Email Marketing Guidelines for Opting People Into Your List

email marketing guidelines

One of the most important email marketing guidelines you’ll encounter is how to confirm subscribers to your email list, and there’s always time to change your mind.

When you think of email marketing guidelines, you probably think of headlines, subject lines, calls to action, and button colors.

At Mequoda, we currently operate more than a dozen membership marketing systems in partnership with some of the country’s leading content brands including Prime Publishing, Yankee Publishing, and Cabot Heritage Corporation. Testing email elements is one of the many duties we perform on behalf of our publishing partners when building and growing their niche membership websites. We also maintain a robust independent research operation that identifies and documents membership marketing best practices being implemented at mentor organizations that include more than 100 of America’s top content producers.

We’ve found that one of the most important decisions you make when you own and maintain an email list is how the users should opt into your list—either as Auto Confirm, Confirm on Open (COO), or Confirm on Click (COC).

Deciding which method to use is critical, as a user will not receive any newsletters until they have been confirmed. Figuring out the appropriate setting to use for a particular user or group of users is essential so that they can (hopefully) be added to your mailing list as soon as possible. In most cases, your goal is to ensure that the user has explicitly expressed interest in your site and has given consent to receive your communications.

Download a FREE copy of Best Email Subject Lines for Selling Premium Subscriptions and Memberships and discover an extensive list of email subject line frameworks that are consistently proven to sell and boost revenue for publishers.

Auto Confirm Email Marketing Guidelines

When a user is brought on as auto confirm, the user is confirmed upon import or upon being added to your list. The user does not need to perform any action to be set to confirm and, as a result, they will immediately begin receiving all of the newsletters that they have been subscribed to.

Auto confirm is an appropriate setting for users who have given explicit consent to be added to your email marketing list and to receive your communications. These users will not be given an opportunity to opt-in again, so it is essential that they be aware of why they are receiving these messages, or, else, you risk receiving complaints and being marked as spam. Users for whom auto-confirm would be the appropriate choice for an event where attendees agreed to receive communications on their registration form. These could be print subscribers who have consented to become a part of your email list.

Confirm on Open (COO) Email Marketing Guidelines

Confirm on open means that a user opening the email from you triggers specific events in your CMS and email system that confirm the user. The user has to open an email in order to be confirmed and receive your newsletter. If they do not take this action, they will not be added to your active mailing list and will not receive any of your communications.

Confirm on open is an appropriate setting for most users, including for free registrants on your site and for imports of users for onboarding efforts. In general, for most cases, Mequoda’s recommendation is to set up welcome emails as confirm on open.

Confirm on Click (COC) Email Marketing Guidelines

Confirm on click means that a user must click on a link in the email to trigger specific events in your CMS and email system that confirm the user. The user has to open an email and click a specific confirm link in that email in order to be confirmed and receive any of your newsletters. If they do not take both of these actions, they will not be added to your active mailing list and will not receive any of your communications.

Confirm on Click is an appropriate setting for users who you may be more unsure about adding to your list. Requiring click to confirm means that the user has to engage more with your email and site, and is most likely a more active, interested user who will be a good addition to your email list.

Having a clean email list full of people who are active is what most publishers should be looking for. We know that in the ad-driven world, even a sizeable dirty list with zero opens is more appealing to some advertisers. However, we find that it’s better to maintain a cleaner list that has higher open rates. When compared against your competitors, you can claim an email list that performs better, even if it’s smaller.

If you’d like to discover how Mequoda can help you increase your audience, revenue and profits, schedule a time to talk with a member of our executive team. We can help you turn your email list into your largest source of online revenue.


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