A Guide to Opt-In Email Lists

Jun 23, 2022

Email marketing has become the main marketing channel for the majority of digital marketers today.

The reason for this is quite simple: along with being a more personal method of communicating with customers and prospects, it also has high ROIs for customers. However, to reap all the benefits of email marketing, you will need to create and grow email opt-in lists.

What is an Opt-In Email List?

An opt-in email list refers to a collection of email lists that contains information subscribers have provided you with willingly. This means that your subscribers are aware that you are adding them to your email list and agree to receive newsletters, mass emails, and other forms of digital communication from you.

Since the laws regarding the collection and use of personal data are often changing, employing a double opt-in strategy when growing your email list is a wise idea. This simply means that when a new subscriber signs up to receive marketing emails from you, they will receive a confirmation email where they click a link to confirm that they do want to be added to your list.

Along with ensuring that you remain compliant with data collection laws, the main benefit of this method is that it also ensures that your list is only made up of individuals who actually want to receive and engage with the emails you send.

How to Tell if a List is Opt-in for Email Marketing

One main thing to be aware of is that not every email address you have access to is going to have opted in. Acting as if every email list is an opt-in list could have serious consequences for your business, so it’s important to know how to determine if your email list is an opt-in email list. Simply put, it is an opt-in email list if your subscribers have given you permission to send the emails by ticking a box or signing up through a form.

On the other hand, if you have been given emails on your website, from online purchases, or on business cards, for example, but do not have permission to send marketing emails to these addresses, then it is not an opt-in email list. This is also the case with email lists that you have purchased or rented.

Why You Should Take Newsletter Opt-In Seriously

You may be wondering if it’s really that important to make sure that your email list is opt-in, and why you should take it seriously. Here are the three main reasons why you need to get serious about email opt-in:

Comply with Regulations

One of the main reasons why you need to take opt-in email seriously is that there are laws that relate to the sending of emails, which are mostly put in place to deter unsolicited email communications. Two of the most common regulations that all email marketers need to be aware of include the GDPR laws in the European Union and the CAN-SPAM Act in the US.

More Engagement

By taking the time to put together an opt-in email newsletter list, you can make sure that a greater number of the subscribers that you are sending emails to are actually interested in the content, products and services that your brand has to offer. As a result, you can achieve an email list that is more highly engaged and generates more profit for your business. This is one of the main reasons to steer clear of unethical practices such as buying or renting email lists, as more often than not this will be a waste of money as subscribers will rarely engage with your email content.

Avoid Harming Your Brand Reputation

For the most part, individuals want as much control over their email inboxes as possible, which means having the ability to regulate the type of emails that they receive. When you send email messages to subscribers who have not actually opted in to get correspondence from you, you are running a large risk of being reported for sending spam. As a result of this, you could see your email Sender Score drop, which impacts email deliverability.

What is an Opt-In Email – Double Opt-in Explained

With double opt-in, a user adds their information to an email marketing list, then an email is sent to this user including a link for them to click to confirm their subscription. Only once this confirmation click has been completed will the user be added to the email marketing list officially. By using the double-opt in or confirmed opt-in method, marketers can reduce the chance of spam trap emails or bot addresses being added to their email lists.

Just because somebody’s email has been added to your marketing list does not always mean that it belongs to a person who is actually interested in subscribing to your newsletter and wants to hear from you. In some cases, bots can sign up for your newsletter or you can get spam trap addresses that can harm your sender reputation.

While your email list is likely to be smaller when you are using double opt-in, there is a better chance that you’re only going to be sending emails to subscribers who are engaged and interested.

What is Single Opt-In?

As the name suggests, the single opt-in process only requires a single action to turn a website visitor into a new email newsletter subscriber. This sign-up method is a popular choice with eCommerce websites that have the main aim of collecting numerous website visitor email addresses to send them information that will encourage them to make a purchase.

There are many advantages of single opt-in including the fact that it allows you to grow your subscriber list quickly and provides subscribers with immediate access to content with fewer steps. However, it’s worth noting the disadvantages including legal compliance issues in some countries, poor email list hygiene and a risk of damage to your Sender Score.

How to Create an Email Opt-In Form

There are several steps to follow when it comes to building a successful opt-in email list. These include:

Use Valuable Content to Attract Prospects

Creating original and valuable content for your target audience is one of the most important parts of growing your opt-in email database. You can do this with premium content offers, blog content that is valuable to your target audience, and through establishing a strong company presence on the social media platforms where your prospects tend to spend their time. Content will help you move interested strangers through the funnel to engaged prospects who are interested in proactively adding their email address to your list so that they can learn more about your brand over time.

Ask People to Subscribe

Promising to deliver relevant promotions, discounts, industry news and freebies is one of the best ways to get website visitors to choose to opt in to receive your marketing communications. Place your opt-in form in highly visible places on your website whenever you are asking prospects to provide their email address and demographic information. Some good places for an opt-in form include on the website homepage or in the website header and footer. Along with this, you can also consider adding social proof terminology to your forms to increase the chance of people choosing to opt into your database.

Offer Gated Content

Offering ‘gated’ premium content such as industry reports, eBooks and customer case studies is another popular option for encouraging users to sign up through your opt-in form. Gating content means that customers are then required to submit their email address using a form to receive content and agree to sign up to your email list in the process. This can be a very effective way to build your database if you have premium content on offer.

Use Other Email Lists

If you have several newsletters or have email lists that are not opt-in, you can use these to build bigger opt-in lists. For example, you could get in touch with prospects that you have email addresses for to let them know about your email newsletter and give them the opportunity to opt-in if they are interested. Or, if you have multiple email newsletters for your brand, you can advertise new ones in your current newsletters to get opt-ins from interested subscribers.

Offer the Option to Subscribe During Checkout

It can often seem like it is more difficult to get email subscribers if you are running an eCommerce store; however, this does not have to be the case. You can include a box that customers can check during the checkout process in order to subscribe to your email newsletter list. Since the user is already going to be filling out a form containing their email and other personal information in order to buy a product, having a check box for your email newsletter is a great way to build your list and the best part is that these are interested customers who are already making purchases from your brand.

When sending marketing emails, there are several important reasons why you should always make sure you have an opt-in email list.

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