Friday 20 September, 2013
What’s the worst thing that can happen to an email marketer? Why, of course, it’s your list members unsubscribing. It’s the most horrible feeling of rejection when you see unsubscribes – they don’t like you anymore!
Or is it the best thing that could happen? Ask any seasoned email marketer and they’ll tell you it’s a blessing when people unsubscribe. What it means is that your sales funnel is working.
Down the Funnel
A sales funnel is how you bring prospects in and qualify them. As the name ‘funnel’ suggests, it’s wide at the entry point and it narrows as the prospect moves through it. How does it narrow? It narrows because people leave.
Marketers like it when people leave because it means they don’t want what you’re offering. If you offer a free report as an entry point to your sales funnel, maybe a thousand people will sign up because people like free stuff. But how many of this thousand are going to purchase the high ticket items you’ll eventually offer them? The sooner you can get the non-payers off your list, the better a list it will be.
There is no penalty for a high unsubscribe rate, and in fact a large but unresponsive list can penalize you. You’ll end up with a low open rate and low conversion rate, which are metrics that say your email marketing isn’t working.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Marketers tend to obsess over the size of their list, missing the point entirely that size doesn’t matter (not much, anyway). What matters is how responsive your list is. When your list is populated by people who won’t buy, it’s like you have a store full of people browsing or hanging out drinking coffee. What are they doing here? The only benefit is that the store seems more populated.
Marketing studies show that there’s no correlation between the unsubscribe rate and the profitability of a list. In fact, some studies have shown that there’s an opposite correlation. Lists with a great deal of unsubscribes are cleaner and therefore have a higher conversion rate. When you make an offer, a higher percentage of that list will buy.
Don’t Let the Door Hit Your Behind on the Way Out
When you make small offers to your list, look at it as a way to qualify them. Those who bite on the small offers are the ones most likely to bite on the big ones. Don’t hide that unsubscribe link but fly it high where everyone can see it. Make it easy for them to unsubscribe. Don’t require them to log in or fill out a comments form (although an optional one is good). Show them the door and wish them good luck.
Don’t obsess over numbers and don’t worry when you see unsubscribes. Keep the deals coming and use your list to qualify your prospects.