Tag Archives: melinda krueger

Watching your unsubscribes: Content and frequency are open to negotiation

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.”

Email deliverability issues sound familiar to direct mail pros

Recent discussions about email deliverability sound oddly familiar. Before email become a major marketing channel, Standard Presort Mail (known then as Third Class or Bulk) was the exclusive direct response medium. Mailboxes overflowed with catalogs and sales pitches. Back then this would be the case year-round, not just right now — in the protracted post-Halloween holiday season. It was inevitable that direct mailers would begin to seriously strain the postal system, using mail as something for which it was never designed. Weekly DM News reports would outrage readers with fresh tales of huge batches of mail delivered late or not at all. Delivery costs rose and delivery satisfaction fell. And thus emerged other media, following supply and demand (and abetted by Moore’s Law). These media included email. Now the outcry continues, but with this newer channel.

Fellow veteran of direct mail Melinda Krueger (MediaPost’s Email Diva) has a good post in that publication (registration required) about the influence of a dedicated IP address over deliverability. It’s a good primer to the topic of email reputation and how it is measured through the lens of an IP’s suspected spamming track record. More importantly, it helps the “lay audience” — those who think an ESP is a psychic ability and not an Email Service Provider — grasp the unintended consequences of email marketing.

Once again we marketers are using a medium for something no one considered at its birth.