Thank You: Another Critical Opportunity to Create Subscriber Expectations

Thank YouThis post is #2 in a three-part series on expectations. Read part 1 here.

Your thank you page is a critical stage in your email marketing because it links two types of interactions your subscribers have with you.

Immediately before they sign up, they’re interacting with you on your website, with their web browser. They’re 100% in charge of the situation. They can leave at any time and you’ll never even know who they were.

After they subscribe, however, they’ve agreed to interact with your business in a whole new way you pushing information to them when you choose), in a whole new environment (their email software instead of just their web browser).

To effectively transition new subscribers between those interactions, good email marketers set expectations using the thank you page.

Aren’t Subscribers’ Expectations Already Set Before They Sign Up?

If you’ve properly set expectations in your opt-in form, you might feel like your work is done.

After all, you’ve already told them what they’ll get and how often – and you obviously sold them on your emails because they signed up. There aren’t any other expectations to manage.


Why You Must Create and Reinforce Expectations Right After The Opt-In

Here’s the trouble with thinking that expectations are all set before the opt-in: you’re assuming that the minute they subscribe, all of your new readers are immediately…

  • being transported to their email inboxes to read your first email.
  • adding your “from” email address to their address books.
  • doing whatever you want/need them to do with that first email.

Upon signing up to your list, new subscribers have a few questions that you need to answer right away:

  • “What just happened?” (Did that form thing-a-ma-jig do what I wanted it to? Am I subscribed?)
  • “What happens next?” (When do I get my first email? Who’s it coming from? What’s it going to look like?)
  • “What do I do now?” (Do I just sit back and wait? Do I have to do anything else?)

Answer These Questions With Your Thank You Page.

This first “post-subscribe” experience is a chance to reaffirm subscribers’ decision to share their email addresses with you.

Spell things out for them! Tell them:

  • What Just Happened (they have subscribed successfully)
  • What’s Happening Next (that you’re sending them an email – what the subject line is – what from name and email address it’s coming from – and what’s inside the email)
  • What They Should Do (go to their inbox, open that email, possibly click on something in it—like a confirm link—and also add your email address to their address books)

P.S. Remember to thank them for subscribing! 🙂

Creating expectations on your thank you page is especially important because they help your new subscriber “connect the dots” between the time they spent on your website and the emails they’ll receive from you days/weeks/months later.

How do YOU create expectations on your thank you page?

Share your ideas below!


  1. Michael

    5/21/2009 9:33 am

    Dear Justin,

    First and foremost I must thank you for sending these valuable informational Trainings my way.

    On your today’s topic ‘Thank You: Another Critical Opportunity to Create Subscriber Expectations’ is very timely, it makes me remember my Yoruba (a major tribe in Nigeria) adage that says ‘If you can Think Well then you can Thank well’. In relationship to your today’s topic it will mean that if online marketers can think through to their profit then they must’nt forget ‘Thank You’ as another critical opportunity to creat subscribers expectations.

    Thanks for this Golden Nugget. Looking forward to your lessons.


  2. Mark Brownlow

    5/21/2009 11:05 am

    One thing I see people do in this context is put up a screenshot of the confirmation email that’s on its way, so people will better recognize it in their inbox.

    I like that idea, but wonder what the reaction is when it arrives and looks different (because of, say, image blocking)…?

  3. Justin Premick

    5/21/2009 12:12 pm


    We go so far as to use video on our own thank you pages to show the confirm email – but the idea and potential "gotchas" are the same.

    You definitely want to make sure that the expectations you set are expectations you can actually meet.

    An email that doesn’t come from who the subscriber thought it would, or doesn’t look the way they expected, isn’t going to be as recognizable as it could have been – and you have to wonder about the longer-term effects of subscribers experiencing such disconnects.

    (Note to all: the confirm emails in AWeber are plain text, so image blocking wouldn’t come into play here. But a good point to think about regardless – make sure that you know what your confirm email will be like so you can accurately represent it on your thank you page!)

  4. Kelly

    5/21/2009 12:37 pm

    This post is so on time. It really confirmed for me that I was on the right track. I have all the elements on my thank you / confirmation page.
    However, I went a step further. One thing that I always remember is that a person’s name is the sweetest sound to "them". So, I figured I would personalize the thank you page with their name. It does a number of things…

    1. Surprises them when they see their name
    2. Triggers their reticular activator and commands their attention
    3. Compels them to read the page even if they are just looking for how many times their name appears
    4. Show them "EXACTLY" what the email subject line will look like
    5. Shows that you are professional
    6. Perks their curiosity to wonder how you did that
    7. Makes them wonder what all is on your sales page, so they immediately go check the email and click the link inside

    I think this method coupled with the element of video is most powerful and effective.

    I think that if you set it up like this you can’t go wrong. You have to see it to see how effective it really is. I will be adding some other elements and changing it up a bit to entice them with the benefits a little more on the thank you page.

    It’s just as important to get it right as it is to get your sales page right because they will never even see your sales page if your thank you page don’t entice them to click the link in the email. Right? So, by all means we should take this timely advice from Justin and run with it the best we can. Thanks for the perfect advice. It couldn’t have been more timely!

  5. Janet S.

    5/23/2009 12:09 pm

    I know I modified it in the beginning – which was last week or so but now I can’t find it.

    WHERE is the thank you page so I can double check it flows with my other verbage?




    should be a drop down that says "thank you for subscribing" then maybe more people would actual change it if they saw it occasionally.

    thanks in advance!

  6. Justin Premick

    5/26/2009 8:36 am


    You set the thank you page for each web form individually.

    You can view/edit all of your web forms at the "Web Forms" tab in your account.

  7. Suzanne

    6/4/2009 10:47 am

    How about a template that you make available in our follow-up messages? That would be great!