In the game of email marketing, quantity and quality are often at odds. Advertisers want to grow email reach and affiliates want to grow commissions—so deliverable addresses are at a premium. At the same time, brands don’t want to be seen as “that company” (the one sending unwanted messages). And affiliates don’t want to risk their partnerships or their paychecks by generating massive amounts of email opt outs every month—so connecting with the right people is also crucial.
The following tips will help your brand and your affiliates promote quantity and quality within email lists. Here’s the scoop:
Be Honest with Opt In Mechanisms
What’s the best way to minimize email opt outs? Start by being supremely honest in how you attract and compel new subscribers to join your mailing lists. Prospects should know exactly what they can expect to receive after offering up their email address.
Here are two examples from the super-sleek cleaning brand, method (methodhome.com). Instead of just baiting visitors with a purchase discount, method clearly explains that entering an email address will also be a sign-up for the brand newsletter. They go on to list some typical content features in the newsletter, so visitors can decide if the exchange is worthwhile. In the second example, the email sign-up field offers even more newsletter content information: limited edition products, special coupons, green news, and more.
Without these descriptors, subscribers might think they were signing up for discount codes only. Receiving a newsletter about product information or environmental news might frustrate them, lead to an immediate opt out, or even a SPAM complaint.
Provide Proven Content
Sharing high-quality, highly relevant content with your subscribers isn’t hard. But it does take practice, and a willingness to listen (i.e. test). Every company—from Bloomingdales to Bill’s Dog Grooming—has access to email management tools that can conduct split-test emails and segment lists, while monitoring open rates and click-throughs, etc. (And if you don’t, we know a great email service provider you should check out.) There’s no reason to guess anymore.
You can take note of what has worked in the past based on recipients’ post-email behaviors or purchase histories. You can test different content formats, lengths, components, CTAs, etc. Stay tuned for a future blog post on all the various ways to test and optimize your email content…
Offer Email Preference Options
“It’s not you; it’s your constant interruptions,” said 90 percent of email opt outs…
These are your customers, and they’re telling you something important. More often than not, unsubscribes are the result of too frequent emails, or content that isn’t targeted enough. You can help them (and keep them on your mailing lists) with some simple list management.
We all know the drill about offering email preference options, right? But are you using preferences to their full potential? See how Old Navy creates the perfect balance between an accessible opt-out mechanism and additional choices that make subscribing more palatable.
Survey Your Unsubscribes
Besides their frequency and irrelevance, your emails may be frustrating subscribers in other ways. You won’t know unless you ask. So try adding a brief question to your email opt-out page, something like this example from Ann Taylor:
For even more detailed insights, add an open field where opt outs can enter their own comments.
One quick word of warning: let recipients complete your opt-out survey (or choose not to complete it) on the same page as your unsubscribe mechanism. Do not email survey questions separately, or position your survey as an extra layer between requesting an opt out and submitting the request. This sounds like a no-brainer, but some brands are still getting it wrong.
Accept that Some Email Opt Outs Are Necessary
They say that if you love something, you should let it go… and see if it comes back again. It makes good business sense to treat email subscribers the same way. People who don’t want to be on your email list are dead weight, at best; they’re potential SPAM complaints, at worst.
You should always provide email preference options (alternatives to opting out, as per the advice above), but when subscribers actually say “no thanks,” let them go without a fight. Don’t require passwords to complete the opt-out process. Don’t send unsubscribe confirmation emails. Mainly, don’t be clingy. That way, you’ll preserve the overall relationship and improve your chances of engaging with them across other sales channels.
Most important: don’t forget to track and manage opt outs—from all email campaigns—as accurately and efficiently as possible. We’re always here to help if you have questions on that front. See how our opt-out management platform works.