Why Double Optin is Best!! Learn from my Mistakes

32 replies
After reading a post from a fairly prolific member of the Warrior Forum, I was persuaded to change ALL my email lists from double to single optin.

My subscribers were doubling. I thought I'd made the perfect move. I was getting 1000s of subscribers...

All sounds good, right?

Until I began to look into the stats!

My open rates were abysmal. I'm talking 20-25% (might not sound disastrous) but when I was getting 50%+ before changing to single optin, well it's shocking.

What's better? 1000 subscribers with a 50% open rate or 2000 subscribers with 20% open rate...

All I'm saying is, before you make the move from double to single, think not only of your subscribers but also how many will actually open the emails.

It's just a little warning to people out there... Sorry if I'm stating the obvious.
#double #learn #mistakes #optin
  • Profile picture of the author Mindz
    hmmmm ... I think that it's still up in the air with this one. I feel it depends on your market. I'm in the music market. "Musician" I notice that when I had a Double opt in more of potential leads didn't finish the process. So they never made it to the second email. So I just focus on single opt ins and a social connection.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Which option is bringing you the most money?
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  • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
    You definitely proved nothing with this post. Thanks.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dburn
      Good thought. In my opinion when your just starting out building a list you should stick with single opt in just to get some numbers and subscribers but when your list starts to get bigger and your focusing on converting those subscribers double opt in is not a bad idea.
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    • Profile picture of the author XponentSYS
      Originally Posted by PerformanceMan View Post

      You definitely proved nothing with this post. Thanks.
      Lets keep it constructive. The OP was trying to share data HE thought was valuable and it may or may not be, depending on who you are.

      Even if you feel his opinion didnt prove anything, YOUR post may prove something....
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      • Profile picture of the author PCH
        I wouldn't pretend to be as knowledgeable as most in here.

        However, as far as I can tell, common sense would dictate that the more information you request, or the more hoops you ask a subscriber to jump through, the higher the quality and more responsive that subscriber is going to be.

        IM'ers often quote figures telling how single opt-in produces more subscribers, but the point that's being made here is the quality of many of those subscribers is going to be painfully low.

        In my opinion, best to grow a list more slowly, but at the same time more responsively. That will be the winner in the end.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
          Banned
          Originally Posted by PCH View Post

          common sense would dictate that the more information you request, or the more hoops you ask a subscriber to jump through, the higher the quality and more responsive that subscriber is going to be.
          Yes and no.

          Overall, perhaps, yes.

          But you're not making the "best ones" any more responsive or any higher in quality by imposing email address confirmation on them. They're the same people whether you do that or not.

          They're all still there if you don't ask them for email address confirmation, aren't they?

          If you use opt-in confirmation, absolutely everyone successfully subscribed to your list would also have been subscribed to the same list if you'd used single opt-in instead. Not a single person would have been "lost" by using single opt-in instead. Their open-rates aren't any higher just because you asked them to confirm their email addresses at the time they originally opted in.

          So, it may seem like "common-sense", but if you think about it, it's actually a fallacy.

          Originally Posted by PCH View Post

          IM'ers often quote figures telling how single opt-in produces more subscribers, but the point that's being made here is the quality of many of those subscribers is going to be painfully low.
          Not my experience at all, and not apparently the experience of all the successful marketers here (whose posts fill other threads on this subject) all of whom are so pleased that they switched to single opt-in.

          Originally Posted by PCH View Post

          In my opinion, best to grow a list more slowly, but at the same time more responsively. That will be the winner in the end.
          How will you actually be better off by not having the additional people?

          You have something to gain by using single opt-in, and nothing to lose at all. You won't lose one single person who would have confirmed their email address.

