Minimize your list churn by optimizing opt-out process

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Loren McDonald, VP, industry relations, Silverpop
Loren McDonald, VP, industry relations, Silverpop
Reducing the number of unsubscribes from your mailing list remains one of the best ways to minimize list churn. However, reducing unsubscribes doesn't mean you make it harder for people to leave. Instead, understand the reasons why people leave, offer them other ways to remain in the relationship and make the process a positive customer experience.
Unsubscribes are a fact of list life. Opt-outs are a fact of life in the e-mail world. Consumers control their destiny, choosing when to opt in and when to say adios. According to JupiterResearch, the reasons most people seek to be removed from e-mail lists are the content is irrelevant or e-mail is sent too often.
Unsubscribes, however, can be a good thing. They point out a poor brand experience for the subscriber, spam complaints or dead wood on your list that mask true performance.
An easy unsubscribe process helps you minimize spam complaints and retain the customer relationship through another channel. Consider these tips for optimizing the opt-out process: Make the unsubscribe and alternative links stand out in your e-mails Display a clearly labeled unsubscribe link in your e-mail message, in an easy-to-read font size and a color matching your e-mail design. Don't try to disguise it by blending in the font color with a background shade or shrinking the type size. Users will either overlook it or retaliate by clicking the spam button.
Deploy a combination unsubscribe/preference page. A well designed, branded page explains exactly how to unsubscribe, thanks the user for his/her patronage, offers alternatives and completes the unsubscribe process without delay. Test it for ease of use and check it — and your unsubscribe link — regularly.
Unsubscribe function should not require any actions such as a login or password or filling out surveys to complete the unsubscribe. In a recent ruling clarifying aspects of the CAN-SPAM Act, the US Federal Trade Commission prohibited any actions other than entering an e-mail address to unsubscribe.
Include a timing statement if the unsubscribe is not immediate. While the CAN-SPAM Act allows companies up to 10 business days to remove someone from a list, consumers expect immediate compliance. If it takes several days to process an unsubscribe, include a statement such as: “When unsubscribing, there may be a delay of up to seven days. We apologize in advance if you receive further e-mails during this period.”Following e-mail best practices throughout the relationship and optimizing your opt-out procedure can go a long way in reducing list churn and spam complaints.
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