For a long time, email marketers have known that opt-in email lists perform higher. But, let’s face it, using a soft opt-out method was easier. More convenient. Everyone was convinced that email marketing was seen as spam. No one would willingly opt-in to junk mail.  So most marketers have never created a double opt-in database.

Of course, successful email marketing isn’t junk mail. Relevant emails sent to the right people at the right time in their buying journey are, in fact, considered useful. Hence why email marketing is still adapting twenty years after its inception.

With that in mind, it’s important marketers move away from the ‘batch and blast’ times of the past. Best practice now dictates that email marketers must create effective opt-in email campaigns. Particularly with the GDPR coming into effect in May 2018, marketers dealing with EU citizen’s data will only be allowed to email market to opted-in individuals.

The question still remains for most marketers, how do you convince an audience that they should opt-in to your communications? The answer lies in sales. Just as sales are based on two parties participating in an exchange, marketing must do the same with their emails. Essentially, email marketing must now offer content of value in exchange for their contacts opt-in consent.

As against the grain as it will go to most marketers, not all content should be given away for free. Of course, “open” content such as blogs can be used to establish a reputation when it comes to high-quality, valuable content. However, when it comes to resource guides and whitepapers that provide vital information, marketing should be asking for opt-in details in exchange for this.

Waiting for the opt-in details before providing the content is the fastest way to build a genuine double opt-in database. Based on what B2B marketing firms are currently reporting, statistics confirm that these lists are performing higher too. B2B industry standard click-through for opt-in lists currently sit at 37%. Compared to the warm, engaged opt-out data currently producing a click-through rate of 26%, opt-in is clearly the way forward for the future of email marketing.

Of course, there are a number of other benefits when it comes to using a double opt-in process. Benefits that go beyond a reduction of unsubscribes and a lower bounce rate. By having a process that relies on individuals opting-in AND confirming their identities, you protect your own email marketing campaigns too. This includes protection against spam bots and fake subscribers.

As double opt-in becomes the norm for UK B2B marketers, we will see databases start to fill with valid email addresses. The current process sees marketing teams have to constantly run lists through an inbox checker to avoid the blacklisting email addresses hidden within purchased data. Proving once again that double opt-in is, indeed, the way forward.

Given the benefits, which significantly outweigh the main negative of a smaller audience, double opt-in is clearly best practice. It is no wonder that marketers who have already adopted this method are seeing higher campaign results across the board. Of course, a successful double opt-in audience relies on a robust lead nurturing strategy too. But for the marketer that is new to the double opt-in process, a simple exchange of information is the starting step to email marketing success.