Imagine you go on a blind date. You arrive at the tiki bar (should have been a dead giveaway…) and the person you’re meeting is not at all what you were expecting – in the worst ways possible. Before you prepare to waste an hour of your night pretending to listen to the casting predictions of Star Wars Episode VII, your blind date shows you an unexpected display of mercy: He tells you that you can leave, right now, before you even order a drink. No questions asked.
This is, in effect, what smart email marketers are beginning to do: Allowing their prospects an easy, harmless opt-out, by putting the unsubscribe button at the top of their marketing emails.
You may be wondering why you would want to make it easier for a lead to disregard the message of your email. You might think, “At least when the unsubscribe button link is at the bottom, the email recipient has to scroll down to get to it,” right? Maybe she’ll absorb your message by the time she finds the link in the footer text.
The truth is, most readers don’t even scroll to the bottom for the unsubscribe link. Instead, they “opt-out” by reporting the email as SPAM, which major email providers make very easy. So why not make the far less damaging option (Unsubscribe Here) just as easy?
Let’s call a SPAM a SPAM
Many consumers report SPAM because they don’t know what SPAM is. In some cases, they believe that when they click the unsubscribe button, they are signing up to get more emails. It doesn’t help that most email providers have the SPAM button in very visible places, while unsubscribe/opt-out links are typically buried in the footer text.
The difference between reporting an email as SPAM and simply unsubscribing is that the former is actually damaging to your reputation. ISP blocking can result from too many SPAM reports. If your recipients consistently report you for SPAM – even if their intention is simply to stop receiving your messages – this will negatively affect your ability to “hit the inbox.”
Google has announced it will be adding an obvious unsubscribe button to the top of all marketing emails. However, when it comes down to it, having a prospect unsubscribe is much better for business than an email being reported as SPAM. If someone isn’t interested in your message, why not provide her with a quick and easy way to politely discontinue communication? By giving a disengaged prospect an easy out, you are providing them with less of an opportunity to do damage to your sender reputation, while also helping yourself to maintain a more engaged lead list.
Let’s keep the conversation going
What are your thoughts on flagging emails as SPAM? Is it important to have an unsubscribe link easily accessible? Do most of your email recipients know the difference?
To learn more about engaging email marketing, check out our summary of Marketos definitive Guide.