You’ve maintained immaculate data hygiene, segmented your list with ultrafine accuracy, and created content compelling enough to share – and you’ll still inevitably part with a few prospects. The typical house list’s data degrades at a rate of 3 percent per month, depending on your industry. Unsubscribe rates are usually a tenth or less of this amount, but every prospect matters.
With all the effort that goes into earning and maintaining subscriptions for your house list, it might come as a surprise to learn that even the leads who are headed out the door still have essential data to share with you. Here’s what you can do to keep unsubscribe rates low and understand everything you can about unsubscribers before they go.
Reposition Unsubscribe Links
Take a look at the business email you get during a single day, and you’ll see plenty of unsubscribe links in sub-headers. That real estate is too important for an everyday unsubscribe link, especially now that more people see your email on mobile than on desktop formats. Smartphones and tablets display the first few words of the email’s body as well as its subject line, including the sub-header. Use this space for a strong marketing message, not a routine requirement. By placing the unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email, you give recipients a chance to scroll through your email and see what they’ll be missing if they unsubscribe.
Much of modern marketing’s analytical power comes from establishing a baseline. Until you know what’s normal for your organization, you can’t know if something’s out of the ordinary. Recipient-initiated unsubscribe rates below 0.3 percent are the average in the B2B sector. Like your golf game and your tax rate, lower is better, but some industries have a naturally higher rate. Defining your baseline will tell you if your industry is one of them. Another factor that affects unsubscribes is the list’s maturity; a mature list has fewer unsubscribes than one that’s still being developed. Lists you acquire through a business email list management company already have benchmarks in place.
Learn Why They Leave
Some of your would-be customers unsubscribe without telling you why they’re leaving, but whenever possible, try to learn more with forms that give readers a chance to give feedback. To ensure a higher compliance percentage to your exit form, keep it simple. Listing a few possible reasons in radio buttons or a drop-down menu as well as providing space for user-entered reasons is a good plan. Some of the reasons you might list include:
- Moving out of the region
- Leaving the industry
- Changes in company needs
- The recipient didn’t sign up on the list
Other reasons may also apply, so leave space for manual entry of possibilities such as too-frequent mailings, content that is no longer relevant, or other informative feedback. Don’ t forget to include an option to remain on the list; people sometimes click an unsubscribe link by mistake, and you don’t want to lose your hard-won leads to a technical error.
Offer Alternative Solutions
Unsubscribe links can also include an opt-down instead of an opt-out for mailings. Many leads want to learn more, but they want to do it on their own schedule and learn about what’s most relevant to them. Give them the opportunity to tell you precisely what they’re looking for from you with an opt-down offer, and you can cut your unsubscribe rate significantly. Opting down is especially important in organizations that have a strong email marketing presence, allowing your leads to determine manageable email flow. Even if you only connect with that prospect once a month instead of weekly, you have a dozen opportunities every year to make an impression and fill a need.
Keep the Door Open
Some customers unsubscribe temporarily. They might be between projects, in the middle of a restructuring, or simply not in the market yet. They’ll come back if you let them, so make it simple for them to re-subscribe by deactivating and archiving their data for a time instead of deleting it. A marketing database can make moves to and from an inactive list automatically, so let technology help you keep your business list clean.
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