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Unsubscribe Alternatives Best Practices

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Unsubscribe alternatives and best practices: Optimizing your unsubscribe process to provide alternatives to unsubscribing is a key component of minimizing list churn.
This presentation looks at:
Why people unsubscribe
Provides an unsubscribe process checklist
Best practices
CAN-SPAM Act update
Bad examples
Good examples

Published in: Business
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Unsubscribe Alternatives Best Practices

  1. 1. Why Unsubscribe Doesn’t Have to Mean Goodbye - Unsubscribe Alternatives and Best Practices May 15, 2008 Loren McDonald VP, Industry Relations
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Why People Unsubscribe </li></ul><ul><li>Unsubscribe Process Checklist </li></ul><ul><li>Best (and not so good) Practices </li></ul><ul><li>Q & A </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why Goodbye is Good <ul><li>Unsubscribes are a good thing…. </li></ul><ul><li>If unsubscribing is not easy, you risk: </li></ul><ul><li>Increased spam complaints </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ISP blocking </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Annoyed customers/subscribers </li></ul><ul><li>Weakened brand reputation </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why Recipients Unsubscribe <ul><li>Too Frequent </li></ul><ul><li>Irrelevant Content/Offers </li></ul>
  5. 5. So What are the Alternatives? Other Emails Channel Profile/ Preferences Change Email Format Frequency Alternatives
  6. 6. Best Practices Checklist
  7. 7. Unsubscribe Process Best Practices <ul><li>Types of Emails to Include Opt Out: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All except transactional </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Process Best Practices: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web-based unsubscribe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One click to the unsubscribe page (CAN-SPAM requirement) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not require a password/login (CAN-SPAM requirement) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-populate email address/other data on the form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List types of communications currently subscribed to </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thank and confirm unsubscribe or change in profile immediately after subscriber submits info </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do not send an email to confirm unsubscribe (unless using email reply-to unsubscribe process) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Preferences/Unsubscribe Page Checklist <ul><li>Obvious Must </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unsubscribe </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Options/Alternatives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Change email address </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change format (HTML, text, mobile) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alternate channels (RSS, direct mail/catalog) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Update profile/preferences (snow board vs down hill skiing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frequency (e.g. weekly, monthly, etc) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ask why? (comments box, menu, check boxes) </li></ul><ul><li>Provide a link/phone number to report problems </li></ul><ul><li>Timing statement if not immediate unsubscribe </li></ul>
  9. 9. Measure, Analyze and Test <ul><li>Monitor unsubscribes by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Domain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Source/offer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demographic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative approach </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Determine of there any patterns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Correlate with spam complaint rate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Test </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Email/Unsubscribe page creative </li></ul></ul><ul><li>And regularly test to make sure the unsubscribe process works </li></ul>
  10. 10. Best (and a few not so) Practices From Unsubscribe Link…to Thanks
  11. 11. Minimize Unsubscribes in the First Place <ul><li>Manage expectations on sign-up </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adequately explain the content and value proposition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explain frequency/give them a choice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show a sample </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give format options </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide preference/profile options </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t over promise – delivery against </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t over mail – particularly in key business periods (holidays) </li></ul><ul><li>Send targeted/personalized emails </li></ul><ul><li>Use trigger-based emails </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t send emails they wouldn’t expect </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be too aggressive – watch the language </li></ul><ul><li>Design for rendering in multiple platforms </li></ul>
