Want Subscribers to Confirm? Get Creative!

Would you spend money on pay-per-click ads (i.e. Google Adwords) and not bother to optimize your landing page content?

What about the price of your product, or incentives you use to build urgency — they affect your conversion rate, so you probably test them, right?

Now… what about your confirm rate? If you could do something to influence the percentage of people who confirm their signups to your email campaign, you would… wouldn’t you?

I recently came across an AWeber user who was frustrated with his confirm rate. As I talked with him, I realized that a lot of you may be missing the same opportunities to get more of your website visitors to confirm.

A Quick Word on Confirm Rates

Confirm rates, while they’ll never be 100% (nor should they be), can actually get quite high. It’s not at all unreasonable to shoot for a confirm rate greater than 75%.

Think 75% sounds too low and you’re “losing subscribers?”

Consider that:

    • 5-20% of addresses entered in signup forms are invalid/typos right off the bat


Those aren’t subscribers lost — they were never subscribers in the first place.

On To The Example — Stuart and His Web 2.0 Videos

Getting subscribers to confirm is just like any other part of your marketing process — it can and should be tested/tweaked.

I was on Twitter the other day and saw a comment from AWeber user Stuart, who helps people learn to build web 2.0 applications through a series of video lessons.

He builds his list with an offer of sample videos, and he requires people to confirm to get the videos (a great idea, by the way). Still, he was wondering why his confirm rate wasn’t higher.

I got in touch with him and took a look at his signup process. Immediately, a few things he could do to get more subscribers to confirm jumped out at me.

Like many people, he simply hadn’t put enough attention into making his confirm process a good subscriber experience.

Note: This isn’t meant as an indictment of Stuart’s marketing abilities in any way. I’m actually a big fan of some of the things he’s doing on his signup page.

The fact of the matter is, we see a lot of people who are so busy optimizing the parts of their campaign that come before and after the confirmation:

  • Landing page design and offer
  • Message subject lines
  • Message body copy

that they simply breeze over their confirm process.

Recommendations To Stuart To Improve His Confirm Rate

Below is a link to view the email I sent Stuart, verbatim. That way, you can see exactly what types of tactics you can use to max out your own confirm rate:

Read The Suggestions

You’ll see that while many of them are relatively simple tactics, they’re exactly the sort of ideas that you may have overlooked in your own confirm process.

UPDATE: Stuart has reported in the comments that since implementing these tips, his confirm rate has already jumped from 45% to 65%

That’s a 44% increase in the number of active subscribers he’ll get from his current traffic and forms!

Who knows how much higher he can get it as he continues to test and tweak his confirm process…

How Does Your Confirm Process Look Lately?

How good are your thank you page and confirm email at getting subscribers to complete their signup?

As you read that email, did you see places where you could apply those concepts to your own email marketing campaign?

What are you doing to max out your confirm rate?

Share your ideas below so we can all benefit!

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  1. Tamala

    4/25/2008 9:37 am

    I just want to thank all of you for being so willing to share your thank you pages (and you Aaron for the scripts!). I thought I had a pretty good thank you page, but now I see plenty of room for improvements. You guys are all awesome.

    I am going to make the changes today and then I’s like you all to take a look at it and give me some constructive critisism.

    My site just went ‘live’ on 4/8/08 and of course I have all kinds of concerns over "Did I do it right? Does it look ok? Does it flow right? How can I improve it?".

    I am hoping you can all help me.

    I will post all info later after I tweak it today

  2. Don

    4/30/2008 6:21 am

    Hi from a total nexbie….

    I just "stumbled over" Justin’s blog on day, and have tracked it every so often ever since 🙂

    Anyway, I can see from the above comments that I have had the same hassle as Ryan, and I followed Kayleens advice to setting up my thank you page. (Thanks Kayleen for simplifying things! Much appreciated)

    I then entered the url of my uploaded page there where Kayleen described in the box next to the words "Thank You" and then put the same url in the box where it says "Confirmation Success Page", under List Settings / Verified Opt-in.

    BUT…. what link do I use/where do I find the link that confirms a

    I really don’t have a clue :/ Hope someone can help and if so, please keep it simple 😉

    Thanks in advance.

  3. John Rodriguez

    5/6/2008 1:31 pm


    Thanks again for the script, but I’ve run into an interesting issue. I’d set this up for one of our clients a week ago. Yesterday, I got an email from the client saying that they had confirmed their subscription but was still seeing the "confirm your email" box.

    They checked the cookie, and they still had the cookie value set to 2 — signed up but unconfirmed.

    I was speaking to the client today, and it turns out that he had signed up for his opt-in while at work, and then confirmed on his home computer.

    So just a heads up to everybody who’s using the cookie script. Although it’ll probably be a small percentage of users, some people will opt-in on one computer, then confirm on another. After they confirm, they’ll still see the reminder message if they go back to the site on the computer they used to sign up.

