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BizReport : Email Marketing : March 30, 2010

Is your email opt-out process short and sweet?

How many clicks do you make your email recipients execute in their bid to leave your list? According to new research, too many retailers are requiring three or more clicks to opt out and that is too many.

by Helen Leggatt

Almost 40% of online marketers require their email recipients to go through three or more clicks before they can escape an email list, found Responsys' study of 100 large online retailers.

Incredibly, despite increased knowledge about consumer online behavior and attitudes towards spam the study found a shift towards longer unsubscribe processes. Since 2008 the number of online marketers requiring three or more clicks has risen from 7% to today's 39%.

So how many clicks is acceptable? According to Stefan Pollard, senior strategic consultant at Responsys, the ideal number is one. "Anything beyond two clicks gets into the realm of creating a barrier to exit. We have to remember the subscriber has alternatives: If the unsubscribe process is complicated, confusing or too long, there is the 'report spam' button in their e-mail client that overrides this problem, and that button hurts a sender's reputation and can prevent valued subscribers from receiving future messages."

Those who do opt out of email lists are increasingly being given the cold shoulder. Whereas 18% of email marketers sent a message to say "thanks and goodbye" back in 2008, just 16% do so now. Even less (7%) bother to offer consumers an alternative channel via which to keep in touch, such as Facebook, Twitter or RSS.

"When you're competing against the ruthless efficiency and trustworthiness of the 'report spam' button, your email opt-out process needs to be friction-free and provide options ISPs can't give their users," said Chad White, research director at Responsys and author of the study.

Due to failures to honor opt-outs, Responsys found that 4% of retailers are not in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act, which remains similar to 2008 levels.

Tags: email marketing, email subscription, opt-out process

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  • I am write SEO marketing content and I could not agree with you more. The longer it takes to opt out, the more frustration and anger you feel. It creates an automatic distrust and disgust of the company or product. All of us are customers of a company somewhere. Many times we can look to our own reactions for behavioral stats.



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