How to outsmart Mailchimp's double opt-in

Ahhhh … Mailchimp.

If you’re just getting started in online business or you're a new blogger, chances are you may be using Mailchimp as your email marketing tool. It’s an awesome option for entrepreneurs because it’s flexible, customizable, and best of all -- FREE for new businesses to use until you reach more than 2,000 subscribers. Mailchimp is honestly an awesome system! 

With that being said … the #1 complaint I hear from new business owners and bloggers using Mailchimp is about the dreaded “double opt-in” email. Just Google "Mailchimp double opt-in" and you'll find countless articles and forums where people are to turn it off (spoiler: you can't).

Wondering how to disable Mailchimp's double opt-in? This simple hack shows you how to outsmart the double opt-in so you can increase your email subscribers and grow your list!

Before we dive in, let me back up a minute. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me explain what the Mailchimp double opt-in is.

Opting in to someone’s email list typically entails handing over your email address on someone’s website via a form. You enter your email address and your name, and maybe a couple additional pieces of information and then BOOM, you’re subscribed. Maybe you get a free download for shelling out your e-mail, or a 10% off coupon, or some other which case, the freebie magically appears in your email inbox when you hit the Subscribe button.

For entrepreneurs who use Mailchimp as their email system, there’s an extra step in that process that’s called the double opt-in. Basically, in order to confirm that you want to subscribe to someone’s list, you receive a confirmation e-mail, and you won’t be on their email list unless you click a button in that email to confirm (aka opt-in for a 2nd time) that you want to receive emails from this person or company.

In some countries (but not the USA), the double opt-in is required by law. BUT, many business owners who operate out of a country where this is not required by law feel this is an unnecessary barrier to growing their email list. If the email goes to spam, or gets missed in the inbox, the potential subscriber is not opted in and does not end up on your list. Bummer.

Some email marketing systems (like ConvertKit, which is the system I use for Your First Shop) do not require a double opt-in, and you can automatically confirm subscribers without them having to take that second step and click a link/button in the double opt-in email. The kicker is that most of those tools also cost money. And if you’re just starting is the best price $-)

Sooooo with all that explained…let's dive in!

Disclaimer: there’s no great/easy way to completely disable the Mailchimp double opt-in. The only way to truly get around it is by custom coding some wizardry using Mailchimp's APIs. Unless you’re a developer or someone with massive amounts of time on their hands to play around with code all day, you’re probably looking for a simpler way to outsmart the double opt-in.

While this “trick” I’m sharing today doesn’t disable the double opt-in altogether, it’s an easy hack that will massively increase the likelihood that your subscribers will open that first e-mail and confirm their subscription. Open rates for that first email tend to be much higher than industry average open-rates, and if you give your subscribers a reason to open that first e-mail, they’ll be even MORE likely to click in!

That “reason” you're going to give your audience is some type of freebie.

The freebie be a content upgrade from a blog post, a free ecourse or ebook, a coupon to use in your store, or even a link to watch a video where you’re sharing some valuable information with your audience. The #1 thing you need to do FIRST is figure out what your freebie is going to be, and go ahead and create it. 

This does NOT need to be complicated … there are plenty of ideas out there for simple freebies you can put together that deliver a small win for your audience, that won’t take you a ton of time to create. 

If you’re looking for some ideas for a freebie you can offer your audience, sign up here and I'll send you EIGHT ideas for unique + value-packed freebies (that AREN’T ebooks or ecourses)!

The hack I’m going to show you today to outsmart Mailchimp’s double opt-in forces your user to click the opt-in confirmation button in order to download your freebie. Here’s a (really low-fi) example of how this would look to your subscriber: 

Here's an example email of the Mailchimp double opt-in email ... upgraded!

Notice in this image ^^ it doesn't have any scary language about opting in, confirming your subscription, unsubscribing at any time, etc. Just niiiiice and friendly language encouraging your audience to download their free cookie coupon :-)

Alright! Ready to set this up?!

Let’s break this down step-by-step. Remember ... there are a couple prerequisites for using this "hack": 

  1. You have a freebie
  2. You have somewhere to host your freebie online (this could be somewhere on your website, a Google Drive file link, a private YouTube video, etc. Where you decide to host it will depend on a variety of factors!)

Once you have ^^these prerequisites^^ satisfied, here’s what you do:

Step 1: Log into your Mailchimp account and click the “Lists” tab at the top of the page

Step 2: Click into the List that you want your subscribers to be added to when they sign up

Step 3: Click “Signup Forms” at the top of the page:

Step 4: Choose which type of form you want to set up … you can use this trick on ANY form type. It’s totally up to you which one you pick. In this example, I chose General Form.

Step 5: In the dropdown under “Forms and response emails”, choose “Opt-in confirmation email”

Step 6: Edit the subject line in your email to describe the freebie (“Here’s your coupon for 10% off!” “Here’s your free ebook download from Your First Shop!”)

Step 7: Write your email as normal … be sure to mention that they need to click the button to download your freebie!

Step 8: Once your email is written, scroll up and click the “Translate It” tab 

Step 9: Scroll down to change the default button text (it’s the last field above the Save button on this page) 

Change your button to a call to action to download your freebie (“Click here to download your coupon!” “Click here to view lesson one!”)

Click “Save Translation Settings”

We're almost done! Just a couple more steps...

Step 10: Scroll up and choose “Confirmation thank you page” from the “Forms and response emails” drop-down 

Step 11: There is a field on this page that lets you redirect subscribers to a different URL instead of showing the subscription confirmation thank-you page. Paste the link to your freebie here, and click Save.

Aaaaaand you’re done! Now, when new subscribers sign up to receive your freebie, they will get an email that is branded properly so they know they need to open it to get their freebie. When they open this email, they’ll know they need to click the button to download the freebie. AND, when they click the button, the freebie instantly downloads and they are subscribed to your list.

Magic, I tell ya!

Need some inspiration for what type of freebies you could offer your audience? Sign up here and I’ll send you eight unique + value-packed freebies you can create...that AREN’T ebooks or ecourses!

PS -- If you need a little more help or are still confused, I recorded a quick video that walks you through this process, step by step. Check that out right here: