Not In My Inbox: Consumers Say, 'We Didn't Sign Up For These SMB Emails'

There’s a simple reason why many consumers opt out of marketing emails: They never signed up for them in the first place, according to 7 Email Optimization Tips For Small Businesses, a study by The Manifest. 

Of the consumers polled, 23% opt out when they haven’t subscribed. This means that almost a quarter of small businesses are emailing people who haven’t given their permission. 

And this could be dangerous. “Sending marketing emails to individuals who have not ‘opted in’ through a past purchase or a specific form is not only poor customer service, it could also mean potential legal consequences for the business,” the study warns.  

However, that’s not the main reason that people unsubscribe: 59% do so because of the sheer frequency of emails — they are overwhelmed by inbox clutter. 

In fact, the study found that 44% of people receive more than 10 marketing emails per day, and 21% get  21 or more. And volume has been rising during the pandemic.

In addition, 36% opt out of emails that they perceive as spam or junk. And 38% drop out because the content is irrelevant.

It’s not clear whether small businesses are deliberately ignoring consumer needs, or if they simply lack the technology to send relevant emails in a more reasonable way. 

But this is no small problem: Overall, a staggering 84% of consumers have opted out in the past.  

No wonder 36% appreciate when it’s easy to unsubscribe. 

Here’s one other thing: SMBs should note: 11% like brief emails. 

And the seven optimization tips? They are:

  1. Target only email subscribers 
  2. Avoid spam flags
  3. Send at the best time
  4. Make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe
  5. Keep sends minimal and prioritize which emails to send
  6. Include custom content
  7. Keep emails brief

Here’s one more tip: Customer journey mapping can help small brands send individualized emails. 

The Manifest surveyed 501 U.S. consumers who receive marketing emails. 


1 comment about "Not In My Inbox: Consumers Say, 'We Didn't Sign Up For These SMB Emails'".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, February 25, 2021 at 11:14 a.m.

    I prefer the "one-step unsubscribe button" at the bottom in a readable font.  I can just click it and receive a short confirmation. Please don't insult me with a "Please allow 2-3 days for processing" message, because it's a lie. Unless it's a spam message, the coding should already have my email address to immediately delete from the database. On the other hand, I am amused by the photo of a sad puppy that some marketers put on their sorry-to-see-you-go screen (with a resubscribe link). Now if there was just a way to stop junk mail from USPS.

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