Opt-In Techniques Tutorial

2.2 Introduction

This is Matt Bailey, in this chapter we're going to be looking at developing your emailing list.

2.3 Single Opt-In

Now in order to build your list, you do need to decide on a strategy of the best ways to get that email address, as well as qualify that email address as valid, as engaged, and as a person. Not just someone who gives you an email that may be invalid. You see, the first method of getting an email address is the single opt-in. By that, it's typically, you're just asking for someone's name and email address. They expressly click a button, which provides consent, and they have immediate access to the asset that you've offered, to the value that you've provided. So in this example, if you want this book, if you want this training, you add your name, your email address, you press the button, you have immediate access. Now at this point, you could be using a fake name and a fake email address, but because it's single opt-in, they won't know, but you still have access to this report. This is done numerous times, because people don't want to be followed up with, or they don't want to be put on a mailing list, and so, people are very careful to do this, and usually, they'll use a throwaway email, or an invalid email. But this is called a single opt-in, which allows you immediate access to the asset that's offered, by only adding your email and then pressing a button that implies consent. Now, the single opt-in, there's also an explicit opt-in. You can usually see this when you sign up for a free trial or for a social media platform or for anything that requires that by signing up for it, they also have a newsletter, they also have promotional mail, and most likely, they have a terms of service, but usually, what you will see is the affirmation pre-checked, that you want to receive updates via email. If it's pre-checked and someone clicks register or submit, that is a single explicit opt-in. That means that they have seen the check mark, and they still agree. That is an opt-in and what you are requiring is that if they don't want it, it has to be then an expressed opt-out. That means that the user has to take an action to opt out, rather than being explicitly opted in with the default check mark. Now, don't confuse this with express consent. Express consent means that the user has to physically check the box. It cannot be pre-checked. They have to check it, then click the action button. And that means that they have given you express consent.

2.4 Single Opt-In + Welcome

Now, with the single opt-in, one way that people have gotten over the invalid address being used as a means of logging in or getting access to something. With a welcome email, what you will know immediately is if that email has bounced or not. You see, once someone adds their name, an email address and then clicks to download or clicks to access, by sending a welcome email immediately, you will know if it is deliverable or not. And in that welcome email, you offer here's the next step. Here's access to different things. Here's questions. Here are things that you can get. But with that welcome email, what you're doing is testing to see if that email is valid right away. So that if it is invalid, you can remove it and keep your list clean of invalid, bounced emails.

2.5 Confirmed-Double Opt-In

Now, the industry recommendation, and now what I would say is the gold standard to creating your list is the confirmed double opt in. What that means is once you have added your email address for a subscription, for a purchase, for anything that says, yes I want to receive communications. What you receive is an email that says before you are added to the list, you must click to verify your email address. You see, what this is doing is number one, confirming that this is a valid email address, that it's going to the right person. And then you are taking the additional step of clicking a link to verify that not only is it a valid email address, but you are verifying your intent to subscribe. This is the gold standard because the user has taken two specific steps to allow you access to their email address and to validate that they want your email. Now, of course, when you offer this, sometimes people won't follow through with this step and what will happen is they do not receive your mailings until they have confirmed. And so you may see your subscription rates fall off when you add this additional level of confirmation. The upside is that you protect yourself from spam laws. You protect yourself from invalid emails and you protect yourself from people usually marking you down as spam.

2.6 Opt-In Effectiveness

The downside of it is, you may not get as many email addresses as fast as normal. A single opt-in strategy gets a lot of email addresses. However, they may not be validated, they may not be real. And so the quality of those email addresses is lower and you're not building a relationship. The confirmed opt-in email builds that relational quality, because you're asking people to take an additional step in marking an email and clicking a link. And letting you know that they are taking the additional step and accepting this email list, which protects you legally in the long term. But also in the long term what we have seen is when you compare a confirmed double opt-in with other types of single opt-in emails, confirmed opt-ins have higher rates of clicking and higher open rates. Compared to just a typical sign-up and reactivation or a welcome or any other type of mailing, what we have seen is confirmed opt-ins have higher click rates than other welcome emails. They have higher click rates than reactivation emails. Having that confirmed double opt-in creates a more qualified, higher level of relationship with your users, and they respond more positively.

2.7 Set Expectations

When you receive that double opt-in or when you receive that email, your welcome email is a great followup to that. Even after someone has done a confirmed double opt-in, a welcome email is still the next thing you should do. An immediate thank you that includes links to valuable information, but also links to the social media icons so that you can find the brand in other places and not have to guess where they're at, and someone can see a single source for all of the information that's there. It's also good idea at this point to offer the user a method of managing the communications that you will offer to them. By that, you can offer a mailing schedule, or their mailing preferences, whether they want text or HTML email, how often they want to be contacted with, and also here is where you can ask for a little bit more information about your subscriber. Their name, their zip code, their business name, the number of employees, depending upon what type of information is valuable to your business, and will enable you to market to them more effectively. So setting the expectation is also a way to gain more information about your subscriber, but also provide more value.

2.8 Assumed Opt-In

Now when you're developing your list, this is also a place where you need to look at the assumed opt-in. I've talked about this a number of times, that if you receive these email addresses from a trade show, or a stack of business cards, or a list of leads, make sure that you do not assume the opt-in. Some businesses will assume the opt-in, that if we've talked to you at a trade show, if we scanned your badge, then that allows us to email you. That is allowed at this point in certain instances, but I would always qualify that by sending another action that requires them to sign up. This will protect you legally in the long term rather than just assuming that they want to receive your information.

2.9 Invited/Assumed Opt-In

One of the things that I offer in my training when I am out speaking is that if someone wants to download the presentation, or the worksheets, or the assets from the training. We send out an email inviting them to download the presentations and download the information. And then on the landing page, provide a secondary means of subscribing to updates. Just because someone wants access to the information, I'm not assuming that they want to continue to receive updates, unless they have given me express consent to continue to email them.

2.10 Thank You

This has been Matt Bailey. This chapter was developing your email list.

  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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