100K Single Opt-in or ~30k Double Opt-in?

29 replies
Hey guys

We launched a list building project yesterday using a steady source of traffic that should remain constant over the next several months. We're currently using double-opt in and if the rate remains the same will have a 25k double opt-in list in 4 months. Statistically we would have a 100K single opt-in list in the same period of time should we decide to change over.

I know this topic has been beaten to death a little, and I know there are other factors involved, but generally speaking, if you were in our situation what would you do?

The only thing stopping us from using single opt-in is the risk of being blacklisted by ISPs (is that a real risk and what would we have to do to avoid that?)

Also keep in mind that a very high percentage of our single opt-ins would be real email addresses since we are sending a free gift to their email address.

Thanks in advance for your expert advice. You guys really know what you're talking about.
#100k #30k #double #optin #single
  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    At those numbers, I'd want double opt-in... By the way, that's a misnomer. It's confirmed opt-in. They are not opting in twice. They're just confirming their single opt-in. FYI.

    The reason I'd want to confirm them is to keep spam complaints down. At higher numbers, you might get enough of them to trigger a flag at your autoresponder service and/or trigger a filter at a major ISP on the receiving end.

    But, other experienced marketers swear by single opt-in, so take what I'm saying with that grain of salt. It's just my preference. I think if you're super careful early on, you can probably do single opt-in and be ok on the spam complaints. Just don't hammer the list members as soon as they get on the list. Ease them into things so the spam complaint chances are diminished. Then open things up once you're past the first few emails to the new people.

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author LB
    Single optin is always the way to go whenever possible. You'll just make more money assuming all other variables are equal.

    The idea that confirmed optin is better because "you only get people who want to be on your list" was pushed relentlessly starting a few years back by the gurus who were at the time selling their own services and private-labeled autoresponders.

    Most of the "gurus" these days are all single optin as are just about any big company you can think of.

    The exception is if you feel you are going to be doing really aggressive marketing and are worried about complaints.

    If you are getting 100k optins but only 1/4 of them are confirming as in your example, I would say something is amiss. The confirmation rates should be much higher than that in most cases.

    I've been running single optin only on just about all of my lists for years and have not had an issue.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by johngarrett View Post

    I know this topic has been beaten to death a little
    It has.

    Originally Posted by johngarrett View Post

    I know there are other factors involved
    There are.

    And those "other factors" are what ultimately determine the answer to your question.

    Originally Posted by johngarrett View Post

    but generally speaking, if you were in our situation what would you do?
    Switch to single opt-in.

    But I'd do that, in my case, knowing what I send out, knowing that I have 5 single opt-in lists in different niches (as well as 3 confirmed opt-in lists), and that I get very, very few spam reports, and my autoresponder company has no problem with my running single opt-in lists.

    Originally Posted by johngarrett View Post

    The only thing stopping us from using single opt-in is the risk of being blacklisted by ISPs (is that a real risk and what would we have to do to avoid that?)
    This depends on whether you're using a commercial autoresponder service. If you are, that solves part of that problem (although you'd still have the problem, if you get an unacceptable level of complaints/adverse reports, that they might not accept single opt-in lists from you).

    Personally, I think confirmed opt-in is overrated and (in some niches) unnecessary. But it all depends on what you're sending out, what the market/niche is, and how you're attracting the opt-in in the first place.

    Originally Posted by LB View Post

    Single optin is always the way to go whenever possible. You'll just make more money assuming all other variables are equal.
    I agree with this.

    Originally Posted by LB View Post

    If you are getting 100k optins but only 1/4 of them are confirming as in your example, I would say something is amiss. The confirmation rates should be much higher than that in most cases.
    And I definitely agree with this, and the huge disparity in the numbers here is ringing some alarm-bells.
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    • Profile picture of the author johngarrett
      First I'd like to thank everyone for their great advice, I really appreciate it as we are kind of new to this aspect of internet business.


      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post


      Originally Posted by LB
      If you are getting 100k optins but only 1/4 of them are confirming as in your example, I would say something is amiss. The confirmation rates should be much higher than that in most cases.


