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Unsubscribe: Good or bad?

UnSub-Image-1When someone unsubscribes from an email campaign, it’s generally considered to be a bad thing. But I’d like to put a different spin on this often misunderstood metric and explain how it can actually offer some positives for your email marketing.

So I’ve received your email and I’ve decided to unsubscribe. At first glance, there is a negative connotation associated with my action but let’s look a little deeper.

By selecting your email’s unsubscribe option, I’ve chosen the best method to stop receiving your email. My email client (such as Gmail or Hotmail) provides me with quicker and easier options in the form of ‘Mark as Spam’ and ‘This is Junk’ which, if I were to use, will have an impact on your email reputation and deliverability with ISPs. It might only be a small impact, but if enough people do this then it can have serious implications for your email marketing.

Given that I’ve unsubscribed from your email, it’s reasonable to assume that I was a disengaged contact no longer interested in reading your emails anyway. So by removing myself from your list, I’m allowing you to focus on subscribers that are interested in your content and my non-readership of your email will no longer skew your email metrics.

And finally, unsubscribing is my way of providing you with feedback on your email campaign. Maybe the content was no longer relevant to me, or I was unhappy with the email’s frequency, or I failed to see the value in remaining subscribed. Or course, the best way of finding the exact reason for my unsubscribing is to ask. Whilst keeping it as simple as possible for someone to unsubscribe, it’s often beneficial to include a single drop-down field that allows people to select from a list of reasons for unsubscribing. Or alternatively include a single comments field where people may type a reason in their own words. This may not provide as much feedback however the feedback you do receive will be more candid.

To leave you with a final thought on the unsubscribe option; it doesn’t have to be the end of the conversation with your subscriber. Even if it’s just for a brief moment, you have their attention whilst they are on the unsubscribe page. So use this opportunity to keep the conversation going on different platforms. If you’re active on social networking sites for example, ask people to follow you and give them a reason to do so. For example, you might say ‘Follow us on Twitter to be the first to hear of our last minute specials’.

Just because someone doesn’t want to receive your emails anymore, it doesn’t always mean they are no longer interested in your company altogether. By keeping them engaged with you on different platforms, you are giving yourself the opportunity to demonstrate value in different ways which may actually see them re-subscribing to your emails in the future.

So there you have it. I’ve received your email and I’ve decided to unsubscribe. It could be worse and by taking on board my feedback and keeping me engaged across different platforms, I still represent an opportunity to your business and may even re-subscribe to your email one day.

Posted by:
Matthew Johnson
EDM Specialist
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