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4 Ways to Maximize Double Opt-In Email Confirmations

Chad White
April 09, 2021

4 minute read

A double opt-in confirmation process is a valuable tool for protecting your sender reputation and email deliverability. This is especially true when used for offline sign-ups, open sign-up forms, highly incentivized sign-ups, co-registrations, and other instances that tend to generate high bounce and complaint rates. However, many brands hesitate to use it because they feel requiring people to confirm their subscription by clicking a link in their sign-up confirmation request email causes fewer people to complete the subscription process.

Of course, that’s absolutely true. After all, the primary purpose of a double opt-in process is to screen out risky sign-ups. In an ideal world, all email addresses that aren’t confirmed would be spam traps, email bots, malicious sign-ups, or people who aren’t really interested in receiving your emails and will likely unsubscribe or report your emails as spam.

However, we know that some truly interested people never confirm their subscription for a variety of reasons. To minimize that as much as possible, follow these four best practices:

Make it abundantly clear further action is required

After someone completes your registration or email sign-up form, send them to a confirmation page that makes it clear that the process isn’t complete yet. For example, use a title like:

  • You’re not done yet
  • One more step
  • Check your inbox

Then provide clear instructions about confirming their sign-up. Those instructions are often as simple as:

  • Click the link in the email we just sent to [person’s email address].
  • To verify your email address, please click the “Confirm Email Address” link in the email we just sent you.
  • We just sent you an email. Click the “Verify Email” link so we know we have the right address.
  • We want to make sure we’re emailing the right address. Please click the link in the email we just sent to [person’s email address].

Simple is better. Try to limit your headline and instructions to 30 words or less, and remove all banners, navigation bars, social media links, secondary messaging, and other distractions from your sign-up confirmation page.

With today’s short attention spans, you want to compel the subscriber to take the next action quickly, so they don’t abandon the process midstream. That said, consumers are very familiar with confirming not only their email addresses but also their cell phone numbers. Stick with established language and don’t try to be too clever or original.

Create a clear call-to-action in your subject line and preview text

While many brands tend to use a clear subject line like, “Activate My Subscription” or “Confirm your [BRAND] account,” they don’t always support that with good preview text. That’s another critical element of an email’s envelope content.

Use visible or hidden preheader text to provide further instructions, such as:

  • Click the link in this email to complete your account creation.
  • Complete your registration by clicking the VERIFY link in this email.
  • Verify your email address by clicking the link in this email.

Focus your recipients’ attention on clicking the confirmation link

Display a large headline and a brightly colored, clear call-to-action button above the fold so subscribers see them immediately upon opening your email. Keep the primary text brief—no more than 20 words.

Add some secondary text to address people who may have received the email because of a malicious sign-up or typo in an email address. For instance, you could say, “If you didn’t sign up for a [BRAND] account, please ignore this one-time email. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

To avoid distracting the recipient from clicking the one button you want them to click, remove all unnecessary elements, including navigation bars, social links, and secondary modules that might sabotage your efforts.

Confirm and engage on your opt-in confirmation page

When subscribers confirm their opt-in by clicking the link in our email, take them to an opt-in confirmation page with a headline like “You’re in!” or “That’s it! You’re confirmed.”

You ideally want this page to do more than just offer a confirmation. After all, you have their attention. So, ask them to do something that drives the relationship forward—whether that’s asking them to complete their user profile, presenting them with a welcome offer or discount, giving them educational or instructional information, or something else that will make your new subscriber feel welcome.

These four double opt-in best practices help create a process that’s singularly focused on getting that confirmation click. Boosting confirmation rates gives brands greater confidence to use double opt-in confirmations to protect their sender reputation and deliverability when using riskier subscriber acquisition sources.

For a deeper dive, check out Double Opt-In Best Practices for Email Marketing on Oracle’s Modern Marketing Blog.

Chad White
Chad S. White is the Head of Research at Oracle CX Marketing Consulting. He’s also the author of “Email Marketing Rules” and more than 3,000 articles and posts about email marketing. Chad was named the Email Experience Council’s 2018 Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year. Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn @chadswhite.
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