What is an “Opt-In”?

what-is-opt-in

When people opt-in to your marketing, they consciously subscribe to, for example, your newsletter. By opting in, users give explicit permission that their email may be used to send information such as newsletters and promotional emails.

How does opt-in work?

Common ways to collect emails are through opt-in pages and forms. Opt-in pages, also known as squeeze pages and landing pages, are designed to collect email addresses from visitors. Visitors are often persuaded by special offers or valuable content. Have you ever filled out your email to receive that free e-book of 50+ industry secrets? That’s an example of a squeeze page. Opt-in forms work similarly, asking users to leave their information in exchange for an enticing return.

Soft opt-in

Sometimes opt-ins are not explicit. For example, soft opt-ins describe emails gained from selling your goods or services to clients. The idea is that if an individual bought something from you, gave you their email, and didn’t explicitly opt-out of your marketing, they’d be happy to receive emails from you out of legitimate interest.

The soft opt-in rule lets anybody email their existing customers. Just make sure you give them a clear path to unsubscribing in all your messages.

When somebody is an existing customer is up to some interpretation. For this reason, soft opt-ins are a very grey area.

Single vs double opt-in

Deciding between these two options can make a significant impact on your results. So what’s the difference? With single opt-in, a user only needs to subscribe once to begin receiving emails. On the other hand, double opt-in requires users to first subscribe and then confirm their email through another link.

They each have their pros and cons. 

Single opt-in simplifies the user experience and reduces the number of steps necessary to access your content. This can be great for mass marketers, however, it does come with consequences. If you want to maintain a high-quality email list, a single opt-in does require you to put in more work. Fake emails will easily slip in, and many users won’t have high engagement with your content.

Double opt-in adds an extra step, filtering out the users only willing to put in the bare minimum to receive your content. This makes it more likely users will actually interact with the content you send them and that they’ll be converted into paying customers later on. This option will completely remove any fake accounts from entering your list, and will greatly improve the conversion rates of your email marketing – so we highly recommend this option.

Marketers need to carefully consider their own goals and what fits them best.

Is opt-in required?

United States
The CAN-SPAM Act affects all US businesses and those sending emails from abroad to recipients within the US. This law allows marketing emails to be sent to anyone without permission until the recipient explicitly opts out.

Europe
The GDPR, protecting all EU citizens, requires consent to be opt-in. It defines consent as “freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous”. This means implied consent is not sufficient. Companies must also keep evidence of the given consent and be able to provide proof if challenged.

Canada
Commercial emails may only be sent to recipients who have given their prior consent (opt-in). Exceptions may apply to specific messages from political parties, charities, and people in personal relationships.

Including a link to opt-out is always required. Every email sent in any of these regions must include an unsubscribe link that allows recipients to opt-out of any future marketing messages at any time. The opt-out process has to be free and cannot purposely be made complex.

Best practices

Are you planning to send emails to an opt-in marketing list? Here are some best practices to keep your list happy and engaged.

Don’t send cold emails.
Aside from being illegal in many parts of the world, and against our terms of service – this is a very bad look to present yourself to clients. If you add a list of prospects to your account that have not already implied that they want to receive emails from you, they will instantly have a bad taste in their mouth about you and your brand. Anti-spam companies will oftentimes provide database providers with “honey-pot” accounts. The sole purpose of these accounts is to blacklist anyone who emails them, so it’s not worth the risk.

Set expectations.
An introduction email goes a long way to improving your conversions. Make sure users know what’s coming by setting expectations about two things: frequency and content. 

How often are you planning to receive emails from customers? Tell them! Some people love to constantly stay up-to-date on your company, but others prefer a monthly email and a clean inbox. You don’t want your contacts to be annoyed or disappointed by the number of emails they receive. 

Also, always let your subscribers know what kind of content you’ll be sending them. For example, are you sharing tips & tricks, company updates, industry news, or promotional content? Subscribers that know what’s coming are more likely to open and engage with your emails.

Let subscribers manage their preferences.
If you’re a busy bee sending all kinds of marketing emails to your subscribers, you can easily let them take control of the content they receive and its frequency. Simply let your subscribers tick the boxes on whatever content they’d like to receive, whether it’s newsletters or promotions, to make sure you’re sending emails to the people that actually care. A large list can easily be segmented based on content preferences for better results and happier readers.

Keep providing value.
Remember why they subscribed to your list in the first place, and don’t stop giving value. If most of your subscribers come from a download form for an e-book on growing your business, they’re looking for actionable tips to improve their own company. If you then send them a monthly newsletter all about you, you’ll soon find yourself unwelcome in their inbox. Looking back at why they subscribed in the first place is an easy way to know what type of content they’d like to receive in the future.

Opt-in email marketing is a great way to nurture leads and maintain existing client relationships. The key to this email marketing method is transparency, explicit permission, and providing value for your subscribers. If you’re going to trick people into subscribing to your list, you may as well be sending without permission. To learn more, check out our other articles at allclients.com/blog.

When it comes to email marketing, it’s vital you use software that not only keeps up with the laws to stay compliant but gives you the ability to comply — which is exactly what we do here at AllClients.

Our system takes care of email validation (for better deliverability), helps you avoid spam filters, and we’ll provide you with resources to help your emails make it to your reader’s inbox!

Want to see for yourself? Start a free 14-day trial and learn first-hand why we’re the #1 CRM for small businesses!

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