List Building: How To Get Valid Email Addresses

In one of our recent “How to Get Started” webinars, one of the attendees asked how to ensure that he gets valid email addresses from his subscribers:

Is it a good idea to ask them to enter their email address twice to prevent typos?

It’s a great question, and not something most new to internet email marketing think about.

After all, you don’t want to get just any old email address, but rather an address where you can reach your subscriber (not to mention where they’ll see and read your emails).

So… is this a good idea?

Two Email Boxes Isn’t a Good Idea

I don’t feel that asking people to fill out their email address twice is a good idea for a few reasons:

  • Typically, for any signup form, about 5-20% of the submissions are invalid.

    However, this isn’t always because people mis-type their address — it also includes intentionally bogus data (people trying to get to your thank-you page without entering their address) and maliciously entered data (i.e., bots).

    Asking people to enter their address twice serves, at best, a small minority of your visitors.

  • Not everyone will be willing to take the time needed to enter their email address twice.

    By asking them to do so, you cut off a portion of your potential subscriber base.

  • Of the people who do fill out their address twice, many will simply copy-and-paste whatever they entered in the first email box into the second one.

    So while the entries will match, they may both be wrong.

  • Similarly, there’s no way to know, even if both entries match, that the address actually belongs to the person filling out your form.

How Do I Make Sure I’m Getting A Valid Email Address?

The best way to do this is to use Confirmed Opt-Inhave subscribers validate their addresses after they sign up.

In addition to being one of the email deliverability tips that we recommend to all businesses, Confirmed Opt-In has the advantage of making sure that the email addresses subscribers provide you are indeed valid ways to reach them.

Reduce Data Loss By Using Confirmed Opt-In

Get Valid Contact Information!Not only can you use Confirmed Opt-In to validate the addresses of subscribers who fill out your web forms accurately, you can also leverage it to “save” those subscribers you might potentially have lost due to typos. Here’s how:

On your Thank You page, when you inform your subscribers of the confirm email and show them how to confirm, point out to them that if they don’t get that email, it might be due to them mis-typing their email address — in which case they should return to your sign up page and enter their address again (carefully! :) ).

Other Ideas?

Do you take these measures to minimize lost subscribers? Do you do something else?

Share your thoughts and ideas below!