Jan Bernecke

Jan Bernecke

Email. We all need it, right? But sometimes, the sight of that little red badge reminding you that you have 3172 unread messages can get a little daunting.

As part of their never ending quest to make email more manageable and, hopefully, a little less stress-inducing, at the end of April 2018 Google launched several new features for its webmail service, Gmail.

With productivity at the core of these changes, Gmail now offers more confidentiality and an increased security, as well as a range of functions that will help users manage their inboxes in a more effective way. Features such as Smart Reply, nudges or the snoozing options will allow us to navigate our crazy inboxes and make our email experience a bit nicer.

But while we all tend to get quite excited and a bit carried away by all the cool stuff Google usually introduces on its products, there’s one particular update that might make marketers start to sweat and panic.

‘Oh, no! What is it?’ I hear you ask. We’re talking about their new and improved “Easy Unsubscribe” feature, of course.

What is the smart unsubscribe feature on Gmail?

Two years ago, we talked to you about List-Unsubscribe and how Gmail was already adding some sophistication to this header option that allows users to easily cancel their subscription to marketing emailing lists. While the ability to unsubscribe from a contact list on Gmail has been available for some time, it had always been up to the users to determine which ones they wanted to be removed from.

Now, Google is going a step further by automating that process, actively asking the users whether they’d like to unsubscribe from certain promotional emails they haven’t opened in the last 30 days or more.

Only very few email clients have a smart unsubscribe function, but Google is known for setting trends. The suggestions are based on how many emails users receive and open from a specific sender, and it means that, with just one click, the newsletter subscriptions is will be terminated, making it even easier for recipients to stop receiving all of those unwanted emails.

It seems that, for now, this option is only be available in the Inbox by Gmail app on Android or via Inbox by Gmail webmail, although it will be available on iOS at a later date, which has not been disclosed.

What does this mean for email marketers?

Quite frankly, it means that your recipients will have an easier way to cancel their email subscription. So if your newsletters are boring or irrelevant, and the reader has not opened it in a while, they’ll be prompted to unsubscribe.

Don’t panic, though. The the automatic unsubscribe function doesn’t have to be seen as an enemy. In fact, it can be seen as a way to help you clean your contact lists, which in turn improves your deliverability rate.

On top of that, if you ran a requalification campaign in preparation for GDPR to re-obtain consent from your newsletter subscribers, you have up-to-date confirmation that your contacts are interested in receiving your communications and your content. And we are sure you did, didn’t you? 😉

All in all, what’s important to remember is that this is yet another way to keep your email list clean. At Mailjet, we always recommend that you remove inactive contacts every three to six months, to ensure your open and click-through rates remain at a healthy level, to ensure the best deliverability.

So if you have strategically planned and professionally implemented your newsletter campaigns, you don’t have to worry about this new feature.

How can Mailjet help?

At Mailjet, we think the strongest email campaign is the one your contacts really want to receive. The best solution to avoid unsubscribes is to create targeted and relevant emails, and to only send them to those that actually interact with your communications.

To help you maintain an engaged subscription base, here are some top tips:

  1. Segment your contact lists: Don’t send the same email to all your contacts. Use segmentation to send content that is tailored to your contacts based on different data, such us behaviour, location, age, gender… Combine it with personalization to make it even more human. The more relevant your email is, the more engagement it will generate among your subscribers.
  2. Send reactivation campaigns to inactive contacts: every three or six months, identify subscribers that haven’t interacted with your emails and send them a special campaign in which you remind them of the value they offer, and in which you ask them to confirm their subscription. You can include a survey to understand what content they’d like to receive, or highlight what they have missed in those past months.
  3. Use our Exclusion List to avoid sending emails to inactive contacts: If you don’t want to remove your zombie contacts from your list forever, you can add them to your Exclusion List. This way, contacts will stay in your database, but won’t receive your emails.

At Mailjet, we want you to get the most value out of your email strategy. That’s why we constantly share our tips and best practices on our blog and through our newsletter, to ensure our readers are the first to implement and adapt to the constantly-evolving email world.

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