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Single Opt-In: Keeping newsletter readers happy

Single Opt-in VS Double Opt-inThe traditional way to build your email marketing campaigns was to utilize double opt-in. The idea being that this would prevent fictitious email addresses from ending up in your database and minimize user spam complaints.

However, these days, a large number of businesses are choosing the single opt-in route when creating newsletters and other electronic correspondence. Let’s look at the user experience to better understand this trend.

Double Opt-In Scenario, Making The User Work Too Much

Example: I go to someone’s website and it says,

“Get this amazing, free form, just enter your email address here”

Step 1: I enter my email address and it takes me to a page that says, “Go check your inbox and click on the confirmation email”.

Step 2: So I run over to my inbox and I look for the email, that’s hopefully not in my spam folder. I find the email and it says, “Do you want to be on this email list?”.

Step 3: I click “yes” to confirm. Then it would pop up a window that says, “Thank you for joining the mailing list”, and then it would send the free report to my inbox that was promised to me.

Step 4: I click on the new email and open up my free report.

Phew – that was a lot of work for one little free report!

The double opt-in problem is, is that you’re relying on the person to go racing to their inbox just to confirm they want to be on the mailing list and then run back again to go get that “free report”.

Double opt-in violates the primary rule of web design:

“Never make your client work!”

Single Opt-In, A Smoother Process

Let’s run through the experience again; this time using single opt-in.

Example: I go to someone’s website and it says, 

“Get this amazing, free form, just enter your email address here”

Step 1:  I enter my email and click submit.

Instantly, two things happen:

  • First, I’m taken to a webpage that says, “Welcome! Here’s your free report”. 
  • Second, an email goes to my inbox that says, “Welcome, here’s a link to your free report”.  

All done! NO Step 2. 

The “Don’t make me Think” Philosophy

I like to think of it the single opt-in as the “Don’t make me Think” philosophy”.

Don’t make life difficult for someone who is trying to engage with you. If they’re required to do the double opt-in and have to jump through hoops, you’re making them work.

If you set up your mailing list in the single opt-in fashion, “boom!”, they’re on your list and you didn’t make them work too hard.

The result: a much happier potential new client. 

While single opt-in does run the risk of your giving away your free report to someone who use a fake email address; I believe that this is a small price to pay in order to connect with people who are really interested in what you have to say.

What do you think.

Have you had any personal experience good or bad that you would like the add to this conversation? If so please comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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