Marketing and Business Strategy Advice For Women Business Owners from NAWBO

Build Your List Using Double Opt-in Email

Written by Bernadette Doyle. Posted in Marketing Your Business

build your list

Build your list: what double opt-in email could mean for your business


Have you ever opted-in to receive a newsletter, or to establish an account on a website, and you receive an e-mail asking you to confirm your subscription or your request for a new account?  This is known as a double opt-in, and it's law, according to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

This law is meant to protect consumers from deceptive marketing, unwanted pornography, and to give subscribers a clear path to opt-out of any subscription.

But what does it mean for you, the business owner at the other end of the law?

It means that if a potential clientor subscriber shows intent to sign on for your offer, you must receive confirmation from them before you may proceed.

On the downside, this law whittles away at your opt-in list because many people will not respond to your email requesting them to click to confirm. Often, they're wary of emails asking them to click on an unknown (or forgotten) link, due to well-meaning, but fear-inducing, warnings about viruses, malware, spyware, and other internet predator ploys.

On the upside, those people who take the time to respond to your opt-in request are genuinely interested in your product or your service. They will contribute to the overall high quality of your list with promising purchase potential.

So, how can you increase the number of people who respond to your request for confirmation?

  • Offer an incentive that they can't refuse when you send your double opt-in email. Offer a free bonus, a savings coupon, or a membership discount if they confirm their opt-in.
  • If you have their phone number, contact the prospect to remind him or her to click and confirm.
  • If you collected physical addresses at the time your prospects expressed interest (maybe you gathered business cards at a seminar or conference), use the physical addresses to send personal cards or notes reminding them to confirm their opt-in.

You can help to keep your correspondence out of the garbage by:

  • Handwriting the address on the envelope: it looks more personal, and much less like marketing material. It works...just ask master direct mailing professionals.
  • Using a real postage stamp: not a metered stamp.
  • Writing a personal note on the back that makes opening the envelope irresistible: something like, "Here's the information you requested," should do the trick.
  • Using a white or colored envelope instead of a manila one: it has a greater chance of making it to a recipient's read pile.
  • Crafting your postal correspondence with the care that comes with believing that this will be your only chance to elicit a response: Gary Halbert, a master copyrighter, would recommend that you treat each piece of written copy as if your life, and the life of your family, depended on a response to it. You probably have only one chance to make a good impression.

Contacting prospects via standard post is more effective than it once was, simply because the definition of junk mail has moved from the mailbox to the inbox. Spam has become a bigger pain than a mailbox full of confetti material, so a handwritten letter or card can seem like a breath of fresh mail - one worth opening.

Work to build your list of opted-in contacts, and you'll multiply your revenue building opportunities. But remember; be prepared to step outside of the email box to get those opt-ins.

In conclusion, do your absolute best to capture those subscription confirmations with incentives and a variety of contact methods that would please our friends at the FTC. And once you build your list, know that you'll have quality contacts who have raised their hands high, dubbing themselves as promising prospects with very deliberate purchasing intentions.


About the Author

Bernadette Doyle specializes in helping entrepreneurs attract a steady stream of ideal clients. If you want to get clients calling you instead of you calling them, sign up for her free weekly e-zine at


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