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The consumer is in charge – using opt-out forms to rebuild relationships


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Customer engagement is constantly evolving. Innovation, digital tools and spam laws have put the consumer in charge and directed marketers to reach them on their terms. Much like the advent of the TV remote control, consumers are using these “on & off” buttons and restricting your ability to converse with them.

Email, a once-useful information sharing tool, is contributing to information overload. Inboxes are overflowing and message value is diluted. Competition for the customers’ time and attention has changed the game for attracting consumers using mass information and offers. As a result of these pressures, opt-out (unsubscribe) rates having been rising steadily. Couple this with more aggressive spam filtering tools and rigorous email laws, and we find ourselves in a situation where the dialogue can be turned off with a click of a mouse. How should a savvy marketer best navigate these email land mines?

The good news is there are some great solutions already in place that allow the consumer to moderate their content consumption. Applying a few simple strategies can help foster stronger ties and nurture this precious relationship. Start with a well-crafted and obvious opt-out experience to help retain readers, tailor the content and pay attention to key metrics (such as open rates & click throughs), by monitoring the consumer behaviours (open & click through rates, page views) you’ll get a better sense of what’s working and what’s not. Plus adopting these remedies will, at the very least, help minimize angry spam alerts and keep you on speaking terms.

Use unsubscribe to your advantage – give your audience other choices

With consumer in charge of how to electronically reach them, by way of a variety of digital vehicles (email, SMS, social media, etc.), getting and keeping their permission is key. Once you have it, respect it by listening and offering tools to customize their absorption to improve retention. The consumer has indicated they want to receive information from your company by opting in. But bear in mind consumers can be fickle and their interests may change so messaging needs to follow suit. Offering customized options is a great way to stay relevant; this extends to content, timing, and the preferred platform by which to receive information.

Linkedin demonstrates a great execution of customized tools within user’s profile account settings. Email subscribers can modify their email preferences, giving them the ability to select or deselect email/newsletters topics as well as adjust timing frequency. These ‘tailor your own’ options include:

These simple steps empower the reader to personalize the information to reflect the their desired interests and frequency, with the added advantage of the ability to modify these preferences to suit their needs at any time without severing the relationship.

By providing more nuanced choices than simply on / off you can retain some subscribers who simply want fewer or more directed emails.

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