Confirmed Opt-In: Help Your Subscribers Confirm

I took a support call recently where the customer was concerned about using Confirmed Opt-In with her subscribers. She remarked at one point:

“My subscribers aren’t web-savvy, and they don’t know what double opt-in means.”

She brings up a good point: language that is understood among one group of people (in this example, senders of opt-in email) may not be understood by another group (such as your subscribers).

When telling your subscribers that they need to click a link in the confirm email, your wording will affect your confirm rate.

The challenge — to explain to your subscribers what happens after they submit their email address in your signup form — sounds daunting, but it’s really quite manageable.

Get In Your Subscribers’ Shoes

Let’s assume that I’m your subscriber. I’ve just signed up on your site. You’ve now sent me your confirm email.

What is it, really, that I need to do?

  • Check my email
  • Open a message from you
  • Click on a link in it

Seems simple enough. But that doesn’t mean that’s the best way to explain it.

Think about it this way: as your subscriber, what do I achieve by doing this?

  • I activate my subscription, validate my download request, or complete my e-course registration
  • I confirm (to myself as well as you) that I can receive your emails (and that I want to)

(There are many possible goals that I may have by clicking that link; these are only a few examples)

Yes, you are sending them the confirm email to ensure that only people who requested your information receive it, and to prevent yourself from sending spam. However, your subscribers may or may not care about that.

Focus on what they do care about, whether it’s a newsletter, a download, an e-course… or whatever else it may be. Word your thank-you page, and your confirm email, so that they address your subscribers’ goals.

Take Advantage of Technology

While your subscribers may read and understand The Wall Street Journal from end-to-end, they’re not going to read your thank-you page as attentively as they do that or any newspaper. This isn’t any sort of fault on your part; people simply don’t read and absorb Web pages the same way they do print media.

The flipside of this is that you’re not bound by the same restrictions that print media is — you can add any of the following to your thank-you page to tell your subscribers about your confirm email:

  • color pictures (such as one of the message in their inbox)
  • bold, italicized and underlined text (in any color/s you want)
  • audio and/or video (telling and/or showing them what they need to do)

There’s not one “perfect” way to make a thank-you page or word a confirm email. It’s a process that should be tested and improved regularly.

What I hope is that my comments here get you to take a look at your own subscribe and confirm processes… maybe what’s clear to you isn’t as clear as it could be for your subscribers.

21 Comments

  1. Paul Petulengro

    8/31/2006 8:35 am

    Good point!
    I have many similar problems with my site as my client profile is 77% female Age: 58+ so have very little computer knowledge and as I’m new to this and not much better this Blog has been most helpful to me
    Thanks

  2. Carrie

    8/31/2006 9:43 am

    Wow- I never thought about this! I am going to edit my “thank you” pages and tell visitors *exactly* what they need to do and WHY.
    I am enjoying and learning from this blog. Thank you for starting it.

  3. www.auctionintelligence.com

    9/8/2006 7:26 am

    Thanks for the ongoing posts. We’ll bernincorporating this suggestion as werncomplete the major update to our ‘AuctionrnSearch Software’ website. Regards, Tony

  4. Peter Koning

    9/14/2006 11:00 am

    Good point and great reminder on why we need to think in terms of our visitors and benefits to them, not us.

  5. The Time Diva

    9/14/2006 2:04 pm

    I recently began adding an image of what the confirmtion message will look like in their email and point to the link they need to click.

    You can see a sample here http://www.fastebusiness.com/confirm/ and I also considering adding audio instructions as well…

    Anything that will our subscribers understand why they take that extra optin step and how to do is beneficial.

    Great reminder.

    Ann

  6. www.GreatSuccessTips.com

    1/9/2007 7:10 am

    This is a great advice in motivating our potential subscriber all the way through subscription and making the process easy and fun for them.

    This is a great tips. Thanks guys

  7. » List Size Vs. List Quality - AWeber Blog

    1/9/2007 10:03 am

    […] Of course, there are things you can do to maximize your confirmation rate. But the fear that any address may not confirm seems to shut off the creativity of even some of the most innovative marketers. […]

  8. Pedro Avalos

    1/14/2007 1:42 pm

    Yes, it happened to me with on my current subscriber.

    The first time she got my verified opt-in email she forwarded it ot me asking why she had to click on the confirmation link.

    Anybody could think she is a dummy, but she is not, she is a very powerful lawyer in her country but a really, really newbie in internet.

    So I had to kindly explanied to her how she was going to receive the
    benefits of being in my list on a regular basis.

    Even so, she didn’t click on the confirmation link.

    So, because we were already exchanging emails regular by regular means,
    I told her again to click on the confirmation link and if she didn’t like my installments there will be always one link to unsubscribe at the bottom of each email.

    She finally did it and now she is a very good subscriber and customer.

    Interesting, ah!

  9. » How to Tie a Download to Your Opt-In Form - AWeber Blog

    1/25/2007 9:21 am

    […] You may want to refer to our pointers on helping subscribers verify. […]

  10. » Case Study: Marketing an Entertainment Newsletter - AWeber Blog

    2/15/2007 4:13 pm

    […] (Click to See Full-Size)This page provided plenty of information, but not all of that information was necessarily important to someone filling out the web form. A lot of it talked about whitelisting and spam folders

  11. Bob Gatchel

    6/28/2007 10:17 pm

    I think the most important and effective way to raise your opt ins and have fewer "unverifieds" is to REALLY give clear instructions on your opt in forms etc. And I mean REALLY clear. Painfully clear!

