Opt in: we are going to take a look at how your email marketing data is gathered.

We all know the importance of having a decent opt in process, so that we are only sending emails to people that have asked to receive them.

The process of validating your email data is known as opt in, this is the process that the recipient has followed when they signed up to receive your communications.

There are two types of opt in process, this being single and double.

So let’s take a look at what each one is and the pros and cons of each.

Single opt in:

This is where the recipient fills out a web form or ticks a box to say “yes, I would like to receive your emailers”. When they complete this form, their details are then added to your database

Double opt in:

This is the same as single opt in, but it goes a stage further. Before they are added to your database, the recipient will be sent an email, asking them to reply before they can be added.

Once the list owner has received the email, the recipient will then be added to the database for future mailings.

But which is best?

Well, in order to best answer this, lets look at the pro’s and cons of each

Single opt in:

PROS

• Easier sign up process – it’s quick and easy for the recipient to enter their details, no hassle, just enter a few brief details and you’re done.
• Build bigger lists faster – if its dead easy, people will do it. So you could end up with a decent sized list really quickly if you have a popular site

CONS

• Higher unsubscribe rates – people may join by mistake or as it was so quick, they may not even remember joining. As they have no audit trail confirming their request – they often unsubscribe thinking they’ve got your mailer in error.
• Invalid content – as email addresses are not checked, they may not work. They could contain typos, or your list may have become polluted by automated bots. Either way, bad content can be damaging

Double opt in:

PROS

• Better quality list – as all recipients must respond, every address will be correct.
• Less unsubscribes – as the process to sign up is linger, then the recipient is less likely to forget signing up. They also have a paper trial in their inbox to confirm this

CONS

• Smaller slower lists – as the process is slightly longer, some people may not want to do it, so lists may be smaller and slower to grow as a result
• Recipients may not see the confirmation email – they may miss the email in their inbox, or not realise that they need to reply – this means they won’t be added.

So, which is best. Well the importance of well qualified lists has never been greater, big volume senders are learning to send smaller more targeted campaigns. So our vote is double opt in all the way!