Tips for Avoiding the Dreaded Unsubscribe

by | Feb 6, 2020

It’s the ultimate breakup. The Unsubscribe.

According to CAN-SPAM laws, once the deadly button is clicked, your constituent cannot legally be emailed. And the fines are no joke. Yes, there are caveats…such as opting out of a specific track of communications or emails from a specific department (if that’s been clearly communicated). But the fact is, an unsubscribe is essentially the constituent saying, “what you sent me didn’t have enough value to keep hearing from you.”

So how does an organization nurture or salvage the relationship before it gets to this point of no return? Here are a few quick tips:

1.     Don’t overload the inbox. There’s no simple answer as to how many emails you should send your constituents. But keep an eye on your unsubscribe rate—it should be under 1%. If it’s edging up, it’s time to rethink the volume.

2.     One size doesn’t fit all. Everything isn’t for everyone. Just because someone attended your event in 2017 doesn’t mean they need to know everything about your organization in the first 30 days—or receive the entire email calendar of communications. Think through the content that makes the most sense in an onboarding sense and ease them in…you know, date before you marry. And watch carefully for declines in opens and engagement.

3.     Offer options. Most email programs now offer the option for constituents to specify which communications appeal to them. If a constituent is about to jump ship, give them options so you don’t lose them forever. Think through how those options are presented, however. Most people won’t opt-in to a track called “Fundraising,” for example.

4.     Watch for trends in readership. Check what people are clicking on in your emails and do more of that. Also, in many cases, a simple reordering of content can improve your stats across the board.

5.     Make sure it’s mobile. You have just seconds to capture someone’s attention in an email. If it’s not rendering correctly for the screen, it’s game over. Be sure to test to all platforms. Tools like Email on Acid or Litmus are a great investment.

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