One of the key business tools you will utilise in your online business is the Autoresponder.  This tool enables you to build an Opt-in List to which you can send email messages in order to establish a relationship, demonstrate your authority, and to make sales.  However, a question that frequently comes up regarding email marketing and Autoresponders: single opt-in or double opt-in?

 What is the difference between single and double opt-in? A single opt-in assumes that the first time someone gives you their contact information, they are subscribing to your list.  The double opt-in process is based on the assumption that a person may have provided their contact information in exchange for your free offer, but they may not want continued correspondence with you.  The second opt-in asks them to confirm that they wish to be added to your list.

There are proponents of both methods who debate why their preferred way is the better choice.

Single opt-in advocates argue that it’s hard to get people to confirm their choice.  People have to open emails to find the link to validate that they did want to be added to a specific list.  If they fail to do this, then those people you thought you had added to your list are lost.  Essentially, they have to subscribe to your list twice, making it twice as hard to gain them as a subscriber.

Double opt-in advocates argue that it’s worth the extra step to get people to confirm their wish to be added to the list because they will be much more receptive to your emails in the long run. Also, it is like the action of clicking on the confirmation link is conditioning them to interact with you, thus getting them to be generally more responsive to your emails.

Single opt-ins are risky because third parties could sign people up to a List; a single opt-in can lead to these people getting your messages without their validation.  When this occurs, usually these people will get very angry and they’ll often blacklist you and complain to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), which can cause major problems for your business.  This is the main argument against the single opt-in method, and why double opt-in advocates believe it’s worth the extra step of confirmation in order to be protected from such complaints and issues.

Therefore, in this debate, the stronger argument would tend to lie with the double opt-in, confirmation side.  This argument is further strengthened because many Autoresponder companies require, or highly encourage a confirming step in order to be in compliance with regulations about sending emails to large lists of subscribers.  In addition, statistics show that there are more unique Opens and Clicks, along with fewer Hard and Soft Bounces, when requiring double opt-in confirmation.  Therefore, the extra effort it takes to get a double opt-in confirmation from a subscriber will likely, in the long run serve to safeguard you from Spam complaints as well as possible service disruptions from your ISP.