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4 Essential Email Compliance Terms: Single Opt-in, COIL, COI, Oh My!

By now, you should know that I’m all about email compliance — and knowing your email terminology (if you missed it, catch up on the war I’m waging against the phrase “email blast” here). In today’s post, we’ll be reviewing a couple of different opt-in methods, as well as the pros and cons of each. Take a look at the list below to make sure you’re choosing the right opt-in method for your business’ email needs.

1. Single Opt-in

Single opt-in is the most common method of getting prospects into your database and sending them emails. With single opt-in, prospects come to your form, fill it out, and are automatically added to your main marketing list. This is good because it lets you instantly start sending list emails to those prospects. However, there’s a bit of a risk here, as collecting too many invalid email addresses could cause your emails to have a high bounce rate. Because bounces can cause an issue with your sending reputation, it’s important to keep your bounce rates as low as possible on your email sends.

2. Enhanced Single Opt-in

Enhanced opt-in is similar to single opt-in, but has one important distinction: it adds an autoresponder to forms to tell prospects they have been opted into receiving email communications. This serves two purposes: it tells the client they will be receiving emails (always a good thing), and if the email bounces, you know right then and there that it’s not a good email to send to (if you’re a Pardot user, Pardot will reflect that if the autoresponder bounces and won’t send to those prospects again). This also removes the risk of having particularly high bounces on future list emails, as you’ve now cleaned most of the bounces out of your list prior to sending.

3. Confirmed Opt-In Lite (COIL)

Confirmed opt-in lite is similar to enhanced opt in, but adds yet another feature: if a prospect fails to engage by clicking or opening an email within a certain amount of time, that prospect is removed from your email list. This method is particularly useful for keeping your lists clean of prospects who sign up and never engage with your emails again. It helps you focus your efforts on the prospects who do care about your product and are more likely to buy, rather than focusing on prospects who don’t really care and aren’t as likely to convert to a purchasing prospect.

4. Confirmed Opt-in (COI)

Confirmed opt-in is the most aggressive opt-in policy, but it’s also the best possible way to ensure your database is completely clean, opted in, and your prospects are legitimately interested in receiving email. The way it works is that you send an email after a prospect fills out a form asking the prospect to confirm that the email address belongs to them and that they are still interested in receiving marketing emails. This process verifies that the address was not forged, mistyped, or otherwise fraudulently subscribed, which helps keep abuse@ and spam@ addresses out of your database. It’s definitely a good idea to set up confirmed opt-in if you have had any problems with spam submissions and bounce issues!

Which method of opt-in do you prefer to use for your business? Tweet to me @holobachgirl with your thoughts!