          And you won't make them any "worse in quality or responsiveness" by not asking for email address confirmation, either. They're the same people (together with some additional ones who may not be quite so "good" and may bring down the average open-rate while still producing additional money in the bank for you).
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  • Profile picture of the author I Am Attila
    Anyone in it for the long term and building a list for themselves vs to just have a mega list and then sell blasts via the classifieds [for this list] will tell ya, double opt in is the way to go.
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  • Profile picture of the author xxxJamesxxx
    Just set it up to single optin and every 3 months or so... Delete your unopens.

    That's what I do.

    James Scholes
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Bratcher
    The double opt-in or single opt-in choice really depends on your goals.

    Personally, I would never use a single opt-in list for a long-term strategy. If you are really concerned that your subs won't go for double opt-in then your call to action isn't strong enough.

    Single opt-in list are only good for quick cash and burn lists. Yes, it's much easier to get single opt-ins but they may never open an email, or even worse, mark it as spam and cause you problems. Make sure your offer is clear they will receive emails from you. Sometimes single opt-ins aren't clear or the user doesn't realize they are signing up to receive emails.

    Double opt-in lists are pure gold. Why wouldn't you want to use this model? Your subscribers want what you have to offer so they are taking extra steps to ensure they get it. Is your offer really so bad or worthless that no one would possibly want to hear from you again? I bet that's not true but it is up to youto show your subs the practical usefulness of your offer.
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  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    Originally Posted by manicmethods View Post

    What's better? 1000 subscribers with a 50% open rate or 2000 subscribers with 20% open rate...
    Or you could ask, what's better 1000 subscribers with a 50% open rate or 10,000 subscribers with a 20% open rate.

    Or, what's better 1200 subscribers with an 80% open rate or 150000 subscribers with a 1% open rate.

    I'm not sure what point this comparison is making....
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  • Profile picture of the author WebPen
    With double-optin, you make the subscriber jump through an extra hoop.

    Just because they confirm doesn't mean they'll open your emails more than the single-optin.

    And what does the open rate percentage matter? Whether it's 50% of 1,000 or 25% of 2,000, it's the same amount of people opening your emails.

    If you're really concerned, you can do as James suggested and delete subscribers that don't open.

    That said- I've heard the tracking software the autoresponders use to determine if someone opened or not isn't very accurate.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tom Reed
    The simple answer to the "what's the difference" question is cost.

    Having a 5% open rate of a 100K list (5,000 opens) cost a lot more than a 50% open rate of a 10,000 list (5,000 opens).

    When the response rate is the same and the cost is lower, you have a better ROI and better business.

    People like to have a big list, but in this case, bigger is not better... it just cost more.

    Now having said that, there is a much better way to continuously cleanse your list so you're getting better segmentation and removing the dead weight from the list.

    All you need to do is add the automation to the links in the emails sent so they perform 2 functions:

    Function 1 = Landing Page
    Function 2 = Add to New Sales Path that I call "Active"

    Every 3 months or so, simply delete everyone that is not on the "Active" sales path group. Even if someone is showing as an open, this does not mean they are really opening the email so I like to look for "activity" versus "open".

    If someone has not clicked a single link, in a single email from you for over 3 months, are they really someone you want to pay to keep on your list?

    And if you're also sending SMS (text) messages to these folks (as you should), do you really want to pay for messages to dead weight?

    Bottom line, to grow your bottom line, shrink your list size and improve your ROI.
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    • Profile picture of the author James Clark
      To the OP. 20% open rate is okay for now. But I would work on your conversion rate. Buy Paul Hancox book the 10% conversion rate. No affiliation. I'm just a big fan of Paul.

      Here is the link: The Secrets Of A 10% Conversion Rate

      Also, you could work on preselling.
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    • Profile picture of the author GDW
      [QUOTE=Tom Reed;8156259]
      Every 3 months or so, simply delete everyone that is not on the "Active" sales path group. Even if someone is showing as an open, this does not mean they are really opening the email so I like to look for "activity" versus "open".

      If someone has not clicked a single link, in a single email from you for over 3 months, are they really someone you want to pay to keep on your list?


