Double opt-in helps build meaty lists

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My wife and I went to Chicago for New Years and stopped at the famous (well, to vegetarians like us, anyway) Chicago Diner. Because we loved the restaurant and the city, and plan to go back as soon as possible, I signed up for the diner's e-mail list when paying the bill. And, yesterday, the diner sent me a confirmation e-mail, in which I was able to click a link to confirm my subscription. Thus was my first experience with double opt-in.

I first heard of the process when sourcing this Technique a few months ago. Pinny Gniswich from Ice.com says that double opt-in helps "create an envi­ronment where customers want to give you their e-mail, because they know they will receive timely messages that they want to interact with."

I must say that this was right — I was glad that the diner both reminded me that I had signed up for the list, and gave me the chance to consider my opt-in. The process actually makes me anticipate the first of their e-mails, because the company has created an image of itself that first and foremost among its e-mail goals is to deliver relevant messaging.

As of last November, the DMA's Email Experience Council reported 5% of retailers are using this practice, Dianna Dilworth wrote, a 2% increase since Outi Tuomaala, an EVP at L-Soft, noted that the practice is "the gold standard" for marketers. Hopefully, more marketers will implement double opt-in soon.

And, as one-to-one communication with customers becomes even more personal and instantaneous thanks to the emergence of SMS marketing, the Mobile Marketing Association already recommends double opt-in for text messages, Bryan Yurcan reported last fall. This is a good move, because too many text messages can start to develop into white noise, without images to help them cut through the clutter — and marketers certainly don't want to waste their time boiling down their messages to the 160-character limit of a text message only to have it be largely ignored or turn off consumers.

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