Two blue roadside mailboxes.
PHOTO: karagrubis

One of the many impacts of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection is that it’s now significantly more difficult to determine whether a subscriber is active or inactive. This challenge has led to a decline in deliverability rates and contributed to a spike in Spamhaus listings, with many marketers feeling forced to take greater risks as they lose visibility into the engagement of their Apple Mail users. In the not-too-distant future, growing deliverability problems will compel marketers to find ways to reduce these risks.

Considering the Double Opt-in (DOI) Process

One such way is to make broader use of double opt-in (DOI). A DOI confirmation process is a valuable tool for protecting your sender reputation and email deliverability, especially when used for offline sign-ups, open sign-up forms, highly incentivized sign-ups, co-registrations, and other subscriber acquisition sources that tend to generate high bounce and complaint rates.

However, many brands hesitate to use DOI 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, so you’d expect some addresses to go unconfirmed. 

In an ideal world, all email addresses that aren’t confirmed would be spam traps, email bots, malicious sign-ups and 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.

1. Make It Abundantly Clear Further Action Is Required

After someone completes your registration or email signup form, send them to a sign-up 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…”, or “Check your inbox…” and then provide clear instructions about confirming their signup. 

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 in it 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, so stick with established language and don’t try to be clever or original. 

Related Article: 10 More Common Email Marketing Mistakes — And Solutions

2. Clarify in Subject Line, Preview Text of Opt-in Confirmation Request Email the Recipient Must Take Action

While most 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. Leaving their preview text unoptimized is a common email marketing mistake that’s easy to fix.

Use visible or hidden preheader text to display preview text that provides 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.

3. Focus Recipient’s Attention on Clicking Link to Confirm Subscription

Display a large headline and a brightly colored bulletproof 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 did not 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.

Related Article: Messaging During Recessions: 3 Opportunities for Marketers

4. Acknowledge Subscription Confirmations 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.”

However, you really 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. 

Conclusion: Peace of Mind for Email Engagement

These four best practices help create a double opt-in confirmation process that is singularly focused on getting that confirmation click. That should boost confirmation rates, giving brands greater confidence to use double opt-in to protect their sender reputation and deliverability when using riskier subscriber acquisition sources.

Another advantage to DOI that’s only become clear in the age of MPP is that, according to Oracle Marketing Consulting’s Email Deliverability Services team, clicks are twice as powerful signals of engagement as opens. That means that a subscriber who clicks is qualified as safe to mail for twice as long as subscriber who only opens.

In addition to being confident that you’re keeping spam traps, bots and other poor-quality addresses off your list, getting that DOI click at the very beginning of an email relationship means you have a nice long runway before you need to get that next engagement signal. That’s valuable peace of mind during this new age of lower engagement visibility.