How to Stop People From Opting-Out of Your E-Newsletter (sort of)

Many of those who publish newsletters are overly concerned with controlling opt outs. I understand, it’s heartbreaking when it happens.

This two-minute video explains how to stop it (and why it’s not worth worrying about in the first place).

 
Click below to watch… (Move slider at bottom of video to adjust volume!)

 

 

 

25 thoughts on “How to Stop People From Opting-Out of Your E-Newsletter (sort of)

  1. Bruce Horwitz

    Being the perverse sort that I am, I was tempted to opt out as soon as I saw the subject line…but if I did I’d miss out on the opportunity to pull your chain after some future message from you!

    Seriously, I agree with your point and actually wonder why MORE people don’t opt out of my newsletter. I find the opt outs fall into two very distinct categories: relatively new subscribers, who, having given it a shot, decide they’re not interested, and (this is the group I don’t understand) people who have, as you say, tolerated me for years.

    I mean, what prompts people to receive 50 newsletters and then, when the 51st arrives, decide to opt-out?

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      I know you’ll never leave me Bruce, since I know how much you enjoy that blue penguin ice cream party every summer.

      On the opt out question, and in addition to everything I said in the video, i don’t think it’s an accurate measure (at all) of attention. Plenty of people just reclassify the emails they’ve lost interest in to go into their spam box or ignore them in some other way.

      I think timing plays a big role too. A newsletter drops in when I’m feeling overwhelemed with information or whatever and I take myself off.

      What I do find interesting is how consistent the numbers are issue to issue. It’s like everyone agrees who’s leaving next and they spread it out over the year!

      Reply
  2. Don Davies

    Each month I usually preface my newsletter with a plea to please unsubscribe if you’re not interested in the subject matter. The reason is two fold. One…I really don’t want people to be aggravated with a newsletter from me that they don’t truly enjoy reading. It’s remotely possible that they could be in the market for my services some day in the future and I don’t want them thinking of me as the guy who sent them the newsletter they didn’t like. Two…and this is more important…I want to know immediately if I’m becoming uninteresting to my market place so I can then step up my game. So far…only one opt out…and that was retribution because I wouldn’t promote his product for free. Glad to be rid of him. He was an evil, evil man.

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      That’s a great way to look at it, Don. A very helpful perspective. And sorry about Mr. Evil!
      Michael

      Reply
  3. Douglass Davidoff

    Michael, this is logical, funny, and worthy advice. Thanks for putting it all into perspective. I’m referring this blog post to some good folks who might gain better sleep by listening to you!

    Heck, *I* might get better sleep by listening to you more often!

    Reply
  4. Nancy Zarrow

    There is one fairly major point to add and often ironic, especially for marketing services. Most times there’s only an option to unsubscribe with no way to change to a new email address. When there is an option, it’s often anything but user friendly. Maybe half the opt-outs just got new email addresses and couldn’t be bothered fighting their way back in. That could explain the ones who accept 50 newsletters, and then suddenly opt out of the 51st. It’s always best to first look at what we are bringing TO the table, before judging the people leaving the table, making sure the food is tasty, safe and easy to eat.

    Since this is my first newsletter from here, it’s nice to see there is a way to change my email address, should I need to. Some of the other things I received from Infusionsoft don’t have that option, but at least the newsletter does and at least the one about opting out does! I’ve received newsletters that have talked about how to retain subscribers that not only didn’t discuss it, didn’t offer it! Too funny, although maybe not so funny:-)

    Reply
    1. Bruce Horwitz

      Hi Nancy – while the “I got a new email address” may be a problem for some services, Constant Contact has the unsubscribe link right next to the “change address” button. So in my case these folks mean to opt out.

      The ones don’t care and who change addresses generally just end up as bouncing. In fact, I think most people who change jobs end up as bounces…. no matter how great our newsletters are, when someone changes jobs they generally don’t spend their last few days updating their newsletter subscription addresses ;^)

      Reply
    2. Michael Katz Post author

      I know what you mean, Nancy. In many ways we’re at the mercy of the vendors we use and how they set things up. Constant Contact does a good job by default, as Bruce points out.

