Are you confusing your website visitors?

As a provider of email marketing services, I recommend to my customers that they should have a clear and simple approach to enabling website visitors to opt in.

tick-greenFor tick boxes on a website, a best practice approach is:
  1. No boxes to be pre-ticked.
  2. For the user to opt in to what they want to receive, rather than tick a box to opt out.
  3. To have a uniform approach. Ie. Do not have a mixture of “tick this box to opt in to X” and “tick this box to opt out of Y”.
A bad example is the one below on the Royal Mail website.

The first selection of boxes requires the user to tick the boxes if they do not wish to receive marketing from Royal Mail.

The second selection of boxes asks the user to tick the boxes if they do wish to receive marketing from third parties.

The problem with this is the second set of boxes requires an opposite action to the first set.

A busy or impatient user, having ticked the first set of boxes may well gloss over the instructions for the second set, and repeat the box ticking exercise, thus unwittingly opting in to receive marketing from third parties.

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Email marketing – how NOT to manage your unsubscribe process

I’ve blogged before about why your unsubscribe process should be as simple as possible – ideally a one click process.

The screen shot below from Avid is a good example of how not to do it. Instead of a one click unsubscribe, where you click a link in the newsletter and it’s sorted, with Avid you’re taken to a web page with a myriad of choices. In fact it’s not an unsubscribe page at all – it’s a subscribe page.

Only on looking closely do you find a tiny unsubscribe link at the foot of the page. When you click this, it won’t process until you enter your email address. Again, with a one click process you should not have to enter your email address.

To summarise:

  1. Keep your unsubscribe process simple.
  2. If you want subscribers to be able to manage their preferences or interests, if you use an email service provider such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor it’s possible to add a link to enable this. Make sure the preferences are kept to a minimum.
Avid unsubscribe process

Example of Avid unsubscribe process.

How to avoid losing e-newsletter subscribers

There’s one sure fire way to lose subscribers.

Frustrated newsletter subscriberTo achieve this, do not enable them to amend their email address!

I’ve recently been streamlining some of my email addresses, and I receive several newsletters on an email address which I’m discontinuing.  Many of these newsletters had no link to enable me to change my details.

My only option was to unsubscribe and then look for the subscribe form on their website. In some cases, it was too much hassle so they lost me as a subscriber.

If you don’t make it easy for people to change their details many will just unsubscribe

My tips

1. Add a “change your email address” link in your newsletter. If you use an email service provider such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor this is very easy to do. If you’re not sure how to do this please ask me.

2. Make the link prominent and don’t hide it in the small print.

3. Be specific on what the link is for. For example: “We’d hate to lose touch! Changed your email address? Tell us here”.

Email marketing – why you should make it easy to unsubscribe

But why? Surely you want to prevent people from unsubscribing?

No. We say make it easy to unsubscribe. Here’s why.

Making it easy to unsubscribe…

1. Cleans your list ensuring you’re not wasting money emailing people unnecessarily.

2. Ensures you’re only communicating with people who want to hear from you.

3. Means people are less likely to report as spam. Too many spam complaints will affect your sender reputation and you could even end up on a spam blacklist. Google, Hotmail and AOL have a “report spam” button which people will click if they can’t easily find the unsubscribe link.

4. Provides a much better user experience and leads to less frustration. Every subscriber interaction with your business should be as positive as possible.

Our top tips for easy unsubscribe

  1. Include an unsubscribe link in the header of your e-newsletter along with a permission reminder of why they are receiving it.
  2. Include a second unsubscribe link at the end of the e-newsletter. Make it part of the main body of the email, don’t hide it in the small print footer. And do make it legible.

Below are two recent examples of poor unsubscribe positioning.

In both cases the unsubscribe link is buried in the lengthy small print text at the foot of the newsletters and are very difficult to find.

Example 1: 

Unsubscribe example
Example 2

Unsubscribe example