Q: Adam from Manchester, U.K., sent in this note:

“I am having a hard time figuring out how to deal with a high percentage of people who come to my web site, signup for my e-zine but never confirm their email address. Sometimes this is as high as 60% of total subscribers. Since I am using the recommended double opt-in process, I don’t know what I can do to have most of my subscribers confirm their address.”

A: Actually, Adam is not alone in this. I have received messages from several subscribers that are experiencing the same problem.

Let’s first examine why this is happening. When I visited Adam’s web site, and subscribed to his e-zine I noticed that after clicking the submit button, I was taken to a generic web page, provided by his Email Service Provider (ESP). The page simply said “Thank you for subscribing to .”

This is a big mistake, but it’s easy to fix. If you are using AWeber, 1ShoppingCart, or GetResponse, you are in luck, because all three ESPs provide an option you can use to redirect users to a custom “thank you” page that you set up on your own web site.

This custom page should advise your subscribers that there is an additional step they need to complete in order to finalize the double opt-in sign-up process.

On this page you explain that you have just sent them a confirmation email. You can also provide additional tips and suggestions on how to add your email address to their address books, etc.

But, why is this extra step, this extra information needed? Why does it make a difference? Well, it’s actually very simple: many of the confirmation messages end up in your subscribers’ spam folders, so they never see it, never open it, and therefore never confirm their request for information from you.

One e-zine publisher was losing 95% of sign ups, before hiring me! Without changing anything else on the e-zine or her web site, simply using the custom “thank you” page brought down the number of unconfirmed emails to only 1%.

Some failed sign ups are to be expected, though, because people change their minds, or for whatever reason decide to cancel their subscription request. If you attain 100% confirms, let me know your secret, OK?