Connecting with consumers and growing subscriber lists allow companies to instantly send out important information through email marketing. However, a customer may never actually act on the emails they receive. A substantial void sits between active subscribers and those who send the message to the trash bin upon arrival. Both, at one point in time, may have signed up for the email list, but unless recipients are returning to the company website in order to make a purchase, it’s all for not. How can a business see a growth in the number of customers it continually brings back? By changing the way it connects with them in the first place through a double opt-in landing page. While the double opt-in won’t have an impact on current email list subscribers, it will improve the quality of new subscribers and, in return, help boost residual sales through the returning consumers.
What’s is a Single Opt-In Landing Page?
The vast majority of email subscriptions opt-ins are of the single variety. Whether on a landing page, a website pop-up, presented on social media. With such an opt-in, subscribers are required to enter their email address. Some larger companies may ask for regional identification, such as a zip code, in order to provide regionally based marketing material, but outside of this, the email subscription requires very little in way of information.
The main problem behind a single opt-in email hinges on the ability for someone to type in anything they want within the email. They may type in the correct email, or they may type in an incorrect email. Some may type in fake email address while others may simply have accidentally added in a typo, which means a potentially interested consumer doesn’t receive future marketing material.
Some businesses generate an email list without any outside, third-party support. In these instances, the false emails (whether intentional or not) don’t cost a company up front, yet it may miss out on sales on the back end due to an interested consumer not receiving future correspondence. However, there is third-party email marketing service providers charging monthly service fees based completely on the number of subscribers present in a given list. This means a false, fake or accidental email costs a company every single month. Due to this, finding a way to both avoid fake email accounts while boosting quality emails is desired. One of the best ways to do this is to switch from a single opt-in landing page to a double opt-in landing page.
What is a Double Opt-In Landing Page?
The double opt-in landing page helps prevent many of the problems found within the single opt-in page. Now, it will never prevent those who simply type in false email information. However, these are not quality email list subscribers, to begin with, so no level of opt-in would correct it. It does prevent potential subscribers who are interested in the company from entering in the wrong email information, as the second step confirms the inclusion onto the email list, or they instantly know they entered in the wrong email and can correct it.
The double opt-in uses two-step verification. After entering an email address the landing page informs the individual to log onto their email address and open the email just sent by the company. The email contains a confirmation link. By clicking on the confirmation link it brings the individual back to the customer website and essentially pings the business, informing it of an authentic email address. It takes only a few seconds more for the customer to follow through with a double opt-in, but it drastically increases an email lists’ performance rate.
The Benefits of Double Opt-In
According to Email On Acid (2016), the email list service provider MailChimp experimented with a single and double opt-in with over 30,000 users of the service. Each of the companies sent out at least 10 different email campaigns, split between single and double opt-in subscriptions. Those (as illustrated by the graphic below) with a single opt-in subscription saw a unique open percentage of just over 16 percent. However, those using a double opt-in saw a unique opt-in by 29 percent.
The double opt-in helps improve the quality of the consumer. It indicates a heightened interest in what the company has to offer. It also means the company doesn’t need to try and trick the email recipients with clickbait. When a company needs to trick an email recipient into selecting the email, it doesn’t have a quality email list.
A company doesn’t need to change the way it provides access to an initial email subscription. Whether the business uses a pre-exit pop-up or has a subscription option at the bottom of a website, this aspect doesn’t need to change. Now would be a good time for the marketing department to look over its email list and determine if the level of subscribers coming in is desirable, or if it needs to adjust presentation in order to increase exposure. In terms of crafting a double opt-in, the first step remains the same.
The process shifts after a consumer enters his or her email address. They need to know what to do after entering the email. Basically, it’s a new call to action. The original CTA asked the landing page visitor to enter their email address. After submitting the information, the page needs to tell the potential subscriber to log into their email account and click on the activation link found within the sent email. It’s important to keep this information short and concise. Anything more than a single, short sentence is too much.
The combination welcome letter and confirmation provides more information. It welcomes individuals to the business and explains what they have to look forward to. However, it also needs to make the confirmation link obvious. The secondary CTA on the original landing page informs the subscriber of the need to confirm their email, so they already know what they’re looking for. However, the link needs to remain prominent. Having it outlined with the built-in hyperlink helps it stand out from the rest of the information. This way, the email recipient knows exactly what to click on. They shouldn’t need to read any of text within the email’s body to see where the confirmation link is.
