Double Opt-In vs Single Opt-In: Boost Email Conversions & Sales

July 13, 2019

Email marketing campaigns are easily one of the best ways for any business to engage with their audience and convert them into subscribers and actual, paying customers. It is incredibly effective – in fact, according to Smart Insights, for every $1 you spend in email marketing, you will earn back $40.

Double Opt-In vs Single Opt-In

However, for you to be able to earn money, your subscribers will need to read your emails and to do that… they’ve got to subscribe.

There are two ways you can use to have someone subscribe to be on your mailing list. The first is single opt-in and the second is double opt-in. Whichever one of these methods you choose, it will have a significant impact for your list’s growth, your subscriber engagement and more. So, it is important that you pick right.

In this post, we will look into both single opt-in and double opt-in methods and break them both down so that you can get proper insight and make an informed choice.

Let’s start with Single Opt-in.

What is Single Opt-In?

The answer to this question is simple. Single opt-in is a one step registration process for your subscribers. They sign up via a form and they’re added to your list. There is no added confirmation and they will immediately start getting your emails.

Straight to the point, yeah?

It can’t be as simple as that, so let’s break it down further to look at benefits and drawbacks of the single opt-in method.

Benefits of Single Opt-In

To be entirely honest, there aren’t many. However, that doesn’t mean Single Opt-In is entirely without use. One of the biggest advantages is that since a subscriber will be added to your list immediately, your mailing list will grow at an incredibly fast rate. If you’re a business that is new and wants to reach out as far and wide as they can, as fast as they can, this method might be what you want.

You also don’t have to worry about the unconfirmed subscribers who exist in some sort of Schrodinger's subscribers list, either. So, there’s that.

Drawbacks of Single Opt-In

Single opt-in has a lot of deliverability issues. Which… is not a good thing for a business to have in the long term. Or even in the short term, actually.

For one, there is an increased risk of being reported as spam. People don’t often remember signing up to things. In our day to day lives, we end up seeing many different websites and it is possible that things get lost. So, when someone encounters an email in their mailbox they don’t necessarily remember, they might end up reporting you for spamming. The statistics show that around 43% of people mark emails as spam… We don’t have to tell you that that is a percentage you want to avoid.

Further, single opt-in is like to allow mistyped or fake emails to end up on your list. These will result in bounces hard and soft, and hurt your deliverability more. Sometimes, people who just want to access whatever it is that is hiding behind a simple subscription will use a fake email without any real intention of being an actual subscriber. These fake emails will affect your sender reputation and then, your whole campaign.

In addition to deliverability, single opt-in can also affect you financially. Email service provides will bill you for either the number of subscribers on your mailing list or the number of emails you send. In some cases, it’s a mix of both. A list that is full of false and fake emails means that you will be wasting money on emails that will not give you any real return.

What is Double Opt-In?

Double Opt-In, as the name might indicate, is a two step process. First, your subscribers sign up with a subscription form, much like Single Opt-In. But then, they will receive an email with a link that they will need to click on before they are added to your list. This extra step with the confirmation email can go a long way.

Benefits of Double Opt-In

Right off the bat, using double opt-in means that you have a mailing list comprised of people who actually want to be there. That means it’s a more engaged group of people. Which in turns means that they are actually interested in your marketing material and will likely open, read and respond to your emails. This will prove beneficial not only for your campaign’s metrics, but your business as well.

With confirmed subscribers, you will also have less spam complaints. Less spam complaints means that your email reputation will not be hurt. Which… is good, obviously. In fact, using the double opt-in method will actually enhance your sender reputation, as your subscribers will be engaged with your campaign.

Using double opt-in will also keep your email list clean, which is a important to enhance your marketing campaign as a whole. Anyone who is trying to spam will get nowhere. Because of the lack of a real email, they won’t be able to confirm their subscription and in turn, they won’t be able to get your actual marketing materials.

Further, there is something to be said about a list that prioritizes quality over quantity. One of the biggest mistakes you can make with email marketing is to try to prioritize quantity at all costs when it comes to collecting email addresses. A list built with the double opt-in method will give you a quality list. As an additional bonus, it will allow you to have a good idea of the actual amount of subscribers you have.

Disadvantages of Double Opt-In

Nothing in the world is absolutely perfect. The double opt-in method has it’s disadvantages, as well.

The obvious one is that it will create a longer sign-up process for your subscribers. It is just one extra step, most of the time, but we mustn’t ignore the laziness of people. There is a chance that adding even one extra step may make some people ignore your email. In some cases, they may open your email but forget to actually click the link.

Either way, end of the day, you can end up with subscribers who are interested, but haven’t clicked the confirmation link for some reason. This will leave you with some unconfirmed subscribers in a limbo state. This could lead to you losing out potential earnings. A case study showed that 20% of the initial sign-ups never actually confirmed.

Then, of course, there is the fact that a double opt-in list will grow at a significantly slower speed than a single opt-in list. For a business trying to expand fast, this may be an issue.

Double Opt-In vs Single Opt-In – A Definitive Answer?

Thankfully for us, there is a definitive answer.

Before we go on to explore that, we can take a look at the conversion rates for both double opt-in and single opt-in to get some more information.

Conversion Rates for Double Opt-In vs Single Opt-In

According to MailChimp, 61% of subscribers often never finish the sign-up process when they face a double opt-in method. It is partly due to them not expecting another step, but the statistics are what they are. However, other email provides put unconfirmed double opt-in subscriber rate at a more conservative estimate at around 20% to 40%.

GetResponse, on the other hand, gives us a different image:

Double Opt-In-clicks vs Single Opt-In-clicks

According to them, while single opt-in appears to perform better initially, over time, it’s efficacy reduces. In the long term, the conversion rates are better when the double opt-in method has been used. In fact, more often than not, double opt-in nearly twice as better as the single opt-in method in the long term.

The Definitive Answer?

In the long term, for the benefit of your business and your brand, the best choice is to go with the double opt-in method. It will get you a quality list, more engagement from your subscribers, more conversions and improve your campaign overall. However, if you’re just starting out and you’re willing to take a risk to grow your list fast in the initial days of your business, you could use the single opt-in method for a while and then switch over.

The Next Step

You have your list. You’ve built a sizable list that you can send your emails out to, either by using single opt-in or double opt-in. Whichever one used, unfortunately, it won’t be a perfect list. There will still be many issues to resolve, emails to avoid and a lot of fine tuning to do. List Cleaning needs to be one of your priorities, so that you can have the least amount of bounces and the best end result.

We are here to help you with that.

If you want your emails to bounce less then sign up for Email Verify today.

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