Being Marked as Spam Is Worse Than Newsletter Unsubscribe

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Newsletter Unsubscribe vs Being Marked as Spam

Now that iOS’s Mail app has the following option:

you might be worried what will happen to email marketing.

However, you shouldn’t despair just yet. Newsletter unsubscribes are preferable to being marked as spam. Obviously keeping an expansive email list is a marketer’s dream, however it’s even more important to ensure that your contacts are receiving tailored messages. This blog post aims to tell you about the advantages of newsletter unsubscribes.

Unsubscribes don’t hurt your deliverability

However, spam is likely to seriously impact your deliverability. Frustrated contacts who can’t find the unsubscribe link in your email or can’t easily update their email preferences, are likely to resort to the last option: press the ‘mark as spam’ button. This is what you’d want to avoid at all costs. If you receive spam complaints, you consequently lower your sender reputation. That means that you might be perceived as a spammer and blocked by spam filters.

Make the newsletter unsubscribe process easy

Many consumers tend to mark email as spam due to a painful unsubscribe process. Some companies hope that if they make an unsubscribe process painful, their subscribers would give up trying to unsubscribe and, consequently, never leave them. This approach would hurt both parties in the end.

Here’s what you need to ensure when streamlining your newsletter unsubscribe process:

  • The unsubscribe link should be visible in the email. Usually marketers prefer to place the link in the footer, however it’s worth to add a second unsubscribe link elsewhere if you’re sending a re-engagement email.
  • The newsletter unsubscribe process shouldn’t take more than two clicks. Ideally, it all happens at one click. While it might be tempting to unsubscribe contacts from one specific newsletter as opposed to every newsletter, this practice might backfire in the future. You should give them the freedom to choose right away.
  • Don’t ask them to login to unsubscribe.

Your email list might shrink a little, however the benefit of list trimming is having more engaged users. At the same time, you should avoid spam complaints.

Send newsletters to those who want it

Let’s suppose you have less contacts on your email list. Now what? Focus on brand ambassadors. Create a new group for the most active users and focus on relation building with those people who really enjoy receiving communications from you. Once users feel they get special treatment, they will be even more propelled to share your newsletters.

Create a re-engagement campaign

Regardless how many newsletter unsubscribers you’ll get, some people won’t even bother to unsubscribe but won’t engage with your newsletters at the same time. In order to win them back, you should run a re-engagement campaign. After all, they subscribed to the newsletter for a reason. There might be many reasons why they decided to stop reading your email campaigns. For example, you might have not been clear about communication frequency and now your subscribers are receiving too many emails to catch up with. Reach out is worth a shot as converting a lapsed subscriber is cheaper than acquisition costs.

First of all, you need to figure out who is worth re-engaging. Therefore, it’s advisable to define a timeframe of inactivity and lack of engagement. This differs across depending on company size and the industry you’re in. Here are some points you need to consider:

  • Subscriber behavior: First of all you need to ask yourself how do the readers engage with your brand. The answer to the question will help determine who do you need to talk to. Data will come to your aid. Check if they are engaging with your newsletters. Would they bother to open your campaign? If they’re not engaging or they haven’t visited your site in a while, they have probably lost their interest. That’s why you should incentivize them to engage back with you.
  • Send frequency: When trying to figure out what length of inactivity should trigger a re-engagement campaign, consider your send frequency. If you send newsletters on a daily basis, then you should consider sending less. However, if you send a monthly newsletter, you need more data to come to an appropriate conclusion.
  • Customer lifecycle: How often would someone go to your website to purchase one of your products? The answer to this question will also help you reach the right conclusion.

Here you can read how to run a successful re-engagement campaign.

However, remember that sometimes people won’t re-engage despite your best efforts. Honor their unsubscribe wish as you don’t want to prevent getting spam complains.

Experiment with contact segmentation

You’ve run a re-engagement campaign and know who is happy to receive your newsletters after a breakup with you. It’s a good idea to create a special group for once-lapsed subscribers and keep them in check by sending relevant and tailored messages.
Consult data and see what information you may have learned about these users. What products do they have on a wish list? Do they tend to buy a specific item? Use these data pieces to create segments and send out specific campaigns. If you don’t have that data, don’t despair! Feel free to create a quick survey or directly ask your contacts. Let them decide what newsletters they should be getting.

About the author

Stefania Goldman
Communications Manager

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