Lessons Learned from Email Opt-Outs By Tom Wozniak

by Cruz Alvarado on October 9, 2018

Summary: There’s a lot to learn from your email opt-outs, if you take the time to dig into the data.

For many email marketers, once a recipient opts-out, it’s like what Michael Corleone said to his brother, Fredo, in the Godfather II: “You’re nothing to me now.”

While it’s true that you can’t mail to them anymore, you have the opportunity to gain some valuable insights as they drop off your list. But, you have to look further than your unsubscribe rate.

The Who, When, Why, and How of Email Opt-Outs

There’s a lot of potential information in your opt-outs from each campaign. Here are three data points that should be readily available and one you can look at adding to your opt-out process.

  • Who is Opting Out?

Whether you use an opt-out management solution or it’s provided by your email service provider, you should be able to easily see a list of all recipient emails addresses that have opted out from a particular email campaign. Examine those addresses and look for trends. If you have a larger database of your email audience, you may be able to look at additional information about the opt-outs and see if a higher than normal percentage of them are coming from a particular audience segment.

  • When are Recipients Opting Out?

After looking at information about your opt-out audience, you may also want to see when the opt-outs come in. You’ll almost certainly see the majority of your opt-outs be submitted within a certain window after your campaign was sent. But, have you ever looked at trends in that time lag? Do some campaigns have a shorter (or longer) than typical window between send and the majority of opt-outs being received?

  • How are Recipients Opting Out?

We know that consumer behaviors are constantly evolving with one of the largest movements being the ongoing shift from accessing digital information (aka the Internet) on desktop computers to mobile devices. In about 10 years, mobile has gone from having no Internet access to now accounting for more than 50% of all Internet activity. Have you ever looked at your opt-out records and examined the data that comes in with the request to identify specifics like the device or browser they used for the opt-out? This information is available from certain suppression list and opt-out management platforms.                                        

  • Why are Recipients Opting Out?

This is a step that numerous companies take in their opt-out process. They include a question on the opt-out confirmation page designed to learn a bit more about why a recipient has chosen to unsubscribe. Keep it short and simple (with checkbox answers) and focus on some of the key reasons someone would opt-out: the content isn’t relevant, they receive too many messages from your company, etc.

Once you’ve gathered and evaluated this kind of opt-out data, there’s one vital step left – actually using the info to optimize future campaigns. It may seem obvious, but while many marketers collect great performance data on their campaigns, some fail to take the lessons from that information and apply it to their next campaign.  

Tom Wozniak, Executive Director of Marketing at email compliance and suppression list management company, OPTIZMO.

This article appeared in issue 44 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in October 2018.  https://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feed-front-issue44-opt

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