    We have one site where we say you have to opt in. You WILL get an email. You MUST click on the verification and ONLY THEN will you get your download. And in that one case we also show them what the sample email will be AND advise them to watch for the verifcation and the address. YES IT IS A PAIN to say that over and over, but our experience showed that we literally cut our "unverified" by 30 percent.

  12. Stacey Reiman

    7/3/2007 7:15 pm

    The audio is a great idea. I don’t know if it’s effective yet, but here’s my updated confirm page w/ a short audio blurb using a small flash player.

    http://www.musicalspanish.com/download/_confirm

  13. G

    6/3/2008 2:01 pm

    I’m not sure if someone from AWeber will get this. But I have a suggestion.

    Why AWeber can’t offer a default page about
    "how to verify with following email services"

    And give us a link to point to where a small pop up browser window would appear which explains how to do it in all available email services ?

    Just like AWeber has their default "thank you" page and "already subscribed" page, this would be a default "How To Verify" page.

    Stupid idea ?

    I had this idea when I made my last thank you page and copy and past ALL the information form here. Tedious task.

    So why not having a link for a default AWeber How To page ? The small browser window could even have as option a affiliate link to AWeber included – How’s about that.

    Would make things easier and leave space to offer some at our customized thank you pages.

  14. Justin Premick

    6/4/2008 9:00 am

    G,

    I’m afraid I don’t see the value of a generic "how to confirm" page.

    First of all, the:

    * "from" address
    * confirm message subject
    * confirm message body

    will be different for each of our customers. So any generic "how to confirm" page would not have your specific from line/subject/body

    If you intend to show a subscriber exactly what to look for in his/her inbox to confirm, why would you want to give them generic instructions that don’t tell them those things?

    Secondly, wouldn’t you prefer to keep your new subscribers on your website, instead of sending them to a third-party one (ours) to see those instructions?

    Seems to me that the increased confirm rate you may see by helping visitors identify your specific confirm email in their inbox is well worth the time it would take you to copy/paste those instructions and insert the specific details of your confirm message.

  15. Guido Mueller

    6/4/2008 9:46 am

    Justin

    First, great to get an answer. I’m positive surprised that you guy’s control all posts. Great.

    Perhaps I didn’t express myself well.

    It’s not the entire page which I was talking about. This will remain unique for each of us, just like it was.

    I’m talking about a link to a small size pop up browser window with all the White-list information’s which I have to put now manually in each and every thank you page I build.

    So I thought if you could provide a link where a visitor at MY thank you page can click to get all white-list info’s, in stead of that I have to make a mile long thank you page with all those info’s on it, would simplify the work of all webmaster a lot.

    As example take the Google webmaster page, where you click on a link to solve a problem. A new, half page browser window pop’s up with a pre-written explanation and at the end you can quote if this was helpful or not. Get the Info and close the window, that’s it.

    This idea could be incorporated as a AWeber client feature.

    So again, it’s NOT the thank you page I’m talking about, only the white list info’s which are always the same, time consuming to copy + paste and make my thank you page a mile long page.

    Take a look into this, that’s easy to make and would help a lot.

  16. Justin Premick

    6/4/2008 10:50 am

    Guido,

    Thanks for the clarification. I’ll look into whether it’s feasible to incorporate something like that into the web form wizard.

  17. Why Don’t People Just Unsubscribe? - Inbox Ideas: Email Marketing Tips by AWeber

    9/10/2008 1:44 pm

    […] Clearly explain on your Thank-You page what happens next, what the subscriber should expect, and what s/he needs to do to complete the signup process. And […]

  18. Patrick

    9/30/2008 5:14 pm

    I think one obvious point not mentioned is – Aweber could optimize their confirmation emails to make it more user friendly and more obvious what the user is supposed to do. And call out the confirmation link more.

  19. John Wilson

    4/23/2009 8:43 am

    Lots of signups are made using email accounts that the subscriber uses for JUNK. That is, they don’t normally check that email box. Only when they signup and expect to have to confirm that the email address they signup with is valid and that they own it.

    Unless you deliver the confirmation request quickly and unless they check it quickly, they may never confirm and are therefor lost to you.

    But, of course, if they are signing up with such account, they may never read your messages because they don’t pay much attention to anything that they receive in such an email account.

    None the less, you can’t be sure when someone is using yahoomail or Gmail or Hotmail as their primary address, so you should try to get all subscribers confirmed.

    Explaining to the subscriber how easy it is to unsubscribe may reduce their reluctance to use their primary email address.

    Maybe we could produce a script to help walk the subscriber through the process. We know by their email address that they signup with whether or not they are using Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail and could tailor their instructions based on that. This would represent a LOT of subscribers. If they were using their own domain name, they might be using an email client to download email to thier computer and we would not know which client??

    Just thinking out loud.

  20. adamtaha

    6/3/2009 8:42 am

    Great tip. Brillaint.

    I’m going to really shape the thank you page a bit more geared towards what they want and not just getting to confirm the email.

    Maybe also mention the benefits again on thank you page so they know its geared towards their needs when they confirm.

    Thanks for the great article and ideas on this thread. Love aweber. They bring out value all time!

  21. Elaine Mingus

    5/18/2014 11:41 pm

    I have some problems with email opt ins. Even with people I know in real life forget to opt in. What is the best method (word count wise) to ensure my opt in email doesn’t get caught in spam?