Why Does Email Marketing Suck So Badly At Goodbyes?

It's an opportune time in the EU to consider how to best say goodbye and then how to respond to someone bidding you "adieu." Donald Tusk, EU Council President, probably owned the day today by telling the UK that he misses us already, after receiving the letter that triggered Article 50 and Britain's departure from the EU.

It's a subject that's on my mind a lot recently and it should also be one for email marketers to consider because -- I hate to say it -- the industry sucks at goodbyes. It's an important issue because all the evidence suggests that consumers are feeling inbox fatigue to the point that they appear to be opening up new accounts to get away from offers, allowing an older account to fill up with brand messages that are checked less frequently than before. 

Experian recently reported that this means that although all the good metrics are up, so too are bounce and unsubscribe rates. So that means more people are saying goodbye to brands, so you would think it would become an increasing part of email marketers' strategies. I'm not suggesting that you subscribe from a bunch of emails for real, but it's well worth hitting unsubscribe at the bottom of a few brands' messages to see what happens next.

This is not a scientific study, but when I had a clear out recently, I found a real mixed bag. Some simple shrugged their shoulders and confirmed that I was unsubscribed. Some went a step further and said "sorry to see" you go -- but only a minority asked why. Of that minority, only a smaller minority actually bothered to offer an alternative, such as taking out some of the subjects they would reach out to me for and cutting down on frequency.

It's pretty surprising, isn't it, that more isn't done, just through a simple message, to stop people from unsubscribing completely? If someone is saying goodbye, just closing the door behind them will never engender a feeling to return. If you at least say "sorry to see you go," there is a feeling that it might be a brand worth revisiting another time.

The simple step of offering an alternative to a breakup must be worth exploring. Or a trial separation -- we'll email in a month to see if you want to repermission us to keep in contact with you. Or perhaps a tick box to further refine what you're contacted about or one that limits the frequency of emails.

These tactics must surely be worth trying, because they're not a lot more effort than simply saying you're sad to see someone go. 

Again, this isn't a scientific study, and so I have no figures to offer -- but even if the proportion of people who chose to stay with a brand, under new terms, is low and the majority switch off completely, it must be worth it. Not just for keeping email lists strong, but at least if you ask people to identify why they have left, that's very good feedback. If you then offer a chance to receive fewer emails, user feedback is again truly helpful.

it's such a win-win situation that it's difficult to see why more brands don't offer an alternative to a hard exit. The worst that can happen is that people still unsubscribe but you get to find out why. The best that can happen is that you still get the feedback and some might stay. I

It's got to worth a shot.

Next story loading loading..