Getting MailChimp Sign-ups without that Annoying Confirmation Step

UPDATE: Twitter has announced that they are retiring this feature in February 2017. Bummer.

If you are an author, you probably use MailChimp for your mailing list. MailChimp is great. Until you get 2,000 subscribers, you don’t have to pay them anything. They have pretty reliable service (as reliable as can be expected for such a complicated thing as mass emails). And their sign-up process is straightforward. You convince someone to give you an email address, they get a confirmation email, they click a link in it, and then they are added to the list. Like this: bit.ly/entropy-list.

The only trouble is those middle steps. They don’t always notice the confirmation email, because it might end up in their junk folder. And even if they get it, they might not bother clicking through.

MailChimp has added a new way to get subscribers that skips the confirmation step! It also saves subscribers from having to type in their email address. Cool, huh?

Follow this link to see an example.

That will take you to a Tweet. I could embed the tweet here, but then the magic wouldn’t work. It has to be viewed in Twitter (app or website).

You click the subscribe button, it kind of asks if you are sure, and that’s it. You’re on the list. No confirmation email step!

It’s not perfect. In particular, if you have a “Final Welcome” message set up it won’t send that. I reported that to the MailChimp people as a bug, but they tell me it’s by design. (That’s programmer speak for “it’s a bug we don’t feel like fixing.”) So if you regularly send new subscribers baked goods, you’re going to have to watch your list membership. Also, they don’t send you the notification that you got a new subscriber. So I mean literally watch your list membership.

So how do you do this? First, you need to have Twitter Ads enabled on your account. Just go to ads.twitter.com, go through the setup stuff, and give them a credit card. You don’t ever have to run an ad. You just need it set up. So this won’t cost you anything.

Next, pop over to your mailing list settings in MailChimp and add a List Field called Twitter. When people sign up, it’ll put their @ in that field.

Now go to your blog and make a new page called /privacy and put in something. Like this: Privacy Policy.

The rest of the steps are detailed in this article on the MailChimp site.

The “Twitter” field you made and that privacy policy page are things you’ll put in the card setup when you follow those instructions.

At the end you go back to ads.twitter.com and choose Creatives > Cards, then choose the Tweet icon next to your new card. You tweet about the card, it shows up on your TL, and you’re done. Twitter thinks you’ll go on and give them money to promote the tweet, but you don’t have to do that.

There are a lot of steps, but I found it pretty simple to follow their instructions. If you hit a snag, let me know in the comments and I’ll help you sort it out.

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