They do what they say they will and when they say it.

Rosie O'Hara, NLP Highland

Why You Should Want People to Unsubscribe

Don't Send to Those Who Don't Want

Email can still be a very powerful marketing method, if done well. As part of that, you probably need to reduce the number of your recipients. This sounds daft, but spend 1 minute going through the following explanation.

To comply with the law, you must have an easy to find unsubscribe method. You must also action such requests. This is a given.

However, what we are concerned with here is actively encouraging people to unsubscribe. There are good reasons why you should do so if they no longer have a genuine interest in what you offer.

Depending upon your setup, sending such emails might tie up your computer. The more you send, the longer it takes. Therefore, sending to people who don't want it, simply prevents you from getting on with other things.

Again, depending upon how you do it, there may be a cost involved. It might be a small cost per email, but multiplied by both the number of unwanted emails you send and the number of times you send them, it may start to mount up.

So how do you get people who are no longer interested in what you offer, to unsubscribe? One easy option is simply to ask them. (If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please unsubscribe.)

Why might someone no longer be interested? If we assume that they ever were, then it could be because their role has changed. Perhaps they were involved in a one-off exercise, and if they didn't go with you then, then the moment has passed. Or perhaps what you are promoting has changed.

A key issue with sending to those who don't want it, is that some might report it as spam. We have been "trained" into the idea of not clicking on links, nor replying to emails, for fear of viruses and spam. While this is good advice, it does mean that a sledgehammer can be used to crack a nut, in this situation. In one scenario, your marketing emails might be automatically blocked by the recipient's email system, preventing you from sending them "legitimate" emails. However, the bigger concern is that if sufficient people report your emails as spam (even if they are not), then your future emails will be tainted, possibly preventing their receipt by others who actually do want to receive them. Therefore it is important to cajole people into simply unsubscribing.

If you don't have a successful take-up of your unsubscribe offer, then when people leave, your emails to them may well bounce back. If you don't deal with that, and continue to send, then that could trigger the time, cost and spam concerns listed above.

Finally, it all comes down to doing the right thing for everybody involved. Sending unwanted emails is unlikely to do you good. Receiving unwanted emails can be annoying. Therefore, to save everybody's time and money, don't send to those who don't want; and if you don't want, say so.

One interesting thing that we have noticed, that might not apply to you, is in relation to competitors. Many of ours subscribe to our email. I know that some pick up on what we discuss, and change what they do. Some actually get in touch and ask us to undertake online marketing on behalf of their clients. However some, when we have highlighted a particularly bad practice, unsubscribe. I can only presume this is because it has described what they do wrong for their clients, and don't want to be reminded of it. This simply highlights the fact that it is the recipient's decision as to whether they want to receive your emails, even if what you are offering would be good for them.

If everything appears to be OK, then congratulations. But what if you have a problem? If you don't care about your online marketing, then it's not really an issue. However, you wouldn't have read this far, would you?

Usually I would suggest that you first contact whomever looks after your online marketing. However, the above is at the tactical and strategic level, so if you have issues, they are unlikely to be the people to help. That is why web designers pass clients to us. Get in touch and I can tell you how we could help you.

By Kenneth Mackay, 17th March, 2015

This is one of a series of articles that deal with common issues when promoting your business online. We hope that you found it useful. Go to our online marketing tips to see previous pieces of advice. If there are any topics that you would like covered, please let us know.

If you need to promote your business online, then contact us.