      And I definitely agree with this, and the huge disparity in the numbers here is ringing some alarm-bells.
      Okay, so here is exactly what I'm doing. People from my Youtube video are clicking my overlay call-to-action ad and landing on my squeeze page with the promises of another video. They see the image of a video there (along with my copy) and click on it, which brings up the lightbox popup. My text on that form says "Just one second, simply enter your name and email and we will immediately email you the link to the video". And here we are, only 1 out of 4 are going back to their email and opting in. What could possibly be causing this?

      Also, how possible is it that our email subject line is the problem? I originally was going to put something about 'your free video' or something of the like but was afraid it would be thrown in with spam, so I went with a more generic welcome subject line.

      Thanks again.
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      • Profile picture of the author skorpion
        Originally Posted by johngarrett View Post

        First I'd like to thank everyone for their great advice, I really appreciate it as we are kind of new to this aspect of internet business.




        Okay, so here is exactly what I'm doing. People from my Youtube video are clicking my overlay call-to-action ad and landing on my squeeze page with the promises of another video. They see the image of a video there (along with my copy) and click on it, which brings up the lightbox popup. My text on that form says "Just one second, simply enter your name and email and we will immediately email you the link to the video". And here we are, only 1 out of 4 are going back to their email and opting in. What could possibly be causing this?

        Also, how possible is it that our email subject line is the problem? I originally was going to put something about 'your free video' or something of the like but was afraid it would be thrown in with spam, so I went with a more generic welcome subject line.

        Thanks again.
        Personally, I'd use single opt in in that case. Just my opinion though.

        I switched over from double to single about 6 months ago and have noticed ZERO increases in bounces or spam complaints. Just an increase in opt ins/revenue.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by johngarrett View Post

        They see the image of a video there (along with my copy) and click on it, which brings up the lightbox popup. My text on that form says "Just one second, simply enter your name and email and we will immediately email you the link to the video". And here we are, only 1 out of 4 are going back to their email and opting in. What could possibly be causing this?
        Ummmmm ... the fact that you're not being honest with them?!

        You're telling them to enter their name and email address and you'll immediately send them something, and then you're not sending it? I wouldn't confirm my opt in, either, and honestly I'm surprised that 25% do.

        I don't mean it rudely, I promise. But the figures you gave just made no sense unless you were somehow misleading people, and lo and behold it turns out you are, from what you've said. :rolleyes:

        You could, of course, try single opt-in (and I probably would, but definitely using a commercial autoresponder, and not my own IP!).

        Please don't take this the wrong way, but it may make a rather poor quality list, this procedure, however you look at it.

        Apologies for not being more helpful (or optimistic).
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        • Profile picture of the author johngarrett
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          You're telling them to enter their name and email address and you'll immediately send them something, and then you're not sending it? I wouldn't confirm my opt in, either, and honestly I'm surprised that 25% do.
          Well, I'm telling them if they give me their email I'll email them the link to the video. Then they get an email telling them in the subject that their video link is inside, they open the email and it says:

          'Thank you for your interest in our videos, and you're one step away from receiving your first of many free videos. But before we begin sending you these videos, we want to be certain we have your permission.

          Confirm by clicking the link below

          Then when they click that link it takes them to a thank you page that also has the video on it. That's not really so misleading is it? I'm telling them to give me their email so I can send them a link to the video, then I send them an email with a link that brings them to the video. This is what my form told them to expect. And I'm delivering on my promise, no? Are you saying it would be better if I worded my form something like 'Just sign up for our newsletter and we'll immediately email you a link to the video'? So that they know they are 'signing up' for something?

          Thanks again for the insight, Alexa.
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        • Profile picture of the author johngarrett
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          Please don't take this the wrong way, but it may make a rather poor quality list, this procedure, however you look at it.
          So if I made it single opt-in and sent them to the free video page immediately then it would result in a better list? Because we were leaning toward single opt-in anyway. That being said, do you see a problem with single opt-in using the method I mentioned? Would it be a more profitable list if we told them up front that they are signing up for something?

          (sorry for so many questions, but I value your opinion and you really know what you're talking about).

          Thanks yet again Alexa.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
            Banned
            Originally Posted by johngarrett View Post

            So if I made it single opt-in and sent them to the free video page immediately then it would result in a better list?
            It'll very clearly result in a far bigger list. That might be "better"? (It won't be "worse", anyway?).

            Originally Posted by johngarrett View Post

            That being said, do you see a problem with single opt-in using the method I mentioned?
            I still don't know enough about what you're doing to guess this.

