No matter how hard you try not to take it personal, watching someone unsubscribe from your email list never feels good. You can’t help but feel as though you’ve failed an old friend. Somehow your best efforts have offended a defected fan’s sensibilities and the enthusiasm that once made them click “subscribe” has turned in the opposite direction. You feel like you’ve lost the unsubscriber for good, but there is still a glimmer of hope and a few tricks you can use to sway them back your way.
Before we dive into that, though, you have to chew on, digest and contemplate this fact: You will win some and you will lose some. All the “best practices” in the world can’t deliver a 100% retention rate. Knowing this, you may feel your sadness turn to anger. You may be inclined to shrug your shoulders and say, “Sayonara.”
Is unsubscribing an inevitable part of email marketing or something you need to devote resources to? To answer that question, it can be helpful to know what the competition’s unsubscribe rates look like to gauge your own performance. Check out the March 2016 update from Smart Insights, which breaks down average email unsubscribe rates by industry for you.
You’ll note that people in the daily deals, religion, media publishing and government sectors have the lowest unsubscribe rates (around 0.1%), compared to businesses in construction, home and garden, fitness, restaurant or manufacturing industries which are closer to 0.4%.
So let’s get down to business. What can you do to win hearts and influence minds after you’ve soured someone’s opinion on the value of your communications?
1. Use humor.
There’s nothing like a good chuckle to have someone thinking twice about dumping you. Psychological studies show that shared laughter is a “pathway toward developing a more long-lasting relationship.” Brafton reported that developing humor was a priority for brands in 2015, especially considering the fact that most audiences agree that humor is perfectly acceptable in advertising. One study found that 69% of the most successful ads tickle the ol’ funny bone, in fact. You can think of humor as a form of “value currency,” so people will undoubtedly think twice before severing ties if you’ve made them laugh today.
Consider these funny unsubscribe pages and how they affect your opinion of the brands:
2. Find out why.
You may have lost this particular fish, but you’re going to bait the next one with better accuracy if you find out what’s up with your lure. Before allowing people to unsubscribe, ask them a simple multiple choice question to find out where you’ve gone wrong. This will ultimately help you fine-tune the quality of your email marketing to prevent losses in the future. Also worth noting, the fact that you seem to care what the disgruntled email subscriber thinks also makes you seem a little more sympathetic — and just downright polite.
3. Give them an opportunity to save face.
In any type of situation where there are conflicting interests, you always want to offer the other person an opportunity to “save face” and back down from their misguided approach without looking stupid. As Managing All-In-One For Dummies puts it: “You can negotiate how to work together, give the politico an opportunity to save face, or go through the conflict resolution and trust-building process.” When you put the power into the other party’s hands, you may be pleasantly surprised at how favorably they respond. Think of it this way: with a standard breakup, it’s rarely that the other person simply hates everything about you and never wishes to see your face again. Usually there is still some semblance of a friendship there, but some of the more intimate intricacies are unfavorable. So by offering more options than stay-or-go, you can often salvage the relationship and earn a second chance.
4. Market smarter and show that you “get” them.
Personalization makes it harder for people to detach themselves from you. Use the individual’s name and mention some of their interests to show that you do understand them and do care that they’re leaving. Consider giving subscribers one final juicy offer that would be hard to refuse — a “before you go” type of statement that creates an emotional connection. People often become so absorbed in what they’re seeing, they forget all about wanting to unsubscribe.
Need A Helping Hand With Your Email Marketing?
In today’s busy, fast-paced world, it’s easy to run out of time to finish all the tasks you need to do and give each one your undivided attention. Since email marketing is such a cash cow for most businesses, it’s something you really can’t afford to gloss over. So whether you need help with your strategy, nurturing leads, developing content that sells, or improving retention rates, Mod Girl Marketing is here for you. Contact us for details.Tags: email marketing, unsubscribe rates, win back email unsubscribers