An interesting discussion regarding unsubscribes came up at the Discovery Mornings this week – that is, ‘what is the position regarding re-contacting people who’ve unsubscribed – in order to try to entice them back?’
Well… if they’ve unsubscribed from your emails the position is pretty clear – it stands to reason that you can’t re-contact them by email. They should be on your DNC (Do Not Contact) list and that should rightly exclude them from any future mailings. The same is of course true for those who may have requested a STOP to your SMS messages.
However all is not lost. One technique often used at the point of unsubscription is to either offer a change of mind or even better a multi-layered unsubscription. This allows the option to unsubscribe from certain emails (for example certain unwelcome promotional campaigns) but remain subscribed to other communications, perhaps those of a more practical or informative nature.
A good point in case is my subscription to my local sports centre – I’d like to receive alerts as to when the pool is closed for maintenance, Christmas opening times, or changes to my membership, but I’d prefer not to receive information about new spa treatments or offers from their car hire partners. A multi-layer unsubscription would simply allow me to select which communications have my permission and which not, and all is then good again.
Another option is to try to reconnect via other channels. For email unsubscribers be careful with (telephone) calling, SMS and other forms of direct contact, because even if they are not directly related to the email permission it’s quite possible that these may just aggravate the unsubscriber further. Unsubscribe may be a temporary decision so you should aim to make it swift and effective and at least part in a professional and courteous manner. After all, who knows what the future holds.
Social media may be a useful avenue to explore. Since this isn’t a direct one-to-one permission relationship, assuming your unsubscriber is still socially connected with you, it’s worth trying to rebuild your trust through this medium instead. Again slowly, slowly is the approach and direct, individual contact is probably not appropriate. Winning back trust may take time, but as with all of your social media followers migrating them into (or, in the case of your unsubscribers, back into) a direct permission based relationship is often a possibility.
Thanks to everyone who came to the Discovery Mornings in London and Manchester this week – and keep those questions coming.