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On August 6, Google announced in a Google+ post that they were implementing a feature within Gmail that would automatically place “Unsubscribe” links to the top of any emails that include them. This has caused many email marketers to scramble and some are getting very nervous. While Gmail is the most popular email service in the world, if you are sending communications to customers the right way, this isn’t the email marketing equivalent of Armageddon. Let me tell you why.
First, and foremost, I’ll start with the disclaimer that this new feature is only applicable to desktop users. Emails retrieved by users using Gmail’s mobile app won’t be affected. Second, Google cannot control the “look” of emails viewed within e-mail clients such as Outlook or Apple Mail. This new feature will only affect the user experience for consumers using Gmail via a web browser. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a lot of people and this certainly has the ability to affect the volume of unsubscribes that you may receive, as it will now be easier for users to do exactly that.
The CAN-SPAM Act requires that commercial messages contain unsubscribe links. There’s simply no way around that, unless you plan to be non-compliant. And I would not advise you to take that route. So, how does an email marketer prevent a consumer from unsubscribing now that it’s much easier for them to accomplish? The answer is simple:
Send relevant messages to targeted groups.
The days of mass email blasts to entire databases are at an end. Even though it’s been considered best practice for years, dealers are still doing it. Why? Because it’s easy and dealers have the “numbers game” concept drilled into their heads. The car industry has always been focused on percentages. If I send out X number of emails, Y percentage will take action which will lead to Z sales. I’m here to tell you that the concept of “more is better” is now, without doubt, dead. If you continue this practice, you will slowly find that you have nobody left to email. People will click that unsubscribe e-mail button or link faster than ever before. Why? Because it’s so easy now.
The only way to attain effective e-mail marketing is to use data and strategy to effectively target customers that will welcome your message. For a customer to welcome your message, it MUST be relevant to them. By ensuring that you are sending well-timed and relevant messages to the right group of people, you will decrease the chance that your audience will click that now-convenient unsubscribe link. If you haven’t been using data to tailor your message to your intended clientele, you’d best start now or risk finding that you have nobody left to talk to.