Hello again friend! Today we are going to talk about gathering email addresses… or what is commonly referred to as list building – one of my favorite topics.
As you are aware, a mailing list full of happy subscribers is a powerful marketing tool that can pay off big over and over again.
But you can’t just go out and harvest every email you run across and start sending email at it.You have to build your list naturally and obtain valid, verifiable email addresses.
When someone agrees to let you send them email, they are “opting-in” to your list. You have their permission to send them as much email as you want (within reason).
You get them to opt-in by providing a page where they can provide their email in order to join your list. This page is commonly referred to as a “squeeze page”.
Now, when someone fills out your opt-in form on your squeeze page, they go into your list database in autoresponder system. I use Aweber but there are dozens out there.
When setting up your list in your AR, you’re given the option to choose whether you want subscribers to confirm their subscription – making them a double-opt-in or not…
(or at least I know that Aweber has this option.. not too sure about other Autoresponder systems however.)
So when you come to this point, you have to make a decision – should I build a double or single opt-in list?
Just to clarify… a single opt-in means once the person has entered an email address, it is on the list.. no confirmation process.
A double opt-in subscriber is one who has entered their email into the opt-in form AND confirmed their email address by clicking on the confirmation link which was sent to their email address.
I can see why single opt-in would be appealing to some marketers but in my honest opinion, single opt-in is risky today because there are a whole lot of people on the Internet who love to fill out squeeze pages with fake email addresses.
Then there are robots that go about spamming every web page they find (including squeeze pages), and then the users who quickly forget they signed up for your list and then accuse you of being a spammer.
Basically, a single-optin list is going to get clogged with junk. The numbers might be impressive, but you won’t know how many of those email addresses are actually valid.
Another thing is that you don’t want to be paying for the junk leads as most Autoresponders charge you by volume.
These are the reasons why most marketers today, including myself are using “double opt-in” subscription for their email lists.
In a double opt-in list, someone submits their email address and then has to confirm it or verify it to complete the subscription.
Once this happens you have proof that they gave you their email address and confirmed it so their is no risk of being accused as a spammer.
But more importantly, they showed their willingness to be on your list by going through an “extra hoop”.
This is great because it means they are willing to take action – even if it is just clicking a link – which shows they’re interested in knowing more about you and your business.
Exactly the people you want to have on your list!
The downside is that this extra hoop can drastically reduce the number of confirmed opt-ins.
I have found that a good portion (up to half) of your subscribers will never be confirmed!
But you have to wonder…. did they enter their real email address in the first place? Are they actually real people?
Admittedly, many real people do not leave their email client open when surfing the web. So they may give you their email address and not see your confirmation request until the next day. It can take a day or two for some to remember to confirm their subscription.
Others will not remember they even went to your web site and submitted their email so they will just delete the email and you never hear from them again.
Today everyone loves to cry “spam!” when any sort of email that tries to sell them something shows up in their inbox.
The only sure fire way to protect yourself from being blacklisted as a spammer is to have proof that the email you sent was authorized by them when they joined your list.
If you chose the “double opt-in” method then you have this proof, otherwise you might be in trouble.
So obviously I am on the side of the double opt in list.
I would rather have 1 person who willingly agreed to receive my newsletter than 100 who have no idea why my email just landed in their inbox. In this litigious society, you can never be too careful.
p.s. How about you? Are you building a double or single opt-in list? Leave your comment!