Unsubscribe Me You Bully: 4 Common Email Marketing Mistakes that Lead to Unsubscribes

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Posted: July 20, 2012 | Email Marketing

When I get unwanted and unsolicited emails from someone I don’t know, the first thing I do is look for the unsubscribe link. Yet, I’m still struggling with the fact that often when I’ve asked to be “unsubscribed,” an email somehow manages to sneak through to my inbox. This is when I start to doubt myself, “wait a minute, I thought I unsubscribed last time, but maybe I didn’t?” So, I continue to keep hitting the unsubscribe button, but somehow, “they” [a restaurant, store, blog, etc.] don’t really seem to grasp the concept of unsubscribing. And the reason I unsubscribe to half of these in the first place is because I am no longer interested in what they have to say because it’s either always the same stuff, or it is stuff I am not interested in learning about.

I feel like some of these particular email senders are like bullies. They make people feel helpless and desperate for a way to make the harassment stop, even after you have asked them calmly (or not) to back off. What can make them stop harassing you? Give them money, pay for their lunch the rest of your life, or do you take legal action?  You jump through hoops to get rid of them, just like you would with these spammers. I change my email address, deactivate the old one, flag them as spam, etc. but they still succeed to find me! How is this possible, do they have a tracking device on me?

If they only knew my reasons for unsubscribing in the first place, I think majority of them would still have me as their customer. But since they didn’t, they’ve lost me as prospect and I don’t know when I will forgive them for annoying me for days, months, and years.

As a marketer I take this very seriously, and look for ways to have less unsubscribing and more engagement. There are usually several reasons why someone unsubscribes, and here are 4 mistakes most marketers often make:

1)  Frequent Mailing – you are sending too many emails that bombard inboxes.  Watch how often you’re sending these emails and how your customers are reacting. Monitor unsubscribes and take action accordingly on whether or not you should continue to send as many emails, or decrease the amount based on relevancy of your messaging. Maybe you have an event coming up that you want to send out reminders for, or maybe you have some really cool news you want to share.  Just be mindful of how often you are sending these out and work on segmenting your audience further.

2) Content Not Compelling – your content may be repetitive or it doesn’t resonate with your prospects.  Keep in mind that your prospects are too busy with overflowing inboxes (think about your own inbox). Most of us don’t have time for all the fluff and we want to know what you have to offer and how it can solve our urgent needs. So when you email keep the message concise and valuable. Avoid lengthy emails because most people “skim” through content. If something captures their attention then they are likely to click on it, otherwise that email is history, and capturing their attention again will be very tough. So make that first email as if it’s the ONLY email and ONLY chance you have to make the first and best impression.

3) Emails Too Sales-y – being pushy in your emails is not something most readers like.  Make your email marketing content relevant and informational and you’ll build trust and eventually gain your prospects’ business.  By using a conversational tone, you can slowly begin to create a relationship, which is important if you want them to continue receiving your emails.  Most people can sense a sales email right up front and will often delete– so keep tone in mind when creating your blast.

4) Not Relevant Enough – Prospects opt-in because you have information they want. If your prospect opted-in to receive targeted email marketing on for example: how to fly a kite, then continue to send some information on just that, and give them options at the bottom to click on other things that interest them around kite flying. This way you’re asking for permission to sending them information on other stuff they are interested in learning about.

I hope one if not all of these will help improve your opt-out numbers. Just keep in mind that your emails should be able to help people solve problems, or be something that they can gain value from. In a world full of content saturation your prospects are not only receiving your emails, but they are also receiving 100s of others – and it’s crucial to retain your subscribers. Once your subscriber opts out, the odds of getting them back are slim. So put thought into everything you do. As a marketer you know how crucial it is to hold on to what you’ve worked so hard getting: prospects.

Was this helpful? I would love to hear your insight, and what tactics have worked for you. Drop me a line or two: rravulapati@marketo.com

Unsubscribe Me You Bully: 4 Common Email Marketing Mistakes that Lead to Unsubscribes

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