Strategies to Reduce Opt-Outs
Reduce the number of readers heading for the ‘unsubscribe’ button!
Email marketing continues to gain popularity as an attractive and affordable method of connecting with existing and prospective customers. Case by case, this projected growth will be measured against the results of overall list deliverability. Compelling newsletter content is engaging as long as it lands in the inbox and gets opened. Your email list is a valuable asset, but how fit is it? Anticipate an average drop-out rate of 10 to 30% annually. While opt-outs are to be expected, there are ways to minimize the process and gain new subscribers over time.
Recruit at every touch point
Website landing pages welcome new and returning customers and should prominently display an option to sign up for your newsletter. Web analytics can help you determine which web pages receive the most traffic so you know where to put your call to action. Follow up a website promotion (download a whitepaper or spec sheet, contact us form, etc.) with an auto-generated trigger campaign informing your prospect of your newsletter, its value-added benefits and a mechanism for them to sign up. Think offline too: printed collateral, receipts, invoices, packaging, email signatures, customer service and sales team dialogue should all include an open invitation to receive your newsletter.
Start with clean data…and keep it that way
A double-opt in process will confirm loyal subscribers at the onset of registration. When a new registrant signs up to receive your newsletter, a confirmation email automatically should be sent to the prospect’s email address. Within the body of this email is a confirmation link that, once clicked, finalizes the registration. Double-opt ins eliminate fraud and reduce deliverability issues.
List rentals or bartering placement within a partner’s newsletter can provide results. However, do your homework and be certain that your sources are reputable. Paid search has a price tag, but if it is within your budget, the prime placement on a search results page may help bring prospects to a strategic landing page or promotion that includes an option to join your mailing list.
Segmentation can help drive relevant content into the proper inbox. Retailers regularly segment newsletters and manage the process through initial sign up. Collecting the necessary segmentation criteria at registration provides the means to better focus your content while qualifying your subscriber base.
List hygiene will turn your list into a silent producer. Soft bounces are active members but continually skew negative results as undeliverables. Hard bounces are marked inactive and are eliminated from your subscriber mix, but are the addresses in your hard bounce list results of human error? Typos? Old addresses? Banned content?
Keep your content fresh but don’t risk your brand in the effort. The look and feel of your newsletter will be welcomed and anticipated. If you present your brand consistently and have planned each issue wisely, you won’t disappoint your subscribers. Editorial calendars and regular production schedules are important. Provide value in every email and don’t go dark. Subscribers will come to expect your newsletter and look forward to each issue. But don’t over mail to your base and don’t sell your list.
Analyze & Refine
Test. Test! Test!! Split test or A/B test. Explore whether a different subject line or text/image mix makes or breaks your campaign. Changing one element at a time can have a surprising payoff. Draw conclusions from each newsletter release. Your email marketing tool has a back office that provides valuable reporting analysis. Used in combination with your website analytics, the data provides insight into the success of each campaign.
When all is said and done, focused effort, a wisely planned autopilot and ongoing promotions will enhance your email marketing program. What are you waiting for? Roll out the welcome mat!