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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FAQ

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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.

Do:
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")

Don’t:
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.
(Edited)
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Black Ball Ferry Line

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The thing I still don't understand is how to actually create the opt-in link for people to click on.  Does Emma have a specific code for this?
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Katie Lewis, Official Rep

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Hi there! Yep, there’s a personalization code you’ll insert. When in your mailing, go to Insert —> Personalization —> Choose "Opt-In Confirm URL," and let me know if you have any questions from there!
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Black Ball Ferry Line

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Hi, sorry, maybe I'm just really dense, but I'm in my mailing right now, and I don't see an insert function anywhere. There is a column of things on the left side that I can drag and drop into the mailing, nothing about insert. Along the top there is the title of the mailing, a save button, preview button, send test button, review & send button, html view drop down, and then buttons for columns, backdrop, template, footer, etc. Cannot find insert anywhere. Thanks!
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Katie Lewis, Official Rep

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You aren’t dense at all; you just need to click inside a text box first. :) You’ll place your cursor in that box where you want to insert the code, and that makes the font formatting toolbar appear. You’ll spot the Insert button in that toolbar.
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Black Ball Ferry Line

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Thank you so much Katie, I have it now!
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Katie Lewis, Official Rep

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Great!
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StellaBOS

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I'm still having trouble finding the code. When I click the INSERT button on the tool bar I see Personalization, but it just enters this (for name personalization): [% member:first_name default="" %]

I don't see anything under Insert —> Personalization —> Choose "Opt-In Confirm URL"

Please advise. Thank you
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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Hi StellaBOS -- It might help to see what that menu looks like in your account!

I made a copy of your Opt-in Confirmation mailing and clicked to insert personalization. As you experienced, the editor defaults to the first option in the list. While that default personalization tag is still highlighted, you can hop up to the toolbar to click on the dropdown menu that should list First Name to choose the Opt-In Confirm URL (see below).



Let me know if you have any more trouble finding that in your mailing!
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StellaBOS

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Found it! Thanks so much.
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StellaBOS

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Ok. So now that it's embedded in the email template - what does this exactly do? I am testing it, but it is just bringing up a hyperlink but it's written out in the email - see below.
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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We're getting there! :) First, I'd hide that personalization tag behind the OPT IN text, so that instead of seeing the whole URL spelled out like that, your readers will see the words OPT IN hyperlinked ... like this: 



Next, you want to be sure you're testing to an address that is already in your audience, so that the personalization tag can pull from the contact record. I added myself to your audience and sent a test. I see the email linked (like above) and am directed to this lovely page when I click OPT IN:



That should do the trick! You're welcome to use my copy where I've made those changes. :)
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StellaBOS

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Thank you. How do I "hide" the personalization behind the text "OPT IN" - I tried doing that in the normal link way, but it didn't work. Thanks.
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Emily Hollingsworth, Alum

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It's coming through correctly for me using this link in your email:



Can you show me what you're seeing in your inbox? Have you confirmed that you're sending to an address that is in your audience? Thanks!
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StellaBOS

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got it!
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Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking

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I'm having trouble understanding how to follow these steps to finish the process I've started:
4) Create a search 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.

In order to send the mailing, I created a segment with the list of folks I needed to confirm opt in, does that segment need to be converted to a group? If so how? I created the new group, but am not seeing how to export a segment to a group. Is a 'search' above an advanced segment? Sorry, I thought I could figure it out, but am kind of lost!
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Katie Lewis, Official Rep

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Sorry for this confusion! Since Art's post, we've renamed "searches" to "segments," so you're on the right track.

You don't need to convert the segment to a group in order to send to them; you can send to a segment just as you can send to a group. When on the Review & Send page, click the icon next to Choose recipients, and then click the Segments tab:

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Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking

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I've already sent the mailing using the segment I created, so now I'm just trying to figure out how to keep those who've opted in and delete those who didn't respond. Thanks!
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Katie Lewis, Official Rep

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It looks like you've created a segment with this criteria:



Since segments are dynamic, this will have refreshed with the latest info. That means that everyone in this segment has not opened a mailing within your designated timeframe.

Open up this segment, and choose all contacts in the dropdown menu:



Click change their status, and choose Opt out, then Change.



This will take all contacts who haven't opened within your timeframe and change their status from Active to Opt Out. Now in the original list you sent to, these folks will be in Opt Out status, and those who didn't meet your segment's criteria will still be Active.
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Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking

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Great I was hoping since the segment is dynamic that it would auto update with only the folks I needed to opt out.

I've gone ahead and done this and changed the status of about 1500 people, though I don't see any changes in my main group size (where all these contacts essentially came from), either in active or opt out numbers. I'm guessing it must take a little while for the opt out status to remove folks from my main group?
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Katie Lewis, Official Rep

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Yep, you're right! Since the segment is dynamic, it updates each time you open it.

Since you've changed the status of a good amount of contacts, it may take a bit for the number on the tabs to catch up. :)
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Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking

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Hey Katie, Just checking back in since my main list size hasn't changed with active users and I'm hoping to get with billing this week to re assess my plan and I'd like to  send an email out first thing tomorrow, how can I check in to make sure that the opt-outs were truly opted out of all lists?
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Katie Lewis, Official Rep

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The numbers that appear on a group's tabs are less important than what you see listed, as the tabs need to catch up with the data. Are you seeing the members that you moved from Active to Opt Out appear listed when you click on the Opt Out tab? I'm not sure which audience group you're referencing, but when I look at your segment from earlier, there's a slew of email addresses now in the Opt Out bucket.
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Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking

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My main list is the General Interest - Hip Trick group and now I now see that the numbers have changed. When I messaged a few minutes earlier there were still only 174 opt outs for that group, but now it looks accurate. Thanks so much.
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Stone Soup Creative

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Where/what is the opt-in link? I have the opt-out link, but opt-in is elusive...
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Grey Stepp, Support Team Manager

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Hey there!  You find those by clicking into a text block... Clicking INSERT from the text edit toolbar, then PERSONALIZATION.  Then from the Personalization dropdown on the left, choose OPT-IN CONFIRM URL .   This will give you a bit of code that looks like this:

 [% optin_confirm_url %]

You can copy that and put it under a button or an image if you'd like.  

Here are some visuals as to where you can find it:







Let me know if you have any questions!

- G
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Department of State

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I need help accomplishing this process. I sent out an opt-in email to a specific contact group we have. Now, I need to build a segment that pulls back anyone who did or did not opt-in after a certain amount of days. But I'm not sure how to accomplish this after playing around with the segment settings. Can someone help?
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Grey Stepp, Support Team Manager

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Hi there!   I recorded a quick video of myself creating the segment of folks who DID NOT confirm opt-in. You can check it out here: http://recordit.co/EKEJFoNpf7  .

The keys are:
1. Start with the group that you sent to
2. Then add in "Contact Information" > CONFIRM OPT-IN  >  "Is Empty"  

That will create folks who HAVE NOT confirmed opt-in.  

What gets populated in that field is a date, so if you want to create a segment of folks who DID confirm opt-in, you would either use the "NOT EMPTY" or dial in a time-frame that you're looking for.  

Let me know if you need any more help with this! 

- Grey 
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Department of State

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This is great. Thank you.