The Double Opt-in Process

Part of our responsibility as an email service provider (ESP) is to reduce spam. We require that all your subscribers sign up, or opt in, to receive your emails. To build your list, we strongly recommend that you use a MailChimp signup form, since the double-opt in process is built in. A double opt-in signup helps verify that you have permission to send mail to a subscriber.

In this article, you'll learn about the double opt-in process and its advantages.

How Double Opt-In Works

The MailChimp double opt-in process is a two-step process, where a subscriber fills out your signup form and receives an email with a link to confirm their subscription. MailChimp also includes some additional thank you and confirmation pages you can customize with your brand and messaging.

These are the available forms, confirmation pages, and emails which you can customize in the Form Builder. To set up double opt-in, activate a signup form and an opt-in confirmation email.

  • Signup Form
    The signup form is the first step in the double opt-in process. A potential subscriber fills out your signup form and clicks Subscribe. If there are any mistakes on the form, we'll show the Signup Form with Alerts version so they can correct the errors and resubmit the form.
  • Signup "Thank You" Page
    After the subscriber fills out your signup form, the signup "thank you" page tells them to check their email for a confirmation message. If you don't want to show this default page, you can redirect to a custom sign up "thank you" page instead.
  • Opt-In Confirmation Email
    Inside the confirmation email, the subscriber will see a link to confirm their subscription. To be added to your list, they must click the link. If they skip this step, they won't be added to your list. This step is required by MailChimp forms.
  • Confirmation "Thank You" Page
    After they click the link in the confirmation email, this page will appear to tell them they've successfully joined your list. Behind the scenes, we collect and store the subscriber's IP address and the date and time of confirmation in their subscriber profile. This information can be used later if you need to prove that someone opted in to your list.
  • Final "Welcome" Email
    This email is disabled by default, but you can enable a final welcome email at any time. The subscriber would receive this email after they've confirmed their subscription. Some users send new subscribers special information or files along with this message.

All of MailChimp's signup forms require the double opt-in process. To have more control over your opt-in process, try a third-party integration like Wufoo or host your own forms and use the MailChimp API to pass subscriber information back to your list.

If you import contacts from your CRM or other database to your MailChimp list, we trust that your contacts have opted in to your mailings. However, you should never import stale lists, purchased lists, or other noncompliant lists since they can cause compliance issues in your account.  

Benefits of Double Opt-In

Increased Engagement

The double opt-in method ensures that you target subscribers who really want to hear from you. These types of lists have much higher engagement levels over time, which means more opens and clicks and fewer bounces and unsubscribes.

Plus, since we send a confirmation email, each subscriber has to have a valid email address to be added to your list. There's no way to add a fake, non-existent, or old email address to your healthy list. That cuts down on bounces, which is good for engagement.

Protection from Scammers

Friends, foes, co-workers, and other people who don't directly manage a subscriber's email address won't be able to consent to receive messages from you, when they really don't speak on behalf of that person.

More important, double opt-in protects against malicious bots and spammers. If a bot enters an email address on your form with a typo, the confirmation email will bounce and the bad address won't be added to your list at all. Likewise, if a spammer signs up for your list and starts reporting your emails as spam, you'll have the confirmation IP address, time, and date saved in MailChimp, so you'll be able to prove that they confirmed interest in your list.

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