4 Strategies to Avoid Email Opt-Outs

In this tutorial, we’ll talk about 4 strategies to reduce email opt-outs. A common question when first starting up a business is, “I’m growing my email list, but how do I keep prospects from opting out?”

I would advise any company or marketer to stick around for at least the first two strategies in this series, which offer conceptual, tried-and-true tactics for how to alter and set your company’s marketing on a positive trajectory from the get-go.

1 – Set Expectations Before/at Point of Opt-In

A lot of issues around opt-out, and considerations around marketing in general, have to do with prospect and customer expectations. The very beginning of a subscriber relationship usually consists of three main tangibles:

Avoiding Email Opt Outs

It’s important to get the right message across through these three connected avenues of communication when starting to sell new clients.

If a company sells Facebook marketing services, for example, and the opt-in and thank-you pages offer an initial white paper or video course, but don’t mention anything about how the company will be in touch on an ongoing basis, then they’re automatically confusing some front-end expectations.

Ask yourself if your first series – opt-in, thank you, and email  – conveys how the customer will be contacted over time. If not, all three should address this expectation.

You can make you front-end opt-in about one particular widget or benefit, but thethank-you page and first email should reiterate your company’s core value proposition. People should want to learn from you over time.

Instead of just saying, “here’s the great free thing”, give a bit of a story around your company and brand, explain some of your company’s strategy and why people prefer to learn from you. Pre-frame what they’ll learn in the coming weeks ahead – you’ll see CLVboost mentions this in all of our first emails to new subscribers.

The core benefits mentioned in your emails should tie to your core value proposition. This should resonate early on with prospects.

2 – Know Your Prospects (Advanced)

You might have some notion about who your prospects are, but knowing and leveraging this information requires more than the general gist. There are 2 factors – objectives and objections – that are essential to really knowing and keeping your prospects in the loop.

Knowing this information almost ubiquitously opens up new possibilities for how to make early marketing attempts sink in and make people want to stick around.

Avoiding Email Opt Outs 2

The first question to ask yourself: What are the top 3 objectives that these people came to you with, what was their intent when they became a subscriber?

If you’re a law firm, was most of your traffic coming from personal injury? Were these cases of construction injuries, slipping on ice (up north), etc.? If you’re  a company specializing in Facebook marketing, are your prospects mostly newbies just starting online-based business or are they existing businesses looking to step up their marketing and add the social media domain?

If you don’t know these top 3 objectives in order, then you don’t know your prospects well enough. Find out this information as soon as humanly possible. Call them or send an open-ended poll. Ask them, “When you first came to us, what was the problem you were trying to solve/what was your goal? ” Find this qualitative information and look for patterns.

Second question to ask yourself: What are the top 3 objections? What are the reasons people would stop listening to you and not do business with you? What are the big turnoffs that could make them leave? Again, if you don’t know the top 3 objections in order, then you don’t really know your customers.

How do we make fruitful decisions around this data? We integrate those objectives and objections into our opt-ins, thank-you page, first e-mail, and into ongoing email communication.

If you open up your 12 most recent newsletters, and you notice that you don’t heavily involve the top 3 objectives and address the top 3 objections directly, then make it a top priority to do so going forward.

3 – Limit “Gimicks” in Email Copy

The above two concepts are the “meat and potatoes” of structuring and leveraging your initial email marketing efforts. This strategy and the following one help refine the process and smooth any rough edges.

Email copy “gimmicks” can throw off your customer base. I generally suggest 2 main ways to reduce these in your email broadcasts:

Avoid Email Opt Outs 3“Whiz-bang” subject lines can really only be used once without decreasing their effectiveness i.e. “bad news…” or “omg”. Generally, these subject lines suggest something ominous, are curiosity-laden, or hint at a “big deal” without being specific.

If used repetitively, these subjects lines tend to yield higher opt-outs. Every now and again with big lists, you might find yourself using one of these grab-attention subject lines, but this should be a rare occasion and the reason for using should tie to specific objectives.

When I do find myself using one of these, I prefer to overtly describe why I’m doing so to subscribers i.e. “we’re only doing this for so long, I didn’t want you to miss out”, etc. You certainly want to write subject lines that get your subject’s attention, but more often than not these should be explicit and provide immediate, obvious value.

Misleading link text  i.e. a link that says something like “click here to learn X”, but then leads to a product page where they don’t actually learn X”, is a sure way to invite trouble.

Links should adequately prepare people for what they’ll see. Every now and again, these will sneak in and you won’t realize they’re misleading. I suggest going back  back into your last 12 newsletters and looking for examples in your own copy.

4 – Re-Activate “Fading” Subscribers Openly

What about those subscribes who haven’t opted out but who aren’t biting?

Avoid Email Opt Outs 4

A great way to  re-activate “fading” subscribes is to run a report on prospects who haven’t opened an email in the past 60-75 days. When it come to sending a re-activating email, I generally like to use name fields and segmentation, simply because it’s called for i.e. “Steve, it’s been a while, I wanted to send you this X, if you’re reading this now I’m glad, I want to make sure we’re giving you material that’s useful to you, etc.”

You do want to send a personal message in this case, and let them know that you know they haven’t respondedbe direct. Give value aligned with those top 3 objectives i.e. “we recently sent top case studies that helped out our customers, I know you haven’t opened your email in a while, so I wanted to send this to you”, etc..

Send out two to three of these re-activation emails over two weeks, and you’ll find this is an effective way to hook some of these people back in to your offers. For steps beyond the beginning reach outs, read this article on the bigger picture of how to convert prospects to long-term customers.

Closing Thoughts

To become better marketers and better ‘givers of value’, we need to know who we’re talking to and try to resonate with our target audience early on. If you’re interested in learning more, make sure to subscribe (if you’re on YouTube). If you’re reading this on the CLVboost blog, send us an email or leave a comment about any cool or useful topics you’d like to see in upcoming videos.

Here’s to a productive week,

-Daniel Faggella
CLVboost Founder

About The Author

Daniel Faggella

I grow businesses with marketing automation, email marketing, and conversion-rate optimization. I’ve spoken on business and emerging technologies internationally and at some of America’s finest schools (Yale, Stanford, Cornell, etc…). My marketing strategies have been featured in the Boston Business Journal, MarketingProfs, Direct Marketing News, and much more. CLVboost is where I share marketing strategies, TechEmergence.com is my major pursuit.