Recently I was involved in a debate over the pros and cons of having people double opt in, also known as a confirmed optin, versus using the single optin method. I’ve thought about this quite a bit over the five years I have been working online, and decided to share the implications of this with you. Please read through to the end and then leave a comment to let me know which method you are using and why you prefer that particular one over the other.
This is the situation in a nutshell:
When someone visits your blog or other site your goal is to have them join your list. This is referred to as having someone opt in to your permission based list. The question that then arises is whether or not to have them confirm their name and email address, known as the double optin method, or to simply allow them to opt in without doing any further confirmation. There are arguments for and against each of these marketing methods.
With the confirmed optin your prospects must then check their email to find the message that allows them to confirm that they have indeed requested to join your list. They click on the link embedded within this email message and are then take to another page that thanks them for confirming and tells them to go back to their email account to await the next message. There are some variations with how this all can be set up, but this is the most common way I have seen it done.
The problem arises when someone forgets to check their email, or simply cannot check it because they are away from their computer or otherwise engaged. As time passes this particular email message moves further down the list, and many times your prospect will completely forget they ever signed up at your site. Another problem is that many of these messages go straight into the spam or junk folders, never to be seen again. Either way the result is the same; your prospect is not on your list and you may never see them again.
The other method allows visitors to sign up to request your information and adds them to your list. When they check their email account at a later point in time they will begin to receive regular messages from your autoresponders and broadcasts you are sending out to them. They still may miss some of these messages from time to time, but overall they will soon realize that you are writing to them.
The drawbacks with this system are that you will have difficulty moving your list to another company, should you choose to do so in the future. I have been with my same service for six years and do not foresee making any changes in the next few years. Also, someone may opt in using someone else’s name and email address, either as a prank or a joke. That has never happened to me in all these years, but it could happen and would definitely make someone very upset.
Ultimately, I believe that the single opt in system is best. You do not lose any prospects for the reasons I have mentioned here, and your list will grow much faster. You must ultimately make your own decision about this.
What are your thoughts on this topic?