Okay, here is the post I procrastinated for a long, l o o o … o o n g time.
Please, don’t ask me, why I finally got moving and finished it today. It’s certainly not the sunshine and beach weather that prevented me from doing this earlier. If it were, I wouldn’t get anything done at all. We have dream weather here a lot.
However, if you insist asking, I will respond,
“It was Frank Kern. He is guilty of having me finish that post.”
You might or might not know who Frank Kern is. He is one of the most successful email copywriters and business strategists in the Internet marketing community. Many call him a guru. Last week Frank launched his latest product, an interactive e-mail list building training program. The launch strategy was interesting to watch. It gives us a hint regarding the very old question:
“Single Opt-in or double opt-in?”
But first things first.
E-mail solution providers and to some extent law makers…
- User subscribes to an email list.
This can be done in various ways: web form, via sending an email, via telephone, a printed form, …
- The list owner can start sending information to that e-mail address right away.
- same as above.
- The list owner sends a single message to that e-mail address asking the user to confirm the subscription — usually by clicking on a link in the email.
- Now the list owner can send information.
By the way, each email must contain information about the sender and how the recipient can unsubscribe from the list. This is a basic legal requirement in almost all Western jurisdictions.
The problem with single opt-in:
- Anybody can sign-up with an e-mail address that belongs to someone else. What follows can be spam complaints or even legal proceedings against the list owner.
The problem with double opt-in:
- No matter what, you are loosing people with any additionally required click.
That’s a fundamental finding in usability. The assumption that people who do not confirm their e-mail address would not buy anything from you anyway is wrong.
Now the state of the industry seems to be: All entry level email marketing solutions require a confirmed opt-in procedure. Game over for single opt-in. However, the question single or double opt-in is very relevant in terms of ROI (return on investment) and profit from email marketing efforts. Don't forget many marketers are buying traffic for their opt-in pages. Then it does matter a lot if and how many people you are using on the way to the final sale.
What’s better for the bottom line — Single or Double Opt-in?
I read Jason Leister’s blog posts
- Stop Following the Herd: Double Opt-In is Crazy (↑) and
- More Double Opt-In Nonsense (↑) in June last year.
(Back then I actually had the idea of writing this post.)
Then, later in September Daniel Levis referred to Jason’s post and wrote
- Split Test SHOCKER! Pervasive E-mail Marketing Myth — SHATTERED… (↑) one week later.
So now what?
A couple of month go by and Frank Kern does his big launch. I mentioned this in the intro of this post. He and his affiliates drive tens if not hundreds of thousands of qualified prospects to the many, cleverly designed opt-in pages. The lesson here:
Frank used single opt-in!
And since I know a little bit about how Frank Kern works, I can tell you for sure that he tests every major move before rolling it out on a bigger scale.
There lies your answer right in front of you.
You have to test it yourself.
There is no one fits all recommendation. It’s quite clear there is a good chance that single opt-in might perform better in terms of profit. Even when you consider that e-mail deliverability is usually lower for messages sent from single-opt in servers (\*).
(\*) That’s just a technical note: In order to increase reputation with spam fighters, email service providers have started to use different email servers to send email for confirmed and for not confirmed (single) opt-in lists. In general designated servers for double opt-in have a higher success rate of getting the email into the inbox of the recipients. Also don’t forget that a single opt-in list will contain mistyped e-mail addresses, etc.
Start out with confirmed, double opt-in, and start to generate income with your email list (↑).
I highly recommend AWeber (↑) as entry level service.
Once you are making significant profits, you can try out other solutions like Infusionsoft, which allow single-opt-in.
Now, what’s your opinion on this?
Let us know, leave a comment below.
John W. Furst
P.S.: By the way: Sign up to my email list in the upper, right corner of the blog.
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