Optimise your opt-out process and prevent unsubscribes

Written by Femke van Zelst

Offering an opt-out process is a legal requirement, but gathering new newsletter subscribers costs time and money, so you want as few subscribers as possible to opt out. You can often prevent more than 15% of opt-outs by overhauling your opt-out process. Read on to learn more.

Why does a subscriber opt out?

The reasons for a subscriber to opt out can vary widely. It may have to do with the amount of emails the subscriber receives, or the relevance and contents of the emails. Not having time to read the email can be another reason.

The value of an opt-out process

Setting up an opt-out process is a legal requirement, but it doesn’t have to be all downsides. After all, this process has a lot of benefits as well:

  • It prevents complaints and spam reports.
  • It’s good for your reputation (as sender).
  • The quality of your email database remains high.
  • It’s good for your deliverability.
  • It’s a service and shows your customers respect.

Below you will read a few tips for optimising your opt-out process.

Tip 1: emphasise added value

By reminding a subscriber of the added value of a newsletter, you can convince them not to opt out. Reasons for keeping the subscription can include:

  • You’ll be the first to know about promotions.
  • As a newsletter subscriber, you will receive special offers.

Tip 2: offer a well-structured opt-out process

A well-structured opt-out process lets you keep more customers. It’s not smart to let a subscriber unsubscribe with a single push of the button. After all, there are people who accidentally click the opt-out link and won’t be inclined to sign up again. With a good landing page, you may be able to hold on to your subscriber. This can be done by offering not just an opt-out button, but alternatives as well. Think for instance of:

  • Registering for other or specific categories and subjects.
  • Lower send frequency.
  • Changing email address.
  • Temporary stop.

Tip 3: offer a segmented opt-out option

Using a segmented opt-out process gives your subscriber the opportunity to opt-out per mail group. This allows the subscriber to indicate which types of email they do or do not want to receive any more. Do include an option for the subscriber to opt-out of all groups at once. This is a legal requirement.

Tip 4: already fill in the email address

Make sure the opt-out form already has the email address filled in. After all, you already know the email address.

Tip 5: ask about the reason for opt-out

Based on the reason for opting out, you can improve the newsletter. However, do not make this a mandatory question for the opt-out process.

Tip 6: use a confirmation page

Make sure that after the subscriber confirms the opt-out form, they are redirected to the confirmation page. This allows you to explicitly state that the now ex-subscriber is no longer registered. It’s also the last option to offer an alternative: stay in touch through social media! After all, if someone is no longer interested in the newsletter, social media can be an alternative to stay informed. Lastly, you can make a personal offer on the confirmation page.

Tip 7: monitor your opt-out process

By regularly monitoring the status of your opt-out process, you can discover certain trends. Think for instance of:

  • Comparing the number of opt-outs with the number of registered complaints. This provides information on the quality and/or reachability of your opt-out process.
  • See if there is a difference in the number of opt-outs in relation to the content of your mailings. This provides insight into the general interest of your target group.
  • Regularly check the reasons why people opt out. This information is the only way to improve your mailings.

Tip 8: actively unsubscribe inactive subscribers

Is a subscriber no longer opening emails? Then they are probably no longer interested. Subscribers like that influence your open ratio and deliverability. That’s why it’s best to get rid of these subscribers. So once a year, have a look at which subscribers haven’t opened your emails in a long time and ask them if they want to keep their subscription. No response? Set the opt-ins to ‘No’. This keeps your database clean.

A good opt-out process maps out the wishes and interests of your subscribers. And that insight allows you to improve your email campaigns. Because the better your emails suit your target group, the fewer opt-outs you’ll have.

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