All That You Need to Know About Double Opt-In Email Marketing

Momina Ayaz
Momina Ayaz

Last updated on

August 16, 2023

Double opt-in email marketing, also known as confirmed opt-in, is a tactic marketers use to reduce the possibility of spamming their recipients’ inboxes. Since the method requires all email sign-ups to be accompanied by user confirmation, you’ll weed out both robots or uninterested users from your subscription list.

The strategy also protects you from spam complaints while increasing user interest in your content and brand. Businesses using double-opt-in email marketing gain more value from recipients’ willingness and readiness to engage with their brand, and ultimately, better sales.

According to HubSpot, an extra confirmation step helps businesses extract high-quality leads so their campaigns are only designed for people who are genuinely interested.

This is great for long-term email marketing goals. A high-quality email list will face a lower bounce rate and unsubscribe rate. The balance places the best email opt-in rate between 5 and 25%. If you’re getting anything lower than this, it’s time you implemented double opt-ins.

In this piece, we’ll deep dive into what double opt-in email marketing is, why it is important, and how you can benefit from it.

What is double opt-in email marketing?

double opt in email marketing

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Opt-in email marketing is the process of sending marketing content to people who have subscribed to your content. You can send opt-in emails with email campaigns, newsletters, or promotional materials.

But what’s the difference between single opt-in and double opt-in? Let’s explore an example.

John Doe lands on your website, sees an ebook pop-up, and wants to get his hands on it. So, he enters his email address into your form.

Now, you’ll deliver that ebook to the email address you just bagged. If you also add them to your mailing list for upcoming promotions, this is a single opt-in strategy.

If, however, you deliver the ebook and ask them whether they’d like to be added to your email list or to confirm their subscription, this is a double opt-in strategy.

Double opt-ins require every new user to confirm their email address. Once customers sign up for your newsletter, they receive a confirmation email with a link to validate their email address. These subscribers will only be added to your contact list after they click on the confirmation link and visit your browser’s confirmation page.

Why use double opt-in email marketing?

Just because a visitor filled your form out for an ebook, you can’t assume that they want to hear from you again. Opt-in confirmation emails show potential customers that you can offer consistent value. A lot of those initial sign-ups will then willingly join your list to learn new strategies and solve problems. In this way, you keep them hooked without annoying them.

Consent wins you customers. The leads you attract with double opt-in email marketing are easier to nurture and provide you with the opportunity to create highly-targeted campaigns.

Your double opt-in leads will eventually turn into paying customers. Unlike with single opt-ins, the former ensures you cut down on unwanted spam, signaling genuine interest in your brand.  

10 best ways to use double opt-in email marketing

Businesses craving for higher-quality leads use double opt-in emails in their marketing campaigns.

But how should you use this approach to gain the best benefits for your brand?

1. Attract your visitors with quality content

Quality content is a great way to attract visitors and make sure they stay. If you’re delivering high value, your readers will want more, making them more likely to verify their subscription. Here are the different ways you can do this:

  • Develop comprehensive resources such as ebooks, industry reports, and user guides, packed with actionable tips and new ideas.
  • Produce blog posts, slide decks, infographics, and videos about topics that your buyer persona would want to learn.
  • Make sure you only create unique, relevant, and reliable content.
  • Target social media prospects to attract a more engaged clientele comprising people who spend most of their time online.
  • Use highly targeted social media ads on platforms like Facebook to reach the right audience. A tool like a Lookalike audience has features, which Facebook uses to review website audience and suggest the demographics you should market to.

The skimm uses Facebook lead ads to engage social users and collect leads:


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2. Provide offers and freebies

Many web visitors will sign up for your free offers if they align with their interests. Just because the content you’re offering is free doesn’t mean you can compromise on quality. Your free ebooks and courses will still need time and even money. You can create free courses on platforms like Udemy, Beaver Builder, and Canva.

With your visitors receiving quality content, they’ll anticipate more in the future and sign up for your mailing list.

A brand like Tiny House Build runs a free 7-day course where subscribers learn about plumbing, downsizing, designing, framing, and electrification. Subscribers would be gaining a lot from the free course, making them sign up for paid materials or packages to continue reaping the benefits.

tiny house builder

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3. Create quality call-to-action offers

If you want people to confirm their subscription, incentivize them with great call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Your CTA’s content and value proposition should be appealing enough to convey that your offer’s worth a reader’s time.

Typical subscription links are boring and offer little incentive to join your list. Ensure your button copy answers the following questions:

  • What is the most important thing to gain from the offer? Display a clear title and description of the offer.
  • What direct benefits or results can a visitor gain from subscribing? For instance, “To increase your email open rates or click-through rates by 5%”.

Remember to test your CTA copies to determine which elements attract your prospects the most.

ContentVerse has a value-adding title in its CTA, a listing of the expected benefits, and user reviews, inspiring sign-ups for their free e-book:

content verve

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4. Use exit-intent pop-ups

Exit intent pop-ups appear when a site user is just about to leave the current web page. Websites with this feature will display a pop-up once the visitor moves the cursor in a manner to suggest they are about to leave.

This strategy will help your click-through and subscription rates because, unlike the subscription boxes which appear when you first land on a website, exit intent pop-ups are less annoying. They enable the visitor to go through your content and products page undistracted, giving the site owner a last-minute chance to drive a sign-up.

Simple exit intent pop-ups showing user reviews, social proof, discounts, and other offers will make your double opt-in email marketing strategy a success. Your subscribers will be willing to confirm their sign-ups.

