Shop Talk: Tips for Confirming Email Sign-Ups
Q: "When signing up new subscribers, I used to force everyone to click a confirmation link in their emails but found that about 50 percent of users never clicked their confirmation link. What do you think about confirming email sign-ups?" — Brett Brewer, chief technology officer, Heels.com.
A: There are two very distinct schools of thought to this — the first being that all email sign-ups should be verified before they're added to your list, and the second being that it's difficult enough to get someone's email address the first time so you should never — as in not in a million years — ask them to verify it.
For the majority of folks (read: everyone who is NOT a spammer), I recommend the latter. Don't make the user confirm. If you do, you'll lose more than 40 percent to 60 percent of your sign-ups on average, sometimes more depending on your category and/or your target demographics.
It's important to note that there are some email service providers that insist you get verification. Before you sign up with an ESP, figure out what its policies are and how said policies impact deliverability. Also, find out whether it's an "all clients" policy or a "specific clients only" policy. Many ESPs recommend the verification process but don't insist on it.
DO send an immediate email thanking users for signing up for your emails. Thank them first, then set their expectations. Tell them what kinds of things they can expect to hear from you, remind them of your unique selling position and your benefits. Mention a few products or services you think they should look at, and even consider encouraging them to pass along the email to a friend or colleague they think would be interested in learning more about you.