Opt-in Form

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 Opt-in Form

What is an opt-in form?

An opt-in form is a document that people complete to “opt in” to something, such as allowing a company to email them or letting their images be used in a publication.

Most modern opt-in forms are hosted online, where they help companies remain in compliance with laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

These forms are used on a daily basis by many customer-facing organizations that need permission from their audience to reach out.

By getting permission from people before using their data or contacting them, organizations can build trust with their customer base. 

More importantly, privacy laws throughout the world are becoming more strict, so opt-in forms may be legally required for some actions. 

Who needs to use opt-in forms?

With the GDPR in place and other laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act growing stricter, opt-in forms are essential for many organizations.

If a website wants to use cookies to track a user, the GDPR requires sites operating in the European Union to get that user’s permission first. 

Since websites today easily operate across international borders, opt-in forms for cookies have become essentially mandatory for large organizations.

Anyone who visits these sites will be presented with a small pop-up or banner that asks what cookies they want to accept.

Other opt-in options are found in email sign-up documents, letting people decide what types of emails they are willing to receive.

What are the different types of opt-in forms?

Depending on what permission you need, there are several types of opt-in samples you can use for your organization, like:

  • Cookie tracking opt-ins: These forms are typically hosted on the webpage that is going to use the cookies. They appear as small pop-ups or banners, and they’re generally created with opt-in form HTML code. 
  • Email communication opt-ins: When you need to confirm if someone wants to receive certain emails, an email opt-in sign-up sheet is a useful tool. These forms can be their own page or they can work as an element of a larger page, similar to cookie tracking opt-ins. 
  • Information use opt-ins: The most complicated opt-in form examples are documents asking about specific types of information use. These are generally on their own page, since they may need to include elements like disclaimers and fields for additional information. 

What should an opt-in form include?

The best opt-in forms are generally quite simple, since they don’t require much from the user. All they need to do is confirm whether the reader agrees to certain actions. 

Therefore, opt-in forms may contain just two things:

  • ‌A description of the action or service the reader may opt in to
  • ‌A checkbox stating that they would like to opt in

‌More complex opt-in forms can include additional information such as:

  • ‌The user’s name and email
  • ‌Disclaimers about how their information will be used

‌They can also include multiple permissions in the same document, so the reader doesn’t need to fill out too many forms. 

In total, these elements ensure that your audience can provide informed consent and agree to your use of their information. 

Is an opt-in form the same as a sign-up form?

Sign-up forms are a more complex type of opt-in form. A basic opt-in option can be as simple as a disclaimer with a checkbox stating “I Agree” or something to that effect.

A sign-up form collects additional information, like the person’s name and contact information. This allows the recipient of the sign-up form to create a profile for that person in their database on a long-term basis, instead of just once. 

When someone fills out a sign-up form, it’s clear that they intend to opt in and receive communication about whatever they’re signing up for.

Many of these forms will also include checkboxes to allow people to agree to additional communications as well. 

Should you use a template to create an opt-in form?

If your business often uses opt-in forms, you will likely benefit from using a template to create them. By working from a form generator, you guarantee that you include all the required sections and collect all the information you need.

This is the simplest method to create a custom opt-in form without starting from scratch whenever you need a new version. As a result, you’ll save your organization time and money. 

Download the free opt-in template form from PandaDoc to get started today. It’s fully customizable, and you can use it as the basis of all your opt-in forms going forward.