Double opt-in for email marketing (with benefits and tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 14 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Marketers and others can use mailing lists to send out newsletters and emails to consumers who may be interested in their goods or services. Using a method like a double opt-in allows these professionals to ensure that only people who are genuinely interested receive these communications. If you're interested in online marketing, understanding this approach and its benefits can help you use these communications more effectively. In this article, we explain what a double opt-in means, list the approach's major benefits and provide some additional tips.

What's a double opt-in?

A double opt-in, also known as confirmed opt-in, is an approach marketers use to identify people who are genuinely interested in receiving subscription-based email messages. These messages could contain newsletters, updates about new products or information regarding discounts. A confirmed opt-in requires two inputs from an individual. The first is providing their email address, and the second is confirming or verifying their email address and consenting to receiving these communications. This is different from the typical single opt-in approach, whereby companies acquire an email address and then automatically send these individuals marketing materials.

Related: 12 effective marketing strategies to grow your business

Benefits of using a confirmed opt-in

Requiring consumers to confirm their interest in this manner brings certain benefits, some of which are as follows:

Genuine interest

One of the primary benefits of this approach is that marketers can be confident that the individual in question is genuinely interested in receiving their materials. For example, a consumer may sign up for an account to buy something from an e-commerce site. The company may have an automated process whereby this person receives regular email communications. The issue with this approach is that the company is unaware of whether the individual is interested. They may simply consign these emails to a spam folder or ignore them.

Conversely, the company could send a follow-up email asking if the individual wants to receive these communications with a link or button for doing so. A user who consents to this is usually only going to do so because they want to receive more information. Data regarding how many people opt to receive these communications can also be a good indicator of interest.

Related: The five marketing funnel stages that are important to know

Accurate subscriber insights

Gathering information about customers and potential buyers can be very useful for an organisation, allowing it to assess interest in its products. If the company simply added everyone who signed up with an email to its subscriber list, the number might not indicate actual interest and be inflated. By using the extra opt-in, the company can be sure that its list of subscribers accurately represents the number of people who want to follow the news or information within its marketing communications. It can better assess the success of any initiatives which aim to increase these numbers.

Related: What is lead generation in business? A beginner's guide

User verification

If a person provides an email address to create an account or make a purchase, there's no guarantee that it's their own email address if you use a single opt-in. Alternatively, they might have multiple email accounts and provide the address for one that's solely for signing up to websites. By requiring people to opt-in twice, the company can be more confident that it's their own email address and one they regularly use.

Another benefit of this is that it can decrease the likelihood that recipients are going to report emails from the company as spam. This means the company can enjoy a better reputation among consumers, including an improved sender score. A sender score is a number between zero and 100 that an internet service provider (ISP) assigns and which represents the quality of an email address' reputation among recipients.

Subscriber retention

Using more than one opt-in can increase the retention rate of subscribers compared with single opt-in. This is because many of the people who receive emails due to a single opt-in process may not want these communications. If the email provider doesn't filter these out as spam, the user may find a way to unsubscribe. Conversely, if they initially agreed to the subscription due to an extra opt-in step, then they're less likely to unsubscribe because they want to receive the communications.

Related: What is customer lifetime value and why is it important?

Deliverability

In the context of email subscribers, deliverability means that the emails go to the individual's inbox rather than a spam folder. This can either be an automated process that the email provider has built into their features or because the recipient instructed their email provider to consign these messages to the spam folder. For many users, this can be an easier approach than finding out how to unsubscribe. From a marketer's perspective, this is undesirable.

By requiring subscribers to opt-in twice, it decreases the likelihood that emails are going to automatically go to the spam folder. It also makes recipients less likely to reassign messages from the company to spam themselves. Because these messages are more likely to be in a recipient's normal inbox, they're much more likely to open the email.

Related: What is email whitelisting? (Definition plus benefits)

Tips for improving the opt-in process

Deciding to require subscribers to opt-in twice can require additional effort to enjoy its benefits. Here are some additional tips to consider when adopting this approach:

1. Provide an unsubscribe option

When you send the confirmation email for the second opt-in, it can be a good idea to mention to the recipient that they can unsubscribe at any time. You can also include a button or link in the emails you send to subscribers, which allows them to unsubscribe whenever they choose. Doing so demonstrates that you care about only sending people the information they want, which can be good for the brand's reputation. Moreover, the rate of people unsubscribing can also be a valuable insight that indicates issues with the content of the emails.

Additionally, you can add a brief questionnaire for those who want to unsubscribe. When they click on the unsubscribe link in the email, it can take them to a page asking why they're unsubscribing and lists common options beside checkable boxes. It's also a good idea to give an additional option to type in their reason. It's typically best if this is optional for people who are unsubscribing, rather than making it a requirement for doing so.

Related: What is an email service provider and how do you choose one?

2. Ensure confirmation emails are prompt

When the company sends a confirmation email, it's vital that the recipient receives it almost immediately. This allows them to quickly confirm and opt-in while they're still thinking about it. If the confirmation arrives delayed, the individual may have forgotten about it and lost interest.

Related: What is email marketing? (Tips on how to launch a campaign)

3. Incentivise subscriptions

If you want to encourage more people to sign up for email lists, a good way of doing so is by offering some incentives. There are various ways of doing this, such as offering a discount for a subscriber's next purchase, offering regular discounts for ongoing subscribers, early notification of new product releases, pre-ordering options and free items.

It can also be useful to include a lot of information like this in the emails, like new products, upcoming product lines and sales or discounts. Within this information, you can include other promotional materials. By doing so, you make it worth a subscriber's time to read the content while also directing their attention to what you want.

4. Personalise the experience

A customer may be more willing to accept and continue receiving communications if they feel like the experience is personalised. A simple way of doing this is sending a thank you message that addresses them by name. An accompanying message stating that the company only intends to contact them about offers and news that matter to them can also be a nice inclusion. Regarding the content of subscriber emails, tailor these if possible. This means using the user's purchase history to suggest deals and offers which are likely to interest them.

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