      Great tip!!
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      • Profile picture of the author FriendlyRob
        For what its worth, I'm in the single opt in camp. I do however spend a little time every once in a while and delete those who haven't opened a single email in several months.
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  • Profile picture of the author Igor Fridrihs
    Why not try both. Our customers are different. I don't like double opt-in personally and sometimes do not confirm subscribing, but just delete emails. I see the same at some my lists. People just do not confirm their subscriptions.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      If you use opt-in confirmation, absolutely everyone successfully subscribed to your list would also have been subscribed to the same list if you'd used single opt-in instead. Not a single person would have been "lost" by using single opt-in instead. This much is pretty unarguable, it seems to me.

      Their open-rates aren't any higher just because you asked them to confirm their email addresses at the time they originally opted in, in my view.

      The additional subscribers you'll have by using single opt-in instead may, overall, be "of lower average quality" than the first group and may open fewer emails, I suppose. Some people apparently mind that, while others don't. I don't. They're only "additional" people, anyway - it's not as if anything's actually been lost.

      Using single opt-in instead doesn't - and can't - somehow reduce either the "quality" or the open-rates of the people who would successfully have confirmed their email addresses anyway. They're all still there.

      To me - and this is purely a subjective perspective - it's also very telling that in all the WF threads dicussing "Single or Confirmed Opt-In?" almost all the marketers I trust and respect and think are highly successful are the ones consistently speaking out in favor of single opt-in.

      For myself, I'm unreservedly pleased that I switched to single opt-in, and I've gained significantly from having done so.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mindz
        Well said .... this is well said !

        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        If you use opt-in confirmation, absolutely everyone successfully subscribed to your list would also have been subscribed to the same list if you'd used single opt-in instead. Not a single person would have been "lost" by using single opt-in instead. This much is pretty unarguable, it seems to me.

        Their open-rates aren't any higher just because you asked them to confirm their email addresses at the time they originally opted in, in my view.

        The additional subscribers you'll have by using single opt-in instead may, overall, be "of lower average quality" than the first group and may open fewer emails, I suppose. Some people apparently mind that, while others don't. I don't. They're only "additional" people, anyway - it's not as if anything's actually been lost.

        Using single opt-in instead doesn't - and can't - somehow reduce either the "quality" or the open-rates of the people who would successfully have confirmed their email addresses anyway. They're all still there.

        To me - and this is purely a subjective perspective - it's also very telling that in all the WF threads dicussing "Single or Confirmed Opt-In?" almost all the marketers I trust and respect and think are highly successful are the ones consistently speaking out in favor of single opt-in.

        For myself, I'm unreservedly pleased that I switched to single opt-in, and I've gained significantly from having done so.
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      • Profile picture of the author WillR
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        If you use opt-in confirmation, absolutely everyone successfully subscribed to your list would also have been subscribed to the same list if you'd used single opt-in instead. Not a single person would have been "lost" by using single opt-in instead. This much is pretty unarguable, it seems to me.
        This is exactly what I was going to say. Every single person who went to the trouble of confirming to be on your list would also be on your list if you had single optin only. They have no way of knowing whether you are using single or double optin when they first enter their email and thus it won't effect the email address they enter.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    Great post. There are many people that will oppose you but I am here to SUPPORT YOU. What they don't get is that DEADWEIGHT list members don't add any value. You shouldn't have to prune when you can filter them through double optin. Also DEADWEIGHT costs money thanks to Aweber and other AR's sliding scale fees.
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  • Profile picture of the author MightyWarrior
    I never had this problem... plus if you are using aWeber and change to single opt in... you put yourself under a totally different server and support... double is the best, but only if it is done correctly.

    Like someone else said... thanks for nothing... you haven't done any valid testing.

