Optin Or Double Optin – Setting Up Your Email List
I'm sure I do not need to tell you about the tight economy and how small businesses are currently under a financial strain. We're all feeling the pressure to generate new revenue and improve our overall ROI. The financial news can certainly seem bleak and depressing right about now.
But the good news, for your small business at least, is that there is a marketing tool that is still proving successful and generating high returns on investment. In fact, studies show that this particular tactic actually received an increase in 2009 marketing budgets.
And the better news is that this tool is rather easy to execute and it's generally inexpensive. Many marketing experts claim it is the tool that produces the highest value for the dollar. This tool allows for fast message delivery and almost immediately tracking and in many instances, it can be automatically automated.
I'm referring to email marketing.
Email marketing allows you to create a bond with your existing customers and clients as well as develop a relationship with your prospects. While it's not totally fool proof, it does not require an massive budget or extreme technical know how.
If you have not started an email marketing program for your small business, I highly, highly, highly (no, that's not a typo, I really, really, really am a huge advocate of email marketing) encourage you to do so pronto!
One of the first decisions you'll need to make when implementing your email marketing program is wherever your email subscriber list will be opt-in or double opt-in. So, how do opt-in and double opt-in differ?
To give a very brief history … when email marketing first entered the scene, marketers would send messages to every email address they ever encountered. Every business card they ran across, every directory that sat on their shelves, every membership organization they joined – these all provided email addresses for their marketing lists.
Needless to say, the recipients of these email messages were not too pleased with this tactic, and so, to counteract the reputation of being spammers, email marketers developed opt-in marketing. As the name implies, opt-in email marketing means that the subscriber opted in, or agreed to, receiving your email messages.
You can easily start your opt-in e-mail marketing strategy by first creating a database of customers that would agree to receive your e-mail notices. This can be done by asking prospects at the point of presentation (ie on your web site) if they would be interested in receiving e-mails to be informed of your future promotions, products, events, etc. Once your prospect says yes, you add his name and email address to your mailing list database, and the next time you send out your email promotion, he will receive your message.
Unfortunately, this tactic was soon abused. It was easy for web site visitors to submit fraudulent email addresses, or to jokingly sign their friends up for obviously unwanted mailing lists.
So the double opt-in mailing list was developed.
The double opt-in is an attempt to minimize fraud and erroneous email addresses. With double opt-in, your web site visitor enters his name and email address into your web site form; he will then receive an email message confirming that he gave you his email address. He will have to click a link within that email message in order to confirm his subscription – then, opting into your list for the second time, or double opt-in.
There are pros and cons to both types of opt-in programs. With a single opt-in (your prospect gives you his email address only once), your mailing list will most definitely grow at a quicker rate. However, you are also likely to see more spam complaints (due to fraudulent email addresses), which can hurt your ability to send email messages in the future.
With a double opt-in program (your subscriber confirms its subscription for the second time), your list will grow slowly, since some of the new subscribers will not click the confirmation email link and then it will not be eligible to receive your future messages. However, you will receive less spam complaints, you will end up with a more responsive mailing list, and you will develop a better "sender reputation" which will improve your overall email delivery rate.
Before deciding on opt-in or double double opt-in for your email marketing program, be sure to consult with your email service provider. Most providers enforce a strict opt-in rule, and some will allow only double opt-in email lists.
Who Do I Recommend?
If you'd like to grow your mailing list quickly, and you're looking for a provider who still allows single opt-in lists, I recommend 1 Shopping Cart, which also operates under several trade names, such as Marketers Choice and Automation Wiz . They provide free trials at http://www.Try1SC.com .