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Email marketing - beware silent unsubscribes

Blog post written by Rob Henson | 13 May 2015 | Category: Email marketing

When running email campaigns it is important to give recipients a way to unsubscribe should they not want to hear from you again. This is normally done with a simple unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email e.g.

“To unsubscribe from this mailing list please click here”

One problem with this is that it’s possible to accidentally lose your most engaged readers because of a phenomenon called “silent unsubscribing”.

Gran on a motorbikeThe best way of explaining what this means is to give an example:

You run a company which sells motorbikes and decide to send out a marketing email. John McDonald receives your email, enthuses about it, loves what you have to say and forwards it on to all of his colleagues, friends and family including his Auntie Mary. Mary – who is in her eighties isn’t particularly interested in motorbikes and wonders why she’s got the email. She clicks the unsubscribe link, removing John from your mailing list.

Disaster! You’ve just lost one of your most engaged readers, someone who was happy not only to receive and read your email, but to share it too. John won’t receive any of your future emails and worse, he won’t even know he’s unsubscribed.

This is a rare phenomenon as it relies on a particular chain of events, but it is worth militating against. At Novamedia we simply include the recipient’s email address in the unsubscribe link. So the example above might read:

“To remove johnmcdonald@gmail.com from this mailing list please click here”

This shows who the email originally ‘belongs’ to and will in most instances protect against accidental silent unsubscribes. A simple solution to a thorny little problem!

Related blog posts

The email marketing process part 1 - Producing the email piece

The email marketing process part 2 - Setting up the campaign

The email marketing process part 3 - The distribution list

The email marketing process part 4 - Testing, sending and reporting