Double Opt-In vs. Single Opt-In


One of the big questions when setting up an e-mail list has to do with choosing double opt-in vs. single opt-in.

Which one is better?

The idea here is that a double opt-in is a two step process. Your prospect must first enter their e-mail address on your opt-in form. Afterward, he / she must confirm their subscription via e-mail.

If they do not confirm their subscription, then they are not added onto your list.

Less is Better, Right?

The conventional wisdom in the IM space is that less is better.

This means that the less friction there is to get on your list, the more opt-ins you will get. This is why many marketers will also tell you that you should only ask for an e-mail.

Again, if you ask for a name AND an e-mail, you are going to get fewer opt-ins.

But I would like to submit to you that less is not the better approach.

Not All Subscribers Are Created Equal

Let me ask you this.

Would you prefer a big list where your subscribers didn’t open your e-mails and didn’t buy from you? Or would you prefer a smaller list where your subscribers looked forward to your e-mails and bought what you recommended because they trusted you?

I think the answer is obvious.

You see, not all subscribers are created equal.

See if you can spot the difference.

One subscriber gives you an e-mail address after landing on your page for the first time. They barely know you, they are a bit distrustful of giving up their precious e-mail, but there is no way to get your lead magnet, so they reluctantly give it up.

They may even give you a secondary e-mail where they receive all their freebies so they can keep their inbox clean.

But another subscriber happily gives you their name, e-mail address and makes sure to double opt-in so they won’t miss your next e-mail.

How does this happen?

Well, because you nurtured and attracted your best prospects by giving them an emotional marketing experience? These subscribers bonded with you and resonated with the two or three page article that you lovingly crafted specifically for them?

These prospects also trusted that you knew what you were talking about and were curious about learning more from you?

Is it even possible to nurture and attract this kind of prospect to your list? Well, yes, if you know how.

You Must Always Buck Conventional Wisdom

You see, we live in a world where we trust what the experts tell us but we never stop to question the validity of those teachings. “Oh, don’t ask for a name. Oh don’t do double opt-ins. You will only make it harder for people to join your list.”

But that is working from a mentality of desperation and scarcity. You think that if you don’t get the e-mail right away, you may lose that person forever.

Well, I submit to you that that’s OK.

You want a smaller list.

But you want that list to be filled with people who really had to work to get there. This is what leads to 50% open rates, not the 10% that you are used to getting.

So as to whether you should use double opt-in vs. single opt-in, I believe that is the wrong question. What you should really be asking is how can I make sure that the people who join my list really, truly, WANT to be there.

If you are curious about how to create this kind of list, be sure to check out my Unconventional Guide to Building an E-Mail List.

Here’s to your success!


In this article we ask which is better, double opt-in vs. single opt-in for creating a list.  The answer may surprise you.