Susan Finch Solutions: The subscriber journey

Test your subscriber’s journey from time to time.

We want people to subscribe to our posts, our feeds, our photos and more. When we invite them in, we take them on a subscriber journey. This starts from the first time they give you their email address and most likely first name, all the way through to the unsubscribe process. Every step has to be clear, simple and open.

Recently I wanted to clear out many things in my inbox that I don’t remember signing up for, or have lost interest in. Most were straightforward in the unsubscribe process. But a few were not. One journey to unsubscribe from a newsletter I never wanted to receive made it one click simple, but the return URL for the confirmation returned a 404 error. Confirmed to me that it was most likely a newsletter from a scraped list. Another subscriber journey took me to a modification area where I had to make selections, but in order to confirm the change, I had to login with an account I had NO clue what it was about. I followed that process to reset my password. What that actually did was CREATE the account I never had and added me to more lists. VERY sneaky and annoying.

Susan Finch Solutions - Incognito windowWhen you create a subscriber journey, you need to go through EVERY step and variation as a stranger first. I do this by opening an incognito window in Chrome. This has no cookies, no logins, no preferences – just fresh like a stranger. I sign up with an email I don’t use often, but with few spam filters in order to see what happens. I click the double-opt-in confirmation with a RIGHT CLICK to open in a NEW INCOGNITO window. Then, I wait to see what comes next. Was it a drip campaign and I should receive an email welcoming me or some evergreen content immediately? How often will I receive them and do they all end up in my inbox or spam? Do all of the links work in the initial drips and newsletters? EVERY LINK NEEDS TO BE CHECKED – again in incognito. The reason for that is that sometimes we link to content that we forget to make PUBLIC, so only admins can see it. If you are logged in as an admin, you can see it, but others cannot.

Now, you have to also test the unsubscribe process. Is it easy? Are they apt to look for your unsubscribe link or be ticked off and check the “spam” option instead? Make it respectful and easy for them if they no longer want to receive information from you.

How about the return URL after they unsubscribe? Make sure it works, is respectful, too and not demeaning.

Continue your test to see the pattern of what you receive and confirm the links for a week or two. Then, unsubscribe.

Test this again each quarter or more frequently to make sure the messages for subscribers are still in alignment with your message, services and focus.


You want to make sure EVERY CLICK works for EVERYONE you wish to share your content with. Are you tracking those links? You can easily create trackable links for Google Analtyics using Confluent Form’s UTM for the Win free tool. ¬†This also comes with a custom dashboard for analytics.

Speaking of Analytics, does your email marketing system allow you to insert your analytics into their system? If not, you need to change what you use.

Does your system make it easy to add a subscribe form to your site so you can add them to a specific list and ensure they receive each new post and are put into your drip system? If not, it’s time to make a change. I am a fan of GetResponse. MailChimp now offers this, too. I believe Constant Contact as well. But, GetResponse is my favorite of them all at the level most of my clients need.