How I Lost 5k Subscribers In 15 Months (Plus An Aha Moment...)

by Fabian Tan 26 replies
Hi Warriors,

I've been a fervent supporter of double opt-in, but I have brought out the calculator, done my calculations and estimated that I have lost about 5k subscribers in the past 15 months.

Call this my Aha moment...

And this is with a 72% confirm rate. According to Aweber, they are doing a 78.1% confirm rate, so I'm not far off at all.

How Good Can Your Confirm Rate Be? - Inbox Ideas: Email Marketing Tips by AWeber

Now, confirm rates are just like sales. You'll have good days and bad days. Some days, half the people won't confirm. Other days, you'll easily get a 80%+ confirm rate.

Don't get me wrong, I will still be sticking with double opt-in using Aweber, BUT I will only be doing it for traffic sources that have a higher confirm rate.

For sources like Adwords, using double opt-in is suicide. From my testing, about 2 out of 10 will confirm. So I use another autoresponder for these purposes.

The moral of the story: build different opt-in lists. Have a double opt-in list for more targeted traffic sources, use single opt-in for more 'impatient' visitors (ie pay per click, pop-up traffic)

Fabian
#main internet marketing discussion forum #aha #lost #moment #months #subscribers
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  • Profile picture of the author garyv
    Hi Fabian - good post. I've been thinking about switching it up some, and using single opt in, on some of my sites. But I have a couple of questions - By doing this, won't you end up with a lot of bogus email addresses on your list? Also - What is your conversion rate, as far as sales go, with a single opt in list?
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  • Profile picture of the author Fabian Tan
    Hi Gary, yes that's true, there will be bogus email addresses and this will affect the open rate and click through rate. However those stats by and of themselves are not really important, what's important is sales.

    Honestly Gary, I couldn't tell you so far if single opt-in is 'better' in terms of sales than double opt-in. At this moment, I have built a 200+ list from single opt-in and still get click through rates of above 10%, so it's not all bad. That is why it is really crucial to build two lists (double opt-in and single opt-in) that are suited for different traffic sources. The ideal is to use double opt-in with a super high confirm rate, but that's not possible with some traffic generation methods.

    Fabian
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  • Well, what does it take to differentiate between single and double optin?

    Just a click or two when you first create that campaign correct?

    Well, if you use single opt-in, and just 1, in the entire history of your marketing career, just 1 of those extra subscribers you'll get buy something, doesn't that make it worth it?

    I dont really understand the argument for double opt in to begin with.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Christopher R Everson View Post

      Well, what does it take to differentiate between single and double optin?

      Just a click or two when you first create that campaign correct?

      Well, if you use single opt-in, and just 1, in the entire history of your marketing career, just 1 of those extra subscribers you'll get buy something, doesn't that make it worth it?

      I dont really understand the argument for double opt in to begin with.
      Chris, I'm a firm believer in 'horses for courses', using whichever method gives me the best results.

      That said, here are the arguments I heard for double opt-in...

      > As people here have alluded to, a double opt-in is slightly more committed, having jumped through an extra hoop to get on the list. In this case, the confirmation acts as a kind of 'lite' version of the $1 trial.

      > The confirmation serves as a form of insurance against spam complaints. If your service wants to shut you down for a complaint, you can produce a record that someone clicked a link to confirm the subscription.

      > The presence of the second opt-in helps keep the list clean. With a percentage of the people signing up just to get the bribe, knowing they won't get it without a real address encourages them to use a real address.

      On the other hand, if a high percentage of subscribers are signing up just for the freebie, why ask for the opt-in at all upfront? Allow those people to collect their freebie and go away. Put a way to get on the list right in the freebie, and pick up the ones who want more of what you offer (including the pass-along readers).

      It all boils down to testing, as it sounds like Fabian is well on his way to doing.

      @Fabian: Yes, bogus addresses will affect the number that pops out when you figure open and click-through rates. It's my belief, however, that it's the trends in those numbers that are more important than the numbers themselves.

      If your traffic remains fairly stable, so should your open and CTR numbers. If you see a sudden dip or rise in the rates, something has changed, and you can investigate.

      Of course, it sounds like you already knew that...
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Forey
    Fabian-

    Thank you for this post. I am new and am still building my lists, most of my traffic is PPC. This make sense.

    What autoresponder do you use for a sigle opt-in?

    Thanks
    Michael Forey
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    • Profile picture of the author Stanley Tang
      I will always go for double optin, even if it means losing subscribers. Heck, if they aren't even bothered to click on a link to confirm their email, how are they even going to bother check out your site (or affiliate site), let alone purchase your product.

      Quality over quantity.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
        Originally Posted by Stanley Tang View Post

        I will always go for double optin, even if it means losing subscribers. Heck, if they aren't even bothered to click on a link to confirm their email, how are they even going to bother check out your site (or affiliate site), let alone purchase your product.

