Email Marketing Best Practices: Should You Use Single or Double Opt-In?

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The return on investment (ROI) for email marketing is 4,200% — the highest it’s ever been, with no sign of slowing down.

To access this lucrative marketing channel, you’ll need to use opt-ins to grow an audience who’ll receive your emails.

In this post, we’ll tackle the 2 different kinds of opt-ins you can use and the benefits of each.

1. Gathering leads and email marketing

When setting up your email marketing, one of the first things to consider is how you’ll grow your email list.

That’s where opt-ins come in!

Opt-in email marketing, at its most basic level, is where you ask for the email addresses of your audience and permission to send them promotional email content.

Often, your subscribers come from an opt-in form or page that you create on your website, like this one from Nike:

Nike opt-in form


You ask interested viewers to give you their details, and, in return, they’ll receive resources from you, via email.

The best places for these forms are your:

  • Top-ranked blog posts — People who have already shown they’re interested in reading your content will want more
  • About page — People who see that you could help them solve their problems will want more details
  • Lead magnet — People will sign up to access your high-value freebie and won’t mind when you send them more value for free
  • Social media — Reach your audience where they hang out (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Landing page — As a pop-up or exit-intent form to catch people before they continue scrolling or leave your website

However, there’s an important decision you need to make before you build your opt-in forms: single opt-in or double opt-in?

2. What is the difference between single and double opt-ins?

difference between single and double opt-ins

There are a few differences between these two common opt-in processes, but the most obvious one is the number of steps.

Single opt-ins are a one-step process, and double opt-ins need two steps to be completed.

Beyond that, there are distinctions between how they look and how they work, plus there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

2.1. What is a single opt-in?

This is a one-step process for getting more leads onto your list.

Your viewer simply inputs their details onto your form, and they’re added to your email list.

You can simplify this process further by using automation tools to instantly tag any opt-ins and subscribe them to a welcome email sequence.

This means that there are no follow-up actions needed from you.

2.1.1. Example of a single opt-in

single opt-in

A great example of a single opt-in form is the pop-up featured on the Digital Marketing Institute’s (DMI) landing page.

This single opt-in process example is effective for the following reasons:

  • Simple appearance — Plain and not distracting, while standing out against the background
  • Requires interaction — Keeps someone on the page a little longer, even if they’re not interested
  • Instant gratification — After filling in their details, leads get instant access to the brochure that they’re after
  • Multiple fields — Gives DMI important details about their leads, including their location and interests

These are all things you can implement when you set up your own email sign-up form.

However, as with any email marketing strategy, this one-step sign-up process has its own strengths and shortcomings.

2.1.2. Pros and cons

While this method has fallen out of popularity, there are more benefits of the single opt-in method than you’d expect.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of single opt-ins:


  • You only need to create one form with one automation rule attached
  • This is a fast lead gathering process
  • You won’t lose as many leads because everyone who signs up is automatically on the list
  • The form is easier to build
  • This streamlines the sign-up process
  • This may initially lead to a boost in sales via your email list


  • Your leads aren’t as well qualified as they could be
  • You’ll get less subscriber engagement and lower open rates
  • Your unsubscribe rate might be higher
  • Your deliverability may drop because of fake addresses being entered
  • Your emails might end up in the spam folder, and you’ll get more bounces
  • Some countries ask for stricter adherence to the CAN-SPAM Act, so double-opt-ins are safer

Unfortunately, if you have an international audience, you’re at higher risk of falling into the spam traps of the different General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements.

Here are some ways to navigate the stricter compliance laws while still ticking the boxes of legal compliance:

  • Never use pre-ticked boxes for consent
  • Include links to your privacy policy and data compliance certificates
  • Send from a trusted email address and domain

While this option does work for significant list growth, you’ll have to ask yourself whether you’re willing to sacrifice a quality list for one filled with more new subscribers.

If you want quality over quantity, then double opt-ins are for you.

2.2. What is a double opt-in?

double opt-in is

A double opt-in is a multi-step process for gathering quality leads.

This method of email opt-ins is what most email marketers recommend, although it’s more complicated than the simple single version.

2.2.1. The double opt-in process

When you set up your double opt-in form, your would-be subscribers will follow these steps:

1. They’ll input their contact information on your opt-in form and click on the call-to-action (CTA)

2. They’ll check their inbox for a confirmation email

3. They must take further action and click on the confirmation button inside that email

4. Only then will their contact information be added to your email list and tagged for one of your email campaigns

This means that contacts who fill in your subscription form are not immediately added to your list.

While this process can look like a lot of effort, there are tools like that simplify email marketing.

Before you check out our handy tool, let’s take a look at what a double opt-in method looks like for the subscriber.

2.2.2. Example of a double opt-in

Example of a double opt-in


Sam Dey, a renowned YouTuber and certified LinkedIn instructor, uses a highly effective double opt-in form on his website, Dey Tips.

As you can see from the screenshot above, Sam uses a banner pop-up on his landing page to encourage sign-ups.

Once a viewer has filled in the email sign-up form, they’ll receive a confirmation email like this one:

A confirmation email from Dey Tips

A confirmation email from Dey Tips

New subscribers must select the button to confirm their subscription before they can receive the freebie they’re after.

They’re further encouraged to click on the confirm subscription button because Sam promises more marketing tips with each newsletter.

