Email Opt-in: 8 Best Practices to Build a High Quality Email List

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No doubt, the concept of opt-in email has been serving as an effective way of marketing for decades now (yea its been that long). Although opt-in email best practices have evolved a lot over time, the basics still remain the same. On average, achieving an email opt-in open rate of 1.95% suggests that your marketing campaign is doing great.

Open rate is an indicator that shows whether your email strategy is successful or not. It’s a percentage of the total emails opened by the target audience. Below are a few examples of successful open rates:

  • Government-related emails have a successful open rate of 28.77%
  • Hobbies entities have a successful open rate of 27.74%
  • Successful open rate for other industries is 21.33%

An opt-in email campaign is also referred to as “Permission marketing”. Apart from building trust, it helps to generate long-term relationships with subscribers. Email opt-in is a way to seek permission from prospective clients before offering them marketing content via email. (Related: 8 B2B Email Marketing Best Practices (with Examples))

Allowing readers to decide on receiving marketing content can enhance the chances of converting them into loyal customers. According to some stats, 61% of people prefer email as a primary method a brand should contact them. Generally, a subscriber receives up to 30 emails each day. Nearly 24% of total marketing emails are sent by the department stores.

If interested in building a high-quality email list, look at the best opt-in practices listed below.

Top 8 Email Opt-in Best Practices to Follow

Let’s be clear, persuading someone to say yes to receive marketing emails isn’t that easy. On average, American brands send over 1.4 million emails to prospective subscribers monthly. It suggests that by the time you are trying to start a conversation with prospective customers, they are already overwhelmed by their flooded inboxes.

Hence, even after all your efforts, only a fraction of readers are converted into customers. However, building a healthy opt-in email list can help you rise above the competitors and grow your customer base.

1. Offer a Simple Sign-up Process

Your opt-in page must have a simple layout. The purpose of creating such a page is to capture leads. So, avoid asking the readers to offer additional or unwanted details; because no one is in the mood to read long email opt-in messages.

Similarly, you would lose prospective customers by asking them to fill out a long sign-up form. In short, a newsletter sign-up process should be the least annoying thing for your potential subscribers.

Example: The image below is a screenshot of Campaign Monitor’s subscription page. It gives you an idea of what a simple sign-up page looks like. 

2. Provide a Short and Clear Description

When creating an email opt-in, make sure to convey a clear message to your prospective subscribers about your brand or product. Your followers must know what to expect from the emails they will receive from your side.

So, ensure to include the marketing content description in the welcome email or opt-in form. For example, if someone subscribes to a monthly subscription, they expect a monthly newsletter rather than a weekly one.

Example: Below, we have shown how to write a short and easy-to-understand description.

Please reply “YES” to receive emails from us. Expect approx. 5 emails/month. Click “STOP” to cancel and “HELP” for help.

Your subscribers will get annoyed or confused if you don’t play by the rules. In the most unfortunate instances, subscribers could mark your emails as spam or unsubscribe to the newsletter.

So, avoid bombarding your subscribers with newsletters or offers.

3. Ask Subscribers to Confirm their Opt-in Decision

A confirmed opt-in is a lot better option when compared with a single opt-in. It is also referred to as a double opt-in. Although it appears to be redundant or counterintuitive, following this procedure can help you create a healthier email list.

Example: You can take a look at this confirmation email from Indiegogo. It also reminds recently subscribed users that they have given their consent to receive your marketing emails.

While sending an email to verify your intention to sign-up, you can also get an idea of whether the provided address is active. As a result, you can create an email list free from bogus email addresses. In addition, confirmation emails can also serve as a way to seek the consent of a subscriber to receive marketing content. With this, you can minimize spam complaints.

4. Listen to Constructive Feedback

Listening to your subscribers or prospective clients is critical. You can benefit a lot from the feedback of your customers. This can help you create user-friendly content for the audience. There are two ways to ask for feedback. First, you can use a trigger email as a feedback request.

Secondly, asking for feedback through a welcome message can be a viable strategy. This is a win-win situation for both you and your subscribers. It not only helps you run effective email campaigns but also ensures you offer the most relevant email to your subscribers.

5. Subscribers should be Permitted to Manage Preferences

Allowing subscribers to choose or manage their preferences is a great way to build a loyalty-based relationship with them. By adding options to manage preference, you can allow subscribers to make their own rules.

Example: Below, the Etsy sign-up page allows prospective subscribers to choose their preferences. They can read the privacy policy, manage their subscription, select the type of promoted products, and even unsubscribe.

For instance, a subscriber can manage things like type of marketing content, email receiving frequency, and access to personal information. Allowing your subscribers to exercise control over your emails can keep them happy and stay tuned.

6. Subscribers must get Something Valuable upon Sign up 

Offering something to your prospective subscribers could be a lead magnet. You can provide anything valuable and can help subscribers learn new skills. For instance, you can offer anything from a free expert guide to a downloadable app. However, you should pay attention to the key interests of your audience.

Example: Here, Optinmonster offers a downloadable eBook in return for providing your personal information. It’s a proven way to ask to subscribe to a newsletter.

Generally, lead magnets are enticing enough to grab the reader's attention. In fact, this strategy can persuade people to offer additional information other than just their name and email. Especially when the sign-up procedure is complicated, you should give your subscribers something worth their time.

7. Use Tools to Improve or Make Sign-up More Efficient

If you offer a regular email sign-up form, it might not be possible to generate many leads. This can affect the overall performance of your digital marketing campaign. On the contrary, add an exciting and simplified opt-in form.

Example: You can add a subscription form at the end of every blog post or page. In addition, using top bars, sidebars, and slide-ins can be a great idea. 

The most effective and impressive opt-in email strategy is the introduction of an exit-intent box that popups or appears when the visitor is switching or navigating away from your website.

8. Routinely Clean Your Email List

To maintain a healthy email list, it's essential to clean it regularly and remove any inactive or unengaged subscribers. Inactive subscribers haven't opened or clicked on an email in a long time, and unengaged subscribers have never clicked on an email. Both types of subscribers add no value to your list and can hurt your deliverability.

If you have a high number of inactive or unengaged subscribers, your emails are more likely to be marked as spam. So how do you clean your email list? The first step is to send a re-engagement campaign to inactive subscribers. This is a series of emails that asks them to confirm their interest in receiving emails from you. If they don't respond, they're automatically removed from your list.

For unengaged subscribers, you can delete them from your list. This may seem like a waste, but it's the best thing you can do for your deliverability. By regularly cleaning your email list, you can ensure that your emails are being delivered to an engaged audience that wants to hear from you.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, an opt-in email strategy can help you run a successful digital marketing campaign. This also allows you to increase your revenue by improving conversion rates. Besides, if you already have a decent social media following, you can easily grow your email list.

By following the email opt-in best practices, it’s possible to build a high-quality list. It also allows better interaction with the consumer. 

About the Author

I have been in the 'online business' space since 2009 when I started an eCommerce business selling motorcycle parts (sold in 2012). Since then I have owned and operated several successful online business (and had a fair share of failures), along with owning offline home services businesses. Currently my focus is online businesses that are profitable with paid traffic. As a 'self employed individual' I do not use Linkedin, but you can connect with my on my personal instagram and youtube which largely revolve around my mountain biking passion!