One Thing Marketers Aren’t Doing (That You Need To!)

So you use one of our apps, maybe Etsy, maybe PayPal to add people to our mailing list. (If you don’t, this is actually still a relevant idea; it’s just extremely important with apps involved.)

There’s one vital step in this process that a lot of marketers miss: sending an app-specific confirmation email that invites customers to join your list.

Why is an extremely customized confirmation message so important? Let me tell you a story.

Once Upon A Time, I Downloaded An iPad App

Everyone on the Internet should know by now that if you enter your email address somewhere, someone’s probably going to use it. Even if it means gleaning it from Facebook.

And that’s exactly what happened to me. The app asked me to create an account with the option to connect through Facebook. I chose that option because it’s quick and easy. The app asked to access my email address and Facebook “Likes.” The only options were “Accept” or “Cancel” – I couldn’t choose to withhold my email address. I trusted the app makers not to spam me and tapped “Accept.”

A week later, this was in my inbox:

No one mentioned a newsletter when I registered to use the app. Can you really assume that providing an email address to register an account is the same as saying, “Yes! Please put your newsletter in my inbox, too!”

The #1 rule of email marketing: You can never assume permission. The app makers have sent me three newsletters so far and I’ve clicked “spam” on all of them.

There’s one thing that could have saved them: sending a custom confirmation message inviting me to join their newsletter first.

What This Means For You

Unlike the app makers, whenever you use one of AWeber’s apps to add new customers to your mailing list, we send a confirmation message to them instead of instantly adding them to your list.

The key to getting people to opt in and not feel like their inbox is getting invaded is to customize your confirmation email to make it sound like an invitation.

Why It’s Effective

Inviting customers with a custom confirmation message works well for a number of reasons:

  • You’re not assuming that you have their permission, you’re clearly asking for their permission.
  • Your reason for emailing them is directly connected to the purchase so it doesn’t feel out of the blue.
  • You’re making your mailing list sound attractive too, so they’ll want to join.

Trust me. It’s a much better approach than an out-of-the-blue newsletter your customer wasn’t expecting.

Have you customized your confirmation email? What do you say to invite your customers and make them feel welcome?


  1. Randall Magwood

    6/4/2013 12:31 am

    I have a very simple confirmation email that I send out – to people who have to double confirm. I simply state in the subject line:

    “{!firstname}, confirm that you want the free ebook!”.

    And I’ve found that this works better than the standard/generic, “confirm your subscription” subject line.

  2. Sergio Felix

    6/4/2013 1:57 pm

    Hey Rebekah, that’s pretty neat!

    I actually just created a new list and instead of doing it all text based, I used a custom link with myself on video explaining what they need to do next and I also included written instructions for those peeps not using audio.

    So far it is working great! 😉


    PS. Randall, that was a nice tip man, thank you!

  3. Chris Sanchez

    6/4/2013 2:44 pm


    I love the “never assume permission” bit.

    Being in the real estate and lending industry for over 12 years, I’ve attended more networking (real person, live events) functions and meetings than I can count.

    Of course, this was before blogs and social media were popular. One of the biggest questions I now pose to people when I am introducing them to Permission-Based (legal) Email Marketing, is, “Does giving someone your business card at a networking event entitle them to add you to their email list?”

    Quite the controversial topic, as there are people on both sides of the line.

    In my early marketing and sales days, I believed that there was no such thing as subtlety in marketing. It turned out I was actually engaging in branding and outbound tactics versus the new-school approach to doing things the respectful, ethical, and legal way.

    I love that you’re including an invitation-type confirmation email. I actually use a similar approach with my existing personal and business relationships, some of whom I see on a weekly basis.

    Even though someone may be a good friend, and I may see him/her on a weekly basis, I would still send an individual personalized email to simply ask…

    “I’m building my database and email list to send out information on cool marketing and business-building stuff. Would it be okay to add you to my distribution?

    I’ve since received genuine Thank You’s for respecting the relationships by asking permission before making it into their inbox. Of course, I can now simply direct them to my sign-up box so they know they are truly “requesting” to be added.

    I choose to stay on the good side of the Can-Spam Act 🙂



  4. Stacie Walker

    6/5/2013 2:27 am

    Hi Rebekah,

    I totally agree with you about sending confirmation emails before sending anything to anyone via email or text. It’s shows respect and it’s one of the first steps to build trusting relationships. Thanks for this simple reminder of why I love using Aweber.


    Stacie Walker

  5. Kent

    6/5/2013 5:52 am

    Rebekah, you are definitely correct. Modern marketers just don’t know how to respect people. This is really a great practice.

  6. igor Griffiths

    6/7/2013 5:12 am

    Well hello Rebekah, on the confirmation request page I show them the subject line to look out for, each of mine start with a branding acronym which reduces the need to create killer subject lines.

    Like Randall, I keep it simple. Give them my name, remind them what they requested and then tell them to follow the default Aweber steps below.

    Its also important to remember that not everyone will confirm immediately, I have had people wait for up to 15 days before they got around to checking their inbox. Therefore if you do not have explicit permission to email them then all too often they won’t know who you are and you simply become just another spammer.

  7. Mark

    6/7/2013 6:57 am

    Great Post Rebekah! It is true to see that one should never assume that the buyers would like to receive the newsletters from you.Spice the email and ask them to subscribe.I am sure the response won’t disappoint you.

  8. Talk About Creative

    6/7/2013 8:23 pm

    Great article. I agree, no-one likes to be spammed so giving the client the choice about whether or not to be on your list is courteous.

  9. Sanju

    6/10/2013 1:21 pm

    Great Post…and I completely agree with you…Confirmation mails are great way to build good relations..

  10. Simon

    6/17/2013 7:22 am

    I have just passed on this suggestion to senior management regarding confirmation emails and truly this one is great for building brand image. And I believe brand image is all about “how is your relation with customers”