Should you choose double opt-in for blog newsletters or business mailings? Here is a summary of the law, how to protect yourself and your business, and my recommendation.
No matter where you are if you send emails to recipients in any number of countries, you could be doing it wrong. A double opt-in is sometimes referred to as confirmed opt-in (for all my non-North America friends).
Should You Require Double Opt-In for Blog Newsletters?
What’s in this article…
- Is it required? Yes, in some countries, no in others.
- Can I protect myself? Yes.
- Are there benefits to single and double opt-in? Yes.
- Do I recommend one way over the other? Yes.
If you think this is a decent bit of useful information, you should see what I give to my email subscribers! Opt-in and get:
- helpful tips,
- free resources created only for clients and subscribers,
- access to the resource library (and a direct email link to me).
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Brief Breakdown of the Legal Requirements
I’ve written how to keep blog newsletters legal. This article, however, is tied to the direct laws marketers need to know. Here’s a summary:
- You’re held to the laws where your SUBSCRIBERS reside, regardless of where YOU are.
- There must be an opt-out easily identified within every email (completed within 10 days).
- A VALID physical mailing address is required by ALL of the governing documents.
- Senders must be clearly identified and unmasked; mine is “Sarah from ND Consulting.”
Double Opt-In Legalities and Requirements
Here in the US (CAN-SPAM Act and FTC policies), our laws do not restrict HOW you can add people to lists: opt-ins on yours (or others’) websites, webinar attendee sign-ups, conference attendees, or purchased lists.
The United States does NOT restrict with regards to consent: you may mail everyone.
When it comes to protecting its citizens from spam, there is no doubt Canada is THE BOSS of North America (Canada’s laws and the CASL). Does that mean double opt-in is required for Canadian email subscribers? No.
The CASL requires you have express consent. And it’s “Team Edward” versus “Team Jacob” as to requirements. Some believe it’s enough to prove consent and others don’t.
A blogger or business owner can protect themselves by requiring double opt-in for blog newsletters.
* Germany is a leader in the double opt-in game. Several court cases ruled single opt-in wasn’t enough. Local laws make it tricky for email marketers. 45% of German companies are requiring double opt-in (sources here and here).
The Basics: How To Protect Yourself
First and foremost, indicate your process to subscribers! If you’re a single opt-in fan, tell them they will now begin receiving the “Really Awesome” newsletter and promotional emails. Most ESPs cover the double opt-in notice.
If you would like to protect yourself, you can add double opt-in and use it as documentation (the subscriber confirmed they wanted to receive mailings). Some providers, like MailChimp, make this WICKED easy and provide the date and time for each opt-in record.
If you use ConvertKit, you can create a list that ‘confirmed subscribers’ can select after they’ve already signed up (on a single opt-in). You will cover yourself if you c\reate a note in your welcome sequence to indicate the click adds them to the ‘consent given’ list. Or, you can select to have them ‘confirm’ in your settings.
Diving Deeper: Double Opt-in
Double Opt-in Benefits:
Benefits for Bloggers
- only pay for people on your list who want your mailings,
- less-likely to have emails marked as spam, and
- could have higher deliverability rates (reduced bounces).
Benefits for Subscribers: they have an opportunity to say, “Mmm, no thanks.”
Double Opt-in Drawbacks:
Benefits for Bloggers:
- some subscribers never confirm and
- a potentially slower growing list.
For subscribers: they might feel there is a delay in receiving a download or free resource.
Summary and Recommendation
Should you require double opt-in for blog newsletters? In my opinion, yes. I believe it is a leading practice among email marketers and brands, alike. Use the resources above to decide if it’s right for you and your business.