How do I create an opt-in confirmation mailing?

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I want to create a mailing that gives my recipients the option to confirm they still want to receive information from me so that I'm making the most of the audience I'm sending to. How do I do this?
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Posted 6 years ago

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Art Quanstrom, Deliverability and Compliance Lead

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Official Response
The opt-in confirmation mailing — you might’ve heard re-engagement mailing or permission pass — is a tool that email marketers can use to refocus their efforts, improving response rates, and developing a deeper, more trusted relationship with their subscribers. You’re removing subscribers who aren’t responding to your messages while also getting a detailed list of the people who are engaged and should be the foundation of your email marketing efforts.

There are a few things you need for a good opt-in confirmation mailing.

1) A great subject line.
2) Content that compels action from the recipients.
3) A segment of your audience to target.

You can find great information on subject lines elsewhere — like here and here in our blog — so we’ll stick to points 2 and 3.

Content that compels

Of course, you always want content that effectively conveys your message and engages your audience, creating a lasting impression that your emails are valuable to your readership. What you need in this case is more of the same, but with a call to action. You really want these people to confirm their subscription and remain on your list, but you also want them to feel like they can leave if they want to and that you’ll respect that.

1) Accentuate the value of your messages, whether that’s in the advice you dish out, or the exclusive information about events you host, or deals only available to your readers.
2) Set expectations for the type and frequency of future messages
3) Remember to include the opt-in confirmation URL. (Insert —> Personalization —> Choose "Opt-In Confirm URL")

1) Over incentivize, give away things like iPads or money, or coerce them into confirming their opt in.
2) Forget to give them a timeline. We like three business days.

Here’s an example of what your content might look like.

Find and target an audience segment

Much like your subject line, you can find a lot of great help already when it comes to searching for and segmenting out a desired group of recipients. When you’re sending an opt-in confirmation message, you’re primarily going to be looking for audience members who aren’t currently opening your emails and who have not been doing so for an extended period of time. For some segments, that period of time might be as short as six months. More often, you’ll be looking at people who have not opened an email in the last 12 months. Other segments that might need an opt-in confirmation message may be:

1) Lists collected through contests — if a person doesn’t win, they may not be interested anymore.
2) Lists of merged entities — if you buy another business, their subscribers should be notified and given an opportunity to alter their subscription.
3) Lists you collected 12-18 months ago, but haven’t used — keep in mind that lists older than 18 months are not allowed by Emma’s Terms of Use.

I have a great subject line, compelling content and an audience segment. Now what?

Once you have everything ready, it’s time to send your message. Once the mailing is sent, you’ll be waiting a few business days before you remove anyone who hasn’t confirmed. We’d recommend sending the opt-in confirmation mailing early in the week to avoid it stretching over the weekend, when your audience may be less attentive to your message. Below, you'll find a step-by-step explanation of the entire opt-in confirmation process described in this post.

Opt-in confirmation steps

1) Create a Segment containing the members whose subscription you’d like to re-confirm.
2) Craft content that calls these members to act (click the opt-in link) in order to continue receiving your mailings. Members who do not act will be removed within X days.
3) Send that mailing!
4) Create a Segment in your audience looking for members *in* your re-confirmation group who have not confirmed their subscription so you can remove them later.
5) After your prescribed re-opt-in window, open that search containing members that have not confirmed, select all members and opt them out. Delete this search.
6) Check out your original group. This is now a list of people who have confirmed that they think you’re pretty cool; rename it appropriately.