Unsubscribes are the bane of email marketing. Companies are often reliant on customers to opt-in, and when they opt-out, it can signify a problem with the emails or the campaign itself.
Over time, a good number of your customers are going to opt-out of your emails, and this is actually beneficial to your company so long as you can ultimately learn and gain from the experience.
Often, opt-outs have nothing to do with your company, your products, or the content of the emails. Some people just decide that they do not want to receive email from any companies.
There are five ways, however, that you can help to limit unsubscribes when they do concern your company.
1. Offer more choices than just “opt-out.”
One of these choices, for example, could be “opt-down,” meaning the consumer gets more control over the nature and frequency of emails your company sends. This measure of control is often more than enough to ease consumer stress about cluttered inboxes.
Also, consider the year’s buying cycles and how they relate to your products or services. If you sell computers or shoes, it will likely be months or years before a recent buyer needs to be reminded to purchase again. Clothing stores, restaurants, and scores of other businesses, on the other hand, are visited regularly, often on a weekly basis.
2. Make sure your opt-down selections include categories.
If your company sends a lot of email—newsletters, discounts, coupons, events, triggered email, reminders—you will want your opt-in customers to have the chance to choose which of these they actually want to receive.
Offering your customers the option to just receive your newsletter, and never see any of those other messages again, is a great way to retain their presence on your list and still give them something useful.
3. Let your customers change and update their email addresses.
There are plenty of reasons a customer might be abandoning an old email address, but if they want to continue receiving their emails, providing them with a way to change which address those emails come to is a great way to retain that customer.
4. Rethink your message format.
The majority of emails are now opened on mobile devices, rather than on traditional computers. In order to make it easy for your customers to see and use these emails, make sure they are “mobile friendly.” If you are noticing a significant pilgrimage from your list, you will definitely want to consider offering your customers format choices.
5. It doesn’t have to end with an unsubscribe.
Once again, just because someone leaves your list doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in your company. Reach out to them through physical mail, catalog services, or social media. For the vast majority of customers who unsubscribe, they simply don’t enjoy email marketing. They may, however, be more than willing to still engage with your company. If they’re not, however, it’s time to bid them farewell until they return on their own terms. The last thing your company needs are negative social media comments from disgruntled former customers.
Whenever possible or appropriate, try to determine why a customer opted-out of your list in order to learn how to better sharpen your email marketing efforts. It can be a tremendous learning opportunity that will ultimately help you retain more customers in the future.