How Good Can Your Confirm Rate Be?

Something a little different for Friday:

We get a lot of people asking what a “good” confirm rate is — out of everyone who signs up to your list, what proportion will open the confirm message and click on the link to activate their subscription to your list?

So, I thought I’d share some of our own results, from our own blog’s email subscribers.

Confirm Rate For Past 30 Days: 78.1%

Click For Full-Size ChartOver the past month, between three-quarters and four-fifths of addresses entered into a signup form for the blog confirmed.

At right is a chart showing the breakdown (active, unsubscribed, unconfirmed). (Click on it to get a full-size version.)

When you consider that right off the bat, 5-20% of addresses entered into web forms bounce (due to typos or to people intentionally entering invalid addresses), this is arguably pretty high.

Now, we have a signup form on every page of our blog. But this doesn’t mean addresses that sign up on each of those various pages are all equally likely to confirm. If we drill down to specific groups of subscribers, we may be able to gain even more insight into what affects our confirm rate.

But Is That Rate Even Higher For Certain Subscribers?

In our web form webinar, Marc and I suggest trying out signup forms at the end of blog posts to capitalize on visitors who are interested enough in a post to read to the end of it.

I wanted to see whether or not people signing up through that kind of form were more apt to confirm than others. I took as an example our recent article, “Six Ways to Screw Up A Customer Email” and looked at the subscribers who signed up through the form at the end of that post.

I found that over 86% of people signing up through that form confirmed!

I attribute this to the fact that after reading the article and finding the content compelling and relevant to their interests, they were especially likely to want to get other email marketing advice like that article. They’re especially engaged and so are more likely to confirm.

If You Think Our Confirm Rates Are High…

Let me throw a couple of ideas your way for increasing your own confirm rate, based on what we’re doing on this blog.

An Informed Audience: If you don’t make it 100% clear to people, before they sign up, what it is that they’re signing up for, then they’re going to make their own assumptions. If those assumptions are at all wrong, they’re not going to confirm.

Make it clear to people what they’re getting when they sign up.

Clear Instructions: Tell subscribers — better yet, show them — what they need to do to activate their subscription. Video on the thank-you page has worked well for us. So has telling subscribers to whitelist help@aweber.com, since that’s the address we send from.
Provide A Little Extra: On our Thank You page, we sweeten the deal by offering them a free copy of our Email Deliverability Guide in exchange for confirming. Now, our subscribers have yet another incentive to confirm!

What Has Worked Well For You?

What tactics have you used to maximize your confirm rate? Share them below!

By:
Justin Premick is the former Director of Educational Products at AWeber.

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17 Comments

  1. My question is what is your open rate percentage? As my list gets bigger, my open rate percent gets smaller. What is your open rate?

    10/19/2007 1:12 pm
  2. We offer a FREE SAMPLE PACKET with every person who signs up for our newsletter.

    10/19/2007 1:22 pm
  3. Murray

    When I sign up to receive email, I always confirm, unless it is a 2 page signup form You know the one – you type in your first name and email address, and then you are taken to the 2nd page where they want your life history. I even had one a few days ago, ask for my social security number. (It was for an affiliate program I was looking into.)So I hit the back button and got out – of course thay had already gotten my name and email address on the first page. When the email confirmation page arrived, I simply deleted it. I was no longer interested.

    There are times when a low signup percentage is the senders fault. If I have received an email from you, for the first time, and I think I might be interested in what you have to offer, I’m not going to give you any more personal information than you need to be able to send me the offer. I have had people want my home address, phone number, cell number, etc., just to send me a free report. All you need is my name and email address. If I like your offer, I will respond – if I don’t like your offer, I will respond.

    Some of these internet marketers have no idea what building trust is all about. They want to grab what they can up front, and then wonder why you don’t subscribe, or don’t jump right on what they are pushing.

    10/19/2007 1:31 pm
  4. Arnel,

    I don’t have long-term stats in front of me right now, but our avg. open rate for our more recent blog broadcasts (over the past month and a half) is 37.1%

    Maintaining high open rates is a challenge. I heard one marketer describe it as "running to stand still" – as your subscribers age (as more time passes since they signed up), their interest in your messages may wane, making them less likely to open. So it gets harder to get them to open your emails.

    For more on this, check out this oldie but goodie (2nd post we ever made on this blog):

    Open Rates By List Size.

    Murray,

    You bring up an interesting point — we’ve mentioned before in this space that asking for too much information will keep some people from signing up.

    I hadn’t considered the possibility that doing so might actually reduce the confirm rate for those who do fill out the form… probably because my thinking was that those who would fill out a longer form out would be particularly interested (why else would they fill out the whole form?) and thus likely to confirm. It’s possible that for some people, that may not be the case, for the reasons you highlighted.

    10/19/2007 2:47 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  5. These are interesting stats Justin. In looking at each email list you have available, what sort of metrics are the best to monitor? I think if you had to pick one metric, overall conversion rate is probably best – how many people saw the offer to sign up, how many confirmed -> % converted. That metric includes your confirm rate within it. It seems that even if you know you are missing out on confirmations, in practice there is little you can do? Aweber puts a standard text block in every confirmation message – do you test this for its effect on confirmation rate?

    10/19/2007 5:17 pm
  6. I used to take subscribers straight to the giveaway/inducement/report/video or whatever I was using to get them to sign up.

    I then started re-directing them to a web page containing a video of the email I was sending (to confirm) and on-screen instructions on how they should confirm subscription.

