'Forgotten' Unsubscribes - Is This a New Trend?
With Black Friday now behind me, I ran a quick count and found 131 emails sent by retailers with whom I had unsubscribed. I was more than a little surprised to have received this many emails and wondered: Are these retailers counting on me having forgotten I had unsubscribed? Is this a new trend?
The CAN-SPAM Act is very clear on the issue of how businesses should present and handle unsubscribes. It reads in part, "you cannot charge a fee, require the recipient to give any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on a website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request." In other words, it should be easy and it should be permanent. The retailers who have sent me an email in the last few days have done far more damage than good - though I admit, my diligence in tracking unsubscribes goes well beyond that of the typical subscriber—most people probably do forget having unsubscribed.
I've divided my 131 Black Friday marketing emails into three categories (remember, these are not business correspondence messages or transactional messages, for which opt-out rules differ in the US, as well as Canada and the EU):
- Retailers with whom I had done business, but not subscribed (permitted to send transactional messages only).
- Retailers with whom I had done business, subscribed, and later unsubscribed (permitted to send transactional and marketing messages until revoked).
- New retailers with whom I had concluded business and explicitly opted out of marketing messages at the time of transaction (permitted to send transactional message only).
Of these emails:
- 6 provided no unsubscribe link or information (which is allowed by the CAN-SPAM Act, if they are using the reply-to process for unsubscribing)
- 26 provided an unsubscribe link requiring me to visit a web page to set my preferences
- 19 provided both an unsubscribe link and a preferences link
So let's take a look at these vendors' approaches and assess the value of each:
Email marketing is the most effective way to increase sales, improve service, and keep your customers engaged. Email campaigns are best bolstered through an integrated strategy that crosses channels and meets your constituents where they congregate and in the media they prefer. “The Integrated Email” provides best practices and ideas for developing strategies and deploying email campaigns and initiatives while keeping an eye on revenue attributable to marketing.
Cyndie Shaffstall, founder, Spider Trainers, is a successful entrepreneur and prolific author, with many books, dozens of eBooks, and hundreds of articles to her credit. She is the former founder of ThePowerXChange, editor and publisher of X-Ray Magazine, and the current founder and managing member of Spider Trainers, a managed automated email services provider for companies around the world. Connect with Cyndie on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, or join her LinkedIn Group, the Marketing Resource Library for daily links to marketing-critical resources.