When Subscribers Decide to Say Goodbye
Inevitably, despite your best efforts, some subscribers will decide to opt-out or unsubscribe. Hopefully, if you have followed best practices, they will do this using the unsubscribe link and not by reporting your messages as spam.
The CAN-SPAM Act is very clear on requirements for unsubscribing. Your email must give recipients an opt-out method. You must provide a return email address or another Internet-based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future email messages to that email address, and you must honor the requests.
You may create a "menu" of choices to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to end any commercial messages from the sender. A recent study by the Direct Marketing Association's E-mail Experience Council, revealed that just 16% of email marketers gave those trying to opt-out the choice of receiving less frequently. Forty-four percent offered no alternatives whatsoever.
Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your commercial email. When you receive an opt-out request, the law gives you 10 business days to stop sending email to the requestor's email address. You cannot help another entity send email to that address, or have another entity send email on your behalf to that address. Further, it is illegal for you to sell or transfer the email addresses of people who choose not to receive your email, even in the form of a mailing list, unless you transfer the addresses so another entity can comply with the law.
You cannot require an email recipient to:
- Pay a fee
- Provide information other than their email address and opt-out preferences
- Take more than these opt-out steps:
- Send a reply email message
- Visit a single Web page
Clearly, those companies that take the time now to develop a comprehensive lifecycle communications strategy that addresses each subscriber as an individual, are setting themselves up for ongoing success.
Email should not be a one sided conversation. When used properly, email is one of the best tools you have to build lasting relationships with your audience. Now is the time to focus on your messages and to implement best practices so you keep your audience engaged with each email you send.
For more learning on Best Practices, listen to Episode 6 of Listrak's Email Podcasting Series: "Now is the Time for Best Practices."
If you need help implementing any of these best practices, or if you have any questions, we're here to help. Contact us to learn more.