What’s Your Expectation

Expectations for unsubscribing are critical to manage when it comes to email compliance. The CAN-SPAM Act was signed into law at the end of 2003 with the intent of controlling unwanted emails. Without high-end spam filters or any sort of government oversight at that time, web users had a sense that they were in the wild west. The CAN-SPAM Act brought an end to this fining up to $16,000 per violation in 2003, which has now grown to $43,280.

As much as CAN-SPAM has come to guide email compliance, it is also a relic of an earlier era of the internet. Consider this: under the CAN-SPAM Act, companies must acknowledge unsubscribe requests within ten days.

Ten days. This is a number from the dial-up era, not one that customers expect from you when they want to unsubscribe from emails. Even as spam laws continue to develop and evolve (most notably in Trump’s 2019 TRACED Act targeted at robocalls) the ten day timeframe remains fixed.

As we approach the 17th anniversary of the CAN-SPAM Act, customer needs have changed dramatically. Every time we click a button, we expect real-time results. Any delay, especially one lasting for days, is unacceptable, but is technically legal.

What Companies Do, What Customers Expect

Companies tend to manage their data around multiple tech stacks, and these tech stacks don’t always communicate with each other particularly well. Without a centralized database that is able to catalog and translate these changes, it becomes obvious why unsubscribes not only take so long, but often fail to be properly distributed.

Customers don’t understand this, and are rarely sympathetic to technical issues. As internet users, we’ve taken certain things, like speed, for granted. When we send personal emails, we expect it to arrive in our recipient’s inbox immediately, or at the very least to see a notification that our email could not be delivered. Our mind is set on automatic, and when things don’t follow the plan, outrage ensues.

Customers who opt out of your emails should be given the same priority as any other, because an unsubscribe doesn’t always equate to a loss of interest in a product or service. Sometimes the timing is bad, or irrelevant content is being sent out to the right customers. More often than not, customers just want to receive emails less frequently. Expectations for unsubscribing are generally a matter of common sense.

The point is that unsubscribes aren’t an end to a business relationship, but a natural part of a developing relationship between customer and brand. Using centralized tools that are able to communicate across tech stacks, provide levels of opting down, and survey these results will help you retain customers and calibrate your marketing techniques.

 

Bridging the Divide

Measuring success in unsubscribes starts and ends with how quickly you are able to meet a customer’s needs.

Unsubscribing from emails needs to be simple and immediate. There’s no sense in waiting – the CAN-SPAM Act was put in place with the expectation that customers can opt-out when they want to opt-out, and no number of marketing emails are going to change their mind in the meantime.

Opting out also doesn’t have to be permanent. By giving customers a selection of options to choose from, you can put them in control of how they receive emails. They can choose to hear from you less often, or only hear about certain promotions or product updates that you offer.

It also offers an opportunity for improvement. Popular apps like Yelp prove that customers love to have their voices heard – inserting an optional survey on the unsubscribe preference page can provide you with valuable data on why customers are opting out.

 

Good Unsubscribe Compliance is Good Business

Successful companies thrive on exceeding the expectations of their clients – email unsubscribe compliance should be no exception.

UnsubCentral offers more than just the ability to provide immediate unsubscribes among dozens of tech stack integrations. It gives you the tools to retain customers for the long haul. It protects you from steep fines. And it helps guide your marketing practices in a responsible, reliable way.

Expectations for unsubscribing shouldn’t have to be complicated. Contact us today to learn more about how we bridge the gap between customer experience and brand integrity.