Are Double Opt-Ins Necessary for Newsletters?

MailChimp announced this fall that it is doing away with double opt-ins for it’s newsletter service. Is this a big deal? Yes. So what are double opt-ins and why are they important?

Double opt-ins protects your subscribers. It helps prevents their name from being maliciously added to emails that they do not want, and also protects the privacy of their email address from easily being sold or traded.

The double opt-in also protects you as a marketer. You can show that your subscribers all added themselves to your list. It keeps your list cleaner, which costs less and makes your marketing more effective. It’s also a strong signal to companies you might work with that your subscribers chose to be there and that they value you.

The CAN-SPAM Act in the US says that people must choose to be added to your email list. It’s also helpful to cover yourself if you have foreign subscribers, as email regulations vary from country to country.

A double opt-in is a way of clarifying that they do want to be on your list – it keeps you in the clear!

Not all email service providers use double opt-in. Some might not use it so that you can easily add to your list, bloating your subscriber numbers. Many email plans follow a “freemium” model, offering a certain amount of emails free, then charging you a monthly rate based on how many subscribers you have. The more emails you add, the faster your list grows – and the faster you’ll hit the threshold for a paid plan.

Some email providers actually promote single opt-ins as a way to grow your list, knowing that naive businesses will add their contact lists or worse, buy lists of emails. This creates a big list and big, impressive numbers, but there won’t be the opens, engagement, or conversions to go with it because emails you don’t want are literally spam. Without double opt-in, anyone with your email address can add you to their email list.

Double opt-in is an industry best practice. It‘s what smart email marketers use, because it creates a cleaner list of people who actively choose to receive your emails.

Recently, a big email provider MailChimp moved to a single opt-in. If you are a MailChimp user, you need to pay attention to this change because it could affect your email list in a couple of ways.

First, single opt-in services tend to send more spam (unsolicited emails) making it a less trustworthy source. Mail service providers could start delivering mail coming from Mail Chimp as spam if the quality of mail coming from that service lowers.

Second, if you have set up Thank You pages or Confirmation pages, perhaps with a free download, links you are tracking, or other information for your readers, your subscribers may never see them. New subscribers will no longer be directed to a page on your site to download your lead magnet or other email incentive. You’ll have to go into your MailChimp backend and fix your account so that your new subscribers will have to double opt-in, unless you are in the EU. US users will need to check their settings and keep a careful eye on their MailChimp account in the future.

Do you feel safe with a single opt in newsletter? Is it time to move to a new newsletter service?

Fortunately, switching email providers is usually a simple matter of just exporting your list to the new service.

The Blog Elevated team switched to ConvertKit a few months ago. If you’ve read our newsletter for a while, you might have seen us posting our results from the switch (Easier emails! Higher open rate! Better click through rate! Emojis in the subject line, oh yeah.) We’ve even become affiliates for ConvertKit. If you are thinking of switching your email provider, consider checking them out.

Click here to find out more about ConvertKit*.

We used MadMimi for a few years before we were ready for a paid plan. MadMimi is a little harder to use than ConvertKit, but they have a great free plan for smaller lists. We eventually outgrew MadMimi but remain fans!

Learn about MadMimi email plans here*

Your list is an important asset. It allows you to reach your readers on your terms, without trying to beat an algorithm or even when your website is down. It’s worth the time to pick a good, solid email service provider and always use best practices – they’re “best” for a reason!