The art of saying ‘goodbye’ or ‘see you later’.
People who unsubscribe from your mailing list are not necessarily a big problem. Why? Because the alternative is much worse: people clicking the spam complaint button.
The trick is to be smart about the way you handle your email unsubscribers. If they are happy about the choice you give them to (temporarily) remove you from their inbox, they are likely to come backlater on. If you pin them down without an easy way out, chances are you will lose them forever.
In a nutshell: don’t keep targeting customers who are no longer interested in your content. Instead, trade a larger unsubscribe rate for a smaller price card and higher clicks, opens and conversions.
Some basic rules of engagement to deal with unsubscribers:
- Make it easy to leave the list
- Make it even easier to come back
- Provide alternatives to stay in touch
The way you handle email unsubscribes for your marketing emails is more important than it looks. A few best practices to keep in mind...
Always add an unsubscribe link, preferably in the usual place: at the bottom of your emails. You can also add it at the top to give an even more confident and honest impression. This makes it easier to find and click, and reduces the chance of people using the spam complaint button.
Show your contacts that they matter to you. Create a branded page where you give them control over the way you communicate with them (see point 3, 4, 5 and 6). Your writing style on this page, or maybe even a joke or a funny video you add, might just prevent a few people from unsubscribing. If not, it leaves them with a more positive impression.
Unsubscribing does not necessarily mean that your contact is no longer interested in your company, your products or your services. Perhaps they just receive too too many emails, or they don’t find all of your content to be relevant.
- Allow people to tell you which topics, products or channels they are interested in
- Let them choose between different newsletters
- Let them decide how frequently they want to receive emails from you
4/ Add a very clear 'unsubscribe from everything' button
If someone wants to leave your mailing list altogether, you have nothing to gain by making it hard for them. So, next to the option to control their preferences, add a clear one-click button to unsubscribe from all of your emails. After clicking this button, immediately unsubscribe them from all marketing communications and confirm this on your unsubscribe page.
5/ Suggest they follow you on social media instead
Contacts usually opt out or opt down because they receive too many emails. Clearly point out to them that there are other, less invasive ways to stay in touch with your company. Give them a little push in the back by reminding them that they can also add or follow you on social media.
6/ Grab some feedback if you can
If you can find out why people have chosen to fully unsubscribe, this feedback could contain valuable lessons to improve your future email marketing efforts. So why not add a short (and non mandatory) feedback form on your confirmation page? Keep it short: a few multiple choices and a remarks field should suffice.
7/ Make it easy to re-subscribe
Let your unsubscribers know that you will welcome them back with open arms at any given time in the future. Create subscribe forms on your website, link to them in your whitepapers, add a link to the preference center in your transactional emails, etc. Make sure these forms overwrite the blacklist so you can email your re-subscribers again.
8/ Please avoid…
So far for the do’s. Let’s wrap this up with some important don’ts:
- Don’t ask for an email address or login to unsubscribe.
You already have this information, because after all you just emailed them.
- Don’t send a confirmation email to tell people they will no longer get emails from you.
- Especially don't ask people to confirm their unsubscribe by email
It is better to lose subscribers and preserve a chance of winning them back, than to annoy them into seeing you as a spammer.