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What is Opt-In Marketing?

Oct 19, 2022

Opt-in marketing is consent-based marketing that uses an opt-in or sign-up process for users to confirm their email addresses or contact numbers.

Opt-in marketing enables ongoing communication of information, promotions, offers, and more to contacts who have confirmed that they are happy to receive content from your brand. Using opt-in marketing results in your business having access to a list of contacts that have confirmed that they are willingly giving you their email address or contact number in the knowledge that your brand will use these details to contact them in the future.

Opt-In Meaning

Opt-in marketing is a form of permission marketing with a formal opt-in process from your brand. When using this type of marketing, companies and marketers can be assured that recipients are fully aware that they will receive communications and information later, eliminating the unwanted element of surprise or annoyance when the information is sent to their inbox.

As data and privacy regulations around the world become more important and gain more traction, an audience that has opted into receiving communications from your business is becoming more and more of a requirement in modern society. While consent has always been important in email marketing, the definition only gets broader over time, leading email marketers to reconsider how they obtain consent when launching new newsletters, series, and more.

Define Opt In and How to Encourage Customers to Opt In

Opting in refers to a customer permitting you to send marketing messages to them. There are two main types that are used for email marketing; single opt-in and double opt-in.

Single opt-in refers to when the customer permits to be contacted later via email through a sign-up form. This could be as they create an account to make a purchase for a website, for example, or when proving their email address and name in a sign-up form on a website. However, while single opt-in does express consent from the customer, it is becoming less and less effective, especially as more and more companies include an opt-in as part of the checkout process, more or less forcing buyers to opt-in if they want to make the purchase.

Double opt-in refers to a process that involves sending a follow-up email after the first opt-in has occurred, giving the subscriber a chance to confirm that they want to continue receiving further information via email. While not all subscribers will confirm, this provides the surest way for businesses to know that they will only be sending marketing email messages to subscribers who have willingly chosen to receive them.

Businesses can use many methods to encourage subscribers to opt-in to receive marketing messages from them. Some of the most popular options include:

Gated Content

Gated content can be a good way to encourage more readers to subscribe to your newsletter and opt in if you provide informational, high-value content to readers. By putting some of your best content behind a gate but providing just enough that is freely available to spark the interest of your readers and encourage them to want to read more, you can increase subscriptions and opt-ins, as readers provide their information and permission to market to them in return for reading your best content.


Many companies offer freebies in return for subscriptions and opt-ins to their email newsletter. For example, you might get a free eBook, PDF download, template, or guide sent to your email as a welcome gift when you opt-into receiving marketing emails from a certain brand. Essentially, this involves offering something of value that subscribers will be excited enough to receive that they will gladly give up their contact information and permission to contact them in the future.

To use this method effectively, it is crucial that you have a solid understanding of your target audience, what makes them tick, what their pain points are, what kind of solutions they need to their problems, and the kind of incentives they will get excited about.

Money Off

Many online shops will use money-off incentives to encourage people to subscribe to their email newsletters. You can entice your website viewers or even paying customers to go one step further and opt-in to your email marketing campaigns with the promise of a discount the next time they buy. It’s a win-win-win, really, as not only does your customer get to save money, but as a business, you will not only get a new opt-in to your email marketing, but you will also get the chance of a future purchase as the customer is eager to use their voucher code.

Opt-In Meaning and the Main Benefits of Opt-In Marketing

Opt-in marketing is becoming increasingly important for businesses of all sizes today. The truth is that modern consumers are no longer interested in being bombarded with advertising messages they are not interested in. With ads constantly on the TV, radio, the websites we visit, and on billboards along the side of the road when we’re driving or walking, advertising that hasn’t asked our permission can be very easy to simply drown out and ignore.

This is why opt-in marketing can be a very powerful and beneficial option for any business to use. When somebody has opted in, you immediately know they are interested in what your brand offers; otherwise, they wouldn’t have bothered to opt-in to receive communication from you. Armed with this information, you can now get to work on getting to know more about each opted in subscriber, allowing you to send them more personal and relevant messages over time that they are expecting to receive, making it more likely that they will read and engage with them.

Another main benefit of opt-in marketing is that it protects your business in a world where data privacy has become more important than ever. In the UK, the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR protects all individuals regarding their data use. Companies must get the consent of each customer to store and access the individual’s data and comply if the customer request that their data be deleted. With opt-in marketing, this becomes easier than ever, as you will know that simply from the action of opting-in to your marketing communications, the customer has provided the necessary consent that you need to use information such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, and more in your marketing efforts.

Opt-in and Opt-out

When using opt-in marketing, you should ensure that it is just as easy for your subscribers to opt-out as it was for them to opt-in. While using opt-in marketing and working with a list of contacts that have given you their permission to contact them for marketing purposes provides peace of mind that you’re only contacting willing participants, the truth is that this might not always be the case.

Subscribers change their minds about the marketing messages they’ve signed up for. They may no longer be interested in the product or service you offer, have found an alternative, don’t find your messages relevant or exciting, or might not be happy with the frequency that you send messages. Either way, all subscribers should have the right to opt-out or unsubscribe at any time. The best way to ensure this is to provide a link in each email that they can easily click on. Make this link easy to access to avoid recipients marking your message as spam, which can lead to problems with your sender reputation.

What are the Benefits of Opt Out?

While it might seem counterproductive to allow subscribers to easily opt-out of hearing from you, the fact is that this can be just as beneficial as enabling them to opt-in. When subscribers are no longer interested, they will not engage with your emails, skewing your metrics and potentially damaging your sender score. Sending emails to people not interested in getting them is simply a waste of money and effort. And not being able to opt out easily can get annoying for subscribers, which could ultimately harm your company’s overall reputation.

What Opt Means for Your Business 

Opt means allowing customers and subscribers to choose whether or not they want to receive marketing messages. For your business, this means peace of mind that all subscribers you send marketing emails to want to get them. You can use opt-in marketing to comply with data protection laws, protect your email sender reputation, and build a better relationship with your audience.

Opt-in marketing is based on permission and consent, allowing you to ensure that your business is only marketing to customers who want to be marketed to.

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