The importance of opt-in

5 minute read

At Sign-Up.to, we hold one principal above all else: permission marketing. It’s a concept that simply means you need someone’s consent to contact them with marketing material. However you’d be surprised at how often it’s misunderstood or ignored.

About permission marketing

Permission marketing as a term was coined by e-marketing guru Seth Godin and refers to email marketing in particular. On his blog, Godin describes the concept as “the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them“. Gaining someone’s permission involves having them opt-in to hear from you and this is a very good idea for a whole host of reasons.

Why permission is vital

Firstly, it’s actually illegal to send unsolicited bulk emails! This is spamming and there are strict UK regulations in place to prevent it. Here at Sign-Up.to we go above and beyond what’s required by law. We don’t allow any bought data to be used in our system and, if requested to do so, our clients need to be able to show us how and where a subscriber agreed to hear from them.

Beyond the legal ramifications, there are actually many common sense factors that demonstrate the value of gaining a subscriber’s permission. For example, sending an email campaign to 100 subscribers who are already interested in what you do is much more effective than sending to 1000 recipients who don’t know who you are. Sending to a smaller, more targeted list will cost you less money and provide more favourable results. When it comes to your subscriber lists, always think quality over quantity.

Buying data can bring with it its own set of issues, in part because you never quite know what you’re getting. A bought list may contain a large number of old or inactive email addresses which could bounce and affect future delivery. It could also contain spam traps, which are innocent looking email addresses that exist solely to catch out spammers. The hard facts are that bought data will undoubtedly generate high complaint rates and disappointing results. It’s also worth bearing in mind that it’s much, much easier for a business to ruin their good reputation than it is for them to redeem their bad one. From our point of view, buying data is just not worth the money or the risk!

Collecting opt-in data

The best way to gain opt-in subscribers is through a data capture form on your website or Facebook page. This is something that you can create quickly and easily in your Sign-Up.to account and all of our data-capture forms play by double opt-in rules. This means that if someone enters their details into one of our forms, they will then be sent a confirmation email containing a validation link. Only once the link has been clicked are those details added to your account. We do this to ensure that everyone who signs up has entered a valid email address and it was in fact them who signed up to hear from you in the first place.

Unsubscriptions

Including relevant and interesting content in your email campaigns means that people are less likely to unsubscribe from your mailing list. However you must bear in mind that some people will still choose to unsubscribe, no matter how great your campaigns are. In these cases you must respect their wishes and cease all contact or there can be consequences. A recent example of this came up in the news where Virgin Blue were fined over $100,000 for ignoring unsubcribe requests! Thankfully when someone clicks on a Sign-Up.to unsubscribe link in one of your campaigns, the system will automatically prevent you from emailing them again.

You may think that building a subscriber base from scratch is a daunting prospect, but it really will pay off and generate the best results in the long run. If you’re stuck for ideas on how to get people signing up, then check out this blog post for some great inspiration. Alternatively, drop us an email and we’ll be happy to advise further.

We’d love to hear what methods work for you to bring in new subscribers, please leave your comments in the box below!