Reducing Unsubscribes by Customers

“Customers are speaking to you implicitly via their behavior, captured in the footprints they leave behind in your systems.” – Robert G Thompson

Anyone running a business knows how cumbersome and hard it is to get the attention of customers. The effort that goes into nurturing and engaging prospects to become customers is intense and time consuming. It therefore, is disheartening when such prospects either do not respond, or hit the unsubscribe button, seemingly suddenly. Companies are left wondering what went wrong, but usually have no way of finding out why customers took those actions. When customers suddenly leave your email list, it does seem a trifle unfair, after all the efforts your company made to woo them. What must be understood is that unsubscribes by customers is inextricably linked to any email campaign, and while they cannot be completely ruled out, it is possible to reduce their numbers. If a company finds that the number of customers unsubscribing is increasing, it would be time to re-evaluate the email marketing strategy and dig deep to discover what is probably not working. Reducing unsubscribes by customers timely could help a company gain and retain customers.

As with all business imperatives linked directly to customers, the easiest way to reduce unsubscribes by customers, is to check back with them. Gaining their feedback is important – and we recommend that this action be taken before they actually leave. However, if they do leave before a company can ascertain the reason, it would be prudent to send them a survey feedback form that would allow them to express their reasons for opting out, and even let the company know what it can do to make things right / better. As mentioned, customers are bombarded constantly with information and emails from the many companies in existence today, which can be quite overwhelming. Keep this in mind when formulating your company’s email marketing strategy. You want to ensure customers know your company, but you do not want them to drown in the information.

The fact that every customer is different and her or his needs are unique cannot be overemphasized. This is something that companies tend to forget in their enthusiasm to connect and attract a large number of customers. This is one of the top reasons why the number of unsubscribes by customers increases – the email content is possibly too generic, or may not suit every customer segment. In order to make every email work, it would be prudent to classify the existing and prospective customer base into segments based on several common factors such as preferences, likes, needs, and other such aspects. The content in the emails must not only be interesting, it must also be relevant and add value to the recipient. The top thing to remember, in order to reduce unsubscribes by customers is that the content must provide solutions to their pet peeve / major pain area, for the recipients to open and read the emails. Companies must remember that messages and content should be valuable for the recipients and therefore, written keeping them in mind – doing so will ensure that unsubscribes by customers become a lot less.

Keeping in mind the point above it is imperative that companies place the control of receiving emails in the hands of customers. Allowing customers to choose frequency of receiving mails will enhance the chances of them actually reading and taking action on the emails. In addition, this makes customers feel important and in the ‘driver’s seat’, bringing down the number of unsubscribes by customers. When customers decide the frequency of emails they receive, they would know how many emails to expect and hence would not feel overwhelmed by any irrelevant content in their email inbox. Adding to this point, companies must remember to offer customized content since ‘umbrella generalized content’ does not work anymore. Such general information is now available freely, so it would be moot for customers to stay on an email list if they were receiving the same kind of broad content. To make things easier for the recipients, it would be good to classify the kinds of emails your company sends out, let customers know the various categories, and allow them to choose which types of email content they would like to receive. By placing the power of the kind of email content in the hands of the recipients, a company would add value to their lives and business, while reducing the number of unsubscribes by customers, which bodes well for a company.

In addition, to the point of allowing recipients to choose the kind of content they wish, companies must also provide recipients with the choice of opting out from whichever kind of content they find irrelevant. This way your company would continue to retain the customer, and customers would receive content that would be relevant and useful for them.

As mentioned, customers love to feel special. One of the best ways for a company to make them feel important is by sending them great incentives, exclusive offers, special discounts, and other such feel good proposals. Companies must emphasize the benefits and exclusivity of their offers – make the recipient feel that the offer is ‘only for you’. A mix of engaging content and visually appealing graphics would make these emails even more attractive and ensure that unsubscribes by customers reduces significantly. Further to this, companies must remember that customers now view information, emails, social sites, and other online content more often from their smart mobile devices. It is therefore imperative that email content looks good and is readable even from the smaller screens of their mobiles, failing which customers would either trash them or unsubscribe. Companies must ensure that they have software to prepare mobile optimized emails such that the recipients can read the content as clearly and quickly as they would on the desktop / laptop screens.

When companies send out emails from their perspective, they would tend to go overboard with the amount of information they pack into each email. This would make the emails long and unwieldy, and would easily frustrate the recipients. It would be better to keep emails short, relevant, and easy to grasp, with a call to action. Not only would this reduce the number of unsubscribes by customers, but they would be encouraged to share relevant information with those who might be interested in the content. Your company would retain its customers, while increasing its reach and awareness without the extra effort.

It is never easy for a company to have customers unsubscribe from their email lists. However, sometimes this becomes inevitable and it does not necessarily mean that the company’s emails are not good enough. It is possible that the recipient’s situation or interests could have changed – meaning that they do not require certain products or services, and hence it would make no sense to remain on a mailing list with information on those offerings. However, a company could ask the leaving customer to suggest people who would be interested in receiving offers, content, and information on products and services of the company.

Not all unsubscribes by customers are bad or because your company has not lived up to their expectation. It is best to let recipients make the decision to stay or leave, and a company must make it easy for them to take either action. Regular monitoring and tracking is necessary to ensure that your company’s email marketing strategy is working. If there are too many unsubscribes by customers it could be time to take action to ensure that the maximum number of customers stay. Is your email marketing strategy working or are there too many unsubscribes by customers?

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