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Christopher Knight

Email Confirmation Rate Metrics - How To Make Them Accurate Again
By Christopher Knight

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What's your email confirmation rate? Does it matter any more? Today, I'm going to help you see some new truth in your confirmation rate metrics (assuming you already run a double opt-in list).

Your email confirmation rate is the number of people who confirm their subscriptions divided by the number of people who request a subscription and never confirm. Example: If 100 people confirm their subscriptions in a given time period and 400 requested, but did not confirm; your confirmation rate would be 25% (100 / 400).

The above formula works in a perfect world. As you know, we don't live in a perfect world and the above formula is now out-dated thanks to "Joe-Jobs" or spoof-spam. Until the day when spammers can no longer spoof emails, your email confirmation rates will always be skewed lower than they actually are... In other words, spoof-spam artificially inflates the number of people who request to join your list. This means you could be having hundreds to thousands of people that you perceive are trying to join your list but never confirm when in reality they are spoof'd into your email newsletter subscription process thanks to spammers.

3 Step Solution to Getting Accurate Confirmation Rates:

Step 1: Discontinue allowing subscriptions via email and only allow them via a web interface.

Step 2: Remove your join or subscribe email alias to prevent spoof-spam. I'd recommend turning it into an autoresponder that gives your web subscription address for those interested in signing up for your email newsletter.

Step 3: Have your webmaster help you find a way to track the number of subscription requests via your web interface in a given period (a month for example).

You can now compare the number of new subscriptions divided by the number of requests from your web subscription form in a given time period. This solution is not perfect, but it does tighten up your ability to get accurate confirmation rates.

Why is tracking confirmation rates important?

So that you can determine which marketing promotions help convert the most number of subscriber leads (those who request but don't convert). If you were able to improve your confirmation rate by only 5% in a given time period, that could result in hundreds or even thousands of new subscribers annually for your email newsletter. We all invest so much effort to acquire new subscribers, but few invest a little testing effort on improving conversion from the leads we already have received. :-)

Lastly, my Confirm Opt-In Rant: Lately I've noticed quite a few ezine publishers calling their ezine "confirm opt-in" or "double opt in" when it is really single opt in. Look, unless your subscription process sends a confirmation email that must be replied to or have a URL clicked on, you are still running a SINGLE opt in list in my book.

The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) doesn't help matters by further confusing the market by stating that "confirm opt-in" is really single opt in with an email sent to the person notifying them that they are now hostage of your email list unless they ask to be removed (even if they were joe-jobbed or spoof-spam forced onto your list). It's 2004 and unless you have an existing client relationship with a person, double opt-in is the standard to meet today.

This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur. Get your weekly dose of Email newsletter publishing, marketing, promotion, management, email-etiquette, email usability and deliverability tips by joining the free Ezine-Tips newsletter:

Ezine-Tips for September 28, 2004

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