Who doesn’t know the feeling of relieving oneself of clutter? This is one of the most liberating activities, right? The same goes for newsletters. Now and then – especially by the end of the year when people want to clean up, they realize receiving too many emails and want to free themselves of the chaos in their mailbox.
While email subscribers are getting control and happiness back by shrinking their list of email subscriptions, marketers on the other side are the ones with a really shrinking list.
But instead of seeing the unsubscribes as lost cases, marketers should put effort into providing an excellent user experience to build a positive path for a “see you later”.
Unsubscribe is not always a “goodbye”
Losing subscribers is a natural component in email marketing; readers come and go. But this is nothing personal. We are taking the example of a woman who subscribed before her wedding to a newsletter for dresses. Of course, she has afterwards no longer the need to receive wedding dress promotions.
Unfortunately, many marketing teams start to wonder if taken efforts are bringing the expected results. While many out there think that email marketing is dead, quite the contrary is the case. Optinmonster found out that email open rates are at 22.86%, while Social Media has an engagement rate of only 0.58%. Consequently, there is no reason to lose motivation or even giving up.
So let’s put the self-pity away and concentrate on what matters in the unsubscribing process: an amazing unsubscribe experience. That one has to be so good, that whatever comes, the “leavers” think positively about your brand. It’s another opportunity to let your brand shine. Your newsletter may not be appealing anymore to them, but your product or service might.
At this point, we want to quote Abby Covert, author of “How To Make Sense of Any Mess”: “The impact of UX is crystal clear: the more satisfied your users are, the more likely they are to do whatever it is you are encouraging.”
How to let go with a good user experience
Firstly we want to clarify what is user experience. User experience is a perception or feeling of a person interacting with a brand, its products, applications as well as its services. User experience is happening every day, almost every moment, in any touchpoint between a user and a company. Be it using public transport, signing up for a newsletter, navigating on a website, or ordering a book.
User experience is in the little things. Any process needs to be designed to feel intuitive, comfortable, and user-friendly. In any case, UX should not be confused with UI (user-interface design), which is complementing it.
What makes a good user experience?
According to Nielsen Norman Group “the first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother.” And with this knowledge we want to dive into creating great user experience during the unsubscribing process.
The impact of UX is crystal clear: the more satisfied your users are, the more likely they are to do whatever it is you are encouraging. – Abby Covert
Don’t complicate the path
The act of unsubscribing should not take more than 2-3 Klicks and should not require a login. Also, if it may seem tempting to hide the unsubscribe button/link or create a problematic unsubscribe process, this approach is counterproductive. Some might think that people then forget about it, accepting their fate and become fans again. Quite the opposite is the case! Instead of being happy to receive another mail, people with the intention to unsubscribe are for a certain reason not interested anymore in a newsletter. Every email from now on coming in will be seen even more as unwanted. This leaves the client with three possible scenarios – which can also be combined – as a consequence.
- You are SPAM: Your emails will get marked as spam to avoid having them in the inbox.
- Mental unsubscribing: To avoid any kind of further effort, people tend to ignore emails, especially when they get a label such as the promotion label in Gmail. There they will remain until Gmail asks them to free their storage.
- Bad-mouth: The opposite of word-of-mouth. The subscriber has a bad brand experience, which he most likely will share with family and friends.
That is why we recommend considering the following:
- Clickable or tappable link (conventional link signifier)
- The link should be named: unsubscribe
Don’t lose your corporate identity
Only because you are losing readers, it doesn’t mean that you should stop caring about their user experience. A user or customer journey rarely begins and ends with subscribing and unsubscribing to a newsletter.
Many brands make a mistake in choosing convenience. But why caring about personalization of marketing emails when later a grey page with standard questions get displayed – which are not even fitting to your brand? Instead, the landing page to unsubscribe should reflect the corporate identity of the company. The design should not look like an anonymous third-party process, which may recall privacy issue concerns.
Promote other channels
Obviously, email was not the right channel to update the unsubscriber. This doesn’t have to mean that he/she doesn’t want to hear from you ever again. Take this as an opportunity to show other possibilities, such as your Social Media channels to stay in touch with you.
Opportunity to change subscription settings
Some readers might just not agree with the frequency or contents of your newsletters. Offer on your unsubscribing landing page the possibility of changing newsletter preferences. The unsubscribe button, however, should be still prominent and quickly to find.
Ask gently for valuable feedback
Most brands show on the unsubscribing landing page a form to ask for feedback. The most displayed first answer like “I don’t longer want to receive your newsletter” is right, but what does it really tell you in the end? That the person doesn’t want to receive your newsletter anymore is more than obvious, isn’t it? The reader’s feedback should allow you to learn. Therefore, we recommend tailoring the answers to the question “why unsubscribe” to your needs. However, don’t make the feedback question a mandatory step in the unsubscribing process. Any frustrated person would prefer to let this part out.
In the beginning, should stand a nice text with the message of being sad to lose the reader. Let the unsubscriber know that his feedback could help you to improve the experience.
Say “thank you”
Yes, it hurts to let go. Nonetheless, thank the unsubscriber for your time together. In the best case, give him a coupon-code to buy your product or service with a little discount. For one thing, the likelihood that he/she is coming back to you is higher. For another thing, it shows that you still care, even after your current “break-up”.
Provide a friendly confirmation message that the process was successful but one which also shows your regret to lose a reader. The communication should be done immediately, otherwise, you will lose trustworthiness. Furthermore, place a re-subscribe button close. There’s still the chance for a change of mind. Nevertheless, don’t force people to stay.
Instead of having a panic attack because the number of subscriptions is decreasing, you need to understand that an unsubscription is not a goodbye forever. Doing a great user experience is paving the way for a “see you later”!
Remember: Great user experience needs to be part all along the user journey!