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What. to. do? Single Opt-In versus Double Opt-In

Everyone knows building a list is a ‘must-do’ operation whether you’re doing business online or off.

The ability to contact your leads and follow-up until they buy, die or unsubscribe is Direct Response Marketing 101 and anyone NOT building an email list is making life much, much harder for themselves.

It’s cheap, it’s easy and a great way to build relationships, promote your business and announce new products relevant to your market.

A raging debate that “does my head in” is ye olde single opt-in versus double opt-in.  If you’re new to email marketing then let me explain how single and double opt-in lists work.

When someone parts with their email address in return for your free offer (or to find out more information) they have given your permission once to email them.  That’s a single opt-in and if you choose to start following-up with emails now then you’re using a single opt-in model.

If you decide to go down the double opt-in route then as soon as someone hands over their email address to you they get sent a confirmation message asking them — well — asking them to confirm that you have permission to email them.

Sounds daft but this extra step, this extra effort keeps your complaint levels low and is often a great way to pre-qualify your list.  That extra effort shows THEIR extra motivation.  Downside is that lots and lots of people fail to confirm their subscription — maybe it got lost in their spam filter, maybe they forgot who you were — and they’ll never, ever receive your emails again.

Personally I use double opt-in for my Internet Marketing business and single opt-in for offline efforts where subscribers are less likely to understand they need to confirm their email address.  In Aweber there is a green On/Off button you toggle to change between the two.

So the question — Is single or double opt-in better — DEPENDS.

It depends on your niche, your market, it depends on how well you’ve educated them at the sign-up process and where you got your traffic from.  With single opt-in you’ll likely have a bigger list, with double opt-in you’ll likely have a more responsive list (that’s less likely to complain about your emails).

Now if you’re not happy with testing and — like me — just pick them one you feel most comfortable with then you definitely need to be checking out this post on James Penn’s blog where they’ve actually got test results and share a tip on how to get 85% of your subscribers to confirm their email address.

Plus if you’re really nice he’ll show you how to get 100 Subscribers Per Day on your List — what a splendid English Gentleman : )

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