        Quality over quantity.
        ITA, if they are too lazy to click through then they are not worth my effort.

        I am clear that they will need to confirm their subscription, and I provide something very valuable on the first email they get.

        I don't think switching to single is the best answer. I think baiting with great rewards works well.

        Perhaps you will need to split test the theory but it will take a few weeks to analyze the quality.
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        • Profile picture of the author Brad Callen
          Originally Posted by avenuegirl View Post

          ITA, if they are too lazy to click through then they are not worth my effort.
          Most of the time it's not that people are too lazy, it's that they don't realize they need to click a double optin link. So, they don't check their email. Then the next day they do check their email, but had forgotten they had subscribed and end up accidentally deleting the double optin confirmation email... Then you're lead is lost forever.

          Brad
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      • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
        Originally Posted by Stanley Tang View Post

        I will always go for double optin, even if it means losing subscribers. Heck, if they aren't even bothered to click on a link to confirm their email, how are they even going to bother check out your site (or affiliate site), let alone purchase your product.

        Stanley, what if they never receive your confirmation email? It's hard to click a link you never get.
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    • Profile picture of the author Fabian Tan
      Originally Posted by edogz View Post

      Fabian-

      Thank you for this post. I am new and am still building my lists, most of my traffic is PPC. This make sense.

      What autoresponder do you use for a sigle opt-in?

      Thanks
      Michael Forey
      Hi Michael, I use Get Response for single opt-in coregistrations and Email Aces for pay per click.

      Emails Aces is decent and very cheap ($2.95 for the first month and $8.95 after that). It's good stuff for this purpose.

      Fabian
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  • If they are too lazy they aren't worth it?

    It takes two seconds to create a single opt in campaign that gets you more subscribers, sends more traffic, and makes more money?

    How can you argue with that?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      Originally Posted by Christopher R Everson View Post

      If they are too lazy they aren't worth it?

      It takes two seconds to create a single opt in campaign that gets you more subscribers, sends more traffic, and makes more money?

      How can you argue with that?
      Maybe it is an ego thing, I don't know. I think what I provide is valuable. I leave myself wide open to communicate directly with those on my lists. I get emails from those on my lists. They are not just "numbers" to me.

      While business is about making money it is more about the customer. I feel if they have taken time out of their valuable day to look at what I am offering, and they want more from me enough for them to follow a simple double opt-in, then they are worth my efforts.

      I think those "quick" sign-ups will be even quicker in how they unsubscribe when they are done with you. They may be quick to just mark you as spam in their box when they no longer wish to hear from you.
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    • Profile picture of the author JasonKing
      Plus you have spread your autoresponder supplier risk across many channels ... in case one should go down, your sales still come in ...
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
    I've said it before, but this is what I think too many people fail to realize:

    All those 'quality' double opt-in subscribers will still be on a single opt-in list. But now you have a chance of enticing some of the others off the fence at some point down the road.

    A quality list to me is one that generates the most revenue for the same amount of effort..

    ctr, open rates - they are all excellent ways to track and tweak your efforts, but never lose site of the end-goal: sales. Those are only metrics to increase sales.
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    • Profile picture of the author garyv
      Originally Posted by jasonl70 View Post

      I've said it before, but this is what I think too many people fail to realize:

      All those 'quality' double opt-in subscribers will still be on a single opt-in list. But now you have a chance of enticing some of the others off the fence at some point down the road.
      Nicely put! I never thought of it like that, but you're right. Those that go through the steps of double opt in, will still be on a single opt in list. And with the problems I'm having with Aweber right now, I may give one of the other single opt ins a try.

      The only other problem I can see with a single opt in, is an increase in spam complaints. If someone puts in an email address that is not their own, then somebody else could start receiving your unsolicited email offers. - Do you notice an increase in spam complaints w/ single opt in?
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  • Exactly jason! The potential in my opinion, in the Internet Marketing niche, greatly outweighs any negative.
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    Money isn't real, George. It doesn't matter. It only seems like it does.

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  • Profile picture of the author MaxReferrals
    Originally Posted by Fabian Tan View Post

    Hi Warriors,

    I've been a fervent supporter of double opt-in, but I have brought out the calculator, done my calculations and estimated that I have lost about 5k subscribers in the past 15 months.

    Call this my Aha moment...

    And this is with a 72% confirm rate. According to Aweber, they are doing a 78.1% confirm rate, so I'm not far off at all.

    How Good Can Your Confirm Rate Be? - Inbox Ideas: Email Marketing Tips by AWeber

    Now, confirm rates are just like sales. You'll have good days and bad days. Some days, half the people won't confirm. Other days, you'll easily get a 80%+ confirm rate.

    Don't get me wrong, I will still be sticking with double opt-in using Aweber, BUT I will only be doing it for traffic sources that have a higher confirm rate.

    For sources like Adwords, using double opt-in is suicide. From my testing, about 2 out of 10 will confirm. So I use another autoresponder for these purposes.

