Don’t fear the unsubscribe button! That’s one of the learnings from Adestra’s recent study on Australian consumers’ email behaviour. B&T chats with Adestra co-founder Carl Chambers about the research and tactics brands can use to retain email subscribers.
Chambers said the aim of the research was to get a better understanding of consumer behaviour from a digital perspective.
Adestra found that eight of every 10 email users said they check for email randomly throughout the day; other popular times for checking their email are when they’re bored (39 per cent), at their desks (35 per cent), or in bed (31 per cent).
Another important statistic was that nearly eight of every 10 subscribers are doing what you want them to do if they no longer want to receive your emails – clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ button.
“People generally opt out because the communication is no longer relevant or they’re receiving too much. However, there are some techniques you can employ to try and retain that subscriber,” Chambers said.
“We maintain the approach that you’d rather retain a subscriber in one way, shape or form, even if it means emailing them less frequently or giving them the option to only received information which is relevant to them.
“One part of the solution is to give recipients the option to indicate their interests by providing them with a preference centre that has straightforward categories and is easy to use. That way they’re able to pick what is relevant to them, and it enables you to tailor future communications to their interest – that’s going to keep them engaged for longer.”
This tip could help publishers, because readers that can choose the information they receive are likely more open to future communications, Chambers noted.
“The second part is frequency – it’s about giving the individual the option to take a break. For example, if they’re going on holiday and don’t want to come back to an inbox jammed full of emails,” he said.
“Alternatively, if you’re a company which sends a daily or weekly communication, letting people set the frequency of emails gives them the option to say they only want to hear from you once a month rather than unsubscribing altogether.”
Chambers said this tip could be particularly useful for fashion retailers, who could include a special discount offer for their monthly subscribers.
“This could entice them back to the website through monthly deals exclusive to newsletter subscribers to keep the interest alive,” he told B&T.
As strange as it might sound, brands need to make unsubscribing easy and obvious. Making it difficult for subscribers to opt-out can result in people reaching for the ‘mark as spam’ button, which can negatively impact their ability to reach the inbox.
“The ‘mark as spam’ button is not a good thing for marketers,” Chamber said. “It tells ISPs like Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, or AOL that an individual is essentially saying that ‘I didn’t ask to receive this’.
“The problem is consumers use that button as an unsubscribe mechanism because it’s clearly prominent, so if you’re not making the unsubscribe button clear, people will hit ‘mark as spam’ instead.
“You need to make it easy for the consumer. If they’ve hit unsubscribe, they clearly don’t want to receive the communication, so let’s not put roadblocks in the way.”