    This isn’t a huge deal though. If you followed Aaron’s instructions to the tee, the first cookie expires after 1 week anyway so the "confirmation reminder" will disappear later after the cookie expires…

  4. Aaron Abber

    5/6/2008 1:51 pm

    Thanks for the info John.

    Another way to get rid of the "confirm" message is to have them visit ANY download page. Pretty all my "subscribe then download" pages write the cookie to "1", so in most cases even people using multiple computers will eventually get the right cookie.

    But still, it’s not perfect.

    Another way to do it would be to save the submitted email along with its subscribe status in a MySQL file, but that has far more headaches (and privacy issues) than using a local cookie.

  5. Leslie

    5/31/2008 10:25 am

    This thread is great!

    The examples of thank you pages using nice big old screen shots with big fat arrows and so on are excellent. I’m currently using something simpler, but I’ll change it over asap. (Maybe I’m just a sucker for big fat red arrows! Seriously, though… if you SHOW people exactly what to DO, the chances are better that they will.)

    Another issue that came up for me recently and one I thought worth mentioning here is the actual message you send out to ask for the subscription.

    I set up a new list last week and set the "Please confirm" message (lazily, I guess) to "Please your subscription to…."

    This is on a survey. The old "Fill out the survey and I’ll send you a free copy of the product once it’s done" deal.

    Someone emailed me back (despite having a Thank You Page that explains what’s about to happen) saying (and I quote):

    >> I did not order a subscription.
    >> cancel it.
    >> i repeat cancel it.

    I responded thus:

    >> Hi there [name]
    >> Fear not. There is no subscription in the
    >> sense that you’re obviously thinking.
    >> There is nothing to buy and you will not
    >> be billed for anything.
    >> Clearly I need to change "Confirm your
    >> subscription" in my mailing list settings
    >> to "Confirm your request for information"
    >> or something like that.
    >> My records indicate that..

    And then I went on to remind them that they’d filled out the survey on my site and that I would send them a free copy of the product, but I needed a way to contact them in order to do so, etc.

    Clear lesson in that, methinks. Hope it’s useful to you and not just me raving away here! ;-P

    Also, re: Amber’s comment about people emailing you back and saying "I confirm" or "You have my permission" and so on… yep, that’s happened to me, too–despite having a thank you page that I think is pretty clear.

    If that sort of thing IS happening, though, it clearly cannot be as clear as I think. Which brings me back to the big fat red arrows.

    Thanks, Shelley, for the great example!



    @Christine. Everything you ever wanted to know about HTML, CSS, etc can be found (for free!) at http://www.w3schools.com

    @Aaron: Will test your script soon. Cheers!

  6. Codrut Turcanu

    6/2/2008 6:15 am

    Justin, you

  7. Justin Premick

    6/2/2008 8:10 am


    The confirm link is automatically inserted into your confirm message, and is unique for each subscriber. There’s no need or way for you to manually add it.

    When someone clicks the confirm link, they’ll be redirected through it (confirming their signup) to your Confirmation Success Page.


    Excellent point – the word "subscription" (like many others) carries different meanings for some people.

    I have talked to customers in the past who said that recipients in such-and-such country – I don’t recall which off the top of my head – associate "subscription" strictly with something they get on a paid-for basis. For some of us, it might be better to replace "subscription" with "free membership" or something of that nature.

  8.   AWeber Tip: How Many Landing Pages Do You Need? by Full Tilt Blogging.com

    6/17/2008 3:01 pm

    […] general list receives. But a month or two ago I noticed there was a discussion over at AWeber about getting people to confirm their email subscription. Because AWeber’s blog has lots of readers and I use a unique way of increasing confirms, I […]

  9. Chris Burbridge

    10/10/2008 12:05 am

    Here’s a great example – I just had to post this: http://www.getyourvideoonline.com/thankyou.html

  10. Margie Adamczyk

    8/3/2009 4:21 pm

    Lots of great ideas here BUT How do we do the HTML Confirm Page like you show on


    where can i get the code to duplicate this page with the audio.

  11. Chuck Bartok

    8/4/2009 10:56 am

    I am confused about this Statement.
    What are and where do we get

    ‘It grabs the GET from Aweber so the page calls them by name and displays the email they subscribed with."

  12. Newer

    6/15/2011 12:42 am

    I want details or email id of subscribers on subscription_confirmation.html page and also into anotheir page with download link. How can do that ?

  13. WLC

    11/19/2012 1:02 pm

    I’m getting back into the autoresponders and looking to increase conversions at the confirmation point. I had over 10,000 subscribers on my list previously but got overwhelmed with the email responses. I could’t keep up so I stopped the autoresponders altogether for a break. Well, wrong move as my sales slowed down tremendously. So I’m getting back into it soon and your blog post really helped. Going to take these tips into consideration.