Yes, I Really Want to Unsubscribe
I cleaned up my personal email and I am shocked at how many companies do not easily allow you to unsubscribe. Please note, this is not a best practice. Here's what I learned.
About two times a year my personal email inbox gets completely out of control. Falling behind for a day or two creates a massive amount of email to sift through. And, no, I am not one of those people who has a special (different) personal email address just for marketing stuff. When I get behind in deleting promotional emails I don’t want, I can't find the emails from friends, my kid’s school, etc.
So, this weekend I reached my tipping point. On Friday—at stop lights (not while driving), on my phone from the couch, on my computer at my desk—I started looking for the unsubscribe buttons on all the emails I was getting. But, before I continue with explaining my weekend experience, I would like to say one thing: Just because I unsubscribe does not mean I am leaving your brand! So there! Seriously!
I bet 85 percent of all the brands I unsubscribed from this past weekend will be back in my inbox over the next four months. I buy from these brands. I give to these charities. I read these newsletters. I cook these recipes. I just needed to reduce my emails right now. That doesn’t mean I’m really going away. It doesn’t mean I’m unhappy. So, don’t make me unhappy with bad customer service and online experiences.
Here are the major highlights of my experience:
• Most companies did not have mobile-friendly unsubscribe options. In some cases, I had to wait until I was on a desktop to actually unsubscribe. Mobile represents 65 percent of all digital time—come on, it’s time to get your preference pages and forms in line with today’s users.
• Apparently, some marketers believe that when a consumer clicks on “unsubscribe,” they are willing to go through multiple steps to actually make that happen. Wrong. I’m actually OK if you want to manage my request by giving me a button to click and then asking me why I’m leaving. But your need for information should not come before meeting my needs. The last time I checked, I was the customer.
• I do understand that some organizations have separate subscriber lists. For example, I might still want my health newsletter but I want to stop getting donation requests. So, in some ways, it was nice for them to remind me that I could select what I wanted to opt out of since I had clicked the “all or nothing” unsubscribe button. But, if you have 30 different subscriber lists, please do not make me go through and try to remember what I have and what I don’t.
• Some companies do not even have unsubscribe button on their emails. Believe it or not, after unsubscribing from about 50 entities this weekend, I found five that did not have an unsubscribe button on their emails. Isn’t that illegal? I mean, come on—that’s just ridiculous.
• Many brands actually had a nice message after the deed was done. This is so smart. I can’t stress this enough. Unfortunately, about 25 percent literally acted like a database and sent me to some kind of sterile landing page or confirmation page that looked like a computer printout. The rest had a message for me. While most of those messages were about welcoming me back when I was ready, providing a way to get in touch and even offering me a special discount, there were several that assumed I wanted something snarky. Yep, you read that right. One went as far as implying I was the big loser for opting out of its communication.
Just remember, most people will be back—treat them nicely on the way out the door and coming back will be so much easier.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.