You just opened a new business or decided to start doing email campaigns. You are new at this and while searching through article after article you see the term “double opt-in” everywhere! What does that even mean? Why is so important?
Basically, double opt-in means that subscribers have to confirm their request to be added to your list twice. While signing up, the subscriber enters their email and clicks a sign-up button. They’ve now opted-in. An email is automatically sent to them and they must hit a link or button to confirm. They have now opted-in a second time.
Let’s say your list is quite small right now. You’re eager to expand it and you get so excited watching it grow by even one address! You’d like to think that the few people that have subscribed or signed up for your emails are legitimate subscribers. However, if you don’t use the double opt-in process, they might not be. With single opt-in, anyone can type in an email address, legitimate or not, and sign up. Opting in once is easy. However, you may have noticed that most sign-ups and subscriptions don’t stop at a single opt-in. An increasing amount automatically send a confirmation email with a link or button the user is required to click to finish the sign-up process.
The confirmation link is not meant to be an irritating extra step. It has legitimate purposes, one of which is to make sure you are who you say you are. A person can enter any email they want if they don’t need to access the account to activate the confirmation email. By requiring the person to access the email they used in order to confirm, you are making them opt-in a second time. This confirms that the person actually wanted to sign up and you are sending to the right address, rather than spamming someone else accidentally. It also helps ensure you are sending to a real, active email address instead of a spam-trap, honeypot, or other bad address.
Are you thinking “Well, what are a few bad addresses as long as I’m getting my brand or name out there?” If you’re sending to the wrong person, you weren’t invited and may be marked as spam. If you are sending to a spam-trap, honeypot or other bad address, you are being marked as a spammer. Not only does being labeled a spammer by ISPs harm the reputation of your IP address and company, it reduces the deliverability and effectiveness of your email marketing! Spamming works against the purpose of email marketing, so avoiding being labeled spam is essential.
Now, you may have thought about purchasing an email list, since your list is so small. Do not do this. Email lists, even if the seller claims they are double opt-in emails, often contain bad addresses like honeypots, spamtraps, and others. Nothing good comes easily, right? The best email marketers know that it’s just not worth it. Not only are you spending money on bad addresses, you are working against your efforts by purchasing lists. This is one of those instances where slow and steady wins the race. Don’t rush with list-building, make sure your sign-up process is double opt-in, and then clean your lists to make sure the addresses you already have aren’t harmful. (Kat Wallace, Datavalidators.com)