Nov 18, 2013

Giving Unsubscribers Other Options

Recently, a MailChimp customer pointed us toward a quickly growing media website and its interesting unsubscribe process:

See what they did there?

Instead of trying to convince readers—who have already decided they’ve had enough—to keep receiving their emails, perhaps at a different frequency, Upworthy instead presents some non-email options. It’s a smart move. Maybe their inboxes are overflowing, but they enjoy getting updates via Facebook. Maybe they’re active Tumblrers. Or maybe they use Twitter as a place to follow everything they’re even remotely interested in, because they like having things to read and click on when they’re bored at work. Now, they’re following—and clicking on—Upworthy at times like those, despite the unsubscribe.

We’d recommend you do this with your MailChimp list. Permission marketing, after all, is a pretty special relationship. The people you email have given you a big ol’ thumbs up. "Yes," they say, "go ahead and send me whatever you want, whenever you want. Please feel free to interrupt my life with your content." And if you view this relationship as a communication channel (listening to reactions, engaging in back and forths) instead of a commerce channel (that you pump products into, hoping to milk for maximum ca$h), your marketing will be all the better for it. After all, chances are you’ve only got a few months to entertain, delight, sell, and make your point to subscribers.

Sure, some readers will stick with you forever. They’ll show up to your party early, bring extra snacks, and tell charming jokes all evening long. But some will start a conversation with you, decide they no longer feel like chatting, maybe have one too many wine spritzers, and eventually stumble unceremoniously out the back door. This is OK. (Except for the stuff they said to your cousin. Not cool.) So, why not give them the opportunity to hang out in some other capacity in the future?

If you’d like to do this in your MailChimp account, navigate in your dashboard to Lists > Stats > Signup formsGeneral formsUnsubscribe success page. Then, write some friendly text to let your readers know how they can keep up with you without handing over inbox real estate. Give them options, perhaps include some sharp-looking icons, and you’re all set.

Savvy marketers understand subscriber engagement half-life, and will make the most of a relationship while it lasts instead of treating their readers like sad pandas trapped in their email-marketing zoo. Open the gates. See what happens.