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All You Need to Know About Opt-in Email Marketing: Definition, Types, Tips

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Do you ever go through your spam/junk folder? If not, go ahead and check it out. We’re pretty sure you’ll find tons of emails like this:

spam email example

Why is this email junk, you ask?

Apart from our non-existent interest in ‘translators,’ we never signed up to be on their mailing list! We have no idea who they are and why they have come up with a cold email. Luckily, the Outlook spam filter came to our rescue.

If you’re using our WordPress email marketing automation plugin, FluentCRM, you’d want your marketing email to go into your subscriber’s inbox rather than the spam/junk folder.

That’s where opt-in email marketing comes in. If you know how opt-in email marketing works and how you can get people to opt into your mailing list, your emails are less likely to go to spam and more likely to be opened!

So, in this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know about opt-in email marketing – from definitions to types to ways to get people to opt into your email list.


Let’s begin!

What is Opt-in in email marketing?

Opt-in email marketing is the process of collecting someone’s permission to send them marketing emails and newsletters. This is usually done by adding email subscriptions to a website using forms, subscription checkboxes, etc.

Email generates the highest ROI (Return Over Investment). Knowing this, cunning people started using unethical methods to get emails (i.e., buying email lists). But that ended with the introduction of the CAN-SPAM Act.

The CAN-SPAM Act applies to commercial emails and states that email marketers MUST get the subscriber’s opt-in confirmation before reaching out to leads and customers.

Each separate email violating the law is subject to penalties of up to $41,484. Besides, email clients will block any unsolicited attempt to send bulk emails to people who didn’t opt in. For the same reason, the earlier email was filtered to our spam folder.

According to the 2020 email deliverability benchmark by validity, around 17% of all emails go to spam yearly.

global email inbox placement rate 2019

From an email marketer’s point of view, this ratio of email inbox placement means missing out on 17 potential conversions.

Most of these emails go to spam because they are unsolicited emails sent in bulk. And if you don’t want your emails to end up in spam, you should utilize opt-in email marketing. Besides, there are several benefits of opt-in email marketing. 

Benefits of Opt-in email marketing

Opt-in email marketing is a legal method of building your email list. This way, you acquire emails rather than illegally gaining people’s email addresses. Hence, your emails are less likely to go to spam. 

That’s already a few. More benefits of opt-in email marketing include:

  • Better lead quality: People willingly give away their email addresses, so they are interested in hearing from you. So with opt-in email marketing, you’re likely to attract the ideal leads.
  • Increased email deliverability: Since the method is within legal boundaries, you can send thousands of emails without worrying about email deliverability. Email filters or email sending services won’t block you for spamming.
  • Better tailor communications: You already know what your contacts expect when implementing an opt-in email marketing strategy. So you can better tailor communications.
  • Cost efficiency: Buying an email list does give you more leads. And sending so many emails will undoubtedly cost you a tremendous amount of money compared to what they will generate for you. With opt-in email marketing, you’ll only have the right contacts to reach out to. So you’ll save more money on email marketing.
  • Email preference management: Another benefit you can get is if you allow email preference management. That way, subscribers can choose what they want to receive and what they don’t want. So you can be assured that you’re sending the right message.

Apart from the known benefits, there are many other reasons to do opt-in email marketing. So there’s no reason why you shouldn’t utilize it as an email marketer.

Types of Opt-ins

Opt-in is an essential step in email marketing for legal reasons. Although it’s only about getting your subscriber’s consent, either by subscription forms or consent checkboxes – marketers use two types of opt-in email marketing.

Single Opt-In

A single opt-in is when you add people to your mailing list immediately after they give you their email address – without requiring them to do anything. It’s the simplest email list-building process and pretty easy to set up.

Double Opt-in

A double opt-in is when you ask people to confirm their email subscription after they left their email address on your website. It can be as simple as clicking a button within an email you’ve sent.

Opt in email example, opt in email marketing

While a single opt-in is a one-step process of leaving an email address and hitting the submit button to be added to a mailing list, a double opt-in requires subscribers to confirm their email address.

On the subscriber’s part, this is an extra step they need to complete. Similarly, on your part, you have to set up the double opt-in mechanism with the tool you use for capturing email subscriptions.

In FluentCRM, you can easily enable or disable double opt-in while creating forms and automation or adding subscription checkboxes.

creating opt in form, double opt-in, opt in email marketing

Both single opt-in and double opt-in are useful in different scenarios. It’s up to you to choose which you want to use.

Single Opt-In vs. Double Opt-In

Single opt-in is a one-step process for visitors. On the other hand, double opt-in makes the process slightly complicated. But that doesn’t mean one is superior to the other. As we mentioned, both are useful in different scenarios.

Let’s look at how they compare:

  • Growth potential: Clearly, single opt-in is a more straightforward process. The visitors only need to enter their email, and that’s it. Double opt-in adds one more step in the process.

