A short tutorial on how to customize your opt-in confirmation process

As a savvy business owner, you probably know how important it is to have a compelling opt-in offer that encourages people to give you their email address so you can stay in touch and build a relationship with them.

But what do you do with those email addresses once you have them?

If you use an email program such as MailChimp,  your subscribers will automatically be taken through an confirmation process that asks them to click on a link in an email to verify that they want to be on your list.

(This process is called a “double opt-in” and helps you avoid landing in people’s spam filters. You can set up a double opt-in in Constant Contact and Infusionsoft as well.)

But have you ever taken a look at the various landing pages and emails that are included in that confirmation process?

They are BO-OO-OO-RING!

The good news is, each email and landing page is fully customizable — so you can personalize them with your own great content and use them to immediately start cultivating a stronger relationship with your subscribers.

And today I’m going to show you how to do exactly that!

Start cultivating a personal relationship right away

Let’s take a look at the opt-in confirmation and follow-up process that I’ve just developed for my own business.

I’m currently revamping the look of my website (bye dancing animals! sob), and as part of the re-launch I’ll be offering a new opt-in gift to encourage people to join my mailing list.

Here’s a short tutorial that shows you how I set it up…

(Note: I currently use MailChimp for my email service provider, so the images below will reflect that. If you use Constant Contact, Infusionsoft, or another email service provider, your confirmation process will look different but should follow roughly the same steps.)

1. Log into your account

If you use Mailchimp, you’ll find the log-in button in the upper right corner:

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2. Go to your “Lists” page

You’ll find it in the top navigation bar on the left.

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3. Choose the list

Each list has its own opt-in confirmation process, so make sure you choose the right one. Click on the down arrow on the right of your list to reveal your options.

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4. Click on “Signup forms” in the window that opens

Getting closer!

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5. Select “General forms”

It’s the top choice in the yellow circle, you can’t miss it.

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6. Click on the sign-up form drop-down menu

It’s the gray shaded bar you’ll see beneath “Create Forms.”

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7. Select “Signup thank-you page”

It’s the third option on the list. Don’t worry about the first two options – they have to do with your sign-up form, and that should already be embedded on your website, either by you or your lovely web designer.

(If it’s not, better get on it! 😉 )

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8. Customize your signup “thank-you” page

This is what the default page looks like. Boring, amiright? I’m sure you’ve seen this page at least once, when you’ve signed up for someone’s mailing list.

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All right, let’s make this more engaging! First off, let’s replace the list name at the top with a header image that contains your branding.

If you mouse over the area to the right of the list name, a trio of buttons will appear. Choose “Edit.”

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In the editing pane that appears, delete the existing text and then choose the “File Manager” button to upload an image from your computer.

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Hit the “Upload” button to upload an image from your computer.

Select the image you want to use, and then press “Open.”

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Next you’ll see a preview of the image. Once you confirm that it’s the one you want, hit the “Save & Insert Image” button.

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Here’s that “Signup thank-you page” again — but now it’s got a nice new header. Already it looks a whole lot better, don’t you think?

(Although maybe I’m just saying that because I really like my own name. Ha!)

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But the headline and body text are still overly generic and boring. Let’s see if we can’t add a bit more personality to them, shall we?

I started with the headline – and when I moused over the area to the right of it an editing button appeared:

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I clicked on it and was then able to edit the copy in the headline section. So I changed the font to Tahoma (because I’m not a fan of boring old Arial) and wrote the following instead:

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So it now looked like this:

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On to the body copy!

I clicked open the editing pane so I could customize the words and give the message a personal feel that’s more in line with the way I talk to my friends and clients.

Here’s the default message:

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And here’s what I replaced it with:

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So that the end result looked this:

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Much better, don’t you think?

As you can see, I’ve referenced the opt-in gift by name (the “ehh to AWESOME” copy toolkit) to remind people of what they’re going to get once they complete the process, and give them a little extra incentive.

I also included a picture of myself that shows how thrilled I am to have them join my list.

Once you’re happy with your new Signup “thank-you” page, let’s move onto the next step in the process…

9.  Customize your opt-in confirmation email

Return to the general forms list and click the next option in the Create Forms drop-down menu, the Opt-in confirmation email:

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This is what the default opt-in confirmation email looks like

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Yaaawnsville… I decided to kick it up a notch, so the headline and body copy looked like this:

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As you can see, I changed both the headline and the first line of the body copy to emphasize the call to action here: click on that button! When you tell people to do something, more people will do it.

I also rewrote the copy to make it a bit friendlier and added a picture to remind people of the person behind business – me! And again, I mentioned the name of the “ehh to AWESOME” copy toolkit, to remind them of what they’re about to receive.

Finally, I included another picture of myself to give them a clear sense of who’s sending the email: ME! (As opposed to some anonymous committee). This is the same photo I include in all my emails.

All right, let’s move on to the next step.

10. Customize your confirmation thank-you page

Once your subscriber clicks on the link in the opt-in confirmation email, they will be taken to a confirmation thank-you page. If you’ve promised your subscribers a gift upon signing up, this is a great place to give it to them.

