We’ve spoken many times about building a contact list as one of the main steps in your email marketing strategy. We have also often repeated how important it is for you to have a clean list – you’re probably so fed up to hear this, you’re bored to death. We get it.
Unsubscribe: A Friend, Not A Foe
The aim of this post, however, is to help you understand why you should always include an unsubscribe link in your emails. Although it’s always painful to see people unsubscribing from your contact list, it is more beneficial than you may think. If you’re thinking we’ve gone completely crazy, read on and you’ll understand why we advocate this so much.
Contact lists: is more always better?
Contact lists are something we – as people who send emails – cherish very much. Our businesses often depend crucially on the communications we send out to our subscribers. So, we never want to lose contacts. Although it’s difficult, you always need to keep in mind that subscribers who don’t engage with your content are not valuable to you. What you want instead, is to have a list of contacts that actually open and read your emails, and hopefully that click on and share some of the content too. We recently explained what these email statistics mean for you and how you can improve them to enhance engagement.
Sidekick’s content team keeps its email list clean in a very effective way, notifying subscribers so that they can stay on the list, if they wish; otherwise they will be unsubscribed. This is an example of very good practice.
One way to ensure that your list is clean and that people actually want to receive your communications is to allow them to unsubscribe from your email list. There is absolutely no reason to force someone to stay in your contact list, if they don’t want to receive your offers and communications. It won’t benefit your business in any way, in fact it can cost you business.
But this is probably not enough to convince you… You want to know more, right? Until now you probably thought many contacts = big contact list = good. But as it is true for many other things, quantity doesn’t equal quality.
Reasons to include an unsubscribe link in your emails
It’s not merely about having a clean list – including an unsubscribe link in your emails has many other benefits.
Avoid customer frustration
We’ve all been there. Without even realising we’ve given consent to receive newsletters from a website or a brand, we start receiving emails that we are not particularly interested in. Hmm… annoying. Especially when your inbox is full of promotional emails that – let’s be frank – you don’t care about.
Why would you put anybody else through this? You know yourself how frustrating it is. Especially if you open a newsletter hoping to find an unsubscribe link… but it’s not there! It’s important to be understanding of people’s needs and preferences and allow them to opt out of your email list, if they wish to do so. In fact, this improves the whole email marketing experience, to make sure that unlike other social channels, the inbox is for content you specifically want to see.
Groupon gives unsubscribing from their Daily Groupon list a fun twist.
If you’re sending a confirmation email to let your users know they are no longer part of your mailing list, you can use this opportunity to gain more information about why they are unsubscribing (and maybe suggest an alternative newsletter of yours they could find more interesting!). This feedback can be really helpful, as you might learn why people don’t find your newsletter’s content valuable anymore or whether they think your email communications are sent out too often, all of which can inform how you adjust your strategy to best meet your audience’s needs.
Beta List asks its subscribers to take a few minutes to give some feedback on their email communications, so that they can understand how to do a better job.
End up in the inbox, not in spam
There is no other way to say it – fundamentally, including an unsubscribe link in your emails gives you more chances to end up in the inbox rather than in the spam folder. This is also because if people don’t want to receive your newsletters and they find no unsubscribe link when they look for it, they will probably flag your email as spam.
Every country has their own law on the inclusion of an unsubscribe link, as this is mandatory in anti-spam legislation.
You should know by now how detrimental it’s for your reputation to have emails that end up in the spam folder. Your spam complaints should always be kept to a minimum. At Mailjet, the acceptable threshold of spam less or equal to 0.08%. If your spam rate is higher than the threshold your account can be suspended or, in some cases, even terminated.
Be GDPR compliant
Next month GDPR will come into effect. At this stage, you can’t really afford not to be compliant anymore. Non-compliance puts you at risk of fines up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is greater.
According to article 17 of GDPR, ‘Right to erasure’ or ‘Right to be forgotten’, data subjects have the right to request their data to be erased. Data controllers have the obligation of deleting such data when it’s no longer necessary for the purposes for which it was collected, or the data subjects withdraw consent for it to be collected and used.
For a contact to request to unsubscribe from a list is fully within his/her rights as data subject. And your duty as data controller is to delete such data. It always needs to be kept in mind that with GDPR coming into effect on May 25th, consent cannot be something that you obtain once and that’s it. The new regulation allows people to choose for themselves and to protect their personal data at any given time, should they change their mind.
How we help you
At Mailjet – as a GDPR compliant solution -, we ensure our clients are on the right side of the law by including an unsubscribe link in all of the emails created with our drag-and-drop editor, Passport, which cannot be removed, but can be customized to fit one’s brand. As stated in our Sending Policy: “All marketing campaigns must include a clear and concise link for recipients to easily opt-out of receiving future communication. The link must be easy for anyone to recognize, read, and understand.”
All of our subscribers are free to unsubscribe from our email list at any time.
We hope that by now you understand how important including an unsubscribe link is for your email marketing practices. Always remember that consent, unlike diamonds, is not forever.
Have you cleaned your contact list recently? Have you seen an impact on your metrics? Or maybe you have been able to improve your emailing strategy based on feedback you got from unhappy readers? Tell us all about it on Twitter.