Email Marketing: The Unconfirmed Subscribers Opportunity

Have you ever been poking around in your email marketing provider’s dashboard and found the list of Unconfirmed Subscribers and wondered what to do about it?

Well, if you found it you probably just clicked on “Send Confirmation Again” without giving it much thought.

But there’s a better way…

First though…

Why is there an Unconfirmed Subscribers List?

One of the great things about a double-opt in email list is that when someone joins they have to really join.

One of the drawbacks is that sometimes when people join… they don’t go all the way and don’t end-up actually joining your list.

And when that happens, they end up on the Unconfirmed Subscribers list.

Now, there are two main reasons people will end-up on your Unconfirmed Subscribers list:

  1. They use a fake email to try to get access to whatever you’re giving away as a bribe to join your list
  2. Your confirmation email went to their spam folder

There are several other reasons that have to do with deliverability and managing expectations, but those are probably the main ones.

The first one we can’t do much about except be happy that in a double-opt situation those fake / disposable addresses don’t end up on your list. The system worked. Don’t look at those as missed opportunities.

The second one we can try to help by using the page immediately after they sign-up that says “check your inbox for a confirmation email” more effectively. Even then, though, some people will slip through the cracks.

When they do, they end up on this list…

…but that doesn’t mean they didn’t want to join.

Finding the Unconfirmed Subscribers List

While other email marketing providers will show you unconfirmed subscribers, I use GetResponse (they’re also a client AND that’s an affiliate link), and this is where to find it and what it looks like.

In the GetResponse Dashboard, you can get to it from the Contacts menu.

Unconfirmed Subscribers List Menu Item

When you click that you’ll go to a screen that looks like this:

Unconfirmed Subscribers List in GetResponse

Okay, so you found it, but what to do with all those email addresses.

First… get the idea that you’ll copy them and simply import them to your list out of your head.

While I’m not sure that would even work (I haven’t tried it), I do know that would be stupid.

Some of these are fake addresses and none of them have completed the opt-in process.

While I said above that they “want to join” – and I stand by that – we need to let them continue the opt-in process.

It’s a Process…

But before we click the “send confirmation again” link on the screen above, we’ll do some other stuff with those email addresses:

1. Install Rapportive and login to your various social networks through the plugin.

2. Copy everything in the Unconfirmed Subscribers table (all the rows and columns) and paste into a spreadsheet.

On a Mac in Chrome I was able to paste into a Google Docs spreadsheet without doing anything else.

In iWork Numbers it didn’t work so I had to paste into TextWrangler and manipulate the text a bit. Then I could paste.

Why do this step? It allows you to then select just the email addresses column.

If you only have a few email addresses, copy and paste by hand.

3. Copy them into the To: field of a new email draft BUT DO NOT SEND!!!!

4. Hover over each address with your mouse and see what Rapportive finds for each one. If no social media accounts show up, it is very likely not a real email address. At the very least it’s not their primary email address and you can decide if you care if they’re on your list or not. I don’t so I just delete that email from the list.

For my purposes, I’m looking for a LinkedIn profile… If Rapportive shows me one, I click “connect” and replace their default message:

“ showed me your LinkedIn profile in my email. I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

with this message, replacing Joe with their name…

“Hi Joe… since you share my affinity for SaaS, I thought we should connect on LinkedIn, too”

5. Then I go back to GetResponse and send a reminder to validate their email address. You can either do this immediately, wait a day after you send the LinkedIn invite, or only send the reminder if they accept your connection invitation.

I suggest you check your Unconfirmed Subscribers list and go through this process a few times a week at first.

Theoretically as you improve your “Thank You” page and manage expectations more appropriately, the number of people that end-up on this list will diminish significantly over time.

Why do all of this?

Because you got them to opt-in initially (which means you got ’em to your site, convinced them to join, etc.) and you want them to actually be on your list so you can continue to nurture them.

You’ll also want to do this because it seems to work really well.

When I do this, I know they’ll probably see the LinkedIn message from me and it will either remind them that they tried to subscribe and they’ll go look for the that in their Spam folder…

… or they’ll see the LinkedIn request and then the reminder to confirm and they’ll do it.

Or they won’t opt-in to the email list, but they’ll still connect with me on LinkedIn, which means they’re going to see the links I post to my LinkedIn account, so it’s a step in the right direction.

In my experience, at least 50% confirm the list and connect with me on LinkedIn… though your mileage may vary.

Definitely worth the minimal effort involved.


PS: I go over other ways to use Email Pre-Targeting in my “Get More Customers” course if you’re interested.

PPSS: Schedule a call with me via Clarity.

About Lincoln Murphy

I am a Customer Success Consultant focused on Customer Success-driven Growth. I wrote the Customer Success book which you can buy at Amazon. If you need help applying Customer Success-driven Growth principles in your company or would like me to speak at your event, please contact me. Also, connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.


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