First, you’ll need to return to the general forms page and click on the Create Forms drop-down menu again. Select the confirmation thank-you page, like so:

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This is what the default confirmation thank-you page looks like:

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Oh, the humanity! Let’s make this a bit more engaging, shall we?

Once again, I edited the headline and copy to make them more personable and enticing:

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As you can see, I’ve created a graphic to represent the “ehh to AWESOME” copy toolkit and have made it dead simple for them to understand what they need to do to download that sucker. And once again, I speak in a very casual and friendly way, and include a picture of myself at the bottom to remind them who I am.

You’ll also notice that I’ve included a first name “merge field” (*|FNAME|*) so that the first name of the subscriber will be automatically merged into the message. Personalization of the message always lifts the response.

Plus, I WANT to create a personal relationship with my subscribers – and what better way to do so than to refer to them by name?

All right, let’s see what’s next…

11. Customize your final welcome email

Once you have completed the sign-up process, MailChimp automatically sends out one final thank-you email to confirm that the subscription was successful.

Go back to the general forms page and choose the last option in the subscription list:

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This is what the default final welcome email looks like:

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Ugh, the boringness — it burns, it burns!

Let’s make it better, shall we?

First off, I edited the subject line so that it refers directly to the “ehh to AWESOME” toolkit – and feels like it’s a continuation of the same conversation.

You can see where I made that edit here:

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Then I added some fun new copy in the space that originally said, “Your subscription has been confirmed,” like so:

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As you can see, not only have I given the link for the toolkit again (just in case they didn’t download it via the confirmation page), I’ve also given them MORE opportunities to connect with me via my blog and my Facebook page.

This is a great way to give them something else to do when they’re already interested in you and (hopefully) feeling gratitude for the gift you’ve given them.

Plus, you’ll notice that these follow-up calls to action require more investment on their part.

The first call to action had them giving me their email address in exchange for a valuable set of copywriting resources. But THIS call to action is asking them to let me further into their world by liking my Facebook page, so that I now have TWO ways to stay in touch with them.

Follow up your confirmation series with 2-3 more emails that offer even MORE value

But wait, that’s not all!

Because I really want my new subscribers to feel pampered and appreciative of the tools and support I offer, I’m going to follow this last email up with a couple more autoresponders to build on the relationship by offering even MORE valuable content.

Autoresponder 1 – sent 3 days after sign-up

Here’s the first autoresponder I plan to send, three days after subscribers sign up:

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As you can see, I’m going to give them an infographic that contains some extremely valuable information for writing salescopy for products and services.

And in the course of describing this infographic, I also mention my new WORDPOWER program that I’m launching in the fall — and in the P.S., I encourage them to get on the “Super Awesome Friends of WORDPOWER” list (heh) if they’d like to know more about this program and receive early-bird notice once the doors open.

I’m not actively trying to sell my program at this point, but I would like them to know that it’s coming down the pipes, at least. I think people who are about to revamp their websites or kick up their email marketing would be interested in the course, so I just want them to know it exists. (Or is about to exist.)

One week after this email, I’m going to send new subscribers another email – to wow them even MORE.

Autoresponder #2 – send 10 days after sign-up

Here’s what this next autoresponder will look like:

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Now THIS email is not only giving away huge value – a free 90-minute webinar, jam-packed with tips and strategies! – it also raises the level of investment once again.

By now, subscribers should have downloaded and checked out the tools in the “ehh to AWESOME” toolkit. They’ve hopefully downloaded the free infographic I sent as well. They might even have explored my blog and liked my page on Facebook.

But setting aside 90 minutes of time to watch my webinar is a different order of magnitude entirely. I’m asking people to give me something precious here — their TIME. And by now I hope they realize that what I have to offer is worth that investment.

You’ll also see that I close the email with another mention of my upcoming WORDPOWER course.

As with the previous autoresponder, I’m not trying to convince people to sign up for the course – it’s not even available yet. I just want people to know that it exists, so that the people who are already likely to be interested in such a course have the opportunity to sign up and be one of the first to be notified once the doors open.

“But I don’t have any free gifts to offer!”

“I don’t have any ebooks, or infographics, or webinars to give away – what should I offer my new subscribers?”

If this is what you’re thinking right now, excellent question!

And it’s one I plan to answer in my next blog post – so stay tuned. 🙂

In the meantime, remember that the gift doesn’t have to be something that YOU created.

Why not post a link to one of your favourite YouTube videos or Ted Talks? As long as you aren’t claiming to have created it yourself, it’s perfectly fine to link to someone’s great content. And chances are, if YOU found it valuable or entertaining, your ideal customers probably will too.

Any questions?

I hope you found this tutorial helpful — and now have a better idea of how to customize your opt-in confirmation process and follow-up emails to establish a more personal connection with your subscribers right off the bat – and showcase your value in a way that’s appealing and effective.

For some ridiculous reason I can’t seem to turn comments on for this post – so if you have any questions feel free to send them to me directly at er**@ma***************.net or post them on my Facebook page.