Which email marketing 'opt-in' policy should you employ?
"Opt-in what?" 😳
Well, if you're not sure what I'm talking about, let me explain.
Whenever you create a web form or landing page to collect subscribers' contact details (e.g. first name + email address) then you need to instruct your email marketing platform on how to opt your subscriber into your email list.
Example web opt-in form
There are two basic choices, 'single opt-in' or 'double opt-in' (a little bit like pouring cream).
Single Opt-in policy
This is the simplest of opt-in policies. In essence, when someone completes the opt-in form fields and hits the 'Subscribe' button, then the subscriber is auto-confirmed by your email marketing platform (e.g. ConvertKit) and there's nothing more the subscriber needs to do in order to start receiving your emails.
- It's a very quick process for subscribers to join your email list.
- Minimum friction for new subscribers.
- People can submit erroneous or false information in order to get your free offer.
- Your email list now contains potentially erroneous email addresses that will ultimately bounce, if you send them emails.
- More likely to get 'bots' joining your list (this is called 'list bombing')
- People can add genuine email addresses that don't belong to them (e.g. I could add your email address)
Double Opt-in policy
This is a more robust policy that will protect your email list from list bombing and erroneous email addresses being imported into your email marketing system. As the name suggests, it's a two-step process for subscribers;
- The subscriber enters their details.
- The email marketing platform automatically send a confirmation email to the email address supplied.
- The subscriber must click the link inside the confirmation email to be added to your subscriber list.
- The email subscriber is then 'confirmed' and can begin to receive your emails.
- It's a much more robust process for keeping your email list clean.
- You have less chance of being list bombed.
- You know the email address supplied is active and accessible.
- If you have subscribers in a region that mandates data protection (e.g. GDPR in UK or EU) then a double opt-in policy will satisfy the requirements that you have as an email subscriber list host.
- It's a slower process for your subscribers to join your list, with an extra step of 'friction'.
I always use, and recommend the use of, a double opt-in policy for all my email subscribers. It keeps you safe, me safe, and just makes things a little more difficult for the more unscrupulous people that lurk amongst us in this digital world!
What kind of guarantee do you offer in your business? (if any)
It's kinda expected in most walks of life, right? You buy something and if it goes wrong (in any way), you normally have a route to follow, to have things put right.
It could be your new car... develops a fault shortly after buying it.
It could be your iPhone that's stopped working after walking out the Apple store.
It can even be the milk you just bought that's "off" before it reaches your fridge.
Whatever it is, we expect there to be a way to be compensated for a purchase that hasn't met our expectations, and your customers will have the same expectation of you and your products/services.
But what about us solopreneurs who run a service-based business - how can we provide guarantees that will increase our sales conversion rates?
Well, there're a number of different types of guarantees that we can provide for our customers, so let's look at a couple of the most popular ones;
Unconditional Guarantee: This is where, no matter what, you have a guarantee that will cover any event or circumstance post-purchase. It could be buyer's remorse or simply a change of mind (or heart) about the purchase.
- Example: 100% Money-back guarantee - if you buy my [ insert product/service ] and for whatever reason, decide it's not right for you, just let me know and I'll process a refund, no quibbles.
Conditional Guarantee: This is where the customer has the satisfaction of knowing that they will get a refund (or compensation) if things don't work out as they expect, PROVIDED they meet the conditions that you agree in advance. For example, let's imagine you sold health and weight-loss services and wanted to give a conditional guarantee with your weight-loss program;
- Example: 100% Money-back guarantee - if you don't lose 20lbs of weight by the time you've completed my 10-week program, you can have a full refund, PROVIDED you have completed all the activities as prescribed, attended all your weekly check-ins, and turned up for our 1-2-1 gym sessions.
There can be any number of permutations with these, as you can imagine, and you can tailor them to be very specific to your particular products and services.
It's a widely accepted fact that sales are increased whenever products and services are accompanied by a great guarantee. Ultimately, the degree to which you are prepared to guarantee is down to how much confidence you have in what you sell.
Personally, I always offer a 100% unconditional guarantee, for 2 reasons; firstly, I have total belief in what I provide and stand behind everything I do, and secondly, if someone was ever to request a refund from me (which has thankfully never happened), then I would assign blame to me for taking on the wrong customer - my fault, not theirs.
Here's an image taken directly from my website that gives all my customers total confidence that they will be investing their money in a completely safe proposition.
So, what guarantee do you offer, if any?
A Monkee's Mum who made $175m from her 'mistakes'...
Whilst working as a typist in Texas during the 1950s, Bette McMurray made up a solution in her kitchen to 'white out' her typing mistakes.
This home-made solution would go on to become 'Mistake Out' which she shared with her work colleagues.
Eventually, after being fired from her typist job, she would start her own company, calling the product 'Liquid Paper'. In 1979, Bette sold her company to Gillette for $47.5m (about $175m today).
When Bette died a year later in 1980, her son, Mike Nesmith (best known as one of The Monkees) inherited half her estate, with the other half going to charities and foundations that were close to her heart.
Sadly, Mike is also no longer with us, having passed in 2021, aged 78, due to heart failure.
As testament to each of their skills and talent, both 'Liquid Paper' and the music of The Monkees live on for us all to use and enjoy.
If we're not already connected on LinkedIn, then let's fix that now!
If you're new around here, let me give you a brief intro to who I am and what I do;
👋 Hi, I'm John, a solopreneur with 30+ years experience in software development, business start-up and growth strategies, and digital marketing, specialising in email marketing.
I help service-based solopreneurs to grow their businesses by showing them how to effectively implement an email marketing system that'll bring them leads, prospects, and new clients, complemented with proven success strategies for solopreneur-type businesses.