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Wake up! Snoozing emails – why it’s not a good idea

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So we’ve learnt why snoozing emails could lower your unsubscribes and make your customers happier.  But are we actually missing the bigger picture?

In the previous post ‘Zzz… Snoozing emails – Why it’s a Good Idea’, Anca talked about the advantages of using the snooze emails function to save customers from unsubscribing. There are two inherent problems with this.

Why snooze emails may not work

Firstly, customers are already in the frame of mind to stop receiving your emails if they have clicked ‘unsubscribe’, so there is a slim chance you’ll be able to switch them to a ‘snooze’ at this point. A trial by an Adestra client using a snooze emails function showed that only 5% of contacts that click through to a preference page go on to use the snooze function. So maybe giving the option before clicking to unsubscribe would be more useful.

Secondly, a straightforward snooze from all emails can result in poor re-engagement. Of those 5% that used the snooze function, around 30% then went on to fully unsubscribe within 1 month after they started to receive emails again.  It’s likely that some people forget that they have snoozed, not unsubscribed and this could lead to higher complaints when they start receiving emails again.

I can see it working for certain niches where it would be logical to delay emails for a period. But it’s possibly a very small number of customers you’re trying to retain in comparison to the size of your list. And most contacts would probably be emotionally unsubscribed during the snooze if they have selected a long period of time.

So snoozing emails isn’t always great, now what?

We already know from the 2014 Email Marketing Census that email marketing is number 1 for ROI, so naturally, we worry about losing subscribers and subsequently, revenue.  However, this fear could  be detrimental to your whole email program.  Here are 3 quick wins you can put in place to reduce unsubscribes as an alternative to the snooze emails option.

1) Keep subscribers engaged

There are two main parts to increasing engagement:

1. Welcome Campaign – no one is more engaged than at the point they actually go to the effort of entering their email address into your signup box to receive your emails.  If you’re not doing it already, drop these new subscribers into a welcome program immediately

2. Add value – make subscribers feel like they’re getting something they can’t get without being on your list.  Daily deals / voucher codes only available via email are a classic tactic, but adding value doesn’t have to be incentivised.  It could be as straightforward as providing a simple responsive news digest to subscribers so they can get content on the move in a smartphone friendly format.  Adding value is anything that sets you apart from what others are doing.

2) Don’t forget about ‘inactive’ subscribers

Perhaps some of your contacts haven’t gone through the effort of unsubscribing, but never open your emails.  Does that mean you should remove them from your list completely?  No. Even if they’re not opening, keeping your brand name regularly in the inbox is a valuable tool in keeping you at the forefront of the minds of contacts when they get to buying mode.

Instead, segment your list and target them differently.  Encourage them to update their preferences or possibly re-confirm their opt-in.  Use subject lines to provoke a response like “Have you seen what you’re missing out on?”. Re-engaging with these customers could ultimately do more to boost revenue than trying to rescue the few that will unsubscribe.  Asking customers who are already inactive to snooze emails isn’t going to magically restore their activity.

3) Use a preference centre

Giving customers the chance to not only set their preferences for types of emails they want to receive, but also to easily update their details or unsubscribe altogether. For example, some customers get very annoyed if they are unable to change their details and receive bad personalisation in their email like ‘Dear M’ instead of ‘Dear Matt’.

Keep the process really obvious and simple.  Giving your contacts this sort of control will yield much better engagement and loyalty in the long run.

Although there are pros to having a snooze function in your emails, there are other things to keep in mind. If you can provide an engaging email program for your subscribers, it can help you avoid the dreaded unsubscribes that we all worry about!

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