Double Opt-in for SMS Marketing

Published on August 9, 2017

What Is Double Opt-in?

Double opt-in is a method of confirming someone’s wish to join a marketing list. It gives businesses complete confidence in a subscriber’s consent and helps protect against spam complaints.

Have you ever signed up for something online and then had to go digging through your email for a confirmation link? That was a double opt-in.

SMS marketing double opt-ins work in much the same way. Just with text messages, not emails. 🙂

"Double opt-in is a method of confirming someone’s wish to join a marketing list. It gives businesses complete confidence in a subscriber’s consent and helps protect against spam complaints."

How Double Opt-in Works

Let’s explain by way of example.

Say you’re setting up a text messaging campaign for your new housefly extermination company, Venus McFlyTrappers, Inc.

You write up a sign designed for maximum attention-grabbing, and then you display it on the side of your company truck with a dedicated text short code:

“Looking for fast, affordable housefly exterminators? Text VENUSMCFLYTRAPPERS to 555888 for 20% off your first service!”

Soon enough, someone living in a house full of flies walks by your truck and sees your sign. Noticing the generous 20% discount, and being none too happy about their shared housing situation, they text the keyword VENUSMCFLYTRAPPERS to 555888 and await your reply.

At this point, you’ve technically got all the consent you need—a single opt-in—so you could just reply with a simple “Welcome to our list!” text.

However, you’ve set up your SMS marketing campaign with a double opt-in, so House of Flies Guy gets this message instead:

“Reply Y or YES to confirm that you want to receive text messages from Venus McFlyTrappers.”

House of Flies Guy must now provide unambiguous confirmation that it’s a-okay for you to send him text messages. Without that “Y” or “YES” reply, he won’t be able to join your list.

Once he confirms, you can send out your compliant welcome text:

“Venus McFlyTrappers alerts! Show this text for 20% off service. Msg&data rates may apply. 4msgs/month. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel.”

Why Bother with Double Opt-in?

Double opt-in isn’t required by law, which is why it’s not a requirement inside your SimpleTexting account. It is, however, highly recommended.

But wait, can’t you build a subscriber list faster with single opt-in? Well, yes.

And isn’t it true that “up to 20% of initial subscribers will not complete the final confirmation step” in double opt-in? Also yes, according to Campaign Monitor.

So why bother with double opt-in?

Because, believe it or not, there’s a risk that single opt-in subscribers might claim they didn’t realize that texting you would give you permission to text them back.

There’s also the risk that somebody else, whether in error or in ill will, dropped the wrong cellphone number into a web form … and the person you’re sending texts to never actually signed up.

With a double opt-in, however, it’s pretty hard for people to claim ignorance or foul play.

Why is any of this important for businesses and organizations to know? Because businesses and organizations bear the responsibility to prove consent, not subscribers.

So even though single opt-in meets industry standards and legal requirements for SMS marketing, it’s not enough to keep people from taking you to court for spam—and even coming out on top.

Lesson: Use double opt-in if you want to play it safe with your new housefly extermination company.

Benefits of Double Opt-in

  • Cleaner subscriber list—Double opt-in is a quality filter for your list. It’s pretty much impossible for someone to sign up without realizing what they’re doing
  • Better engagement—Subscribers opt in not once, but twice. This indicates genuine interest, so up go the open rates, the clicks, the conversions … and your sender reputation, too
  • Unambiguous proof—If anyone complains about your messages, all you have to do is pull up your double opt-in records and show them exactly where they said “YES”

If you’re interested in using double opt-in, SimpleTexting can help you set it up.

Once you’ve registered an account, just contact our support wizards at [email protected]. They’ll get your keywords and your import process all squared away for those extra confirmation messages.

You’ll be enjoying the benefits of super safe text messaging in less time than it takes to put the candy back inside a smashed piñata! 😄

By the way, double opt-in is already provided as an option in MailChimp and Web Sign-Up Forms—just in case you’d like to see how it works before rolling it out to your whole account. 🙂