Double opt-in requirements are a problem for marketers.

Frankly, double opt-in requirements were created by email service providers to protect THEIR sender reputation, THEIR email deliverability rating. The claim was that anyone could put anyone else’s info into an opt-in form (seriously, who does that?), so it’s the “responsible” way to ensure that any new lead who opts-in to your list is a legitimate new lead who ACTUALLY wants your content.

In a nutshell, here’s how double opt-in works:

  1. Your new lead fills out an opt-in form.
  2. Your new lead gets an email asking if he or she really filled out the opt-in form – with a “click to confirm” link – that’s the 2nd opt-in
  3. Once the confirmation is recorded, finally you get to send another email fulfilling whatever they asked for when they filled out the original form

Instead of IMPROVING your opt-in rate, what actually happens is that your confirmed opt-ins drop by about 50%. Why? It’s a little thing that we like to call “friction.” People don’t want to click a bunch of times and wait for things in this always-on, instant-access, pedal-to-the-metal reality. They filled in the form. They want whatever was offered, with no further thinking or clicking required. So… they DON’T click on the email that asks them to confirm that they actually filled in the form, and you basically lose a lead.

Do This Instead

Here’s how you confirm you have a good email address AND give your new lead exactly what they want:

Send whatever they’ve requested via email. 

That’s it. When someone fills in your opt-in form, deliver the requested content via email. That way you confirm the email address. Make sure your marketing / email platform will also show that they’ve downloaded the file or taken whatever next step is appropriate based on the offer that led them to fill in the form. That’s how you get an audit trail – by being able to track a lead’s activity (ideally in a single activity stream for that lead, like we provide within the Genoo platform).

Double Opt-In RequirementsIf it’s a bad email address, you’re not going to send them another email. If it’s a good email address, you now know something that person is interested in knowing about, and you can nurture that lead with further information about that topic. Done and done.

If you’re still concerned about getting bad emails (everyone typos their own email address from time to time), you can ask for an email confirmation right in your opt-in form, so they have to enter the email address twice. That’s a good double-check right on the initial form.


Not in the US?

If you are in a country where double opt-in is the law of the land, consult your legal professional about whether the technique described above can fulfill those double opt-in requirements.

(We are not attorneys, and what we’re offering here should not be construed as legal advice!) You may need to have some specific language in the email that delivers your content, or in the opt-out language that you include with your email to be compliant, and that should be no problem to include with your fulfillment (delivery of content) email.

You’ll also want to be fully aware of what type of audit trail you’ll need to have in the event of a challenge, and ensure that whatever platform you’re using accommodates that need. (For reference, the Genoo Marketing Automation platform has everything in a single activity stream AND an interest profile for every lead, all contained in a single record for each lead. In other words, you can go to one place for whatever info you need. That’s the audit trail you want.)

Keep It Simple

Keep your opt-in forms simple. We recommend three fields, maybe four fields if you feel like you MUST ask for the business / organization name too. First name, last name, and email address are the standard. That keeps friction low and increases your chances of getting true information – especially when you’re offering a top-of-the-funnel piece of content to brand new leads. When you’re offering something that’s more bottom-of-the-funnel (like “schedule an appointment”), you CAN ask for more info but you still want to keep it lean. Remember, the purpose of an opt-in form is to GET a lead, not to fully qualify a new lead for sales. One of my pet peeves is opt-in forms that ask things like “what’s your budget” and “when are you making a decision.” Come on, folks. Those are questions to ask in a SALES process, not on a marketing form! Don’t do that, please!

Keep your forms simple. Keep friction to a minimum. And figure out a way to handle double opt-in requirements without losing leads in the process. Your NEXT perfect potential customer could have just filled out your opt-in form. Do you want to lose them because you’re trusting that they will SEE a “did you really do this; please click to confirm” email from you – and ACT on it? Of course you don’t!

Focus on getting your emails to the inbox. Focus on engaging your leads with valuable content that will help them.