How do I opt-in my old customer or member list?


ActiveCampaign’s email marketing service requires that your contacts be opted-in to receive marketing emails from you.

If you have a list of contacts who you have not emailed in over a year, you will need to send them opt-in confirmation emails before adding them to your ActiveCampaign account. The steps to do so are in the "Opt-in Process" section of this help article.

If you have a list of contacts who have not opted-in to your list(s), we recommend that you discard this list and start over. For examples of what are and are not considered opted-in contacts, please see this Anti-Spam Policy page.

Unfortunately, it's difficult to retroactively opt-in contacts to a list, and there are some risks involved. For example, you may experience higher-than-normal spam complaints or risk annoying some of your customers or clients. While this can be frustrating for email marketers to hear, it is, unfortunately, a realistic outcome. For this reason, it is best to use proper opt-in practices when building your list.

However, if you would like to try to opt-in to a list that you have already built, you will need to take the steps outlined below to make sure contacts are opted-in before being added to your account.

The Opt-in Process

Using your own email client, send each person an email asking them to confirm their subscription to your list. Note that this email cannot come from your ActiveCampaign account; this is to help protect our delivery rates for our customers and reduce spam complaints.

When composing this initial email, make sure to follow these guidelines:

  • This initial email should notify clients that you plan to start an email newsletter/campaign soon and remind them of how you received their email address previously. Include a link to your online subscription form. Only the contacts who follow the link and complete the form will be considered opted-in.
  • The subscription form that you are directing contacts to should be created by our platform. This ensures that contacts who opt-in are added to your ActiveCampaign account automatically.
  • Optional: Offer an incentive to encourage subscription. Some examples include a discount code, a white paper, or other gated content.
  • Avoid making the email appear as an advertisement or unsolicited marketing email. To do so, you'll want to avoid such terms as “Free!” or “50% off!” in your email subject line or message body.
  • Do not send an email notifying your customers that they are already subscribed to your email list with an option to unsubscribe. This is not a valid way to opt-in your contacts. It is not safe to assume that any contact who did not click “unsubscribe” from your initial email is opted-in.
  • Do not email this list about opting in more than once. Only the contacts who followed-through and subscribed to your list using your subscription form should be contacted again in the future. The rest of the list should be discarded.

You may find that this opt-in process drastically reduces the size of your list — that is to be expected. But it is necessary, and you will find that it is worthwhile. The contacts who do stay with you are people who are interested in your product or service, and they are more likely to interact positively with your email campaigns in the future. Delivery rates will remain high, bounce and abuse rates will remain low, and your email marketing campaigns will be more effective overall.

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