  12. 12. Email Unsubscribe – Location and Language
  13. 13. Spam Button Has Prime Real Estate
  14. 14. Does Unsubscribe Link Belong at the Top? <ul><li>Preview Pane is valuable real estate </li></ul><ul><li>Use for call to action; key info. </li></ul><ul><li>Use unsub link at top if high spam complaint ratio </li></ul><ul><li>Within preview pane </li></ul><ul><li>But after key info </li></ul>
  15. 15. Make the Unsubscribe Link Obvious <ul><li>Red text means hyperlink </li></ul><ul><li>Unsub feels secondary </li></ul>
  16. 16. Mr. Magoo Might Opt for the Spam Button <ul><li>Font ratio is out of proportion with rest of the email </li></ul>- Tiny, tiny and buried
  17. 17. Be Careful of Euphemisms Where’s the unsubscribe link?
  18. 18. Options Within the Email
  19. 19. RSS, Catalog, Preferences…+ Unsubscribe
  20. 20. Brand the Unsubscribe Page
  21. 21. Not a Good Experience
  22. 22. Paul Frederick
  23. 23. Mailing List/Newsletter Alternatives
  24. 24. Choice of Specific Email or All Little known fact – CAN-SPAM Requirement
  25. 25. Note on Transactional Messages
  26. 26. Opt-Out Time Frame – Manage Expectations
  27. 27. Note Timing to Minimize Spam Complaints
  28. 28. Frequency Alternatives
  29. 29. Clear & Simple + Flexibility for Sender <ul><li>Frequency caps can impact: </li></ul><ul><li>Trigger- and behavior-based emails </li></ul><ul><li>Surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Specials </li></ul>
  30. 30. Neiman Marcus
  31. 31. Alternate Formats
  32. 32. HTML or Text <ul><li>Text may be preferred by: </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile users </li></ul><ul><li>Certain demographics </li></ul>
  33. 33. Update Preferences & Change Address
  34. 34. Old Navy – Demographic Preferences
  35. 35. Crutchfield – Product Type + Location
  36. 36. Passwords Required – FTC Prohibits
  37. 37. <ul><li>Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) - May 12, 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>(1) Defined the term “person,” to mean individual, business, assoc., partnership, etc.; </li></ul><ul><li>(2) Modified the definition of “sender”: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Creates a “designated sender” that becomes the agreed upon responsible party in “multi-advertiser” emails </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Honors opt-out requests made by recipients </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Includes their physical postal mailing address </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>(3) Post Office boxes and private mailboxes constitute “valid physical postal addresses” </li></ul><ul><li>(4) Ten days remains the time a sender may take before honoring a recipient’s opt-out request – three days was being proposed </li></ul><ul><li>(5) Prohibits the imposition of any fee, any requirement to provide personally identifying information (beyond one’s email address), or any other obligation. </li></ul>FTC CAN-SPAM Update – May 12, 2008
  38. 38. FTC Ruling: Passwords Have to Go <ul><li>CAN-SPAM Ruling now prohibits passwords </li></ul><ul><li>Separate newsletter subscriptions </li></ul><ul><li>from membership/account emails </li></ul>
  39. 39. Thanks/Unsubscribe Confirmation
  40. 40. Saying goodbye doesn’t have to be ugly
  41. 41. Golfsmith – Branded and Helpful <ul><li>Names specific list </li></ul><ul><li>Link to preferences </li></ul>Web site wrapper
  42. 42. Alternate Channels
  43. 43. RSS & Catalog Options
  44. 44. Feedback – Why Are They Saying Adios?
  45. 45. Simple Comments Box
  46. 46. Uno – Drop-Down Menu; Staples – List
  47. 47. Bringing it All Together “ Best of Show”
  48. 48. Staples – Really Good, But Not Perfect <ul><li>Missing: </li></ul><ul><li>Frequency Option </li></ul><ul><li>RSS or catalog option </li></ul><ul><li>Contact info. </li></ul>
  49. 49. And in the end… Make it easy… But help ‘em stay in the relationship.
  50. 50. Q & A <ul><li>Follow Me </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>@LorenMcDonald </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Columnist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Media Post - Email Insider </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>MarketingProfs GetToThePoint </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many others… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Silverpop – “Tales” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://marketing-suite.silverpop.com/loren-mcdonald.html </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Contact: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Loren McDonald </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul>www.silverpop.com

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