Confirmed Opt-in improves campaign results! We analyzed over 700M messages sent from GetResponse Pro accounts between August 1st and November 1st 2009, and compared certain “success” factors for confirmed opt-in and unconfirmed opt-in users. Check out the newest stats now!
The battle between “confirmed opt-in” and unconfirmed opt-in supporters has been raging for almost as long as email marketing has existed. Much has been said, yet the endless stream of articles and shouting matches on blogs and forums continues. We’d like to help sort it all out, starting with the basics:
Unconfirmed Opt-in (also “unverified opt-in” or “single opt-in”) takes place when a new subscriber is automatically added to a mailing list, without any “extra steps” to verify his/her intention to join.
Confirmed Opt-in (“verified opt-in” or “double opt-in”) means that before a new subscriber is added to a list, a confirmation email is sent asking the subscriber to confirm his/her intention to sign-up by clicking on the link in the email message. If the link isn’t clicked, the address won’t be added.
Now some marketers have objected:
‘Why annoy my new subscribers with unnecessary verification emails? What’s the point, anyway?’
Well, there are several very important reasons to verify:
1) Keeping your lists clean – Typos are a common problem with web sign-up forms. Who hasn’t made them? However, this is a huge headache for mailing list managers. One wrong letter and your emails could be sent to a totally different person, or the mailbox may not even exist, so you’ve wasted your time and money, and possibly annoyed some prospects. No matter how innocent the “offense”, both situations can cause serious deliverability problems with Internet Solution Providers (ISPs), like redirecting all your messages to junk folders or even blocking future emails.
2) Dodging malicious subscriptions – Imagine the effect of someone subscribing email addresses to your list as a prank or, even worse, using a malicious script to fill out all sign-up forms on the Internet (including yours) with bogus information! Or spammers using forged email addresses to send millions of emails, including the one used to sign up to your list. Or how about a competitor or an old high school enemy setting you up for a “joe-job” by adding anti-spammers and/or authorities to your mailing list? This stuff CAN happen to you, and HAS happened to many others! Using confirmed opt-in takes care of these problems for you, now and forever, AUTOMATICALLY!
3) Avoiding the “spammer” label – What happens when subscribers complain about your emails and send spam complaints to your email marketing provider (like GetResponse) or to your ISP? Many providers, like Yahoo, Gmail, AOL or Hotmail, will sometimes ask you to prove that your list consists only of email addresses from subscribers who willingly signed up to receive your messages. In most cases, the only undeniable proof is confirmed opt-in subscriptions. If you can’t provide that, you might be labeled a spammer! We all know that could cause major problems for your business, so better protect your list (and your reputation) beforehand, than pay for it later.
4) Increasing your email deliverability – A list consisting of verified addresses, and subscribers who are 100% certain they wish to receive your emails, dramatically increases email deliverability. But that’s not all – you get much better open and click ratios and fewer complaints and removals. All these factors improve your reputation as a sender − and your email marketing results.
Clean list -> less complaints and better deliverability -> more sales!
5) Paying less for your list – When you host your list with GetResponse, you are charged according to your mailing list size (GR pricing). With unconfirmed opt-ins, you’ll always have a fair amount of subscribers that don’t want to stay on your list or cannot receive your emails for some of the reasons we discussed. With the confirmed opt-in model, you won’t be paying for contacts that don’t return revenue, so you save!
Now, what do the unconfirmed opt-in supporters say in their defense?
‘Confirmed opt-in lists lead to reduced revenues.’
It’s a MYTH!
Let’s look at the facts. The Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy (ISIPP), GetResponse partners, call it an “illusion”: ‘Any perceived short-term ‘loss’ is more than compensated for by: higher advertising rates, higher acceptance of email, higher response rates and higher conversion rates’ . In other words, the confirmed opt-in process improves Return on Investment (ROI). By sending to a confirmed list, you have a much higher probability of success. Period!
‘Confirmed opt-in reduces your list.’
Really, what’s the point of keeping a larger mailing list if a significant number of subscribers have no intention of remaining on your list, or the email addresses never existed in the first place? What if they were replaced by high-quality contacts that might actually purchase from you? Now do the math and decide if you can afford to waste time and money on unconfirmed subscribers.
If verification is so important, you might ask –
‘Why is GetResponse making it optional to choose between confirmed and unconfirmed opt-in?’
Email Marketing is always evolving. At the moment, confirmed opt-in is becoming the standard, as more and more experienced and responsible marketers switch from unconfirmed opt-in to confirmed. But, as with every evolution – individuals need time to experiment and decide for themselves which is the better option. As we mentioned earlier, there are two sides to this argument and we want to give you the freedom to choose. Let me ask though, after reading this article, which side will you be on?