Tags: unsubscribe

How to Lose Your Loyal Customers by Ignoring Them

How to Lose Your Loyal Customers by Ignoring Them

Beyond • July 14, 2010

My lifelong affinity to computers started way back in 1981 with my first Toshiba 8088, a personal computer with an eye-searing MDA green screen. It cost as much as a new Buick and had less processing power than my current watch. Since I\'ve spent the better part of the last three decades glued to a keyboard, I love to keep up with the latest and greatest hardware. Consequently, I\'m a subscriber to a plethora of computer retailer email marketing lists, which keep me both informed and entertained. In the last couple of years, I\'ve noticed a disconcerting trend with most of these major national brand online retailers: They keep plowing emails into my inbox, but they completely ignore me when I have a query that extends beyond an orderly checkout. A summary of my misadventures just in the last few months reads like a litany of what not to do in customer service: Fitting 1366 Pins Into 1156 Sockets Company A pitched a Core i7 processor combo mated with a motherboard that was the wrong socket type: The number of pins on the processor exceeded the number of pins on the socket by 210, and removing the extra pins with tweezers is not exactly an option recommended by Intel. I sent a polite email (no rants or expletives) asking if they would extend that price to a combo that could actually be installed. A week later, I resent that email. A week after that, I reworded the email more strongly. A week after that, I cc\'d that email to every single email address I could find on their website. Of course, I never received a reply of any kind. Just more marketing emails… and yes, there were two new impossible combos in those as well. No Discount & No Unsubscribe Company B offered a discount on my next order if I signed up for their \"bi-weekly expert newsletter.\" I received a code to enter at checkout that never worked, the newsletter turned out to be marketing hype copied verbatim from manufacturer sites, and their definition of bi-weekly is every Tuesday and Friday. I\'ve sent an unsubscribe each Tuesday and Friday for almost two months now, and the persistent newsletter is still showing up promptly twice a week. It Doesn\'t Fit & You Can\'t Return It Company C sold me a CPU fan fitted with a four-socket connector. Unable to connect it to the standard three-prong CPU fan connector, I had to connect it to the motherboard\'s four-prong plug intended for case fans. The fan works fine, but now whenever I boot up I get a \"CPU Fan Missing\" notice, which forces me to hit 8 separate keys to proceed. My BIOS setting can\'t be changed, I can\'t find a 3 to 4 adaptor, and the company has rewarded my multiple requests for an RMA with silence. Amateur Experts Company D touted their new live chat service to obtain expert pre-sale consultation. The link in their email was dead, so I scoured their website for a working link and finally found it buried on a fifth level page. The \"expert\" who came onto live chat 45 minutes later was as capable of answering my question as I am of building the Large Hadron Collider in my backyard with an erector set, a flashlight, and a Toshiba 8088. When you design a marketing email, you boast of your excellent customer service and provide ample ways that your prospects can benefit from it… but are they? What is the actual customer experience? Are your incoming email addresses dead letter offices? Is your unsubscribe function a chimera? Is your staff incompetent and ignorant? I will definitely think twice before placing a product into the shopping carts on the websites of those companies. That recalcitrance represents considerable lost sales and revenue that the company could have saved by simply treating the customer in a rational, responsible, common sense manner. Are you making the same mistakes?


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5 Tips to Lower Your Unsubscribe Rates

Beyond • October 27, 2009

Are you suffering from high unsubscribe rates in your email marketing campaigns? Are you at a loss as to why this is happening? Are you wondering what the reason for this dilemma is? Take a look at some common reasons that cause subscribers to unsubscribe and the solution to these problems! Read on for 5 great tips to lower your unsubscribe rates! 1. Provide alternate ways to stay in touch One of the biggest reasons for recipients’ unsubscribing is because they feel they are being flooded with emails. Unfortunately when this happens they usually land up unsubscribing from the majority of emails they have been receiving. The sad reality of this situation is that these recipients do not consider your email to be anything special. Therefore they do not think twice about unsubscribing from your emails. However, there is a way to salvage this situation. Let them know that there are other ways for them to stay in touch with your business. Provide them with links to your blog, web feeds and any other means of communication. 2. Stop overwhelming recipients with your email Often you are the cause of your recipients’ decision to unsubscribe. This happens when you get carried away and flood your recipients’ inbox with numerous emails. The good news is there are a number of solutions to fix this problem. You can provide your recipients’ with an option to remain subscribed and change the frequency of the emails sent by you. This option should be offered when they click on the unsubscribe link. This option should also be present at the time of sign-up so that your recipients’ can select the frequency most suitable for themselves. You could also consider testing different frequencies and analyzing your recipients’ reactions in order to discover the best frequency to be used. 3. Provide an option for changing the email address Your subscribers may simply want to change their email address. However, if you do not provide them with an option to do so, they will end up unsubscribing. Leading Email Service Providers like Benchmark Email, etc already have such options inbuilt into their application. Failure to do so may result in you needlessly losing subscribers. 4. Give subscribers what they are looking for Your recipients’ subscribed because they expected you to fulfill certain expectations. If you don’t give them what they want, they will have no reason to remain subscribed. Keep an eye on your emails and ensure that they contain what you promised to deliver. If you have promised to send informational emails, avoid placing excessive promotional tactics within your email. Ensure that at least 70% of your information is promotion free. Provide your recipients with a list of topics and subjects and let them select what appeals to them. Also provide them with the option to unsubscribe only from a particular topic or subject. Analyze your reports and make a note of the topics and promotions that get the best response from your recipients and tailor your emails accordingly. You could even think about implementing trigger emails and segmentation in order to better target your audience. 5. Get people to use subscriber preference centers Make an effort to motivate people to use subscriber preference centers. This is a great way for your recipients to let you know what’s lacking so you can adapt accordingly. Unfortunately most people only seem to use this option after they have already decided to unsubscribe. Give them incentives to visit the preference center by notifying them about special offers or requesting them to update their profiles for upcoming events. Do you know any more tips for lowering unsubscribe rates? Do tell us about them!


