When you send a confirmation email to people before they join your email list, not everyone is going to click on the link. But if the proportion of people who don’t confirm (don’t click on the confirmation link) is too high, you are missing out on potential subscribers.

If you find yourself in this situation – be assured you are not alone. A lot of people have experienced high drop out rates. There are a few simple strategies that you can employ to turn things around and increase the rate of people who get passed the confirmation link and onto your list.

Spell out the next steps

One of the reasons people don’t make it past the confirmation email is because it ends up in their big pile of emails in their Inbox. By the time they get to it, they may have forgotten that they have signed up for your newsletter. You may have done this yourself. I know I have.

The best way to get people past this stage is to spell it out really clearly as soon as they sign up. After they sign up, send them to a ‘thank you’ page. And on that ‘thank you’ page, lay out very clearly what the next steps are. This would be a variation of this:

Step 1

Check your email and find the one from us

Step 2

Click on the confirmation link

Step 3

Enjoy the emails!

Here is an example of this in action

Asking people to do these steps right away is the best way to ensure they don’t forget.

Resend the confirmation email

Sometimes people simple forget to click the link and then the confirmation email moves down the list in the Inbox as new email comes in. Resending the confirmation email if they don’t click the link is one way to get it back to the top of the Inbox.

Here is an example of how to set that up in my email service provider of choice, Drip: [https://www.drip.co/blog/drip-news/new-drip-features-re-send-opt-in-confirmations-new-reports-and-more/]

Don’t send the additional value unless they confirm

It isn’t uncommon to offer something of value (such as a free report or ebook) to people as an incentive for them to join your email list. If you give this additional value on the thank you page before they have clicked on the confirmation link, you are encouraging tyre kickers. Many people will sign up for the freebie but have no intention of being on your email list.

Offering the additional value after people confirm is the best way to keep out the freebie seekers.

Turn off the confirmation email

I don’t typically encourage this, but it is an option. In most countries, there is no requirement to send a confirmation email at all, so you can simply turn it off. This means that everyone who signs up will automatically become a subscriber.

There are some downsides to this approach. You will end up with subscribers who don’t open your emails, so your open rate will fall. You can mitigate this by adding automation to remove subscribers who don’t open emails.

A second downside is that as of May 2018, it will be a requirement to send confirmation emails to subscribers who live in the EU. This is as a result of new EU regulations coming into force (known as GDPR). So turning off confirmation emails is only going to give you a short term boost.


While a high drop out rate might seem disappointing, it doesn’t have to remain like that. With just a few simple strategies, you can dramatically reduce the drop out rate.

Recommended strategies:

  • Spell out the next steps on the ‘thank you’ page
  • Resend the confirmation email
  • Don’t send additional value unless they confirm

Also available (but not recommended):

  • Turn off the confirmation email

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