Tactics for managing your unsubscribes


It’s likely you’ve worked hard to capture your customer and as all good marketers are aware, ongoing communications with customers have proved to improve retention, referral and general brand awareness.

 That’s why, when a customer opts to ‘unsubscribe’ many businesses feel a little ‘rejected’.

 First and foremost, it’s fundamentally important to honour the ‘unsubscribe request’ and remove them from your communication lists immediately.    However, there are some tactics you can look to apply which may ensure that you don’t totally lose the opportunity to continuously communicate with your all important customers:

 1.     Provide more ‘Opt in’ preferences.  When you are inviting your customer to ‘opt in’ to your email communications – very often I see just the one tick box.   From the user’s perspective, all they have to do is tick this box to be assured that they won’t receive any further email communications from you.  However, if we follow the principle of ‘targeted’ communications – and the logic that people don’t actually mind receiving emails about something they are genuinely interested in – then this opens up the opportunity for you to provide your customers with a ‘choice’ of the types of communications they receive from you.   Of course, if you don’t have a wide range of communications – then it may be that you provide choice on Frequency.  So instead of offering just one tick box – provide say, 5 tick boxes: for example:  General Monthly Ewire,  Marketing News,  SEO News,  Small Business News,  Finance & Tax News  - this way the user can just select the Small Business News – rather than receiving all 5.    Similarly, if you don’t have that many communication options to provide the user – then offer choice of frequency,  for example;  monthly, weekly, daily, quarterly etc. 

2.     Find out why your customers want to unsubscribe.  When a user ticks the unsubscribe option – why not ask them ‘why’ they have chosen to unsubscribe.  You can offer a simple drop down box of options – or you can provide them with a box to provide you with their reasons.  This has two positive elements 1) you learn about your customers and 2) it provides your customer with a platform to provide feedback to you.  There are some really neat little applications which do this job very well and cost nothing or very little – such as:  http://www.kampyle.com. 

3.     Provide your customers with confirmation of your action.  Personally, it really frustrates me that when I unsubscribe from a communication vehicle, I don’t get any ‘confirmation’ that my unsubscribe request has been actioned.  This means, I’m often left thinking, ‘did that work’?  From a usability perspective, all online actions should provide the user with some means of logical ‘feedback’.  When a user unsubscribes, ensure your user is directed to a page which confirms the action with a message along the lines of ‘Thank you for your unsubscription request.   I can confirm that your request has been forwarded to our online communications team and will be processed immediately.  Whilst this is being processed, you may receive communications from us, but rest assured that your request is being dealt with.  In order to help us improve our communications, we’d value any feedback as to why you wish to unsubscribe from this service, and indeed welcome your feedback on any other service we provide. 

4.     Double check the ‘all out’ option.  You could go one further and remind your user of what they will be missing out on by unsubscribing.  Particularly if you have a ‘preferences’ in place (as discussed in point 1 above) – this way you can say something like:  Thank you for your unsubscription request.  By unsubscribing you have chosen to opt out of receiving  our  General Monthly Ewire,  Marketing News,  SEO News,  Small Business News,  Finance & Tax News – if you wish to stay subscribed to any of these services simply tick the relevant item below.  Similarly, if you wish to change the frequency of when these communications are sent to you – simply tick the frequency preferences below. 

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