Ever unsubscribe from a mailing list only to keep getting emails from the brand in question? You’re not alone. It’s actually one of Ted Rubin’s biggest pet peeves, and here’s why. 

Isn’t it Great When You “Unsubscribe” and Start Getting MORE Emails???

Signing up for any type of email marketing list is always a leap of faith, but when everyone is professional about the process, the risk is supposed to be minimal. I sign up, see what you have to offer, and decide whether I want to stick around for more. You hold up your end of the bargain by sending quality content or offers and providing an easy way to unsubscribe if I decide it’s not for me. If I do choose to unsubscribe, then that should be the end of it… but that’s where things most often get tricky these days. 

The one thing that I really don’t want to see when I unsubscribe is a bunch of new emails coming from the same address. If you provide an “easy” way to unsubscribe but keep sending emails after I use it, then I’m not going to be a very happy consumer. As my business partner, and Retail Relevancy co-author John Andrews so aptly states… “I think some marketers interpret ”unsubscribe” as a positive response… there’s a live human, man the spam torpedos!”

Enough Is Enough: Don’t Waste Email Marketing on People Who Don’t Want to See It 

When you’re in marketing, you can appreciate other good marketing when you see it, right? A well-crafted ad, an excellent customer experience, a brand that puts action behind its commitment to build relationships with its customers. The flip side to that is that you’re also likely to develop some marketing pet peeves when you see brands doing things in a way that you would not do yourself.

An unsubscribe feature that doesn’t actually allow you to unsubscribe touches on a few of my biggest personal pet peeves. First, the brand sending the email is banging its head against a brick wall. Keep sending me messages after I ask you to stop, and I’ll just start ignoring you. It’s not so different from a brand that barrages me with ads after I have already purchased the product in question. You’re not going to make me purchase an unnecessary second copy of something I already like, so stop trying.

You’re also not going to get me to come back to your email list after I’ve made the decision to unsubscribe. Every message that comes after the confirmation that I unsubscribed is just affirmation of why I left in the first place. I may not have had bad associations with your brand when I clicked the unsubscribe button, but I will if you keep pushing after I have decided to leave.

Whether you’re sending email, reaching out on social, or otherwise working to keep leads alive, a big part of marketing is knowing when enough is enough. Some people will respond much more positively if you say what you have to say, give them their space, and let them reach their own conclusions. This is especially true when that person has made it very clear, such as by unsubscribing or outright saying so, that they’d rather be left alone.  

Ultimately, pushing customers past their breaking point is an easy way to develop a bad reputation for your brand. Whatever algorithm or email automation platform says that it’s time to send MORE emails after someone has unsubscribed needs to be seriously revisited. If I unsubscribe, I will still be aware of your brand and have the potential to continue to be a customer in the future. If you keep sending messages, I will keep ignoring them until I forget that your brand even exists. And worse yet develop a very bad taste, cease any interactions, and share that aggressively with others. 

So… LET PEOPLE UNSUBSCRIBE! Stop banging them over the head for a while when they have specifically asked you to stop. Put the customer first, even when they’re taking an action you’d prefer that they didn’t from a marketing perspective. It’s really not that freaking complicated, treat your customers with some simple respect, and it will be much better for your business and reputation in the long run.

Your Brand/Business is what you do; your Reputation is what people Remember and Share.

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