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Five Ways to Avoid Email Spam Filters

Beyond • October 21, 2009

Email marketing has a lot of advantages, the biggest benefit being that email is free and convenient. The down side to this is that the ease of email has led to an explosion of spam, and therefore the creation of the spam filter. Most unfortunately, these filters tend to block even legitimate email. So if you find your emails are being blocked, read on. Take a look at five great ways to avoid those email spam filters. 1. Never use spam words in your email There are a lot of words and symbols that are classified as ‘spam’ and these should be avoided at all cost. Words such as ‘viagra’, numerous dollar signs, multiple exclamation marks and even sentences in capital are considered spam. It is very important that you do not use such words in the subject line of your email. 2. Always safeguard your customer list Your customer list should be protected at all times. You must look after your list as per the terms mentioned in your privacy policy. Remember, people have given you their information on the basis of trust. You need to honor this trust. Never disclose or sell your list to anyone unless you have stated that you will do so in your policy. Violating your policy could lead to penalties. 3. Place an unsubscribe link in your email It is important that all your email communication contain an unsubscribe link for the benefit of your recipients. This is usually provided by all the leading Email Service Providers like Benchmark Email, etc. However, you should ensure that your link works properly by testing it yourself. If a recipient clicks on the unsubscribe link you must ensure that the person is removed from your subscription list instantly. 4. Make use of double opt-in forms Although single opt-ins can be used, double opt-in is a much better alternative. In the single opt-in process, a person who wishes to subscribe needs to provide his name and email address and confirm that he wants your emails. When it comes to double opt-in, the person completes the single opt-in process and then clicks on a verification link that is sent to him via email. The verification process used in double opt-in makes it more trustworthy and reduces the chance of your email being called spam. 5. Pay attention to all aspects of your email Your email should maintain a constant ‘From’ field and the ‘To’ field should always be personalized. When it comes to HTML emails, try to avoid using javascript, embedded forms and even hidden text and make sure all your links have the ‘http://’ prefix. Request your readers to add your email address to their ‘whitelist’ or address book.


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How to Reduce Spam Complaints?

How to Reduce Spam Complaints?

Beyond • June 16, 2009

One of the keys to success in e-mail marketing is to reduce the number of spam complaints that you receive. Spam complaints can hurt your standing with your ISP or hosting provider, and even prevent your messages from being delivered to millions of users of popular web e-mail providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo mail. In spite of these potentially very significant consequences, many businesses that rely on e-mail marketing as a major part of their advertising efforts fail to understand the steps that you can take to prevent spam complaints from being submitted. The following tips will help you reduce your spam complaints: Confirmed opt-in: The best way to ensure that your subscribers want to receive mailings from you is by using a confirmed opt-in process. It requires your subscribers to confirm their subscription by replying to an e-mail before they can be added to your e-mail list. Your list only: It is no longer acceptable to purchase e-mail lists or use third-party lists. You should remove any e-mail addresses obtained from third party sources. Practice good list hygiene: Don’t get in love with your list. The quantity of email addresses in your list means little; it is the quality that counts. As a general rule, the older your list (or addresses in your list) the greater the chance that they may not be any longer interested in receiving mails from you. That said, there are no specific rules as all businesses are different. Some businesses will know that some of their best customers are their oldest customers, so the culling of all e-mail addresses obtained before a specific date may not be suitable for those businesses. Include the Unsubscribe Link: The first and most important step you can take is to include an unsubscribe link in every message. Beyond this, the unsubscribe link should be two things: obvious and painless. Customers who want your emails will ignore the link, and those who don\'t will find it easy to unsubscribe from your list, rather than hastily clicking the email as spam. Evaluate your Subject Line: Ensure that - especially when starting out - your company name is included in the subject line. You may be thinking that is not necessary, since your company name will more than likely show in the \"from\" field, however, this helps to convey professionalism. Be sure that the message in your subject line is actually conveyed in the email. No one likes to be duped, and doing so raises the chances of your e-mail being marked as spam. Familiar layout: Using a consistent e-mail template with the same colors, fonts and layout will help your subscribers to recognize your e-mail campaigns. Over time your subscribers will recognize your layout and with that familiarity they will be reminded that they have subscribed to your list. Familiar and consistent company name: Confusion and complaints can originate from subscribers being unfamiliar with your company or brand name. Consistent from address: Using a consistent ‘from’ e-mail address serves two purposes. First, using the same ‘from’ address over time is another way to ensure that your subscribers recognise your e-mails. It is best to use a from e-mail address that includes your brand or the company name that they subscribed to. Second, if different ‘from’ addresses are used it increases the chances that the subscriber’s local e-mail filter programs (spam filters) will block your e-mails. It is a good idea to ask your subscribers to add your e-mail address to their address book to ensure that your messages will get past any local filters. Frequency: A common complaint trigger is businesses sending too many e-mails to the same group of people. While a subscriber may like your products and your business, there becomes a point when your mailings become annoying when sent too often, particularly if you are sending essentially the same message over and over again. The frequency of mail-outs will depend on your business and the type of information you provide to your subscribers. By outlining the anticipated frequency in your sign-up subscription terms, your subscribers will know how often to expect your mailings. Few other tips: - do not write long email copy - go for “short and crisp”, then point to your website for more information; - don’t repeat your website URL over and over again — you are more likely to get more complaints than more sales; once or twice is usually enough; - run a spam-check on your messages before you send them out and fix any problems that it detects.


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