WorldOfWatches (WOW) uses a fullscreen cover with a visually appealing image, social proof, and discount to convince watch enthusiasts to sign up for the brand’s deals:

world of watches

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The below exit intent pop-up for BigCommerce is common among ecommerce sites. You can customize yours with simple value-additions to increase your opt-in rates.

big commerce double opt in

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5. Leverage your checkout page

Ecommerce outlets can gain more followers by adding a double opt-in email pop-up or CTA on the checkout page. As an online retailer, you can use this box to offer other services in the form of a newsletter.

Place the subscription button strategically, preferably in the form of a checkbox. If you are offering discounts, show subscribers what they stand to gain if they choose to sign up.

For instance, you can add the subscription button to a test membership checkout page. The button enables customers with recurring payments to get discounts or free subscription for the first month and, at the same time, sign up for paid services in the subsequent periods.

The below example shows you how to implement a double opt-in email strategy on your ecommerce checkout page.


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6. Optimize your double opt-in emails

Online marketers optimize their double opt-in emails by adding incentives to motivate subscribers. For instance, you can offer discounts, free packages, content upgrades, or loyalty points.

You should also optimize your “Nearly There” page confirmation email and “Thank You” page.  

Certain email tools also have the tools to send an automated email to new subscribers, showing them the progress of their sign-up process. Use a clear interface, enabling the customer to understand at which point of the subscription they are at. You should also use this opportunity to convince the visitor to proceed to sign up by presenting the expected benefits.

The next step would be to send an optimized confirmation email. Ensure that the email is straightforward, aligned with your brand identity, and has a confirmation button instead of a link. You should also use a clear subject line to make it easy for the user to locate the email.

Your “Thank You” page should be personal and should reassure subscribers that they are in the right place. Alternatively, you can simply thank the subscriber and ask them to whitelist your email address, after which you should send them the promised content or offers.


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7. Add social proof

Social proof will convince subscribers that your products and services are what you say they are. When customers use your services, they can write reviews or leave comments or ratings, indicating the quality of the service offered.

New users will use the reviews as proof that you live up to the promise of high value content delivery. If your product changed another customer’s life or your brand was recognized by accredited bodies, you can present this social proof on your double opt-in email marketing tools.

New site visitors will be more inclined to subscribe for services from a seller with a positive reputation. For instance, you can add terms like “Join Our 10,000 subscribers” to instill the fear of missing out.

Some websites use influential people like Neil Patel when creating CTAs for their digital marketing websites. As an industry thought leader in the digital marketing space, his name can act as social proof, driving sign-ups to third-party sites. It is also essential to seek the influencer’s permission when using his or her image and name to avoid creating a false impression or getting sued.

hello bar double opt-in email marketing

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8. Request for feedback

Convince site visitors to subscribe by creating more opportunities for them to engage with your brand. Use an opinion poll or survey form where you ask customers to provide their feedback regarding your products or services.

You can use the feedback to gain insights, which can form the basis for providing better services in the future. Remember to add freebies or discounts to your feedback collection form to enable users to test your services and provide honest reviews.

Kate Spade uses this approach by convincing customers to take a survey in exchange for discounts. The brand also creates a sense of urgency by requiring interested people to take the survey within a specified period.

kate spade

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9. Use a basic and clear form design

There are a few basics to keep in mind when designing a subscription form for double opt-in email marketing.

When capturing the name and email, avoid using placeholders as labels. These can add to friction while filling forms.

placeholders as labels

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real labels

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To ensure subscribers are entering the correct format of their email address, you can use a real-time email address validation tool. It will check to confirm the email address entered is properly formatted. This practice will minimize errors in data capture because some users may enter their addresses in the wrong fields, which could affect your conversions.

Remember to test the subscription form to ensure it is in line and within your page margins to avoid image display problems.

You can also add a disclaimer message on the subscription box to reassure users of your professionalism or privacy, as well as a button where subscribers can read and confirm your terms and conditions of service.

disclaimer - acqurieconert

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To create a sense of urgency and increase your opt-in rates, you can use timing words like “Try it for free today,” or “Create a call-to-action button in 3 minutes.”

10. Optimize the ‘unsubscribe’ button

You can win your subscribers back by providing them with flexible terms to keep their subscription running. When a customer clicks on the unsubscribe link, you can offer them alternatives where they can choose if they want to receive emails from you once a week, biweekly, or monthly.

subscription preferences - acquireconvert

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This strategy will minimize the unsubscribe rate.

For customers who do not wish to keep their membership, you can ask them customized questions to determine the reason for their exit. You can personalize these questions depending on the type of package or service they had subscribed for.

Optimized unsubscribe page to assess exit-intent - Image Credit:

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Double opt-in email marketing is overtaking the single opt-in approach because the former requires every new user to confirm their email address, leading to increased interest in your products and services, engagement, and conversion rates.

There are many factors to consider when creating double opt-in emails, including the quality of content, offers and discounts, calls-to-action, social proof, and exit intent pop-ups. The onboarding process should also be optimized with an automated confirmation email and a ‘Thank You’ page. You can be creative by integrating your subscription boxes on survey forms and checkout pages. The subscription form should also be simple and clear with real labels, disclaimer messages, and timing words.

Lastly, optimize your unsubscribe button by providing customers with flexible terms to keep the exit rate low or asking them for feedback to determine the reason for leaving.

These double opt-in email marketing guidelines will enable you to attract high-quality leads and maintain them at the same time.

Author’s Bio


Rithesh Raghavan is the co-founder of Acowebs, a leading online store for eCommerce add ons with more than 25000 satisfied customers across the globe. Having a rich experience of 15+ years in Digital Marketing, Rithesh loves to write up his thoughts on the latest trends and developments in the world of IT and software development.


Author Bio

Momina Ayaz

Momina Ayaz is a Content Marketer at Mailmunch. She loves reading during lunch breaks and witnessing technology reshaping the corporate sphere.


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