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More Tips on Getting Unverified Email Subscribers to Confirm their Subscription

Yesterday I wrote a tip on increasing subscriber numbers to your blog that focussed upon those doing it via Feedburner’s RSS to Email feature emailing unverified subscribers to remind them to confirm their subscription.

The post generated quite a few questions via comments and email – to the point that I thought I’d write the answers as a new post. At the end of this post I’ll include a copy of what I emailed to unverified subscribers.

Does feedburner allow it – doesn’t this break their terms of service?

No – I checked this before doing it with feedburner. Actually, to be more accurate, when I emailed Feedburner’s support team with the problem of over 800 unverified subscribers they actually suggested that one solution would be to email them after exporting the subscriber list. I guess that’s an indication that they don’t mind.

Will Feedburner develop a feature that reminds subscribers instead of having to do it manually?

I’ve asked Feedburner this a couple of times now and on both occasions they said that it’s something they are interested in developing. I’m not sure if this is just a standard reply to keep us users happy, or whether it’s something they’re serious about developing but I do think that it would be something that bloggers would appreciate.

Is there a risk of being labeled a spammer?

Sending out so many emails to subscribers might carry some risks with it. My hope is that I wrote the email in such a way as to be perceived as doing my readers a favor. I won’t be emailing unverified subscribers every week and hope that the occasional reminder won’t be looked upon as an unfavorable practice.

How many reminders would you send?

I’ve not really thought this one through in specifics, however I won’t be doing it too regularly.

Is there a verification URL that one can put in the message?

No, I don’t think Feedburner has the ability to do this yet. What I asked readers to do was either find the old email (and suggested looking in their junk mail as it may have been filtered) or to resubscribe.

Where in the feedburner control panel is a list of all the unverified/verified email addresses?

This was a common question – Feedburner has so many options and pages in their control panel that I’m not surprised that quite a few readers didn’t even know that the list existed. Here’s how to find it.

• Sign in to Feedburner and hit your ‘My Feeds’ tab on the top left hand corner of the screen (if you’re not already there).

• Click the Feed that you want to see the subscriber list for

• Click the ‘Publicize’ Tab at the top of the screen

• Click the ‘Email Subscriptions’ Link halfway down the left hand menu

• Scroll to the bottom of that page and you’ll see a ‘Total Subscribers’ counter which will tell you how many you have using the email subscription service

• Under the counter there is a drop down link titled ‘View Subscriber Details’ – click it

• Your Subscriber list will open up. You’ll see email addresses of every subscriber, the date of their subscription, their ‘status’ (which will tell you if they are verified or not) and the ability to delete and deactivate delivery

• Also you should see an ‘export’ option and can export the list as either an Excel or CSV file

What did you write in your email?

Here’s what I sent to unverified subscribers. I attempted to keep it simple, polite, non intrusive and helpful. I had emails back from quite a few recipients of it thanking me for it and saw quite a few people re-subscribe so I suspect it must have worked to some extent. Feel free to use a version of it.

Hi there – At some point in the last few months you (or someone else) signed up to receive daily email updates from the Digital Photography School website – http://www.digital-photography-school.com/blog

We’ve just been checking our subscriber records and notice that you did not complete the subscription process.

Your email address was added to the subscriber list but for some reason you did not confirm your subscription when we sent a follow up email asking you to do so. Unfortunately as our system requires this confirmation we’ve not been able to send updates.

Do you still want to get daily digital photography tips from Digital Photography School?

If not – no problem. We are not into pressuring anyone into joining – but wanted to make sure. Simply ignore this email.

If you do wish to receive the updates we suggest you do one of two things:

1. Find the confirmation email and click the link confirming your subscription

2. If you can’t find it (and we understand how these things get lost) simply resubscribe via our subscription page at:

http://digital-photography-school.com/blog/get-daily-updates-from-digital-photography-school/

Once you’ve added your email and then confirmed it with the email that will come minutes afterwards you’ll be set to go. You’re free to unsubscribe at any point.

Thanks for your interest in Digital Photography School.

Darren Rowse

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/blog

I hope that this post helps to clarify how I used this tactic to hook in hundreds of readers who’d had problems connecting into my blog’s community. Let us know how you go with it if you give it a go!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Great post, and a big help. I am going to do this next week (most of my readers are probably mon-fri users) :)

  2. Has anybody else noticed a huge increase in subscribers in the last 30 days? My feed has grown by about 5000 subscribers in just the last 30 days…

    I’ve only got 300 total email subscribers, and most of them are verified already.

