Learn to Let Go

Bye...If I had a nickel for every time someone has asked to send a “reminder” email to unconfirmed subscribers… well, my 4th of July fireworks would already be paid for.

It’s a common temptation: email addresses are entered into your form (or imported), sent the confirmation message… and then…

Nothing. They sit there, pending. They haven’t confirmed. And it’s looking like they might not at all.

So the publisher starts thinking…

“What Can I Do to Get Them to Confirm?”

This is a great question to ask — before subscribers fill out your form, or even before they come to your website at all.

The trouble starts when you ask this question after someone submits your opt-in form. This can send you down a path that, while often well-intentioned, leads straight to email deliverability hell.

Al Iverson points out an example of how an organization that many would consider to be reputable — a veterans’ affairs site — have found their way out of the inbox and into the Spam folder by emailing people who didn’t complete their registration.

Yes, It’s an Extreme Case…

These guys sent him at least five requests to complete his registration over the course of just one month. I don’t think anyone who has ever asked us about sending a reminder had that in mind.

So how many reminders are too many?

Our view is, one “reminder” email is too many.

Simply put, too many problems arise when sending out email to unconfirmed subscribers, and while there’s a chance you might not encounter any negative consequences, the benefit of this tactic is far outweighed by the potential costs to your email deliverability (which is why we don’t send or permit the use of “reminders” with AWeber) and to your reputation as a business.

So How Do I Get People to Confirm?

Focus on people who are interested and engaged with your campaign.

Check out previous posts on our blog and Knowledge Base for ideas on how to maximize your confirm rate.

UPDATE: Or, watch the recorded video from a Live Seminar we held on Confirmed Opt-In

And for the people who still don’t confirm, let ‘em go. As Iverson says, “The whole point of confirming is to validate them as a user, counting them as engaged, knowing they want your mail.”

If they’re not confirming, they’re not engaged. Focus on the ones who are engaged rather than wracking your brain over how to get marginally engaged people to click a link.

More On This Topic:

Al Iverson’s Spam Resource: Know When to Quit!

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

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16 Comments

  1. I just set up some messages on aweber and added the form to my website. After turning on the requirement for verification, I filled out the form myself to see exactly what the user will experience.

    The confirmation email went to my junk mail folder!! So, I never saw it until much later.

    Any ideas to keep that from happening?

    7/3/2007 2:30 pm
  2. Chris,

    This could be for any of several reasons. For instance, if you’re using a free email address for the "From/Reply" address, this might be an issue. Or, there may be issues with the customization you made to the message.

    In order to get to the bottom of it, please feel free to get in touch with our support team. They’ll take a look at this particular case and should be able to give you some guidance.

    7/3/2007 2:49 pm
  3. Hi Chris,

    I tested your signup form & got the confirm message in my inbox using test addresses at Yahoo! and Hotmail.

    Looking at your account I see you signed up w/an email address @ your domain. I also see that the "from" address for that campaign is highly similar to the address you signed up with. Since much spam is designed to look like it’s coming from the same address it’s sent to (making it harder for you to identify who it’s coming from), your email program’s filters may have caught it based on that similarity.

    The first thing I’d try is signing up with a different email address (in fact, several addresses at various domains/ISPs – start with the major free webmail ones). Once you’ve identified at which one/s the message was filtered, address your message content. You might try editing the subject, leading paragraph and/or closing of that message.

    Hope this helps!

    7/3/2007 2:51 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  4. Good post. I have tried making my opt-in benefits as juicy as possible so that my new subscribers are virtually running to their inbox to hunt down the confirmation email while drooling over their keyboards.

    Wording the confirmation email carefully can also keep the spam score to a minimum.

    Another way to "remind" them is to have a "thanks but wait, check your email etc." page which is shown after the form is filled out.

    7/3/2007 4:32 pm
  5. The tutorials you’ve provided on encouraging subscribers to confirm their subscription have increased my newsletter’s opt-in rate. And it’s so simple to do once you read the instructions.

    I absolutely agree that those who don’t confirm are not the focus and should not be contacted. Engaging confirmed subscribers with great content they can’t wait to read is the main objective.

    7/3/2007 11:01 pm
  6. I recently (yesterday) setup a new list and only after the first 20 or so people subscribed I noticed that the opt-in confirmation setting was turned OFF! I guess the default is off until it is manually turned ON??

    In either case, I turned it ON since I don’t really want to send emails to people who aren’t 100% sure they want them (wastes both our time) but how do I verify the folks that already signed up???

    I don’t want to interrupt my auto responder with a "confirmation" email… it looks pretty amateur especially considering I send emails to these people already.

    Is there a way to manually change their status?

    7/20/2007 5:34 am
  7. Hi Pete,

    If they’re already active there’s not a function to confirm them (aside from removing and then re-adding/sending them the confirm message). Whether or not they’re marked as confirmed depends on whether or not they were sent and responded to that confirm message.

    I wouldn’t worry about it – as you’ve indicated you’re using confirmed opt-in going forward.

    7/20/2007 11:29 am | Follow me on Twitter
  8. Thanks Justin for the quick reply.

    I was afraid of that. I won’t sweat it though, it’s only a few people and they can remove themselves whenever (if) they want to.

    7/20/2007 1:00 pm
  9. I know this is an old thread, but I didn’t see this mentioned. I customized my "thank you" page to make sure it warned them to expect a confirmation message, to check their junk mail/spam folder if they didn’t receive it within a few minutes, and that if they wanted to receive my emails, they needed to click to confirm.

    10/1/2007 12:59 am
  10. Carl,

    That’s absolutely something you should do. Keeping subscribers informed will help to raise your confirm rates.

    10/1/2007 7:38 am | Follow me on Twitter
  11. I have have an "Important" message on my thank you page so that my subscribers can see this to check their email.

    The biggest problem, though, is that most people do not read the thank you page and quite a few email providers block the confirmation email from even getting to the subscriber.

    sbcglobal, aol, msn, netzero, and a few others are notorious for this. Unfortunately, as much as we can discourange subscriberts from using these free email accounts, we cannot control who they use as an email provider.

    They may very well be genuinely interested in our offer or newsletter, but if they can’t get the confirmation email, then we both lose out, us and the new subscriber.

    11/4/2007 11:19 am
  12. Hi Patty,

    I’m not sure how you’re reaching that conclusion, but I can tell you that we have users with subscribers at all major ISPs who are confirming. Were ISPs trying to block confirm messages this would not be possible.

    ISPs actively encourage the use of Confirmed Opt-In, and it would not be in their best interest to impede its use.

    11/5/2007 10:10 am | Follow me on Twitter
  13. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

    5/10/2011 5:02 pm
  14. Jeanette

    Hi, I am new to aweber and am importing contacts that I have been emailing for years with another email provider, but now I am required to ask them to opt in??? This doesn’t quite make sense to me. Is there a way to import these contacts without the confirmed opt in?

    3/14/2014 11:23 pm
  15. Hi Jeanette. Please contact our Customer Solutions team to discuss the possibility of importing your list without confirmed opt-in. https://www.aweber.com/contact-us.htm

    3/17/2014 7:57 am