How to Implement Double Opt-In Without Hurting Email List Growth
Since May 2018, single opt-in (SOI) is no longer a legal sign up method for those who strive to comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Although many marketers were forced to introduce double opt-in (DOI) as a necessary measure, chances are they've lost nothing but won a lot. Let's look into the pros and cons of DOI and try to figure out how to get the most of it.
1. The Pros and Cons of Double Opt-In
The marketers who champion double opt-in highlight the following benefits:
- Protection from malicious signups
- Protection from mistyped emails in the list
- Less risk of being blocked by inbox providers
- Fewer spam complaints
- Lower unsubscribe rates
- Higher engagement rates
- A strong proof of permission to send emails
The marketers who adhere to single opt-in emphasize the downsides of DOI:
- Time-consuming and complicated setup process
- Extra effort required from potential subscribers
- Longer subscription process
- Lower opt-in completion rates caused by delays in the confirmation email delivery
- Higher opt-in failure rates caused by technical errors
- Slow list growth
As you can see from the list above, DOI drawbacks stem mostly from technical challenges. To set up double opt-in, you need the following three elements:
- sign up form
- subscription confirmation email
- thank you page on your website
Make sure everything works seamlessly to prevent any delays, errors, and lack of clarity during the opt-in process. Such drawbacks usually make potential subscribers give up midway. That said, you should pay special attention to the technical aspects of double opt-in and make the sign up process as smooth as possible.
2. How to Set Double Opt-In Sign up
To set up DOI, you might need to ask your developer and your email marketing teams to work together on this task. You may also need some assistance from your email service provider (ESP). Some ESPs provide their clients with a code for setting up a standard sign up form or offer them customizable solutions. For example, eSputnik specialists create free custom signup forms as a part of the company's onboarding bonus program. However, with a solid strategy and some help from your IT team, you can do everything right yourself. Here are some tips for you to keep in mind to make each step of your DOI sign-up process comfortable for your website visitors.
2.1. Sign up Form
There's a wide range of technical solutions you can use to set up a sign up form on your website. Whether you decide to add a sign up form as a pop-up or embed it on the webpage, they should be made with double opt-in efficiency in mind. This means that the form should be attractive, contain minimum fields for more simplicity, and explain the next steps as clearly as possible.
It's also worth implementing data validation for the email field in the form, to let people know if they have made any typos before they click 'Submit'. This allows reducing the number of incorrect emails added to your contact list.
To avoid possible misunderstanding, inform your potential subscribers that you'll send them an email with a link to confirm their subscription. In this way, they will know that there is one more step left.
2.2. Subscription Confirmation Email
As the second step of the DOI sign up process, your potential subscribers check their Inbox to find the confirmation email from you. Since the subscription confirmation email is the first message you send to your future subscribers, make sure they can easily recognize it among other messages. For this, make sure to use your company's name and domain for your sender name and email address.
Make the 'Confirm Subscription' link the central element of the email design. It's only after people have clicked the link that you officially get them into your email list. You can play around with the design and content of your emails. Still, avoid overloading the email with secondary information. Make sure the 'Confirm Subscription' link always stands out in the email.
Another important objective is to ensure that subscribers receive your email as fast as possible. This is where the email marketing software you use makes the difference. People expect your email to get into their inbox within minutes, which can only be achieved with real-time automation.
2.3. 'Thank You' Page
After people have clicked the subscription confirmation link in your email, they should land on the 'Thanks for Subscribing' page on your website. The main purpose of the page is to inform people that they've subscribed successfully. However, it's best that you do a bit more than simply writing 'Thank You' on the confirmation webpage. Design the page to match the style of your brand and encourage your new subscribers to continue browsing the website.
Protip: inviting subscribers to look through new arrivals, discounts, or recent content would yield better results than a simple 'Back to Site' link. The same applies to the 'Subscription Successful' emails you may want to send as well. And here is a good example of ASOS 'Thank you for subscription' letter:
Double opt-in is a must-have in the modern email marketing world. It improves the quality of your email list, helps you maintain good sender reputation, and results in higher subscriber engagement rates. You only need to streamline the DOI sign up process for your subscribers, by minimizing sign up barriers and potential errors.