            Originally Posted by johngarrett View Post

            Would it be a more profitable list if we told them up front that they are signing up for something?
            Probably not, I think. It might be smaller, more profitable "per person" but not more profitable overall?

            From what you've said, I do think you should be looking at single opt-in, probably. But I'm not sure exactly how you're building the list and what you're going to do with it when you have it, so it's easy for me to say that, right? :p
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            • Profile picture of the author johngarrett
              Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

              From what you've said, I do think you should be looking at single opt-in, probably. But I'm not sure exactly how you're building the list and what you're going to do with it when you have it, so it's easy for me to say that, right?
              Thanks again, Alexa, that is what we're gonna do. I mean, we've been running at around 1000 a day that single opt-in, so I'm figuring why screw around with confirmed opt-in and get one third that. We're definitely not planning on abusing them with offers by any means and we've been using Aweber so hopefully we won't run into too many complaint problems. We plan on treating them very carefully actually so we shouldn't.

              Thanks again, you and everyone else have been extremely helpful.

              --John
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack Duncan
    John,
    Great work taking action and setting up a great lead gen system.

    I have an idea for you that you might want to try...so you have a truly definitive answer.

    Create 2 lists.

    One is confirmed and the other is not.

    Then simply split test the code (rotate 50/50).

    Every other visitor would be confirmed optin.

    Send them the exact same content at the exact same time. Post-optin, treat them as one list so that the only variable in the test is the two types of optin subscribers.

    See which one makes you more money.

    That's really the best way to test this...

    All the best,
    Jack Duncan
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  • Profile picture of the author Coby
    I use both, but mostly I use un-confirmed single opt-in. Most of my IM lists are single-optin. It depends on the niche and it also depends on the freebie. It it is an ebook or a freebie that might not be so "hot" I usually run single opt-in, but I have a few lists where I use the confirmed opt-in process simply because they are getting software, and I have even been changing these to single opt-in as well as I go along...

    I think the best option was mentioned right above me, do both and test to see which has the greater ROI.

    Good Luck
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken Leatherman
    I absolutely concur with Alexa, after reading your post # 7 in this thread. I'm very certain if I landed on your YouTube video and then clicked the layover, I would be expecting to receive what you promise and not a request for my e-Mail address before I can get it.

    Rethink it man, your using smoke and mirrors to get people to sign up to your list or in more simple language your blowing smoke up their a** . People are not stupid, and now you won't ever get those other 3 out of 4 to sign up for anything you offer. They will remember you as the guy who tried to trick them.

    Ken Leatherman

    The Old Geezer
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    You are going to get arguments from both sides when you ask questions like this, so the best thing for you to do is your own testing. You should split test for a month or two, using two different accounts with a major autoresponder service.

    You will know fairly quickly if single opt-in is resulting in the same number of sales. You will also know if that method results in more spam complaints.
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    • Profile picture of the author johngarrett
      Originally Posted by E. Brian Rose View Post

      You should split test for a month or two, using two different accounts with a major autoresponder service.

      You will know fairly quickly if single opt-in is resulting in the same number of sales. You will also know if that method results in more spam complaints.
      Now is a month or two good time-wise or can we get accurate testing data in less time if we have good traffic? I mean, 3 of my youtube videos have a total of over 10 million views over the past year, they get over 1.8 million views per month steady, over 60k per day. We've been testing various methods of monetizing this traffic but haven't settled on anything yet, so we're trying to build a list.

      By the way, I thought your name looked familiar, I mentioned it to my father in law (also my partner) and he said he knows you, and attended your 4 day seminar last month (now he's working on his own webinar). Small world.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jake Gray
    I wouldn't risk it at those types of numbers.

    As for the double opt-in, they are just confirming their opt-in to your list. So, to put it in simple terms, it's basically a single opt-in, not double.

    Jake
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  • Profile picture of the author iSoftware
    IMHO, you should be more concerned with 1)revenue/subscriber and 2)list responsiveness than the size of your list.

    When you start hitting the 25k+ range in aweber for instance (if that's if you use them), they should assign you an "optimization rep" who should be helping you through these questions.....

    Compare your stats (as a rough estimate) to the Direct Marketing Association's annual Response Rate Study (just google it).

