Building a relevant email list of prospects and customers is one of the most important things you can do for your business.

If you’re not building an email list, you have to start now.

However, there’s a lot of different opinions regarding the best and most ethical way of collecting email addresses. So today I want to talk about which email opt-in method I use and why.

There’s three ways to collect email addresses.

1) Opt-out Method

The opt-out method is where you buy or scrape a list of email addresses and then send these people unsolicited emails.

In most countries this is illegal.

The only way people can unsubscribe from your list is by clicking on an opt-out link in the email. But they never actually opted-in or agreed to receive emails in the first place.

Generally you want to stay away from the opt-out method since it’s not allowed in most cases and can result in big fines.

However, if you send out cold emails to companies one by one, then the opt-out method is usually allowed. As long as you have your business address and an opt-out link in the email. This process of “cold emailing” businesses is a part of many peoples’ outbound sales strategy. And it can work.

Just keep in mind that you can’t use it for consumers, only for businesses. And you need to check the local spam laws.

2) Singel Opt-in Method

In this method you create an email form or a so called “squeeze page” where interested people can leave their email address and other contact information to download a free gift, access a training, register for a webinar or request a quote.

This is fundamentally different from the opt-out method since people raise their hand and intentionally enter their email.

People opt-in to receive emails from you.

You can think of “opt-in” = agree to something.

This is the opt-in method that I use in my own business. People can enter their email address and there’s no additional step required to confirm their email address with a link.

3) Confirmed Double Opt-in Method

The third way of collecting email addresses is called confirmed double opt-in. With this method people will receive a confirmation email after they opt-in to your email list. And only once they click on the link in that confirmation email, they’ll actually be added to your list and receive emails.

This is the most secure and legally accepted way of collecting email addresses, because it avoids certain scenarios.

For example, with single opt-in someone could add a random email address from someone else who doesn’t want to receive your emails. So you could actually be sending out unwanted emails to an unknowing person who never signed up.

And some people might add fake email addresses to receive a free gift, which will negatively impact your email deliverability.

With confirmed double opt-in these things can’t happen.

The subscriber has to double opt-in and confirm his or her email address before any emails are sent to that address.

The downside is that a lot of people won’t confirm their email address because they’re too lazy or simply forget about it. So you might be missing out on potential leads for your business.

There’s a lot of people who religiously use confirmed double opt-in, and there’s others who religiously use single opt-in. At the end of the day you should test both and see what gets you better results in your business. I’ve tested both a long time ago and have decided to use single opt-in in most cases.

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Posted by Till Boadella

My marketing agency Nexilitas™ and I have helped bootstrap startups from zero to six figures a year, doubled, tripled and even quadrupled the revenue of established businesses and broke two industry records with product launches. I have a track record of successful marketing campaigns for clients in the fitness industry, health industry, permaculture industry, motorsport industry, music industry and many other retail branches. I’ve built campaigns for celebrities, large corporations and many experts and “gurus”. Think of me as the mastermind pulling the strings behind the scenes. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work in marketing and business. And now I’m drawing the curtains and revealing everything I learned, without sugar-coating or hiding the truth. Subscribe to the Till Boadella Show on YouTube and iTunes.

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