3 Tips for Using Suppression Lists in Your Email Marketing Strategy

Don’t just manage unsubscribe rates, manage email unsubscribers too.

A recent post over at the Marketo blog gives email marketers expert advice for getting a handle on rising unsubscribe rates. If you’re looking for a way to lower your unsubscribe rates, the post recommends doing the following:

  • Increasing the relevance of content with additional email list segmentation
  • Personalizing your email content with real-time data
  • Leveraging other marketing channels to reduce email frequency without affecting overall customer communication

By aligning your content and send frequency with the tastes of your email audience, you can keep your subscribers happy.

Of course, your responsibility to your email list doesn’t end when they unsubscribe from your emails. Keeping those unsubscribers happy counts too. After all, just because your audience unsubscribes from your emails doesn’t mean they stop being a potential customer—or even a current customer who just isn’t that keen on email.

Keeping Unsubscribers Happy

In your efforts to manage unsubscribe rates, you shouldn’t forget to manage email unsubscribers. Poor unsubscriber handling practices can result in a loss of brand reputation or even email compliance issues. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work to stay in your audience’s (and the law’s) good graces.

1) Simplify your unsubscribe process.

A convoluted unsubscribe form will leave a sour taste in your departing subscriber’s mouth. Think about how your departing email audience would feel if the last thing they see from your email program is an unsubscribe page asking:

  • “Are you sure you don’t DON’T want to not remain on our list?” or
  • “Please check the box for every email newsletter you do not want to unsubscribe from.”

They probably wouldn’t be particularly happy about it.

They also probably wouldn’t be happy if it was particularly hard to find your unsubscribe page in the first place. The CAN-SPAM Act requires marketers to place a clear unsubscribe link in every marketing email. If you make it hard to find this link, not only are you annoying your list, you could be setting yourself up for hefty fines.

Instead make sure your opt-out process:

  • Includes a clear, visible unsubscribe link in every email
  • Uses clear language throughout
  • Enables users to quickly unsubscribe, whether from a single newsletter or from all email marketing communication
  • Gives departing users a way to keep in touch on other channels

Clarifying your opt-out process ensures you maintain email compliance. It also helps you make a clean break with your email unsubscribers, which can make a difference in your future relationships with those users.

2) Honor all unsubscribes promptly.

The CAN-SPAM Act mandates that marketers remove unsubscribers from their email list within 10 business days. Waiting until Day 10 to honor that unsubscribe is fine with the law, but is it fine with your audience?

When someone asks to be removed from your list, they expect to be removed right away. They probably don’t care about CAN-SPAM compliance. In fact, odds are they probably aren’t aware of its existence. They just want off your list, and every email you send over those 10 days—while technically legally permissible—is a potential hit to your brand reputation.

When audiences demand immediacy, it’s best to try and make sure you don’t send them any more email once they unsubscribe. By honoring unsubscribes as soon as possible, you reduce the risk of annoying your departing list members.

3) Make sure you honor opt-outs across ALL platforms.

Of course, sometimes honoring unsubscribes promptly is easier said than done, especially if you have a complex email marketing program.

When your company sends email from multiple ESPs, uses a marketing automation platform in addition to your ESP, or even if you engage in affiliate email marketing, you must take extra precautions to ensure opt-outs are honored across platforms. Otherwise, an unsubscriber could slip through the cracks.

In this case, it’s best to centralize your email opt-outs in a secure place. That way, ALL emailers have safe access to the most recent opt-out data. An opt-out management platform like UnsubCentral makes it easy to sync your unsubscribes across platforms. When it’s easy to stay compliant, you don’t just keep your unsubscribers happy; your email team is happy too.

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