Affiliate Marketing & Programs

Single Opt In vs. Double Opt In: What’s the Difference?


Email marketing is a powerful tool for long-term traffic and sales; it’s your direct link to your followers without the ‘mucking about’ with social networking tools.

Part of the process of building a list is the opt in. This term and strategy for subscription has come under debate whether it’s best to use a single or double opt in for email marketing. This article aims to clear up misconceptions and explore the benefits of each method of list building.

The Single Opt In: Deconstructed

Single opt in forms have a greater chance of easily converting a visitor into a subscriber with every little hurdles to confirm a subscription. However, this form of subscription method also comes with potential business ruining blowbacks.

The Good

Single opt ins give a single step for visitors to sign up for your email list. Consider the individual on your list and ready for information the moment they confirm their email on your form.

You’ll see a greater result of sign ups when you use the single opt in form because it removes the chance that your subscriber doesn’t see the follow up email to confirm their subscription as they would with an email marketing service that requires the inclusion of one for the list.

Think about how easy it is to be entered into a sweepstakes by simply throwing your name into a raffle.

The Bad

The FTC is not the organization to challenge which is one of the leading reasons why you shouldn’t use a single opt in process for your list building. The wording is slightly confusing but according to the FTC, businesses that build a list need to ensure they do not spam their recipients.

The overall problem with a single opt in is the fact that you can never be sure if the person subscribing to the list is who they say. You can be flagged as spam if someone was to subscribe to your list through another individuals email and you inadvertently broadcast a newsletter or email update.

Think of how annoying it is when telemarketers call you out-of-the-blue.


The Double Opt In: Deconstructed

The double opt in method of gaining email subscribers is where most email marketing platforms are progressing because of said FTC guidelines. This form of list building ensures your subscribers want your information yet it won’t necessarily mean they’ll receive your emails.

The Good

The double opt in method keeps everything squeaky clean when it comes to ensuring you don’t accidentally spam your recipients. You’ll still have the occasional “freebie hunter” that will sign up, grab your list freebie, and unsubscribe but this method at least allows you to avoid any legal actions on part of the FTC.

The double opt in also gives you an opportunity to “warm up” your subscriber before the first emails begin to roll out which is very beneficial when you want to push people right into a training course without a long-winded introduction and confirmation.

The Bad

As mentioned, one of the greatest hurdles of the double opt in is whether your potential subscriber receives the follow up email to confirm their subscription. If your follow up email is caught in spam filters or blacklisted, your lead won’t be on your list.

There are built in tools to aid a user when signing up to your list but it places the chances out of your control; you can only hope for the best. This adds an additional task of educating your leads into the process of signing up if they’ve never joined an email list before.

The Bullet-Proof Strategy for Email Opt Ins

When purchasing and setting up an email marketing service, your main goal is to ultimately build a list that’s responsive.

A responsive list is a valuable list; your ability to have subscribers act on your information and participate will show the true value of building a list. Higher response rates equate to greater earnings, more traffic, and better feedback for your brand.

So, what does this mean for the single and double opt in debate? Here’s a better way to approach the entire email marketing process – without legal troubles and adding an element of better ROI.

  1. Develop an enticing list freebie such as an ebook. Add an attractive cover and design to your freebie, develop a title that sells, and add a hook that catches attention.

  2. Use your preferred email marketing service to setup the basic list with a double opt in. Take the time to craft your confirmation email so it reads like an introduction rather than a computer generated form.

  3. Send confirmed subscribers to a confirmation page, thanking them. Take this time to offer a bonus to your subscribers by sharing the list with their friends or even try to sell a product when the moment is still hot.

  4. Use your first email to deliver your best information along with the freebie. Hook them right from the start and let them understand that each new email will be of equal value.

  5. Develop a schedule for your future emails and stick to them. Avoid being flagged as spam by using email titles that are relevant to the list and not overly zealous.

The double opt in, in our case, is a tool that gives you an advantage when building a list. You can use that single point of confirmation to set the entire stage for your email list and even create on-the-fly sales since you know the timing is right.


Above all else: you won’t get slapped by the FTC. Sure, you may lose out on a few subscribers but its way better than having your entire operation come down from a few complaints.

In your opinion, which forms of email opt in works best for your projects?

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