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    Having people subscribe to your e-mail database isn’t easy. As a company, it’s challenging, frustrating and slow. There are lots of ways to incentivize or even trick people into signing up, and we go over some of those practices along with the pro’s and con’s that come with them in another article. What’s most important is letting subscribers leave in peace.

    As a subscriber, if you’re being spammed and don’t have an easy opt-out solution, mark the company’s mail as spam. If they are using a mail service, you’ll most likely be removed from the e-mail database. Marking an email as spam can contribute to lowering a companies trust factor. Google scrapes G-Mail, collecting data on who’s going into the spam folder. They even have a patent for this. All prominent providers, Zoho, Microsoft, Yahoo, have some form of this in place. If a company has poor e-mail marketing practice, their ranking will end up being effected.

    Providing an op-out is required world wide.

    Doesn’t matter where you’re based or where your subscriber is from. When offering online subscriptions, there are various local regulatory institutions which consumers can complain to, and there are laws you have to follow, or at least accept consequences from. If you screw up bad enough, you’ll get fined and your search engine rank will get wrecked to hell. The country where your subscriber is based offers gives their protection. In New Zealand, there is the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act of 2007. Australia has the Spam Act (2003), and every other country around the world has some close variation. When someone decides they don’t want your emails, txts or smoke signals, you have to respect their choice, and you should help them leave you as quickly as easily as possible.

    Encouraging subscribers to stay

    Just as there are strategies to encouraging people to join, there are also ways to make people stay. Some strategies are clean, others can be pretty dirty. We go over them in another article you can check out here.

    Consequences of making leaving difficult

    Looking at this dodgy opt-out example from General Pants Co, a global clothing store. The time and frustration of filling out the data form and the forced consent put on the already disgruntled user is shady as hell. Yes you might keep your subscriber, best case scenario, they forget their frustration and down the line, they see a message from you and buy something you’re selling. Good for you. You made a sale. Worse case scenario, they’ll report your unethical ass!

    You’ll get slapped with a fine, wreck your reputation, get negative press and and lose your search engine rank. The most likely scenario is they will be frustrated with your brand, and they’ll like you less, throwing your e-mail in the spam folder. Remember, people are more likely to spread negative word of mouth…

    Best practice

    When you turn to e-mail marketing, or any database you host, provide an easy direct unsubscribe link. This should be included clearly on member pages and in every e-mail you send.

    The best way to keep subscribers is to earn them in the first place, don’t trick people into signing up. Your content should be relevant and in line with what they signed up for. Imagine signing up to Nike and then getting e-mails about an upcoming election from them. You should also realize that just because they opted out, doesn’t mean they didn’t love you. Perhaps they’ve moved on from the product type you’re offering, or they just got bored of the e-mails. Maybe they are a neat freak and don’t want the messages they don’t read, they could very well be otherwise happy active users / customers. Rather than forcing them to stay connected through your database, think of ways to charm them back into it. The hard road is the most rewarding.

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