    PS
    I neglected to ask if you are actually using a 3rd party service or mailing in house?
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  • Profile picture of the author mizesean
    Originally Posted by johngarrett View Post

    Hey guys

    We launched a list building project yesterday using a steady source of traffic that should remain constant over the next several months. We're currently using double-opt in and if the rate remains the same will have a 25k double opt-in list in 4 months. Statistically we would have a 100K single opt-in list in the same period of time should we decide to change over.

    I know this topic has been beaten to death a little, and I know there are other factors involved, but generally speaking, if you were in our situation what would you do?

    The only thing stopping us from using single opt-in is the risk of being blacklisted by ISPs (is that a real risk and what would we have to do to avoid that?)

    Also keep in mind that a very high percentage of our single opt-ins would be real email addresses since we are sending a free gift to their email address.

    Thanks in advance for your expert advice. You guys really know what you're talking about.
    John,

    Assuming an equivalent source of leads (I don't want anyone to take this out of context), and assuming the lead source tends to be "clean" (I'll explain "clean" in a sec) I would choose 100k single optin everytime.

    Logic: With single opt in you get more leads. Even accounting for the fact that the ones that would not have double opted in (these are the "extra" leads you get by doing single optin) are not as high quality - you still get ALL the leads that would have double opted in, PLUS all the leads that would NOT have. You just have to have the stomach for a few more spam complaints, etc.

    My definition of "clean": a lead source that generally doesn't produce spam, fraudulent, or likely-to-spam complain.

    For example: article marketing, CPA leads, referral leads, solo email ads from reputable sources - these might be "clean" meaning that the bulk of the people opting in know what they are doing and why.

    But if you are doing something like rented a million lead list from a company that although they might technically have opt in permission - is really more like spam - then you know that the spam complaint rate for those subs is going to be higher. Or if you are doing something like co-op leads who don't know who you are - they are going to be more likely to complain.

    Hope this helps!

    Sean
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    • Profile picture of the author johngarrett
      Originally Posted by moneykws View Post

      I neglected to ask if you are actually using a 3rd party service or mailing in house?
      Yeah, we're using Aweber, although that might change.

      Originally Posted by mizesean View Post

      But if you are doing something like rented a million lead list from a company that although they might technically have opt in permission - is really more like spam - then you know that the spam complaint rate for those subs is going to be higher. Or if you are doing something like co-op leads who don't know who you are - they are going to be more likely to complain.
      Sean
      Actually it's neither of the things you mentioned and to tell you the truth I don't know (and won't know until soon when we start to send out emails/offers to the group) how good the list will be. The traffic comes from 3 or 4 Youtube videos of the same theme, which is slightly adult in nature although contains no nudity or any explicit material whatsoever. We tell them they can have the next video in the series (one we couldn't put on Youtube (we probably could have but it might have gotten slapped with an age restriction)) if they give us their name and email address. We'll find out soon how receptive a list like that can be, but the sheer numbers involved certainly work to our advantage. We'll see.

      Thanks for the advice.
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      • Profile picture of the author mizesean
        I'd go with single optin at first, and only switch if spam complaints begin to be a problem.

        Another option is to use a different autoresponder with single optin for the initial optin from the youtubes.

        Then once someone is on your "other autoresponder list" you employ methods (for example, free gift optin, additional videos with optin) to get people to go to your aweber account (again single optin).

        For all practical purposes, your aweber list will be double optin, and have the highest responsiveness, but you will still have a master list with everyone on it, which will produce sales, and can be abandoned (or old leads abandoned) over time if necessary, while keeping your aweber list clean

        Sean
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        • Profile picture of the author da3gan
          My advice is to go single opt in BUT make sure you mail that list at least daily - this will clean the list of those that don't really want to be there, create more sales/profits, and reduce spam complaints due to the self cleaning oven effect and consistent communication (which creates an expectation in the minds of the recipients of how often to expect stuff from you as well as the ISPs).

          You'll get far less spam complaints mailing a list growing that fast twice a day via single opt in than you would with a double opt in list you mail to with less consistency.

