Brands work hard to build their email marketing lists, so reducing unsubscribes makes sense. Incorrect assumptions about unsubscribes lead some brands to adopt ineffective strategies. Some brands’ efforts to reduce unsubscribes result in increased list churn, reduced deliverability, or both.
Here are six questions you or your boss may have about unsubscribes and how to protect your list and reputation.
- Am I encouraging people to opt out if I make my unsubscribe link too prominent?
- Do unsubscribes affect email deliverability?
- What about native unsubscribe links?
- How can I increase the number of subscribers who visit my unsubscribe page?
- How about a ‘Snooze’ option?
- How many clicks to unsubscribe?
Am I encouraging people to opt out if I make my unsubscribe link too prominent?
Visible unsubscribe links usually work against them. Subscribers feel more comfortable staying subscribed if they know they can easily unsubscribe at any time. You’re essentially acknowledging the subscriber’s control, giving them the confidence to move forward with you.
Heavily abused by spammers, this email marketing blunder Use a font size of at least 14pt, consider bolding, and make sure the link uses the keyword “unsubscribe.”
Adding a second unsubscribe link above the fold in the preheader or header causes the most concern for brands. This is especially useful for welcome, reengagement, and re-permission emails, which arrive at times when subscribers are more likely to unsubscribe. Unsubscribe is the opt-out method you want your subscribers to use.
Do unsubscribes affect email deliverability?
No. While unsubscribes reduce the size of your list, they have no effect on your sender reputation. This is in contrast to the other three methods available to subscribers:
- Clicking the spam complaint button. In addition to potentially damaging your sender reputation, this immediately unsubscribes the subscriber. If a brand’s spam complaint rate exceeds 0.1 percent, they may be blocked or junked.
- Ignoring emails When a subscriber doesn’t open or click on your emails for a long time, it can harm your sender reputation at mailbox providers like Gmail that require both positive and negative engagement (such as spam complaints). This disengagement may also indicate that your subscriber has abandoned their email account, which increases the risk of spam trapping. Simply sending to spam traps can severely harm your sender reputation. For both of these reasons, ignore emails from inactives.
- Disable their email address. Subscribers can deactivate their email address in a world of Hide My Email and other temporary email addresses. Hard-bouncing emails are immediately deleted by all reputable email service providers. Deliverability issues arise when a brand’s monthly hard bounce rate exceeds 2%.
When compared to other opt-out options, unsubscribing is clearly the path you want subscribers to take.
What about native unsubscribe links?
Your sender reputation isn’t harmed when a subscriber unsubscribes using Gmail, Yahoo, or other mailbox providers’ native unsubscribe links. These links, which appear next to the sender’s name when an email is opened, are enabled by all reputable email service providers. Unsubscribing via one of these links works exactly like unsubscribing via your unsubscribe page.
Native unsubscribe links provide a sender-friendly alternative to reporting emails as spam. However, because these links bypass your unsubscribe page, you miss out on the opportunity to provide alternatives to unsubscribe. The easier it is for your subscribers to find and use your unsubscribe link, the better.
How can I increase the number of subscribers who visit my unsubscribe page?
Besides reminding them of what they’d be missing if they opted out, providing alternatives is key. If you don’t provide any, they’ll unsubscribe easily.
For example, if you offer a one-click unsubscribe, you’ll lose 100% of those who use it. Including a “Stay subscribed” option on your unsubscribe page can retain some subscribers.
To keep potential unsubscribers, you must provide options that address the reasons they chose to unsubscribe in the first place. Your emails aren’t relevant to me, so I don’t get too many from you. To address these concerns, offer contact frequency and content preferences.
For example, if you typically send four emails per week, offering the option to receive only one per week can help retain an unhappy subscriber. Can you provide content options by business line, product category, topic, location, or other factors? Adding a few broad content options can make your emails much more relevant to a reader.
How about a ‘Snooze’ option?
The option to pause emails was created to prevent holiday shoppers from unsubscribing due to high email volumes. Then it was offered sympathetically as a way to opt out of Mother’s Day emails for subscribers who had lost their mothers. Jeannine Pine, senior director of agency services at Oracle Marketing Consulting, says snooze usage is rising.
According to her, snooze options have reduced unsubscribes by 82 percent. “Due to their success, some of our clients who only implemented them for the holidays have decided to make them year-round.”
If you choose this option, a month’s snooze is standard for brands that send frequent emails. Generally, lower frequency programs offer a two-month snooze.
How many clicks to unsubscribe?
As previously stated, most brands don’t need a one-click unsubscribe option. It’s also absurd to make subscribers click twice to unsubscribe. « 2-Click Unsubscribe Rule» in my book «Email Marketing Rules».
By requiring only one click in the email and one on the unsubscribe page, you strike the right balance between providing an efficient opt-out process and providing options to potentially address the subscriber’s dissatisfaction. But every unsubscribe click makes the one-click report spam button look more appealing.