The confirmation link takes the customer to a new page on the website, indicating they have successfully confirmed their email. Every one of these steps needs to provide short, concise information so the subscriber knows exactly what’s going on.
Timing is Everything
One of the most important steps in writing and crafting a double opt-in is the timing of the welcome/opt-in email. It needs to go out as quickly as possible. When a customer submits their information initially and receives instructions to return to their email address, they expect the email to appear momentarily. According to Sumo (2017), the average confirmation email takes one minute, seven seconds to arrive. The industry average changes significantly from one business type to the next. It takes, on average, four minutes for a marketing email response to go out. However, it takes only 26 seconds for the average finance welcome/opt-in email to go out.
The longer it takes for the opt-in email to arrive, the greater the potential of losing a subscriber’s interest. If they do not receive the email after returning to their account, they become less likely to open the confirmation email the next time they log onto their account (as new messages come in and push down the opt-in message).
According to Quick Sprout (2017), 72.9 percent of all welcome emails go out within 24 hours. Just 7.3 percent go out within a week and 19.8 percent are never received. The email messages never received often end up in the spam filter.
Some email recipients have higher than average spam filter settings. Due to this, telling the individual to check their spam filter if they do not receive the welcome message helps prevent a company falling into the 20 percent category. This information should be included in a footer on the original opt-in pop-up or landing page.
Experimenting with the Email Service Provider
Writing and creating an optimal double opt-in landing page and email marketing campaign doesn’t all rely on the quality of the written content. The email service provider plays a big role in whether or not a subscriber receives subsequent emails. Gmail, the largest email service in the United States, separates messages into three main categories: Primary, Social, and Promotions. This filters incoming mail further than sending junk to spam and the rest to an inbox. It’s important for company emails to not end up in the Promotions folder as it does not receive the same attention as the Primary folder.
Different service providers offer different levels of success. According to Sumo (2017), out of 29 MailChimp users, only two messages went to the promotions tab. However, the email service ConvertKit had 14 of the messages end up in the promotions tab (despite using similar headlines and bylines).
It is important for any company setting up a double opt-in landing page and email campaign to test out different service providers to see which delivers the largest percentage into the Primary folder.
Most email service providers offer free trial periods. Checking conversion rates and looking into the percentage of what folders messages end up in should receive testing before signing an extended contract with the ESP.
Creating a Double Opt-In Email
For companies using third party service providers for the email marketing platforms (such as HubSpot), there is an easy way to craft a double opt-in email. This way, it automatically sends out a response email when someone adds in their email address into the initial opt-in landing page.
The creation of a double opt-in message varies slightly between different service providers. However, when setting up an email drip-campaign, a “Double Opt-In” option is available. On HubSpot, a user selects “Content Settings,” followed by “Email,” then “Double Opt-In.” From here, the account holder enters the customized message.
As covered earlier, the email message welcomes the customer while informing them to confirm their email address with a provided link. When setting up the opt-in email, most email list service providers allow the company to indicate whether they want a follow-up email following the confirmation email or not. The best practice here is to not select a follow-up email but instead have the confirmation link send the recipient to a landing page indicating their email has been confirmed.
The only time another follow-up email should go out after selecting the confirmation link is if the company promised a discount code or another offer. The secondary email message may include additional information regarding their email subscription as well as the discount code, download link or other service promised on the original landing-page, pop-up or email opt-in.
Avoiding Over Spamming
One fear companies have is over spamming their email list. Sending too many messages, especially early on within the life of the subscription, may lead to a recipient unsubscribing from the list, or sending the messages directly into the spam folder. Due to this, having an initial email go out, followed by a double opt-in, and then a welcome email can prove to be far too much right out of the gate. In order to thin this out and to reduce the number of messages going out, it’s important to combine both the confirmation email and the welcome email into a single message.
According to Sumo (2017), most companies using a double opt-in now combine both the confirmation and the welcome. 10 percent of welcome emails combine a link to a product or gift, three percent of welcome emails just contain a gift, while two percent offer FAQs or something similar.
Returning customers are those who come back to a company and make repeat purchases. While some do this on their own, others may need reminding of the products and services offered by the store. Traditional email marketing and the development of an email list can help with this, but it doesn’t guarantee the quality of subscribers on the list. Some may have signed up for a one-time discount and no intention of returning for a second purchase. Regardless of the reason, finding a way to improve the rate of return customers has a substantial impact on the bottom line. By taking advantage of a double opt-in landing page, businesses not only experience a growth in email subscribers, but quality subscribers will return to the website and make further purchases into the future.