Dec 8, 2008

Getting Added to Subscribers’ Address Books

Last week, email expert Stefan Pollard at ClickZ posted an informative article about getting into your subscribers’ address books or on their contact lists.  This is one of the most simple and often overlooked tactics for improving email deliverability.

When your subscribers add you to their address book, they are essentially telling their ISP that they want to receive email from you, and in some cases it can even get your correspondence to show up with images turned ‘on’ by default and rendering correctly.  As Stefan notes,

"ISPs want to deliver only the e-mail their customers say they want to receive, so they check those personal whitelists when deciding whether to deliver, block, or direct to the spam folder your e-mail."

Stefan outlines some simple steps you can take to improve your chances of getting added to your subscribers’ address books, and I’ll show you how to implement them using MailChimp.

First, be sure to modify both your subscription and thank you pages with a request to be added to a subscriber’s address book. Ideally, this should help reduce the number of welcome or opt-in confirmation messages being blocked by spam filters.  Also, be sure to remind people to keep an eye out for the subscription confirmation request so that if it does end up in the spam folder, it can be retrieved (and the opt-in process completed).

One cool thing MailChimp does (just in case) is we attach vCards to your thank you pages and welcome emails, so that your subscribers can simply click to add you. But you should still take some time to signup for your own list, and tweak things a little.

You should also create "add to address book" reminders for both your confirmation and welcome emails. Stefan recommends making this the first line of both the confirmation and welcome emails, which ensures greater visibility.  (In other words, don’t hide the request in your email header or footer).

It is simple and highly recommended that you modify the default emails within MailChimp. Here’s how!

When you select a particular list under the "Lists" tab in the MailChimp dashboard, a panel with a number of options will appear.  In order to tweak your signup forms and response emails to include an "add to address book" request, first click the link for "design signup forms & response emails".

When you get to the Form Designer, simply select from the options at the right to tweak your Signup Form, Signup "Thank You" Page, Opt-In Confirmation Email, etc.

Stefan also suggests including an "add to address book" request in the footer section of your regular message template as a consistent friendly reminder to your subscribers.


You can add customized incentives to your welcome process to get more people to signup

How RealTrucks adds an e-coupon to their welcome emails