Email Opt-in Done Right

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Marketers who ask customers to opt in to email promotions, rather than deciding for them, are the ones who will build the most engagement for their brand.

One email pet peeve I have is being opted in to promotional marketing lists by presumptuous marketers. Just because I make a purchase on your site, for example, doesn't mean that I want you to add me to your email list. I may be buying a one-time gift and don't want to be bombarded with offers for a product I'll never use or purchase again. 

And forcing me to opt out by opting me in without asking? That's a sure-fire way to encourage negative word of mouth.

One company that does email opt in right is hair salon Ouidad. The salon has my email address on file to confirm appointments. When the company recently launched an email marketing initiative, its marketers didn't assume that I, or other clients, would want to receive its email promotions. Instead, they asked. The subject line sets the tone: "May we add you to the list? (Subscribe & save on Ouidad.com)." Then the copy follows through with, "we don't want to assume...that you'd like to receive emails from Ouidad.com."

Now, that's how email opt in is done. 

Not only do Ouidad's clients get to choose whether they want to opt in, but once they do, they also can opt for more tailored communications by clicking through to Ouidad's preference center and answering two questions about their curl type and interests in terms of haircare, along with email, first name, and birthday—just enough to deliver basic personalization.

Personally, it was worth my time to answer those few questions to get information and offers most relevant to me. In fact, the salon's welcome email confirmed that communications would be "tailored to your unique curl type." Subject line: "Thanks for signing up (and enjoy your Welcome Gift)." 

Ouidad's marketers didn't stop there. They took my yes to join its email list as sign that I'm open to building the relationship and invited me to join its loyalty program. Of course, I did.

In the first few weeks since opting in to the salon's email list, Ouidad hasn't disappointed with its curl-centric communications. I've received a series of emails aligned with the preferences I set, and look forward to seeing what the salon has in store as it further develops its email and loyalty programs.

So, to all the marketers who are building their lists by assuming what customers and prospects want and opting them in without asking, please stop. Instead, take a lesson from Ouidad and create real email engagement by asking those current and prospective customers to opt in, not forcing them to opt out.

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