    But, you have to learn sometime... personally I use double-opt-in always.
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  • Profile picture of the author RockNRolla
    I've always used double opt in over single opt in. For some reason, I always assumed that the deliverability suffered slightly on single opt in subscribers compared to double opt ins? Am I just imagining this?
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  • Profile picture of the author mikemeth
    20% open rate is not bad at all, if you re send to unopens it might be even bigger. I had problems with double optins as people didn't confirm that is why I use single optins now
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  • Profile picture of the author sirtiman
    I like single optin, not much effects if your bring good content.
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  • Profile picture of the author Greg guitar
    As usual, I find myself nodding as I read Alexa's logical thoughts. I just want to ask the op what else changed? I assume you don't reuse the same subject line every email, and since subject lines obviously have more influence on open rates than whether it's a double or single opt-in, I suggest you concentrate the most energy on the subject line, and put concerns over single or double opt-ins on the back burner.

    I think this woman has some pretty good tips, even though her open rates aren't quite what yours were (she says 49% opened):
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    In my opinion, single optin is rubbish.

    For two major reasons....

    1. There's nothing stopping anyone from subscribing someone else to your list on their behalf unknowingly. This just leads to spam complaints.

    2. SPAM. I don't know how many times I check subscriptions for the day and see '12', and think ..wow thats great - only to find that 9 of them are bots.

    I dont want that rubbish on my list.

    Smaller, cleaner lists.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

      1. There's nothing stopping anyone from subscribing someone else to your list on their behalf unknowingly. This just leads to spam complaints.
      This one's rather niche-dependent. I gather it's a bit of a problem for people in IM/MMO/dating niches? Not so much outside of those, I think?

      Originally Posted by John Romaine View Post

      I dont want that rubbish on my list.

      Smaller, cleaner lists.
      Thanks for introducing some valid arguments in favor of opt-in confirmation to the thread, Johnny. It was on the tip of my tongue to point out that there are some, too, which hadn't actually been mentioned yet.

      Another (arguable) one is that autoresponder companies prefer you to use opt-in confirmation, and some say so openly, and that therefore, in the event of subsequent problems, some may be more likely to be on your side than against you, if you've complied with that. (However, it's always seemed to me that whether or not you get spam complaints depends on what you send people, how well they recognise your name/pen-name, and how you set their expectations in the first place, not on whether or not they've confirmed their email address at the time they originally opted in).
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      • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        Thanks for introducing some valid arguments in favor of opt-in confirmation to the thread, Johnny.
        No problem.

        Another reason for double optin, is that if you're using the parser function within Aweber, and you're adding leads silently in the background upon purchase (think DLGuard) ....then single optin is not an option.

        Aweber forces confirmation in these instances.
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  • Profile picture of the author SuperDJ
    Double opt-in for me every time.

    Purely because via single-opt in, anyone can enter some random individual's e-mail into the sign-up form, and I'll be susceptible for sending spam in the eyes of an innocent individual who has never ever visited my site before.

    At least with double-opt in, you're requesting the user for permission to send information and offers to them - that's why they gave you their e-mail in the first place. So yes, I prefer to let them log in to their e-mail client, and click 'I want to join this list'.

    Of course this doesn't guarantee that you'll get higher open-rates, that's absurd. However it does keep the floor a lot cleaner.

    Pretty much everything Romaine said above.
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  • Profile picture of the author manicmethods
    Wow. Sorry guys, wasn't expecting so much debate (stupid I know).

    I know I didn't provide reams of data and facts to back up my claims but since changing to double optin I've noticed three things:

    a) Higher open rates in general
    b) Lower unsubscribe rates
    c) Lower complaints rates

    All positive things I'd say?

    I can't say I'm making any more/less than I was before BUT my lists are costing me less to 'own' and run.

    It's also nice to know that a higher percentage of my list is taking action even though this may not equate to actually more people.

    The other thing is that by using double optin, I can focus more on subject lines now knowing that the single optin wasn't leading to bot sign ups or crappy email addresses.

    I get what everyone is saying and I can see the advantage of single and double optin. I'm in the double optin field.
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