In sales there is a belief that each objection is an opportunity. Each “no” you hear is simply a stepping stone to a sale. This attitude helps salespeople continually refine the conceptual packaging of their wares. If the objection is “I don’t have room for it in my house,” this is an opportunity for the salesperson to stress how the product packs flat, or serves a second use that helps it earn its keep.
Now consider the unsubscribe action in an opt-in email series. Melinda Krueger, MediaPost columnist and email expert, recounts a recent In-Box Insiders discussion about how approaching “unsubs” needs to be more like approaching any other type of objection (registration required for MediaPost). Ultimately it’s an opportunity for a more satisfied subscriber.
Several aspects of your unsub process should be examined, Krueger advises. Of her list, two provide a real opportunity for negotiation. These are chances for departing subscribers to come back to the fold by refining how they receive the emails:
Content Preferences — Give subscribers the options to indicate their preferences to improve relevance. These can either be positive “I am interested in silent sports” or negative “I am not interested in articles on camping.”
Frequency Preferences — Allow subscribers to reduce the volume of communication: “Send me email only once per week/month/quarter/year” (depending on your sending frequency). According to Stephanie, “offering even simple frequency options at the point of unsubscribe helps preserve up to 50% of those ‘exiting’ subscribers.”
Just as in sales, an unsub is an opportunity for a win-win with the customer. And like the classic sales objection, even when the outcome of meeting an unsub isn’t ideal, the chance to learn more about your product is significant. All you need to do is politely refuse to settle for a simple “no.”