I have a short series of articles about e-mail marketing that were written by the staff over at Aweber communications. If you have a business, they are worth reading.
Take care & Enjoy,
Confirmed Opt-in Myths Exposed
Posted by Sean Cohen
Confirmed opt-in as defined by SpamHaus, who is one of the most respected anti spam organizations in the world:
Known as “COI” in the legitimate bulk email industry, also known as “Confirmed Opt-in”, “Verified Opt-in” or sometimes “Double Opt-in”.
With Closed-Loop Opt-in the Recipient has verifiably confirmed permission for the address to be included on the specific mailing list, by confirming (responding to) the list subscription request verification. This is the standard practice for all responsible Internet mailing lists, it ensures users are properly subscribed, from a working address, and with the address owner’s consent.
In the event of “spam” accusation:
The Bulk Email Sender is fully and legally protected because the reply to the Subscription Confirmation Request received back from the recipient proves that the recipient did in fact opt-in and grant verifiable consent for the mailings.Source:Spamhaus Website
Numerous myths have circulated regarding confirmed opt-in and its effects. There are many misconceptions out there, and we’d like to help clear those up.
Myth 1: My List Size Will Decrease Because Of Confirmed Opt-In.
Some addresses entered into your form will not confirm — that much is true. The percentage of addresses that don’t confirm depends on many factors, including the quality of your traffic and how effective your thank-you page, confirmation message and incentive for confirming are.
Percentages aside, there are compelling reasons that having fewer addresses on your list is a good thing.
Sometimes Less is Better
I know. You may be asking, “How can a decreased list size be a good thing?” Well, let’s consider:
This means that of your total list size you can cut that by 5-20% because these email addresses are simply dead. Remember these are not temporary undeliverable but permanent dead addresses.
Now, add on the bogus and malicious sign ups that undoubtedly will happen. For example, someone comes to your website and decides to put in email@example.com. Well, firstname.lastname@example.org was once a real email address and because you were not using confirmed opt-in you are now classified as an unintentional spammer.
ISPs do not differentiate between unintentional spammers or actual spammers. The potential for you to be blocked or even worse, blacklisted, remains the same.
Less Can Be More Too
A study done by AWeber shows that using confirmed opt-in also reduces unsubscribes and complaints. This means that you keep more of your subscribers (the ones that actually want your email).
Read more about that here.
Myth 2: My Mailing List Is Different! I Don’t Need Confirmed Opt-In.
Let’s be clear, confirmed opt-in is for all businesses, plain and simple. Anyone collecting subscribers and in turn sending email needs to confirm that those people intended to sign up to your mailing list and want to receive your email.
In this age of email regulations and massive volumes of spam email, deliverability can be an issue. Why increase your chances of not getting delivered by putting yourself at risk.
Myth 3: No One Else Uses Confirmed Opt-In. Why Should I?
This is simply not accurate. Our own campaigns here at AWeber use confirmed opt-in for all email marketing activities. When someone signs up for a Test Drive of AWeber, they must confirm.
After setting up an account, if they want to receive our customer training email course, they must confirm. The same goes for our affiliates and their email training. Even when someone subscribes to our blog, they must confirm.
Ok, but AWeber must practice what they preach, who else?
Myth 4: Subscribers In My Market Don’t Know How To Confirm.
The simple solution is to tell them. The first page after someone fills in an opt-in form, commonly called a “thank you page” should tell the visitor exactly what to do next. Often this is done most effectively with a picture showing visitors what the confirmation email will look like.
An excellent example is our test drive sign up video on the thank you page showing visitors what to do.
“Subscribers in my market don’t know how to click an email link.”
Honestly, if they can’t click a link then you probably should be marketing your business offline. If someone can find your website online I guarantee they can click a link.
Myth 5: My Sales Will Decrease Because Of Confirmed Opt-In.
Have you tested this assumption? The answer is always, “No, but I just assume” or “No, my colleague told me it would hurt sales”.
It’s best not to assume anything, but rather to seek out your own answers by testing and observing your own campaigns. We have found from our own testing that while the raw number of email addresses on our list declined when we switched to confirmed opt-in, sales did not.
This means that the people who did confirm were the ones that truly wanted the information that they had to offer and the ones that didn’t were not left to bloat the mailing list.
Grow Your Business Without Risk
Will your results be exactly the same as AWeber or even anyone else? This can only be determined by proper testing and measuring.
Use confirmed opt-in as an opportunity to make sure that your lists are 100% clean and that you know without a doubt that 100% of the people receiving your mail have specifically requested it themselves.
Spend your time and energy building your business with subscribers who want to hear from you rather than dealing with issues created by people who don’t want to hear from you.