Building your own email list requires patience and effective methods. But there is nothing more frustrating for an email marketer than to watch your email subscribers clicking on the opt-out link to abandon the mailing list you built with such a great effort.
Here’s the good news though. Adding a little a bit of creativity to your newsletter opt-out experience can totally change your subscribers’ minds and help you keep them on your list. In this post, I want to show you how to reduce the number of unsubscribes using a great real-life example from SEARS.
Opt-outs that cost $111 million… a week!
To improve your email program, we need to face the painful fact first. Everytime your customer decides to opt-out, you are losing money. Why? There are at least two reasons for that:
- You invest time and resources into collecting email addresses. Whenever your subscriber resigns, the effort of capturing him goes to waste.
- If someone opt-outs from mailing list, it means that your newsletter will generate less sales in the future as this person will not purchase any products directly from your emails.
Still wondering how high are the costs of opt-outs? According to a research by Custora, US retail companies are losing approximately 5.8 billion dollars a year due to email list churn. That’s almost 111 million dollars a week in potential sales!
According to another study, there are three main reasons for which people might want to leave your mailing list in the first place:
- the amount of emails they receive is too huge (69%),
- the content of the emails is not relevant for them (56%),
- subscribers do not recognize the sender due to a poor FROM field (49%).
(Source: Chadwich Martin Bailey, 2012)
Improving all of the three aspects of your email program is vital and might require a long-term strategy. Still, there is a quick-win tactic I came across in a SEARS newsletter that you can implement within a few days in your own business.
A creativity lesson from SEARS
SEARS, established in 1893, have always been very traditional in their approach to advertising and promotions. If you subscribe to their newsletters, you might have noticed that the communication is pretty predictable and conventional.
There is one point at which SEARS newsletters serve you a great surprise and that is exactly during the unsubscribe process.
Once you decide you’re done with receiving updates from this retailer and click on the opt-out link you are not forwarded to a regular «please confirm your decision» page. Instead, you get a chance to watch four hilarious and very personal videos in which a man is trying to convince to change your mind and remain a SEARS subscribers:
Click here to watch the videos and see SEARS unsubscribe page.
Video was recorded in four different versions: Peer Pressure, Pleading, Truth and Temptation. Each one is equally funny and persuasive and they have one aim: to convince you that confirming the resignation is a BAD IDEA.
Moreover, the unsubscribe page gives you other extra opportunities:
- changing the frequency of newsletters,
- choosing which mailing list you still want to subscribe,
- resigning from all communication.
SEARS took a really great approach in reducing the number of unsubscribes on their mailing list. Instead of burying the opt-out link in the footer of the email or using gimmicks, they bet on creativity and personal communication. Well done, SEARS. Well done!
How you can reduce newsletter opt-outs?
The SEARS example shows that you don’t need to work with a fancy marketing agency or spending big budgets to surprise your subscribers. If you want to improve your unsubscribe experience, start with some simple steps:
- Create a personal, amusing message for your opt-out page. If you’re currently lacking inspiration to record a video, you can start with a simple text message. Just make sure you make it personal and compelling!
- If you’re sending newsletters from various email campaigns in your GetResponse account, make sure their names are relevant and subscribers can easily choose which particular communication they want to stop. Perhaps some folks don’t want to receive your blog updates since they subscribe it via RSS, but they might still be interested in your product updates!
- Let your customers define the frequency of emails you will be sending out. If you’re a daily mailer, give them a chance to scale it down to a weekly summary.
Have you ever tried experimenting with videos in your email programs? What are your proven methods for reducing email unsubscribes? Share your ideas in the comments!