    Not everyone goes back to their email inbox to verify an email subscription. So with double opt-in, you might lose out on many leads.
  • Lead quality: Single opt-in boosts lead generation for sure. But leads that come through double opt-in email marketing are more likely to take action on your website. Hence, double opt-in is the way to go if you want quality leads.
  • Improving KPI metrics: Unless single opt-in leads go through a filtering process(i.e., contact segmentation), your email campaigns won’t generate higher open rates or clicks. Double opt-in filters out the quality lead.

    Hence, it’s more likely that they will open and click links you’ve added to your emails – improving email KPI metrics.
  • Improving sales: Double opt-in generates quality leads, but that also means sacrificing some potential customers to keep your list clean. Since you can generate more leads with a single opt-in, you can ensure that nothing will fall through the cracks.
  • Email deliverability: While single opt-ins generate more leads, it’s likely that some of them will report you for spamming if you’re emailing them frequently. That’s unlikely to happen if your leads are filtered via double opt-in confirmations. They confirmed the subscription twice, so you can rest assured with any emails you send.
  • Gathering information: Leads that come through single opt-ins are less likely to share more information with you. On the other hand, leads filtered through double opt-in are more likely to share information with you.

We can keep going – but single opt-in vs. double opt-in is almost a never-ending debate. While we did say single opt-in improves sales, that won’t happen with a poor email deliverability reputation.

The success of your email marketing efforts depends on a lot of factors. So it’s best to A/B test your email marketing strategies to figure out what works for your business and what doesn’t.

7 great ways to get people to opt-in

Whether you’re trying to boost email subscriptions or building a list, you need to have one or more opt-in email marketing strategies. To give you a head start, here are seven great ways to get people to opt in:

1. Find the right place to place your form

The placement of your opt-in forms is more crucial than you think. Although there are several pages & positions to consider on a website (i.e., Home page, landing page, footers, blog posts, about page, sidebars), don’t just place it for the sake of placing it.

Try to understand your audience’s psychology and find a visible position where they will likely leave their email address.

2. Use gated content

Gated content or lead magnets are a great way to boost email subscriptions. In this method, you’ll restrict access to your content in exchange for people’s emails. The content can be a PDF, eBook, checklist, cheat sheet, video, or anything people find valuable.

If you don’t know how to gate content, check out our article on creating gated content on WordPress.

3. Consider exit-intent pop-ups

Pop-up forms are a controversial method in email marketing. While getting people’s attention with a pop-up form is easy, you risk damaging the user experience. However, exit intent pop-ups appear when your audience has decided to leave your site. Thus, it deals less harm to the user experience and gets some people to opt in.

4. Add email subscriptions to the checkout process

A returning customer is always more likely to buy another product. And the best way to lure first-time customers is to add email subscriptions to your store’s checkout process. Try to make this as simple as clicking a tickbox. You can also keep this pre-selected to ensure higher opt-ins.

If you use FluentCRM to capture leads from your WooCommerce store, you can go to Settings>General Settings and scroll down to WooCommerce Checkout Subscription Field to turn your customers into email subscribers.

adding email subscriptions to checkout, opt in email marketing

5. Offer discounts

Consider trading a small portion of your revenue for email subscribers as a long-term investment for customer acquisition. Although a discount might cut down your revenue, it triggers more sales. And who doesn’t like discounts on products they crave for? It’s a simple yet effective method to boost opt-ins significantly!

6. Ask people to opt-in via transactional emails

Transactional emails are delivered more accurately and opened more frequently. Although they aren’t your regular marketing emails, you can certainly ask people to opt-in by customizing transactional emails.

7. Encourage opt-ins to blog commenters

You can use your blog posts to source new leads if you regularly publish content. For this, you can just add a subscription checkbox under your comment section. This turns your blog commenters into subscribers and increases email opt-ins.

To use this feature in FluentCRM, go to Settings>General Settings and enable Comment Form Subscriptions. You can also keep it pre-checked!

wordpress comment form suubscription, opt in email marketing

All the above methods work great. But as we’ve mentioned, getting people to opt-in is about understanding your audience’s psychology and knowing what works best. You can use a specific method or use a combined opt-in strategy. But unless you get desired results, we suggest that you keep testing.

Over to you

There’s no point in sending emails to people who don’t care who you are and what you have to offer. Although Opt-in email marketing results from legal requirements and strict spam filters, it is a unique way of generating leads that want to hear from you. So keep testing out various opt-in email marketing tactics and build a solid email list that fuels your business growth.

If you have any other questions about opt-in email marketing, feel free to drop a comment. And for more email marketing tips, tutorials and suggestions, subscribe to our blog and follow us on Twitter.

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  1. Job Search Platform Avatar
    Job Search Platform

    No. There is no equivalent email or text preference service. This is because you may only send emails or texts to individuals if you have their specific consent or have already offered them an opt-out, so this type of central opt-out register shouldn’t be needed. You can also email or text an existing customer who has bought (or discussed buying) a similar product or service from you in the past – but only if you gave them a clear chance to opt out of getting marketing emails or texts when you collected their details, and in every message.

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