I recently filled out a customer survey for Panda Express. There was a coupon offer for completing the form, and I certainly like going there now and again, so I gave them my 2 cents worth.
After I filled out the information, I opted to sign up for their e-mail list. Why not? I like coupons, and e-mail lists from restaurants are great for that.
I received my e-mail to confirm my address. I clicked on the link to verify that I’m me, and was taken to… a 404 page. That is, rather than seeing a message telling me they had confirmed my address and everything was now fine, I got a message reading, “Try again later.” I did try later, and a few times after that. No dice. I’ve moved on, barely lamenting not having my e-mail address confirmed.
This is bad news for a business anytime a customer has to see this. When you do manage to get a customer to fill out a form and, an even longer shot, give you their e-mail, you’ve scored a major victory. 99 other customers had the opportunity to give you their e-mail address and didn’t. When the one person does come through, you have to be absolutely certain you are ready for them, or you will turn away willing recipients.
I say this because there are so many web sites that want to get visitors on their e-mail list. E-mail lists have evolved incredibly over just the past few years. The industry has policed itself enough that you can safely get on a list and not have it passed on to spammers.
Now people trust e-mail lists a bit more, but they still have that potential-spam stigma to them. If you manage to get someone to go through with giving up their address, you have to make sure you don’t give them another reason to go away.