    The moral of the story: build different opt-in lists. Have a double opt-in list for more targeted traffic sources, use single opt-in for more 'impatient' visitors (ie pay per click, pop-up traffic)

    Fabian

    Try placing an audio message on your thank you page telling people what to do next.

    Filsaime does this well.

    From our testing, it works higher than 80%.
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  • Honestly, I'm in a lot of markets, with a lot of different lists, usually averaging over 30,000 subscribers, I've never had one issue with spam.

    Some of my lists I full blown hammer with promotions, still don't get any kind of spam complaints. I'm not sure what people are doing to so readily get these complaints.

    There are a lot of quick little things you can do to keep yourself safeguarded, just look up all the list cleaning junk. The extra you earn from being single opt in is more than worth the small amount of time it takes to keep the list clean of dead addresses.
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    Money isn't real, George. It doesn't matter. It only seems like it does.

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    • Profile picture of the author Shannon Herod
      I will always go for double optin, even if it means losing subscribers. Heck, if they aren't even bothered to click on a link to confirm their email, how are they even going to bother check out your site (or affiliate site), let alone purchase your product.

      Quality over quantity.

      I had the same philosophy until...

      I had bought a product and forgot to confirm the subscription. Well, I missed a few crucial updates and was having a horrible experience with the product.

      I finally shot off a few support emails and was completely frustrated. The reason I was having this issue was I did not get the update.

      It was not because I did not want them, it was simply because I forgot to confirm and accidentally deleted the email.

      After that experience, I ran some numbers and was shocked to see I was losing out thousands of subscribers.

      How many of them made the same mistake I did. That was enough to make me switch.

      Shannon
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  • When will people learn that sometimes bigger is just better.

    I'd rather send 10k visitors every promo of my list, where 5k where really targeted, and 5k were semi-targeted, than just 5k worth of very targeted.

    I don't want to sound like a prick, but I think most people for the double optin method:

    1. Don't have a list big enough to know what they are missing out on
    2. Are already stuck with double optin and just want to defend what they are stuck with.

    Single optin just makes more sense if you want a bigger list that makes more money.
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    Money isn't real, George. It doesn't matter. It only seems like it does.

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  • Profile picture of the author TomBuford
    Good thread. IMO unless you're getting spam complaints single opt-in is the way to go...for me. I switched to single a few months ago and haven't had a single complaint. As long as your unsubscribe link is on your messages, you should be good to go.
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      I'd be running the single optin response email from a different URL to protect the double optin.

      The biggest problem I see with single optin is that sooner or later one of your competitors will start intentionally entering the email addresses of people who haven't opted in and you become a spammer by default.

      You have no way of protecting yourself and no way of proving you're not a spammer.

      But that doesn't mean you can't take precautions (keeping URLS for your single optin and double optin lists separate for example).

      This is a good thought provoking post.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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      • Profile picture of the author Fabian Tan
        Hi Andrew, that's a great point. Other ways to seperate the single opt-in list totally from the double opt-in list can include using a different autoresponder service, using a different web host for the different reply-to url, and getting a unique IP address from the web host for the url (I do this for all my url's that are on reply-to addresses).

        These are all steps necessary to safeguard the list and increase deliverability.

        Fabian
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  • Profile picture of the author Folusho Orokunle
    I have a list of close to 40 thousand single optin subscribers in Aweber and Getresponse, and I will tell you right now that if you're using double opt in, that's fine. But realize that you're losing money.....

    Here's why:

    When you spend all your time on your thank you page selling "double optin" to someone that has already subscribed, you could be using the same time to sell your product on your thank you page...

    I've been using single optin for the past three years and I've made atleast an extra 50k just from selling on my thank you pages....

    It baffles me when I fill out an opt in form in the IM niche then someone proceeds to tell me to confirm my subscription.

    I just want to see what you've got and if I like it I'll buy it!

    If I don't like it I won't buy it now, but maybe you'll be able
    to convince me later....

    And as far as spam complaints go, I get less than .05 % lately
    and that's with single opt in...

    Again, if you use single opt in right and you do a good job of
    selling your product you WILL make more money because more
    PEOPLE WILL SEE your offer.....

    Here's to your success and God Bless.
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  • Profile picture of the author sideserver
    Fabian,

    You mentioned that traffic from popups, adwords is "impatient", meaning they likely would not go through the trouble of following-through for a double optin.

    Which sources of traffic are more "patient", so to speak? Article directories? Squidoo? Yahoo Answers?
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  • Profile picture of the author Fabian Tan
    Hi David, yes visitors from those traffic sources are likely to be less impulsive and will spend more time on your web page.

    Twitter and Facebook traffic are also great sources for this kind of targeted traffic.

    So-called impulsive visitors might come from coregistrations, traffic exchanges, paid-to-read emails, list building networks, pay per click.

    Fabian
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