How We Improved Our Newsletter Subscription Process

Last November I wrote about The Forgotten Pages of Email Marketing, those lonely and neglected pages in your email processes that haven’t been updated in two years or more or—gasp!—haven’t been altered from the default template set by the vendor. Unless you routinely subscribe to, unsubscribe from, forward, etc. your emails or manually check those pages, these lapses are difficult to detect—that is, until they’re pointed out to you by one of your subscribers. That’s what happened to us recently, courtesy of Benjamin Fitts of CustomCardGuy.com, who emailed me saying:

“I’ve been enjoying your blogs and plan to join the eec later this week. The funny thing was as I signed up for your email from the emailexperience.org blog I realized you guys are committing a faux pas! When subscribing I get a nice page that tells me I should be expecting a confirmation from you shortly. The problem is that when I get the confirmation email and click the link, I get the exact same message letting me know I should be receiving a confirmation email shortly. ;) I’m sure this is just a mistake on your part but I wanted you to know how silly it seems for an organization helping us with email standards who can’t get the basics right.”

We immediately checked things out…and he was dead right. Our sign-up confirmation page and subscription confirmation page for our confirmed opt-in process were the same, which was definitely confusing. Because of the duplication we also missed out on the opportunity to confirm that they were subscribed and to tell them to expect a welcome email. While reviewing the process, we decided to make a few other changes as well.

Hoping to inspire you to review your own subscription processes, here are the improvements that we made:

1. Sign-up Confirmation Page. After signing up for our newsletter, you’re taken to a sign-up confirmation page. It originally said:

“A confirmation email has been sent to your inbox from enews@emailexperience.org. To confirm your subscription please click on the link enclosed in that email.”

We made some minor tweaks to make it clear more quickly that the subscriber needs to take an additional action. The new wording is:

“To confirm your subscription, please click on the link in the confirmation email that we just sent to you from enews@emailexperience.org. Thank you.”

2. Subscription Confirmation Email. The only change we made to this email, which is triggered by a sign up, was to change the subject from “New subscription to Email Experience Council Email List” to “Please confirm your subscription to the Email Experience Council newsletter”. The previous subject line seemed like it was intended for the email administrator, not a new subscriber. Plus, the new subject line again reinforces the message that an additional action is needed to complete the subscription process.

3. Subscription Confirmation Page. When you confirm your subscription by clicking on the link in the subscription confirmation email, you’re taken to the subscription confirmation page. This was the element that our previous process lacked. Here’s the wording we devised for this page:

“Thank you for subscribing to our weekly newsletter. A detailed welcome email has been sent to you from enews@emailexperience.org. Please add that address to your address book to ensure that you receive future emails in a timely fashion. Thanks and welcome to the Email Experience Council community.”

It thanks them for subscribing, tells them to expect a welcome email and asks that they whitelist us—very concise and to the point.

4. Welcome Email. We had redesigned the body copy of our welcome email many months ago, so that copy was fine. However, we hadn’t scrutinized the subject line enough. It said, “Welcome to The Email Experience Council,” which was very misleading because while all eec members are eec subscribers, all subscribers are not members. So we changed that subject line to “Welcome to the Email Experience Council community!” which echoed the final line of the subscription confirmation page.

Thanks again, Ben, for helping us do a better job of practicing what we preach.

—Chad White of the Email Experience Council

4 thoughts on “How We Improved Our Newsletter Subscription Process

  1. Hi Chad,

    Thanks for the plug. I appreciate it.

    I am glad to see the EEC has fixed up their newsletter subscription. The EEC is someone I "look to for advice" and I’m glad to see you have put some of your own advice into action.

    – Ben

  2. Chad –

    Thanks for highlighting a process that we should all be revisiting on a regular basis. While painful to hear from a client/competitor/fellow marketer, it’s better to get it right.

    dj

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