If you’re forcing potential email list subscribers to double opt-in on web form submissions, you’re losing subscribers.
Email list management companies like Aweber and MailChimp allow you to add sign up forms to your website so visitors can receive newsletters or subscription material. (See my sign up form at the top of the right sidebar as an example.)
But the default settings are not user friendly. I’ll show you what settings you need to change to make the sign up process easier and get more confirmed subscribers.
Aweber vs. Mailchimp
The default settings for both Aweber and Mailchimp are such that when a visitor enters their name and email address in your submission form, they then get a message to check their email and click a confirmation link in order to confirm or double opt-in. There are a few problems with this.
- A significant percentage of visitors will not bother to take the next step.
- The confirmation email is often a bit delayed, so the visitor abandons the process.
- The confirmation email is so badly formatted and worded, that the user thinks it’s spam.
Take a look at the Aweber confirmation email for example:
Not only does the format of the confirmation email look terrible, but many recipients are going to think it’s spam. Your visitors think they’re getting an email from you, but it’s asking them to click a strange looking URL at aweber.com.
Those of us who work on the web for a living may not have a problem with it, but we’re not the typical user. Most internet users have no idea what a URL or web browser even is! And the double opt-in email is asking them to copy and paste into a web browser if they cannot click the full URL. It miserably fails the Don’t Make Me Think test. Yet, every internet marketer and SEO I’ve submitted my email address to is using these default settings.
Fortunately, there is an alternative. Unfortunately for those of you using MailChimp, they don’t offer it. With MailChimp, you cannot disable the confirm email.
Why You Don’t Need Double Opt-In
The email list management companies give several reasons why you should use double opt-in:
- People may sign up other people that don’t want to be on your list.
- People may mis-type their email address.
- People will enter fake email addresses.
So what? If someone signs up a friend who doesn’t want your emails, they can simply click the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email. If someone mistypes their email address…well, you wouldn’t have gotten it anyway. And if someone enters a fake email address, again, no harm to you.
And, none of the above may even happen frequently. But there is one thing that will happen frequently if you force your visitors to get and follow the poorly formated confirmation emails:
You’ll get less subscribers.
Sure, there is some chance that people will enter email addresses that are not their own, and they may occasionally get marked as spam. But if you’re sending out quality messages, I don’t see this as reason to make your visitors jump through useless hoops.
How to Disable the Double Opt-In
As I mentioned earlier, with MailChimp there is no way to disable the double opt-in emails. With Aweber there is, and it’s very easy to do.
First, click on the “List Settings” link in under the “My Lists” tab:
Then, click on the “Confirmed Opt-In” tab:
And set the “Require Opt-In On Web Forms” to “Off”:
That’s it. You’re done.
And here’s the cool thing. Aweber will log IP addresses of those who fill out your web forms, and they’ll send the confirmation message anyway to anyone who enters more than one email address in the form. So if someone does enter their own address and then attempts to enter another, that second person will have to opt-in. This will prevent most problems you could potentially encounter due to people entering email addresses that are not their own into your form.
Are you currently using double opt-in on your web forms? If so, let me know in the comments if you’re seeing significant numbers of visitors who are not clicking the confirmation links. I bet you are. And I bet you’ll get more subscribers by following the steps above.