Sam’s double opt-in is effective because of his:

  • Multiple sign-up methods — More chances to gather leads
  • Simple form — Minimal fields mean it’s easier to sign up
  • Friendly confirmation message — Sets a friendly tone upfront, and builds an audience relationship
  • Immediacy — This email is sent as soon as you enter your details and click on “Sign Up”
  • Clear confirmation link — Using an embedded button ensures that people can click, even on a mobile device

While the double opt-in is more popular, it does have some weaknesses too.

2.2.3. Pros and cons

A more complicated process like the double opt-in is bound to come with some drawbacks.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of double opt-ins:


  • A confirmed opt-in shows that someone is genuinely interested in your business
  • Your email list will be full of qualified leads
  • You won’t have any issues with email marketing laws because you can prove your contacts confirmed their interest
  • You’ll have better email deliverability because only real email addresses will be confirmed and added to your list
  • You’ll get more engagement because of the extra step leads take to confirm their details
  • There will be fewer hard bounces because only real email addresses will be added to your list
  • You get to establish your brand voice and immediately build stronger relationships with your audience.


  • You’ll experience slower list growth
  • Some potential subscribers will forget to confirm their contact details and remain in limbo
  • Depending on your platform, you might need to upgrade your plan because of the many confirmation emails you’ll be sending
  • The complicated process and influx of emails might annoy subscribers

There are more benefits when you use this method to grow your email list.

However, does that mean that this is the right one for you?

2.3. Which is best for your business model?

business model

If you run your own business, you have to consider your goals and how much time you have to set up your opt-in forms.

We recommend the simple, single opt-in process if:

  • You have little to no time to set up your opt-in forms
  • You’re very new to online business and building pages
  • You haven’t got a full website yet
  • You’re in ecommerce and looking to grow your list and convert it fast
  • Your email platform doesn’t integrate with your pages

Once you’re a bit more experienced, we do recommend you start using a double opt-in method.

A double opt-in is recommended if:

  • You have an international audience
  • You want a list of qualified leads that’s easier to segment
  • You have an all-in-one platform backing you up
  • You plan to run more than one email marketing campaign
  • You want to send more than just promotional emails
  • You want to build a trustworthy sender reputation

Once you’ve chosen your method, you’ll need to look at how you’ll know if it’s actually working for you.

2.3.1. How to measure your success

measure your success

As with any element of your marketing, you’ll need to track certain metrics to see if your choices were on the money.

In particular, you need to look at your:

Your spam rate will tell you whether or not your leads are interested in what you’ve sent them.

If your spam rate is high, consider switching your opt-in method or asking for more details on your forms.

Then you can better segment your audience and only send them content that interests them.

Your bounce rate is most important when it comes to hard bounces, and especially if you’re using a single opt-in.

A high bounce rate might be an indication that it’s time to change tactics to the double opt-in.

Finally, your conversion rate will tell you how effective your forms are at turning viewers into leads.

You may find this article helpful to optimize those conversions.

However, the best way to build and measure your success is by using the right digital marketing platform.

3. Software to grow your email list logo logo

As, arguably, the most affordable all-in-one platform out there, is hard to beat.

Our software is easy to use and has nearly no learning curve — you can build a website, sales funnel, or email sequence in minutes.

The platform itself is also packed with all the features you need to launch and run your online business.

But what does this mean for lead generation and opt-ins?

Here’s how simple it is to set up your opt-in form with

1. Create a sales funnel using one of our proven templates

2. Add a step to the funnel, and select “inline form” or “pop-up form’s funnel builder page options’s funnel builder page options

3. Name your page as you’d like, indicate where the form will appear on your website, and click “Create”

4. Choose a template, and customize your form, then save your page

An example of a pop-up form template on

An example of a pop-up form template on

It’s that simple!

You can even make your page do all the hard work for you in the following ways:

  • Build a single opt-in or a double-opt-in, it’s up to you
  • Create an automation rule that tags new leads depending on where and how they opt in
  • Create an email sequence that welcomes new leads automatically
  • Track your form’s conversion rate as well as your email stats
  • Send new leads through the rest of your funnel, and convert them into customers

You can check out the rest of our powerful features here to support the other channels of your marketing and online business.

Keep reading to find out what you’ll pay to use this incredible software.

3.1.’s pricing’s pricing plans’s pricing plans

With, everyone starts for free, and you can stay that way forever, if you remain within the limits.

As a new business owner, you won’t have to worry about unaffordable monthly costs eating away at your income.

All of our plans come with unlimited access to the following features:

  • Emails
  • Membership site members
  • File storage space
  • Blog posts
  • 24/7 email support
  • Direct Stripe and PayPal integrations

On top of that, if you choose our Free plan, you’ll also get:

  • Up to 2,000 contacts
  • 3 funnels with 10 steps
  • A membership site and blog
  • An automation rule and workflow
  • A tag and email campaign
  • Ecommerce features like order bumps and 1-click upsells
  • The ability to run your army of affiliates who promote your products
  • And more!

That’s more than enough to build your first opt-ins and grow your list — if you already know we’re the one for you, check out the rest of our scalable pricing plans here.

4. Conclusion

Group discussion

Now that you’ve chosen which approach you’ll take to your forms (single opt-in vs. double opt-in), you’re well on your way to growing your email list.

Finding the right platform to support your forms and subscribers can be tricky — that’s why’s Free plan is your best option.

Sign-up with today, no strings attached, and watch our platform take your business to new heights!

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