Global unsubscribe? Oh, the horrors!

Posted by m.e.h. in Direct, Marketing, Technology

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In email marketing, managing unsubscribes requires diligence. As marketers, we watch unsub rate almost as closely as open rate or click through. A shrinking universe is never a good thing. The most common reasons for unsubscribing, in my unscientific, but experienced opinion, is frequency of emails and lack of relevancy of content, but it’s not uncommon for customers to tire of even the best emails. It is still email after all. The precious, private inbox, where admittance is highly coveted and precarious.

Because of the relative cost of email versus other forms of communication, it is often the default channel of choice. Revenue slipping, send an email, the phone rings, so to speak. But at what cost? For every sale generated, if unsubscribes roll in, you are likely doing more harm than good, and ultimately fatiguing the channel for future use.

Mashable wrote today about a start-up that just may make managing unsubs a bit harder for marketers, should its services take off. It’s called Unroll.me. The concept is that you can manage all your newsletter subscriptions from a single dashboard. You can unsubscribe or choose to have all the emails you still wish to receive arrive in one single “daily digest.”

Right now the service is only available through a handful of email providers (Gmail, Yahoo and AOL), and the service require you give access to your email account for them to scan if for newsletters. The service is free until you have unsubscribed from four lists, at which point you are required to Tweet or otherwise share the news about Unroll.me with your circles.

By the way, that’s not what I’m doing now, because personally, giving access to my email makes me a but uneasy, so I haven’t signed up myself. I do know however that I often put off unsubscribing to newsletters and other B2C emails either because I’m busy doing something else, or its just easier to delete it and forget about it. With the ability to unsubscribe all in one dashboard, I would likely do so with much more frequency.

As a marketer though, global sweeping unsubscribing an interesting notion. I already need to be hyperaware to strike the right balance of frequency and relevancy, so I don’t get axed. But shouldn’t I be diligent about this anyway? Shouldn’t we aim to know our customers well enough that our communications are timely and important to them? And is that even enough? Things like marketing automation and triggered campaigns go a long way towards that goal, but it’s still easier said than done.

It will be interesting to see if this type of technology takes on a life of its own, much the same way do-no-call lists and phone book unsubscribe lists have done. What does that mean for the future of email as a channel?

You can sign up here for a beta trial of Unroll.me.

m.e.h.

 

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