GDPR compliant email opt ins can be achieved and managed in a whole range of ways, so we’ve designed Impact Stack to be as flexible as possible, giving you the tools and options you need to collect opt-ins according to your organisation’s preferred approach. In this article we explain some of the options available with the email newsletter opt-in field and how to use them. For some best practice guidance, you can also download our opt-ins report here.
We hope this covers all of the essential stuff you need to know about the newsletter field. But as always if you’re unsure about something, please do reach out to us using the usual support email address.
Adding the field to your form
The email newsletter field is a special field that has lots of helpful functionality for managing your subscriptions. You should all have this field in your form templates by default, but if not you can add it by dragging it in from the right:
To change any of the settings described below, you need to click on the ‘Configure’ icon, the little pencil besides the field:
Choosing which list(s) the newsletter field connects to
If you are using one of our email tool integrations (e.g. MailChimp, dotmailer), then you can configure this newsletter field so that when a user opts-in in Impact Stack, they’re automatically subscribed to one (or more) of your email lists. You can choose which lists the user is subscribing to by navigating to the ‘Lists’ tab of the form configuration and toggling on the correct list(s).
You may have noticed that this newsletter field has an area on it called ‘opt-in statement’.
You should put in this field the exact language you are showing to your users as they opt-in, e.g. “I would like to receive charity Y’s emails about campaigning and fundraising”. Impact Stack stores this text along with a log of when and where the user opted in. So you always know what people opted in to. Read more about accessing this sign-up data.
The contents of this field area isn’t displayed directly on the page, so you’ll need to add the copy for the supporter too, either as the field title or in a markup field above, or a combination, depending on your template and style preferences.
Checking the field by default
You may have noticed that under the ‘properties’ tab of the newsletter field that it’s possible to set your newsletter checkbox/radios so that checked or ‘Yes’ are chosen by default. Unless you have a really clear reason why this should be turned on and you’re really sure it’s GDPR compliant, then we recommend you leave this set to ‘Off’.
Radio vs checkbox
Within Impact Stack it’s possible to setup your email opt-in as either a radio or a checkbox.
A checkbox is simply a single square box that you check or don’t.
Radios are these little round fields where you can choose one of two answers:
After clicking on configure for the newsletter field, here’s where you choose which one you want:
It is our strong recommendation that you use a radio field and make it ‘required’, which can be configured on the ‘Validation’ tab in the form field editor; this would force the user to choose yes or no, they wouldn’t be able to ignore the question as they can with a checkbox. In testing we found that making users choose Yes or No on a radio field led to almost three times as many opt-ins as just using a checkbox field. The only exception to this advice is when almost all of the people completing your form are already opted in and you don’t want or need to renew their consent.
If you’re using a radio:
By using radios rather than a checkbox, you have of course created a new possible answer to your question; the user can now say ‘No’ (rather than just ‘Yes’ and ‘no response’ which are the checkbox options). It’s up to you to decide what this means, and it depends a great deal on how you’ve framed your opt-in question; it’s important that the user knows the implication of choosing ‘No’, one way or the other.
If you don’t want to ‘No’ to affect the user’s email subscription at all then simply leave the ‘No (radio) is taken as opt-out’ off, as shown here:
But if you want ‘No’ to act as an unsubscribe from your email list, then of course you should toggle this on. You will of course lose a few supporters this way, see our opt-in report for more advice.
When you do, another slider will appear below, asking if you’d like the unsubscribe to apply to just one email list, or every list that Impact Stack knows about. For example if you maintain a campaigning email list and a separate fundraising email list, and the user chooses ‘no’ when asked if they’d like to be on the campaigning list, you should likely not also unsubscribe them from your fundraising list. It’s entirely up to you how you want to handle this unsubscribe, here’s how the options perform:
Off = the user will be unsubscribed just from the list(s) selected in the ‘lists’ tab of the field
On = the user will be unsubscribed from every list that Impact Stack knows about (ie all of the lists you can see on the ‘lists’ tab).
Hiding the form label
If you decide that you don’t want the ‘Title’ of this form field to show to the user (for example if you’re using a markup field above the field instead), simply click on ‘Label display = none’ on the ‘Display’ tab of the setup.
A note on webform conditionals
If you’re using webform conditionals for your form we recommend that you set this up after you’ve finished with building the form. The conditionals available for the newsletter field change depending on how you’ve configured the field, so if you make changes to your newsletter field after setting up conditionals, you should go back and make sure they’re still working.
We recommend you also look at the article on how to add an extra piece of warning text when the user chooses ‘no’ on a radio opt-in field, this can help increase your overall opt in rate.
Here are a few example scenarios
Animal Rights Worldwide has decided to set their newsletter field up to subscribe users to their main (generic) newsletter list and their separate campaigns list, using a radio button where ‘No’ does not mean an unsubscribe. Their newsletter field would look like this:
End Oil want to ask users to subscribe to their central email list using a checkbox. They do not have an integrated email tool, so do not need to set anything on the ‘lists’ stage.
Healthcare Access UK wants opting-in supporters to subscribe to their campaigning list only using a radio field. When the user chooses ‘no’ they want the user to unsubscribe just from that campaigning list (not all email lists that they are on).
Using double opt-in (confirmation step)
You can choose to set up your forms to require the user to click a confirmation link in an email before their submission is complete, sometimes known as 'double opt-in'. This helps to make sure that the email address a user has submitted is real, and has been submitted by the address owner, who really wants to be on your email list.
You can set up this additional step on the 'Email' step in the wizard. Toggle 'Enable email confirmation' to 'Yes' to set up the additional email, which will include the confirmation link. On the next step (Thank you) the system will then prompt you to also create two thank you pages - one for when the supporter submits the form, and one for when they click the confirmation link.