5 Ways To Enhance The Email Unsubscribe Process

by Melle Staelenberg
04 December 2014

No matter how well designed and targeted your email campaigns are, there will always be recipients who hit the ‘unsubscribe’ link.

However, rather than simply saying ’sorry to see you go’, the unsubscribe process can provide you with an opportunity to understand and improve customer relationship. At the very least, it gives you an opportunity to find out what went wrong and how you can improve your email marketing communications for everybody else.

Here are five ways to enhance the unsubscribe process:

1. Make it easy
Every marketing email must include the option to unsubscribe – that’s non-negotiable by law. But it should also be made as easy as possible. Best is to include a prominent message, rather than attempting to bury the unsubscribe link amongst minute text in the footer. If customers are struggling to find a way to unsubscribe, you risk them reporting your communications as spam, which can have an unfavourable effect on your sending reputation.

2. Give them other options
Email fatigue is one of the biggest reasons people unsubscribe from email communications. The recipient may be struggling with a cluttered inbox, receiving too many or less relevant communications. Change your ‘unsubscribe’ link in your email communications into a ‘manage your preferences or unsubscribe’ option. Once the customer has clicked through, via the preference centre they can unsubscribe as well as adjust and refine their subscriber profile:

Frequency: Let your customers change the frequency of emails to suit them e.g. from weekly or fortnightly.

Categories: Allow them to select product/service categories that are more relevant to their needs.

Pause: Give them the option to pause communications if they are off on holidays or simply need a break.

By providing options that work best for your customers, you will cut down your overall unsubscribe rate and ultimately improve customer experience.

3. A question of feedback

Why are people unsubscribing from your emails? This valuable insight can help shape your future email marketing efforts for the better. Some companies make it compulsory for people to click on a feedback option before they are allowed to unsubscribe, however this can result in people choosing any option just to get through the process quickly. Don’t make it mandatory but offer a few pre-defined answers such as:

Never opted to receive emails
Too many emails
No longer interested
Emails are not relevant
Other (with an open text box for comments)

You can cross-reference this feedback with the profiles of those unsubscribing to recognise trends and prevent more subscribers from making the jump.Also consider including an ‘undo’ button, in case someone accidently opted out from your communications: ‘Oops, wrong click - put me back on the list’.

4. Gone in two clicks

If your customer decides to unsubscribe, make it easy to complete the process. Ideally, you should carry out an immediate removal of the customer from your email communications. However, if this isn’t possible, be sure to spell out what will happen next. Will they receive an email confirming that they have unsubscribed or changed their preferences? How long will it take for unsubscribes or changes to take effect? If this process isn’t immediate, make sure this is clear so customers don’t complain or report you as spam when they continue to receive emails in the meantime. This is also a good moment to link back to your website. There is nothing wrong with combining ‘You are now unsubscribed’ with a ‘Click here to see our latest specials’. In fact, you might be surprised in the number of clicks you can generate from an opt-out confirmation page.

5. Make it human

Don’t be afraid to add some personality to the unsubscribe process. A good example of this is Groupon, who a few years ago introduced “Derrick” to their unsubscribe process. According to Groupon, Derrick is the guy who thought you’d enjoy the daily email. Unsubscribers are invited to “Punish Derrick” and shown a video of Derrick being chastised for losing you as a subscriber, followed by an invite to re-subscribe (to make it up to Derrick). As well as going viral, this may well have been enough to make some people change their minds.

Unsubscribes are part of every email campaign – a good preference centre in combination with adaptable, targeted communications will allow your customers to opt out or pause your weekly newsletter and subscribe to your monthly specials on the same page. By constantly reviewing why customers opt-out from certain communications, you can improve your customer relationship and grow your subscriber base at the same time.

Want to become an expert in email marketing? Find out more here or call us on 1300 725 628.

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About the author
Melle Staelenberg
Business Manager

Melle has been with Salmat since 2010. In his current role, Melle is responsible to maximise business value from Salmat’s core products, including email and mobile. His product expertise combined with a strong focus on research and a healthy dose of creativity helps driving Salmat’s digital roadmap. Melle holds a Masters degree in Business Economics and a BA in New Media & Digital Culture and is passionate about all things digital. Being Dutch, he likes to cycle – he’s also a big Ajax fan (the football team, not the cleaning product)!

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