Opt-out campaigns and unsubscribe links have always been a difficult subject in Selligent's line of business. It's certainly one of the most important subjects to think about when trying to get great emails into people's inboxes.
Focus on happy users! A happy user is an engaged user. These are users who love getting your emails and find them irresistible. They make sure your campaigns have high open and click through rates therefore resulting in successful campaigns. Besides the results you're able to track in Selligent's reporting tools, there are also some intangible factors to keep in mind. Happy users, who engage with your emails in a positive manner, will increase your reputation towards the email providers. This results in the ever important inbox placement and, depending on the provider, nifty features such as auto-enabled images for your mailings, increasing your product's visibility.
So what does this have to do with opt-outs and unsubscribe links? Users who no longer want your emails for whatever reason can cause severe damage to your reputation if you don't offer them a way to easily say goodbye without making a fuss. They will click the spam button in an attempt to get rid of your emails, damaging your reputation in the process. Lower reputation eventually results in emails going into the spam folder or getting blocked all together! Now even the happy users won't see the emails meaning bad results for your campaigns as a consequence. Here are some tips to turn this sticky situation into a win-win for everybody!
The Opt-out Campaign
Create a campaign that will handle cancelation requests. This campaign can easily be included in your all of your mailings. If you need help setting up an opt-out campaign, please get in touch with us here at Selligent - the international renowned vendor of (big) data marketing driven solutions
Make the cancelation process easy and quick. Always include an unsubscribe link in your commercial emails. This link can be included in the header or the footer of your email for instance, don't try to hide it. Once a user clicks this link, he should be directed to a webpage which can build up in 2 ways:
- Immediately show the user a confirmation message that he is successfully unsubscribed and that you are sorry to see him leave. You may also want to add a button for the user to re-inscribe for your service, just in case he clicked the link in the email by accident.
- If your company sends several newsletters on different topics, you should give the user the option select which newsletters he actually wants and how often he wants to receive them. While this system is acceptable, always make sure you also include a 1 click option to unsubscribe from all of the newsletters at once. There is nothing more annoying than having to click 10 times to unsubscribe from all 10 newsletters. If you do decide to give the user the option to adjust his preferences, make sure you follow up on them.
Don't ask users to enter the email address they registered with or ask them to login before they can unsubscribe. If the user is no longer interested in your emails there's a good chance he doesn't know this information anymore and he certainly won't go looking for it. You may also ask the user why he decided to leave, but make it optional. The user's opinion can be valuable for your future mailings.
The Unsubscribe Header
There is another way to allow users to unsubscribe from your service without damaging your reputation: the unsubscribe header. In the properties of emails you create in SIM you will have the option to include the unsubscribe header in your emails. Don't worry, you won't have to go looking for it. It is checked by default.
Once the header is included, it will be picked up by providers who support this feature. As a result, they will display the unsubscribe link directly into their interface when users open your email as an extra option.
Gmail displays it:
Outlook displays it:
As always, there is a catch though when using the unsubscribe header. Some providers (Google for instance) will only show the unsubscribe links if they believe that you have a good reputation and if your emails passed all of their filters. Hence, you're not in full control over the unsubscribe links.
Say you implemented all of the above perfectly and a user still clicks on the spam button, there is one last resort available provided by a limited number of providers: Feedback loops. Essentially, providers will send you information about a user who marked your email as spam so you have one last chance to opt-out this user. Failing to opt-out these users will result in multiple spam complaints from the same users, which is something the providers really don't like. "No" really means NO!
The most commonly used feedback loops are the following:
- Microsoft JMRP
- Yahoo! Feedback loop
- AOL Feedback loop
Each provider has their own requirements for setting up Feedback loops and each registration process is different.
Selligent has a lot of experience setting up these feedback loops so we can help you with that. If you do wander into these feedback loops on your own, please let us know as we do have to implement some minor changes on your Selligent environment before you can start setting up these feedback loops.
You can contact us by creating a ticket on our support portal. Of course you won't have to handle all this feedback manually. Just as with regular bounces, our pop agent will handle these messages and opt-out the corresponding users automatically.
Make unsubscribing easy for customers who lost interest. They'll be happy they get to keep their mailbox clean and you'll be happy that they won't damage your reputation and you'll get great results for your campaigns. It's a win-win situation for both parties. No one likes to lose users but in the end, it's better to have lots of engaged users and great results than to have slightly more users who damage your reputation and thus the overall results.
We've discussed 3 ways that can help you keep your lists clean, the best thing you can do to get optimal results is implement all 3 and of course as always, we are ready to assist you.