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One click unsubscribing

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Tuesday November 2, 2010 )

With 2011 just around the corner, it’s surprising how many list owners still like to make people jump through hoops to unsubscribe from email communications.

If someone wants off a list, it’s my belief to let them go with a friendly wave goodbye and a “y’all come back now, y’hear?”.

To make someone send an email, fill out forms etc. to get off a list is just asking for trouble; particularly if you have gained that email address through a co-reg or other means.

I’ve had a guy emailing me for months with his web marketing newsletter – let’s call him Dave. I have no idea how Dave acquired my email address, but I certainly didn’t sign up for his newsletter. To unsubscribe, I was required to email him.

I did this 3 times over the period of 3 months. The last time, I didn’t use the words “please”. Dave’s newsletter tactics left a bad taste in my mouth and I won’t forget him.

The CAN-SPAM Act is pretty clear on this:

“Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days”

Considering Dave claimed to be an Internet marketer – he should have known this. An excuse of “I didn’t get your email” just doesn’t cut it, nor might it work if an official spam complaint is lodged.

To get around this “lost email” issue, newsletters and email marketing campaigns should have a single click unsubscribe. If a communication doesn’t make the grade, that’s just bad luck. Disinterested folks on a mailing list don’t do anything for your statistics either. It’s all well and good to have 100,000 people on a list, but if they aren’t interested in what you have to say, what’s the point – except to maybe fleece advertisers who don’t know to ask “what’s your unique open rate?”.

The inclusion of a return email address for unsubscribes should also be offered, but most folks prefer the one-click and only resort to email if the automated feature is not working.

If your email marketing software doesn’t have one-click unsubscribe, it’s really time to consider upgrading… and by the way, very few people accidentally unsubscribe; you just need to make the function clear.

The cost to upgrading to such a package will be more than covered by the money and headaches you save should the Feds come a’knockin’.

Let’s see if Dave emails me again this month.


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