          The only time I've ever had a big spam complaint issue personally, was when I was generating about 2000 leads per day via CPA networks, left for vacation, without setting up twice daily emails, for 10 days and then started mailing again.
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          • Profile picture of the author johngarrett
            Originally Posted by da3gan View Post

            My advice is to go single opt in BUT make sure you mail that list at least daily - this will clean the list of those that don't really want to be there, create more sales/profits, and reduce spam complaints due to the self cleaning oven effect and consistent communication (which creates an expectation in the minds of the recipients of how often to expect stuff from you as well as the ISPs).
            Now I'm sure it's possible to do in Aweber, but might it be a good idea to send out an initial email and then only send daily emails to those who haven't opened their initial emails rather than pester those who were receptive and opened the email without unsubscribing? I don't want people to think I'll be emailing them every day when I might only plan on sending email 3 times a week.
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  • Profile picture of the author popopdc
    I think double-opt-ins are better. You'll have to play around with it though. In my experience if the user makes it past the email submit/single opt-in, they will most likely fill out the second page.
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  • Profile picture of the author tsuccess
    I would go for the lesser one. The list would be more responsive and if you ever allow people to send to your list they would be more apt to work with you because your list is double opt-in. What traffic methods are you using to build this list?
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    100K Single Opt-in or ~30k Double Opt-in?
    10K buyers...
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  • Profile picture of the author Emily Meeks
    There's a bunch of great answers already, but I'll go ahead and post this anyway.

    It sounds like a simple numbers game when you compare a list of 100K to 30K, but let's not forget two important factors - how responsive the list is, and how much it costs to maintain it. If it were me, I'd rather have a very responsive 30K than a so-so 100K - not only easier to maintain, but I end up making even MORE money from the revenue that otherwise would've gone into maintaining the 100K.

    As for single vs double opt-in, it not only depends on the niche, but your first email. If I opt in to something single opt-in that immediately starts pitching to me, I'm gonna unsubscribe, but if they give me something that I can take to the mental bank and cash it in, I'll stick around.
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    • Profile picture of the author johngarrett
      Originally Posted by Emily Meeks View Post

      but let's not forget two important factors - how responsive the list is, and how much it costs to maintain it.
      And these are things that we don't really know yet and won't know probably for a couple weeks, and even then we will only know some of those answers. We're leaning toward single opt-in though, as we are willing to take a chance that the extra conversions we get from having them all in the list (single opt-ins and the ones that would have confirmed opted-in) will outweigh the hassle and costs of maintaining the larger list. If we find that isn't the case we can always hold on to that list and do what we can with it, while starting from scratch with confirmed opt-in. Our traffic is steady and will be for the foreseeable future, so we have some flexibility there.

      Thanks everyone for your insight. We're pretty new to this aspect of making money on the internet so we're just taking it all in and understand that we'll take our lumps along the way, but you guys certainly help a lot.
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  • Profile picture of the author yakim1
    I like Jack suggestion just to see what happens, but I would do all single opt-in. One of the problems with double opt-in especially with Aweber is that I have waited as long as a half hour to receive the Aweber confirm email to arrive in my inbox so I could confirm.

    There are all kinds of technical problems that can rob you of subscribers every time you add more hoops for the subscribers to jump through. Or the confirm could hit the trash and not be seen. And just because someone has double opt-ed in does not mean they will never push that spam button in their email client.

    Remember, subscriber = future customer. So if you are limiting your subscribers by a process you are also diminishing your possible customer base.

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    • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
      Whether to use single or double opt-in depends upon
      the niche and the specific situation.

      Most third-party autoresponder companies use different
      servers to send their single and double opt-in messages.

      Single opt-in servers have poorer reputation (due to more
      'list bloat' from mis-typed addresses, fake e-mails and
      malicious entries) which leads to more bounces and spam
      complaints which leads to lower deliverability.

      Here's an important point to consider though...

      A split test will tell you definitively whether single or double
      opt-in is best for you, your set-up and your niche today.

      And - yes - you may well find that your subscription rates
      and even sales go up. A single opt-in list will be bigger in
      numerical terms at least.

      But what a split test will not predict is what will happen
      to your list in the future.

      As a general rule, I prefer to use confirmed opt-in because
      it gives me a cleaner list with more long-term security and
      freedom.

      If my current third-party autoresponder provider gets blacklisted,
      I can move my list at will to almost any other provider - provided
      that it's a confirmed opt-in list.

      If it's single opt-in, the other provider will stipulate than the
      list needs to re-confirm.

      Dedicated to mutual success,

      Shaun
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