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Retention Marketing

09/14/2010 2 comments

While it’s important to regularly expand your customer base, retaining existing customers is equally if not more important. In fact, it’s more cost-effective to retain current customers than to acquire new ones. Occasionally you’ll have some fall-out from your email campaign as subscribers opt-out. But just because someone is opting-out of your mailing list doesn’t mean they want to say goodbye to you entirely. Done right, you’ll be able to retain these people as customers even if they choose not to continue receiving email from you.

Here are five ways to turn these opt-outs into continued business:

Make it easy to unsubscribe.
Place an unsubscribe link on every email communication you send. Process unsubscribe requests promptly and remove those addresses from your list (within 10 days, according to the CAN-SPAM law, but the best practice is to do it instantaneously). If your customers are dissatisfied with the unsubscribe process it’s likely that they won’t look upon your business favorably in the future.

Offer options. In addition to offering subscribers the option to unsubscribe from the list, offer them the option to receive emails less frequently, or to change their preferences. When you offer multiple choices, customers can decide which content best fits their needs and interests.

Learn from comments left by unsubscribers. Your unsubscribe confirmation page should offer a chance for the customer to provide feedback about why he has chosen to opt out. You may learn that unsubscribers preferred less (or more) frequent communications, or were looking for a different type of content altogether. This valuable information will help you improve your communication plan.

Let people re-subscribe. Sometimes people click “unsubscribe” by accident or change their mind. Make sure your unsubscribe confirmation page gives people the chance to re-subscribe if they’ve clicked your link in error. (The daily coupon newsletter Groupon does this in an amusing way.)

Suggest other ways to stay in touch. Your unsubscribers may not have time to read your email, but may want to follow you on Twitter or become your fan on Facebook. Offer links to your social media accounts on your unsubscribe page.

Another factor to consider is that a subscriber simply may not remember signing up for your email campaign. To avoid subscriber amnesia, use autoresponders to automatically fire off a welcome email at a predetermined time from which the subscriber joined the list. This will ensure that you’ve established contact and may also encourage the subscriber to add your email address to his address book.

When someone asks to unsubscribe from your list, you must respect the request. But an effective unsubscribe process can ensure that you retain the customer, even if you lose the subscriber.