What is an opt-in list?


ActiveCampaign requires your contact list to be an opt-in list. This means all your contacts must have willingly given you their email address, knowing they would be added to your list and receive direct campaigns from you. Usually, contacts sign up using an online subscription form.

A "double opt-in list," which is preferred, means that every person who signed up to be on your email list was also subsequently sent an individual "confirmation" email, which asked them one more time to confirm that they did indeed want their email address to be added to your list. This improves the quality of your list as it ensures that no individual was added to your list against their will.

Is my list an opt-in list?

That depends on how you obtained your list and the process contacts went through when they gave you their email address.

  • Contacts who signed up using a subscription form on my website
    Yes. If you have a subscription form on your website, which clearly states, "fill out this form to sign up to our email newsletter," (for example) so that individuals are aware that they are signing up for an email list, this is an opt-in list. Our software provides tools that allow you to create subscription forms and send opt-in confirmation emails to ensure that the list is "double opt-in" as well.
  • Customers who checked a box saying "please add me to your email list" when submitting a form on my website
    Yes. Any customers of yours who submit a form on your website (such as when signing up for an account or placing an order), and select an option saying "yes, add me to your email list" (for example) when filling out this form, are considered opted-in. However, it must be explicitly stated that they agree to receive your newsletter and email marketing campaigns. It is also best to send a follow-up confirmation email to ensure they qualify as "double opt-in" when using this method to ensure they did not check that box by accident.
  • Lists obtained from business cards at trade shows
    No. This is not an opt-in list. For more information, please read our article regarding Trade Show lists.
  • Customers who have purchased products or services from me
    Maybe. Usually, this is not an opt-in list. The only instance in which this would be considered an opt-in list would be if a contact checked a box when they originally gave you their email address, stating, "yes, I would like to subscribe to your email list," as mentioned above. However, if your list is less than one year old (meaning all of the email addresses on your list belong to customers who purchased from you under one year ago), we allow you to send them to them in our hosted system.
  • Members on my website or forum
    No. Again, this is not an opt-in list unless these individuals checked a "Yes, I would like to subscribe to your email list" box when signing up.
  • My Facebook friends (or friends on other social networking sites)
    No. This is not an opt-in list.
  • Contacts in my email address book
    No. This is not an opt-in list.
  • Purchased or rented lists
    No. Purchased lists are not considered opt-in under any circumstances and are prohibited in our hosted system.

* For more examples of lists you can and cannot use, please view our List Examples page.

If we have any reason to believe that your list is not an opt-in list, we will ask you to verify the URL of where contacts subscribed to your list or even the IP address and timestamp of when your contacts signed up. Please be aware that this is in your best interest - we are trying to protect the network's deliverability, ensuring that everyone uses clean, opted-in lists. 

My list is not opted-in. How do I opt-in my contacts?

In this situation, starting over and building a new list is best. Trying to send opt-in messages to an existing list that must be obtained appropriately can be difficult and time-consuming. It will likely result in a huge loss of email addresses regardless. However, if you'd like to try to do so before using our service, we offer some instructions and tips in our How to Opt-in Previously-Collected Contacts article.

Note that all email lists must be opt-in lists before being added to your account. Using ActiveCampaign to send initial opt-in emails to a list that was not appropriately collected is strictly prohibited.

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