    After they have subscribed and ‘confirmed’ they then get their giveaway.

    I just checked my confirm rate for last 30 days, it is 67% but I think I can get it higher.

    10/20/2007 7:44 am
  7. Dear Justin,

    I am so glad that Amel asked you the question about the open rate.
    Yes, this has been very critical for Internet Marketing success.
    May be more that the number of new sign-ups in several cases.

    1. Build on your number of 37.1%, are you happy with the number or you
    would like to increase it? What/how you intend to increase that number, if you are planning to?

    2. How could we search through the Aweber system and delete some of the emails which have NOT "read" our email? Is that doable on the system. If it is NOT, I would like to add that on a Wish List of the new features that Aweber’s client would appreciate.

    Best regards

    10/21/2007 4:17 am
  8. I see the Double opt as a major stumbling block.

    First – It doesn’t fit my business model to offer them a free report (we are in retail sales of a cosumer based product).

    Second – I considered 2-stepping the sign-up, but AWeber stopped that -addind additional information to an account through a second form cannot be done. THIS WOULD WORK!

    Third – By importing my existing list, I WILL LOSE about 50%. They already opted in. asking them again will piss many of them off. It’s making me rethink AWeber as the right choice for our service.

    Double Opt is a double edged sword.

    10/22/2007 8:07 am
  9. Sira,

    1) I don’t think I’ll ever stop wanting to increase my open rate :) Given the frequency that we send and the type of information, though, I’m not displeased with that open rate.

    I think with this blog it’s all about what we write — do readers find it useful *and* compelling? So our open rate is directly tied to the quality of our posts, and we focus on writing better posts.

    2) Subscriber-specific open and click tracking isn’t something that’s available currently, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it show up on our feature list in the future… :)

    10/22/2007 8:37 am | Follow me on Twitter
  10. Glenn,

    I’m not sure there’s just one email metric that I would look at for your campaigns, because each one tells you something different.

    Stats on overall conversions (orders, referrals, phone calls or whatever else your ultimate goals for a subscriber may be) give you a broad view of how well your campaigns are doing.

    However, other metrics can show you how well individual parts of your messages are performing. For example, each of these stats can tell you something:

    * Open Rates
    * Click Throughs
    * Clicks-to-Opens (open % divided by click %)

    By identifying individual parts of your campaigns to improve, you can test and tweak your way to better overall conversions.

    Come to think of it, we should do a full post on this :)

    As far as getting more confirmations, I disagree with your suggestion that there’s nothing to be done.

    Our confirm rate wasn’t always this high — we’ve gotten it to where it is now by continuously evaluating our thank-you page (which in my opinion is more important than the wording of your confirm message, although both definitely matter) and our confirm message text. We’ll continue to make changes to try to get it higher.

    10/22/2007 9:26 am | Follow me on Twitter
  11. Andrew,

    In reading your comment and looking at your account, it seems like 2 separate issues are being brought up here:

    * You don’t feel confirmed opt-in is appropriate for your business

    * You want to capture subscribers through a 2-page/form process so that you can get their postal details (for sending a catalog) on a separate page from where you capture their email address, and haven’t yet been presented with a way to do so.

    I’ve sent you an email with some thoughts/suggestions on each of these issues. It’s a bit long for me to repost in its entirety, but I do want to address your comments on confirmed opt-in publicly.

    —–

    Your extra incentive need not be a report (though I think that approach can be applied successfully to many consumer products). It could just as easily be a coupon, or a free sample (or a voucher for a free sample).

    With respect to importing and confirming subscribers, I would be curious to see where you are getting that 50% figure. Confirm rates vary based on a number of factors, including how you go about confirming your subscribers. As you can see from the stats we cite here, it is possible to realize significantly higher confirm rates than you mention.

    A few things to keep in mind for migrating your subscribers:

    * Don’t just import them without any advance notice. Use your current email platform to let them know about the move/change/upgrade before it happens. Give them an approximate date for when they can expect to get the confirm message.

    * What’s in it for them? Offer an incentive. Reference the incentive in your pre-migration emails. Get people excited!

    * Help them identify the confirm message by showing them what it looks like – you can do this through text, pictures or even audio/video.

    Since you also communicate with your subscribers offline, I would also put references to your emails in those communications. If you send a letter/postcard/catalog, mention the emails in it and offer a URL where they can sign up for those.

    Ultimately, only you can decide if you should use AWeber. While I certainly hope that you continue to use our service, if having to confirm your subscribers when you migrate them is a deal-breaker for you, then perhaps we’re not a good fit for each other.

    Hope this helps!

    10/22/2007 11:24 am | Follow me on Twitter
  12. I increased my confirmation from about 50% to around 85% by adding a video message in the thank you page. Previously, it was re-directed to an affiliate review page that tried to sell them something, although I made money there but it killed my confirmation rates.

    I tweaked and removed the selling, added a simple video message in which I recorded myself asking them to click on their confirmation link to receive even more extra stuff.

    It worked beautifully.

    10/11/2008 4:57 am
  13. I love aweber, the simples of the email marketing and follow up that can do.
    Sorry for may bad english.
    best regards.

    5/31/2011 12:02 pm
  14. thank you AWEBER to signning me and to follow your instruction and the % what to send and help the business grow.thanks

    6/9/2011 9:52 am
  15. I never thought of putting a different subscription form on individual posts. Talk about targeting potential! I’m using Google Analytics to set up individual forms on my most popular posts and categories today! Awesome idea!

    1/10/2014 6:40 am