March 23, 2006, 12:00 AM

Retailers dropping the ball on e-mail opt-outs, study says

Retailers are passing up opportunities to lower the number of people who opt-out of e-mail marketing campaigns, a Silverpop study finds.

 

Retailers are passing up opportunities to lower the number of people who opt-out of e-mail marketing campaigns, a Silverpop study finds. If nothing else, retailers should learn why consumers are opting out, it says.

"Managing opt-outs has always been a tricky issue for marketers," said Bill Nussey, CEO of Silverpop, a provider of e-mail services. Silverpop reviewed the e-mail campaigns of 175 major retailers, including Crate & Barrel, Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penney and CompUSA.

Only 12% of retailers in the study, for example, gave e-mail recipients the opportunity to change their e-mail preferences in addition to simply opting out. In contrast, when recipients of e-mails from National Geographic click to opt out, they land a web page that lets them opt out but also select from 17 options for receiving information.

Some companies simply give the e-mail recipient more time to consider their decision to opt out, Silverpop says. 7% of study respondents, including Nordstrom, link the initial opt-out button to a page that asks if the recipient really wants to opt out and provides a link for opting back in.

"Marketers hoping to maintain customer relationships should consider implementing a similar re-engagement component to their opt-out process," Nussey said. "If you ask appropriately and remind recipients of the value of being on your list, you may find that enough customers will stay to make it well worth asking."

If nothing else, marketers should use the opt-out process to find out why an e-mail recipient wants to discontinue, Nussey says. "You should try to get as much information as you can before the customer is gone for good," he says. "Were they receiving too many e-mail messages? Are they no longer interested in your product or service? Was the content not relevant enough? You can even provide an empty text box on the web site in which they can add their own feedback."

 

 

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