There is something about long, drawn-out goodbyes that make me not want to leave at all. And whatever the circumstances, long goodbyes kinda make you question if leaving is such good idea or whether it’s the only option on the table.
I guess that’s why many people opt for the quick and dirty “see ya later”. There isn’t time to reminisce or question one’s decision to move on.
Funnily enough, I went through something similar the other day while cleaning my inbox.
You see, I subscribe to a gazillion email newsletters. You name it, I’ve got it.
Though I never get around to reading most of them.
In fact, sitting in my inbox that day were exactly 2,486 unread email newsletters dating back to February 2008. If it were not for Yahoo!7 Mail’s “unlimited” data storage, my inbox would have exploded a long time ago.
And so, in the spirit of Spring clean-up, I proceeded to delete and unsubscribe from many of these newsletters. Really, if I hadn’t read it in a week, it’s either irrelevant or it’s simply not interesting enough. Either way, it’s old news.
So while I was merrily clicking away at these one-click unsubscribe buttons I started to feel, well, a little emotional. I was saying goodbye to these folks who, once in a while, have entertained me with their words of wisdom on a great many topic, made me giggle with their email bloopers (Yes Virgin, I’m referring to your Friday the 13th Velocity Rewards email boo boo), whet my appetite with sexy and totally deceiving headlines, and alerted me with eerily accurate astrological predictions about my life. I even once bought two dozen boxes of Rafaellos on impulse when an online discount site sent me an email alert about a whopping discount sale.
I believe I have been a good, loyal and forgiving subscriber.
Yet, it didn’t bug them one bit that I’m leaving. They didn’t want to know why nor did they even try to keep me. I said goodbye, and they said “see ya later”. I was just another email subscriber who I’m sure they acquired at great cost. But no matter, I didn’t get the long, sad, sentimental goodbye I think I deserved.
Don’t get me wrong. I was relieved to find out how easy it was to cut the email ties that feed my bloated inbox. But if a business is built upon relationships with customers, then relevant conversations need to happen especially when a good, loyal customer is ready to walk off an email list. And with today’s email marketing technology, it’s so easy for customers to do so with a click of the unsubscribe button.
I’m not suggesting you make the unsubscribe process difficult. I mean, show customers you care.
Give them options.
If you have a weekly newsletter, ask if they would prefer to change the frequency of their emails. Do they want it fortnightly, monthly, quarterly or whatever the case may be, rather than the normal weeklies? Then make sure you follow through.
If they’re opting out from a sales-focused email communication, ask if they would prefer to receive a content-based newsletter on selected topics. Then make sure you follow through.
If nothing else, ask why they are leaving. You will get an honest answer. Then if appropriate and relevant, do something about it so other customers (your subscribers) don’t join the exit queue.
A good email marketing software should allow you to customise your opt-out page for the long goodbye.
I had a client (a specialist dressmaker) who went the distance and tried to win back potential unsubscribers who click on the unsubscribe button. She reminded them how she made their lives happier, brighter, and more beautiful. Then she gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse: a free makeover consultation if they stayed. That alone not only arrested her unsubscribe rate to zero, it also rekindled relationships with customers and kicked-off new opportunities with prospects.
So when a customer arrives on your opt-out page, try the long goodbye and ask them ‘how can I make this work for you?’