Single vs. Double Opt-In
You may be wondering what the difference is between Single Opt-In and Double Opt-In on your forms. These two opt-in styles are both available with ConvertKit, though they mean different action is required on your subscriber's end so it's important to understand the difference. Let's dive in.
This is the opt-in style of choice for many smart email marketers and it's the default setting in ConvertKit. With a Double Opt-In, your subscribers will get an Incentive Email asking them to click a button and confirm they want to be on your email list. It looks like this:
By leaving the default settings of having that top box checked (the one that says "Send incentive / double opt-in email to confirm new subscribers"), you're setting up your form for a Double Opt-In process.
The great thing about ConvertKit Incentive Emails is that the text is all fully customizable - so put your stamp on it! Change the subject line so it stands out, edit the button text to encourage people to click it, or even use that button to deliver your PDF, eBook, or other opt-in incentive. Simply toggle that Thank You Page selection over to "Incentive download" and attach your file. Once they click the button, they'll get your download AND be confirmed onto your email list.
- you confirm every subscriber so your list is more accurate - if there's a typo in their entry they won't end up clogging up your list with email addresses that will ultimately fail
- subscribers who confirm interest are more likely to open your emails in the long run, which improves your deliverability rankings
- protection against fake subscribers and spammers with false email addresses that can ultimately affect your monthly fees
- delivery of your opt-in incentive or re-direction to a thank you page where your subscribers can continue to engage with your brand at the peak of their interest
- more opportunities to onboard your subscribers (read: future customers) to your brand
- a two step process for your subscribers which can lead some people to not confirming
- there's no way to re-send a confirmation email so if you have multiple unconfirmed subscribers you won't be able to reach out to them until they confirm
As you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons with Double Opt-In.
Is double opt-in required in my country?
Contrary to popular belief, a double opt in process is not explicitly required by law in any country, however it is strongly suggested by several countries, like Germany, which would require you to prove an opt-in in court, and a single opt-in is not proof enough.
Canada also recently passed CASL, which requires the same level of proof of opt-in in court.
And it's not just German or Canadian marketers that need to keep this in mind: the burden of proof is on the sender. If you have German or Canadian subscribers, you might consider using double opt-in to protect yourself.
With a Double Opt-In, you get a few more options too. See the bottom of that page above where it says "Auto-confirm new members"? If you check that box, your subscribers will be automatically confirmed to your email list even if they don't click the button in the Incentive Email. Now, this option starts to lead into more of Single Opt-In process so let's unpack that.
While we encourage you to choose Double Opt-In for all of the reasons above, we understand that, at times, you may want to choose Single Opt-In. Perhaps you'll only be sharing a particular form in a small and highly qualified group or you're creating forms that aren't shared publicly - those are acceptable times to use Single Opt-In. Single Opt-In is when someone signs up to your form and starts getting emails from you right away, no extra steps required. In ConvertKit, you setup a Single Opt-In in the Settings page of a Form like this:
Simply uncheck the box at the top of the Incentive Email tab that says "Send incentive / double opt-in email to confirm new subscribers". This box is automatically checked (requiring a Double Opt-In that we'll review in a moment) so be sure to uncheck it and hit Save Form if you want a Single Opt-In.
There are pros and cons to everything in life and your opt-in choices are no different. Let's review them for Single Opt-In:
- your subscribers don't need to take an extra step and start getting your emails right away
- email addresses could have typos in them that aren't noticed and ultimately clog up your list, causing you to pay for subscribers who never get your emails
- bots (read: spammers) have easy access to your email list and can cause you to pay for them too
- your bounce and unread rates go up when the above happens and those rates ultimately affect your overall deliverability
- you lose your extra chances to share your brand with your subscribers right up front
- did we mention spammers?
We work hard to fight spammers on your behalf, but taking the precaution on your side to stick with a Double Opt-In will save you from subscriber error and potential deliverability issues down the line.
Now that you understand the differences, it's time to setup a form!
The Complete Guide to ConvertKit Forms