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This requirement to take two actions naturally means that a proportion of the people who initially indicate their willingness to subscribe to your mailing list do not actually complete the process to do so.
People will inevitably disregard the request to confirm their e-mail address and their willingness to receive information from you.
Some marketers are not willing to accept this potential loss of list members, taking the view that the fact that the subscriber chose to complete the initial form should be enough.
Therefore, they add the subscriber to the list as soon as the subscription request hits their autoresponder account. This is what is known as building a single opt-in mailing list.
It is not, however, a method of building your mailing list that you should adopt, for two main reasons.
Firstly, such a system is still open to abuse. For example, there is nothing to stop a malicious third-party adding your name and e-mail address to a mailing list subscription form on a pornographic or gambling related website, so that your mailbox is flooded with unwanted and perhaps offensive e-mail.
This could clearly never happen if you are specifically required to confirm that you want to receive the information concerned as you are by the double opt-in system.
The single opt in system is also far more likely to create other types of spam complaints. People can complete a subscription form that they see on a particular website and then completely forget that they ever did so. If such a person then decides to make a spam complaint, it is your word against theirs as they will most probably claim that it was not them who completed the form in the first place. If, however, they have confirmed their request for information under the double opt-in system, then there can be no argument.
The second reason that I believe using a single opt in is a shortsighted position to adopt is that if someone really wants the information from you, then asking them to confirm is no more than a logical business decision.
If they are unwilling to undertake a task as simple as clicking a link in an e-mail, then they are never likely to buy anything from you either.
If, however, your autoresponder system has put an additional ‘hurdle’ in their way and they have been willing and able to negotiate it, then they have just qualified themselves as a real live prospect, one who is willing to take action. In other words, they have demonstrated that they are exactly the type of person you are looking for as a potential future customer.