      With InfusionSoft, we had to fool with their default a bit to make it more obvious what the options are, but at least there was flexibility!

      Reply
  5. Nancy Zarrow

    Excellent point Bruce and I would like to add that I think it depends on the target market. If the target is people who are at their desks as employees of a company, then I wholeheartedly agree with you that they will not be spending their last days updating their subscriptions. Then are those who are targeting for example, those who are going from being an employee to being self-employed. Hopefully, they will most certainly update their communications to their new business address and will definitely want to keep those publications that keep them informed in their field, if they are staying in the same field. I definitely made sure I was re-subscribed before I went on my own and it shocked me what a bear it was in so many places. Plus don’t forget other target markets such as the telecommuters and already self-employed who might change email. They are facing wrapping things up to leave the building. Also, it’s great that Constant Contact handles it so well but since I’m not as familiar with that end of things, I know that sometimes they are combined with other services who then negate their nice setup. I’ve received some mail that has the Constant Contact logo on it and still either no way to update the email, or a very multi step process. For the person that is facing updating an email change, it becomes a time to do some pruning. I have to say, the one on Michael’s newsletter was the easiest one I’ve ever seen. So kudos for that.

    Reply
  6. Jeff Blum

    Interestingly today I spent a little time doing what you suggested in your most wonderful webinar of last week – that is reaching out to people I know with a simple “How’s it going?” friendly, no solicitation whatsoever kinda email. Sent out 5 and, what do you know, they ALL responded – and one invited me out to lunch next week!

    So, your wise suggestions actually work!

    Don’t hang up your cleats just yet.

    Reply
  7. Ravindra Kathale

    My own experience about my own behaviour is, I go on opting in when ever I come across interesting material on the topics I am interested in. Gradually the list grows. Posts and News letters compete for my time. So, sometimes I only browse, I don’t have the time to read. Comes a time when it spills over, and I need to prune the shrub. So, I look for something that has lost steam or charm over the months or has become more sales and too little content kind of affair and opt out. Sometimes I have to opt out of really good ones. I leave them with a promise to myself to return someday. But your classification love-like-tolerate is very valid. Thanks for the insight.
    Ravindra Kathale

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      I think I probably do more or less the same, Ravindra. And glad you’ve stiill got me in the “keep” pile!
      Michael

      Reply
  8. Rusty

    Michael, Will you be running all of your future newsletter posts as videos? I’m on a limited bandwidth when using my laptop so I like to read them instead…

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Hi Rusty!
      You’re the second person to ask in as many days, so I take that as a sign that I need to provide an explanation:

      Here’s the deal on how I publish….

      For years and years I published a “full length” newsletter every other week. I still do that every other week: text plus audio.

      About a year ago, I started adding additional, short items in the “in between” weeks. Short text blurbs or videos (like the one above). These don’t include any of the “extra stuff.” No audio to go with the text and no text to go with the video. I could, but if I had to do all the extra work *every* week, I wouldn’t bother at all.

      So a bit of a mish mash, I admit!
      Thanks for reading what works for you.
      Michael

      Reply
  9. Claudine Laforce

    I had my volume (and your volume) up all the way and I still couldn’t hear you. Do you have a transcript I can read?

    Reply
  10. Mark Hill

    Great advice, Michael. I have a number of clients that I assist with newsletters and they sometimes get overly focused on the opt-outs (and the number of views, too, for that matter). Hope you don’t mind, but I’ll be sending them straight to this video the next time they start tearing their hair out over a couple of drop-offs from their list! 😉

    Reply
  11. Yocelin

    Can you tell me how you found my blog? What do you know about Semi Permanent Make up, sounds like you know it a bit anaywy? I will see if the pics are possible, Thanks for the feedback

    Reply

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