  3. Darren,
    In my opinion this is good strategy and specially I liked the email content, it was not in your face but a little nudging for the user to sign.

    Vijay

  4. Mike says:

    I was trying to see if I could see this list, despite knowing it would be short or even nonexistent. But I can’t see the total subscribers button. I’m wondering if that is because I was a feedblitz user and the feedburner is ‘linked’ to the account.

  5. The email was well written and FeedBurner should take it as an example.
    Also, making a post about it, will remind them is they read this blog too. ;)

    the How-To Geek :
    Checking your Alexa, I saw a spike at the beginning of June. Did you wrote something that attracted even more people? They may have subscribed because they like your content.

  6. Yee Piao says:

    Great! Although I don’t have much subcribers with me now, I do hope that one day my feeds base will grow big and I’ll get the chance to use this tips.

  7. An important way to increase subscribers is by rewarding them (with an ebook, tips, etc.) for subscribing. This is very easy to do for email subscribers, but for RSS is very tricky.

    Some sites use Feedvertising to achieve this, but I noticed that you can get the prize without subscribing.

    I found a little programing trick that allows me to give the prize only to RSS readers. It involves a custom FeedFlare and a few PHP hacks. I plan to use on next Monday post to help me increase my RSS subscribers. Wish me luck!

  8. Andrea says:

    Are you sure you’re not breaking spam laws by doing this? Until that person has verified their subscription, you don’t really have permission to contact them do you?

  9. I have definitely noticed more subscribers in the last few days..

  10. Joe says:

    I’ve just e-mailed the 40 unverified users on my list. I immediately saw one benefit, two of the addresses instantly came back as rejected, so I removed them from the list. Something to consider is how you send the message to this list. I wouldn’t just copy the 40 addresses and paste them into your To: field. I personally wouldn’t want to have my address distributed to others that way. Instead, be sure to put it into your BCC field, so no one else sees the entire list. It also will come off more personalized that way.

  11. I’ll try this ;)

    Hope it works. Thanks.

  12. This post is helpful but if I may add, when you write an email to your subscriber who didn’t verify subscription you should make your heading good or catchy. Something that would not sound like a spam. Most subscribers who failed to verify their subscriptions mistaken ‘subscription verification’ emails sent to them as spam so they delete it instead. I’ve experienced this a couple of times when I subscribe to other blogs.

  13. Mr.Money says:

    It’s very good tips confirm unverified subscriber. I just never wanted to do for spam label, Thanks.

  14. Gurpreet says:

    its better to confirm the e-mails than to be marked as a spammer…

  15. Artur says:

    I’ll do this, thanks a lot.

  16. Vijeesh says:

    After reading this stuff, I’m gonna do it! Surely. About 65% of my total subscribers are email ones. A good 30% of them unverified; and that is reason enough for me to alert them. I have been thinking of emailing them since some months now; but didn’t, as I was afraid my unverified subscribers would take it as ‘spamming’.

  17. any noticeable changes in feedcount since Google bought them? I read something about needing to change feed addresses and have each subscriber be readded? That’s sounds like trouble to me and an easy way to loose a ton of people.

  18. Thanks, Darren. I’ve been looking for the solution for this problem for a while. Now I got it!

  19. Josh says:

    Darren,

    I think this might be your most helpful post of all time.

  20. scott says:

    We are actually having similar problems with our website. I think our real subscription count is around 2100 when only 1500 are verified. It is funny because today I was looking into mailing them all, however I am having a hard time figuring out how to get so many names on the BCC column, neither e-mail system will allow me to do it (probably because they think I am SPAM). Any Ideas? Also have you noticed that certain days Feedburner messes up and temporarily deletes all of our subscribers. While it normally comes back up in a day or so, when it happens our subscription list drops from 1500 to about 30. We are really starting to notice the detriment it has on our website… Anyways I know your not Feedburner support or anything. Thanks for your advice and nice blog!

    -Scott
    http://www.sampleaday.com

  21. Very useful tip, I had 100+ unconfirmed email subscribers, they’ve all now been sent a reminder and even if just 50% come back that will be a blog boost.

  22. veresh says:

    Same here we have some 75% unverified accounts ..so this should help in solving the problem.

  23. Mysapce says:

    good tips!

  24. Marf says:

    Good idea.

    I just did a Google search for what to do about all of the unverified addresses. I’ll try emailing them with a modified version of your email.