First, what does email “opt-in” really mean?
When it comes to email marketing, “opt-in” has a blurry, subjective definition. There’s “unconfirmed opt-in,” which means users have given you their email address for a purpose other than receiving email, maybe during a purchase or registration process. We also have “single confirmation opt-in,” which lets a user enter an email address and click or unclick a box to subscribe. Finally, many of us email marketers use the “double opt-in,” which asks users to sign up, then confirm the sign-up via a link in their inbox.
The unconfirmed opt-in method is murky when it comes to spam – I have unwittingly subscribed to lists I had zero interest in because I made a single purchase from a website. If your emails get flagged as spam, you’re a big step closer to getting blacklisted.
The single-confirmation method is better! Especially if you’re annoyed with your coworker and you want to sign them up for a bunch of embarrassing email lists. But seriously, there are some marketing advantages to single opt-in, and Chad White at Litmus wrote a great article on it.
At Intuitive Digital, we are big believers in the double opt-in. It means you’re communicating with truly interested users, you’re avoiding abuse complaints, and you’re able to be much more targeted and relevant in your messaging. We also believe this is the best way to put our customers/clients/partners first.
Make it easy to unsubscribe.
Actually, make it REALLY easy. If a user wants out, the last thing we want to do is hold them captive. It’s bad for the user, and it may be even worse for you – it can be tough to find the unsubscribe link in an email, but it’s really easy to find the REPORT SPAM button.
Unconfirmed and single opt-in email lists will lead inevitably to abuse complaints. If the unsubscribe link is hard to find in a double opt-in email, it will lead inevitably to spam reports. Both abuse complaints and spam reports will land you on the blacklist.
What is a blacklist?
In a nutshell, a blacklist is a list of IP addresses that have been recognized as spammers or spam servers. If your IP ends up on that list, you’re in trouble. MailChimp has a great article on how blacklists work.
What happens if I’m blacklisted?
First, know that this happens to a lot of marketers, and it happens to a lot of great, honest companies with integrity. Next, contact your email marketing platform (MailChimp, Pardot, etc.) and let them know what’s happening. They can help you get the ball rolling. It is absolutely possible to overcome this obstacle – we’ve seen many companies do it. There is not, however, a quick fix, and please don’t trust a business that says they can clear your IP in exchange for money.
The best way to avoid this all together is to maintain vigilant opt-in practices, and to make it easy for a user to opt out. We love email marketing at Intuitive Digital, and we’re here to answer any questions you might have about this!