Understanding the Double Opt-In Process

Sometimes, you might hear us talk about the double opt-in process. A subscriber who has opted in to your list has given you permission to email them. Double opt-in is a two step version of that process.

In step one, a new subscriber fills out your online signup form. In step two, they'll click a confirmation link in a follow-up email to be added to your MailChimp list.

In this article, you'll learn about the required double opt-in process, and how to use it to welcome new subscribers.  

How Double Opt-In Works

Image: a graphic depicting the two steps of the double opt-in process: the signup form, and the opt-in confirmation email.

Double Opt-In Benefits

With single opt-in, new subscribers fill out a signup form and are immediately added to a mailing list, even if their address is invalid or contains a typo. Single opt-in can clog your list with bad addresses, and possibly generate spam complaints from subscribers who don’t remember signing up.

Because single opt-in has such significant drawbacks, we built the double opt-in process into our signup forms. Double opt-in adds a layer of confirmation to your signup process before adding new subscribers to your list, and it has three main benefits compared to single opt-in.

  • Protection against spambots, email scams, and fake subscribers, which could increase your monthly billing rates.

  • Assurance of valid email addresses, confirmation that your subscribers want to hear from you, and an archived record of the subscriber’s consent.

  • Higher campaign open rates, and lower bounce and unsubscribe rates.

Customize the Double Opt-In Process

You can customize your double opt-in process in the Forms and response emails section of MailChimp’s Form Builder.

In the Form Builder, you’ll design your MailChimp signup form and your response emails like the opt-in confirmation email and the final welcome email. The form and the associated emails help guide your new subscribers through their double-opt in signup.

Think of these documents as your opportunity to onboard new subscribers and introduce them to your brand. You can add branded assets and custom text to your form, or set up a welcome email with a coupon or special offer for new subscribers.  

Here’s an overview of the double opt-in process.

  • Signup form
    The signup form is the first experience your potential subscribers will have with your brand. They'll fill out the form and click Subscribe to list. Image: a screenshot of a sample mailchimp signup form
  • Opt-in confirmation reCAPTCHA
    After the subscriber fills out your signup form, they'll need to check a reCAPTCHA box. This required step keeps spambots from adding fake data to your list, and can’t be turned off or edited.
    Image: a screenshot of a recaptcha
  • Signup thank you page
    This page tells your subscriber to check their email for a confirmation message. If you don't want us to show this page, redirect to a custom signup thank you page on your website.

  • Opt-in confirmation email
    The confirmation email contains a unique URL that your subscriber must click to be added to your list. Customize the text and design of the email to match your organization’s branding and style.

  • Confirmation thank you page
    When your new subscriber clicks the link in the confirmation email, this page will open in a new window to let them know they've successfully joined your list. You can also redirect to a custom confirmation page on your website.

  • Final welcome email
    This optional email is disabled by default, but you can enable a welcome email at any time. We’ll deliver this email after a subscriber confirms their subscription. Some people use this message to send their new subscribers a welcome message, or coupons or promo codes.   

Next Steps: Create Your Own Signup Form and Response Emails

Now that you know the basics of the double opt-in process, learn how to use our Form Builder to customize your signup form and double opt-in messaging.

Create Signup Forms and Response Emails

Enable or Disable the Final Welcome Email

To troubleshoot or learn more about single opt-in list growth methods, read our FAQ's.

Double Opt-In Signup Form FAQ's

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