Preventing Perils of Offline opt-ins!

Category : Email Marketing

Email list building is one of the most important email marketing activities and in fact; the pillar on which your entire email campaign relies. Marketers come up with the most bizarre or sometimes prodigious opt-in gates; where not all fall under list building best practices. Offline and online opt-ins are the two very wide opt-in streams, with its own pros & cons!! This post reflects on the perils of offline opt-ins and divine suggestions to save your email list while on the slippery way!

What is an offline opt-in?

Opt-ins collected through offline sources or any customer touch points such as conferences, seminars, trade publications, exhibitions, store checkouts, etc. would fall under offline opt-ins. Since most of these touch points are not always technologically equipped, the manual ways of subscriber registrations are used; which includes but is not limited to, filling out handwritten forms, dropping email addresses in a fish bowl or dictating them for the dedicated personnel to note them down. Errors are bound to happen!!

Perils of offline opt-ins:

1. Transcription gone wrong!

Requesting email addresses verbally from the customers/visitors is likely to fetch errors. Even in the event of requesting them to fill out email address and other details through forms can lead to errors due to an illegible hand, scribbled writing and other erroneous transcribe reasons.


  • Instead of handing out forms provide your visitors with a touch screen device where they can digitally enter their details to avoid any chances of errors.
  • You can also request them to opt-in by sending in their email ID as a text message from their own device, at ease.
  • Also, visual verifications from those willing to subscribe can be obtained through customer facing screens at the time of store checkout.
  • Use of common back end tools that facilitate correcting common misspelling errors, etc. can be of help. However, it is safe to have a confirmation sign-up link email immediately sent for any offline opt-in as that would be a retainable proof of opt-in, as required by law. The confirmation email may also contain the details about where and when did the subscriber sign up offline, to help them remember.

2. Strewing immediate rewards in exchange of email addresses!

Many stores offer immediate discounts and coupons in exchange of email addresses or subscriptions. Customers in order to avail such discounts giveaway false or made-up addresses, tainting your email list and there by inviting increased bounce rates or hitting spam traps.


  • If you really want to please your customers you may choose to offer them discount on their next purchase. This would solve the problem of submitting false email addresses up to a considerable extent, leaving only the genuine subscribers in your email list database.
  • Attract subscribers by explaining them benefits of the subscription instead of luring them through coupons.
  • It is advisable for marketers to not entitle store executives with a prescribed quota of email addresses to fetch, as this may lead them to submit wrong or fake addresses for fulfillment of the targets.

3. Giving away dubious reasons to fetch email addresses!

Sometimes offline opt-ins are invited through mysterious ways of asking for it, making customers all the more dubious about why is it being asked for.


  • A clear ask with something like- “would you like us to email you about upcoming deals & offers?” would always fetch you more opt-ins as compared to misleading requests.
  • As stated above, stress on the benefits of subscribing by putting forth the value addition that comes with the subscription.
  • At the most, use transactional emails for opt-ins. E.g.: Ask for a sign-up in the sales receipt email that you send your customers. Of course, not every sales receipt you send them via email should have a sign-up form.

These pitfalls can really make you lose some very genuinely interested subscribers and thus need to be taken care of.  Shoppers at your stores, patrons at your theatres, and attendees of your seminar can turn out to be great subscribers. The challenge lies in accumulating email addresses from these environments with utmost process details. Let us know about the difficulties you have faced at offline opt-ins, in the comments below. 🙂

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Kevin is the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks, one of the fastest-growing email design and coding companies. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage, share insights with fellow marketers, and enjoys sharing his thoughts on the latest email marketing best practices at EmailMonks Blog.

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