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A Ridiculously Simple Tip to Increase Newsletter Subscriptions

Credit: slackorama

Credit: slackorama

Ten years ago, you could build a blog entirely on search engine traffic. Bargaineering, and subsequently me and my family, feasted on great Google rankings that persisted for years.

Today, many bloggers feast on great social media channels like Pinterest. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but one thing is certain – you can’t trust your business in the hands of someone else.

When your business relies on another business, that’s a huge risk.

Fortunately, there’s a way to turn the unpredictable traffic sources (Google, social media) into a predictable one (email). If you haven’t yet started with email, you should, these five tips on how to get more email subscribers will help.

Today’s tip is ridiculously simple and resulted in a double digit increase in the number of newsletter subscribers.

Email Unconfirmed Subscribers

It’s that simple.

I took a quick peek at the Microblogger email list.

In the last 30 days, we’ve added about three hundred subscribers and of those, 83 were unconfirmed.

That’s over 25%.

A quarter of the people who have asked to join my email list are not getting the confirmation email and clicking on the link!

I checked another site I had, Scotch Addict, and the number was not much different (40%!). My numbers are relatively small, so the percentages might be skewed, but I asked around and the lowest I found were around 10-12%. Some were as high as 40-50%. No one had under 10% unconfirmed.

Why not go single opt-in? I think double opt-in improves the quality of your list because it confirms the person really does want your emails and can get them. All things equal, you want a larger list. But double opt-in is a safer bet. (that said, there’s nothing inherently wrong with single opt-in either)

Is This Legal?

I’m not a lawyer but I believe it is, per CAN-SPAM rules. I only have the email address because the visitor put it into an opt-in box, so they’ve already initiated a relationship and now I’m just following up. I only email once.

I Wait Two Days, Then I Email

I do a search with two parameters:

  • Confirmed? is Not Confirmed
  • Date Added date is before [Two days ago]

Why two days? I looked at my verification times:
verification-times

95% of subscribers confirmed within 2 days. Interestingly enough, a little over 80% confirmed within 45 minutes. Another 15% would confirm over the next 47 hours and 15 minutes. After that, once you excluded people I emailed using this strategy, we had maybe a handful of stragglers.

The reality is that if they don’t confirm within 2 days, they’re likely not going to and either the email is in spam, it never made it, or they deleted it because they didn’t know it was from me.

In practice, I email on Fridays and simply pull the email addresses added since the last blast’s time frame.

Results: ~23% subscription rate

It’s arguably a small sample size but about a quarter of the people I email will re-submit their information on the new post and finally get on the list. On some blasts I get only 10%.

Some of them told me that their emails were going into spam. My guess was that the word addict was tripping up spam filters (since taking out addict, I saw an increase in confirmation percentages on their own).

What do I send?

In the beginning, when only a handful of emails trickled in each day, I could email them individually from my Gmail account. Nowadays, that’s not feasible. I use a bulk email sender, SendBlaster (free), to create a new list each week and send out my reconfirmation email, which looks like this:

Hi,
You recently signed up to receive emails from Scotch Addict but it appears you didn’t confirm, says the people who are in charge of that sort of thing. Did you change your mind or did the email not make it through? Here’s a post that might help troubleshoot: (and a way to resubmit your subscription request):
http://scotchaddict.com/unconfirmed

Thanks!

That’s it!

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Jim

In 2005, I founded a personal finance blog (Bargaineering.com) that became successful enough that I quit my career as a software developer in the defense industry. It is my goal to share everything I learned so that you can do the same - build an online business that let's you pursue your passion.

2 responses to “A Ridiculously Simple Tip to Increase Newsletter Subscriptions”

  1. J. Money says:

    great idea indeed, I like that one!

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