deliverability.
  • They are not ready to deal with potential blocking or junking at one or more inbox providers.
  • Their industry requires stronger permission because of regulations concerning marketing to minors, and healthcare or financial information.

If each opt-in process has advantages and disadvantages, which is the right one for your business? 

There is no simple answer or a straightforward approach. 

So how do you create an effective email marketing strategy by selecting a single or double opt-in? One of the crucial determining factors involves a combination of these three—the when, where, and which (kind) of email marketing:  

  • Signup: When does the customer sign up?
  • Context: At what point or where do they sign up? 
  • Confirmation: Which kind of confirmation email do they receive?  

Let us look at some use cases to understand how brands use this approach to determine which opt-in process to use.

Use Cases and Success Stories

Opt-in email marketing provides a cost-effective digital marketing approach. It is effective in all aspects, be it relationship building, brand awareness, content promotion, lead generation and nurturing, or product marketing. 

Below are some use case scenarios, along with examples that show exactly that.

Relationship Building 

The clearest examples of an email opt-in are found on any brand website that asks its users to sign up for its newsletter. It can be as part of a blog post, the About Us page, the sidebar, the Header, or a landing page. 

Brands like Ray-Ban allow their customers to reach out directly through their single opt-in option on their website, while others like Puma also have the same signup option, followed by an email asking to confirm their subscription. 

Brand Awareness

Email opt-ins are a straightforward approach to telling your brand story and increasing brand awareness and recall value, especially for those not ready to purchase. 

Like the brand, Upworthy’s single opt-in newsletter subscription page connects its utility (of delivering viral news) to something popular across the internet–cats. It associates a popular trigger, “cats,” with its content so that people can relate and build a memorable brand image. Upworthy also creates a sense of urgency and is transparent about its privacy policy.

Content Promotion

An excellent approach to promote your brand, its use cases, and its purposes to customers and online visitors alike is through content. Email is a perfect way of putting yourself out as a subject-matter expert and, in the process, establishing your brand too. 

For instance, Wrike promotes its ebook through a single opt-in subscription while Pottermore, the official home page of Harry Potter, uses double opt-in for users to access the latest writings and articles of J.K Rowling. 

Simple Opt-in with Lead Generation 

The bread and butter of a marketer’s work are generating and nurturing leads. When you ask someone for their info, you need to ensure that they also get something worthwhile. 

Lead generation with a simple opt-in process can increase conversions by providing user-specific information. With minimum form fields, an explicit privacy policy, and a well-written copy, an opt-in form or page can compel users to give their consent.

For instance, Frank Body, a unique coffee body scrubs company, has a simple opt-in form when a user visits its website. This non-intrusive yet catchy form pops up at the bottom right-hand corner after a few seconds of being on their website. The positioning, well-written copy, incentive, and expectation settings make Frank Body’s opt-in form a great strategy to generate leads. 

Conclusion

With opt-in marketing, emails mean a lot more than a mode of communication to businesses and consumers. To paraphrase a HubSpot quote, it is about time to treat every email subscriber as a real person. 

Choosing the right opt-in email marketing strategy requires you to analyze the benefits and limitations. The discussion is down to a trade-off between list growth and deliverability risk and a higher unsubscription rate. 

Single opt-in maximizes list growth but has higher deliverability risks, while double opt-in increases engagement in exchange for slower list growth. 

At Growth Natives, our digital marketing professionals will help you decide your email marketing strategy and become an email ninja in no time. Our marketing strategies can be the one thing you need to accelerate your list building and overall growth. Write to us at info@growthnatives.com to know more or shoot your queries.

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