Including an unsubscribe address in marketing emails is a legal requirement in the UK. But unsubscribing is not just a question of legal compliance.
Marketers who make it easy for a recipient to unsubscribe are taking an important step to keep their own database clean, cost effective and targeted, whilst building trust with recipients.
Why the unsubscribe link is better than the spam button
Graham Charlton at Econsultancy has published an interesting article looking at how easy (or not) eight UK retailers make it to unsubscribe from their marketing emails.
Of all the retailers assessed, only Topshop makes it obvious (interesting that Topshop also scored very well in our Hitting the Mark benchmark study this year!).
Graham makes a good point:
“If people want to unsubscribe from emails, it should be made as easy as possible, as the alternative for many customers is using the report spam option, something which can have an adverse effect on sender reputations with ISPs.”
If your recipients don’t want to receive your email marketing messages, then there is absolutely no benefit in making it difficult for them to unsubscribe, it will only create negative brand associations.
Remember, if a recipient doesn’t view your email as interesting and relevant, you may well be pushing them to unsubscribe.
Graham pulls out an interesting stat indicating that by putting the unsubscribe link at the top of the email in an obvious position, unsubscribes reduce from 0.47% to 0.39%. By demonstrating to the recipients that you are a legitimate mailer offering added value to the recipients, you will start to build more trust.
Better targeting = more engaged recipients
On a similar note, Chris Brogan has blogged to say he was delighted recently when, after deciding to change the focus of his email newsletter (away from social media), he received a significant number of unsubscribes.
Why was he happy?
“What this means is that I’m better defining my newsletter to appeal to the people who will follow me through the next big story arc, through the next big change. It means that people are self-defining, and that they are along for the ride for what we’re experimenting with, and what findings I’ll share with them.”
Chris knows there is no benefit in sending an email to people that wont appreciate the content – so it’s better that they unsubscribe.
If a recipient cannot unsubscribe they will complain – ultimately to the ISP – and these complaints could mean that you will run into deliverability issues.
Of course, in some cases, the recipients you loose will potentially be good customers. But rather than hiding the unsubscribe link, why not just ask them for their feedback on a regular basis? Why not offer alternatives, for example, reducing the number or frequency of mailings.
This will allow you to keep your content on message and make sure you are sending valuable, useful content. By narrowcasting – i.e. segmenting your database of recipients by different splits (e.g. sex, age, date of last purchase, number of previous purchases etc.) – it’s possible that a greater number of recipients will be engaged by what you send.
If you need a few pointers on how to get the most from your data, give us a shout and our professional services team would be happy to help.
by Tink Taylor