“Unsubscribe”: Why Marketers Should Opt In to Gmail’s New Opt Out Option

We’ve all experienced waning brand interest as a result of overly aggressive, irrelevant email bombardment. It’s these cases that blur the lines between brand messages and spam, and sooner or later (often sooner) we’re fed up enough to scour the email for the unsubscribe link, and click through to the brand’s opt out page – customer conversation over! The brand’s email tact, or lack thereof, disenchants us to the point where we don’t care about their sales and new product offerings, we just want to disassociate ourselves as quickly as possible.

Consumers today are savvy enough to decipher between relevant and irrelevant content and offerings, and are quick to eliminate the irrelevant from their inboxes. By now most email marketers have learned that general blasts do not help to enhance engagement or brand equity. However, determining a strategy that balances targeted personalization, with budgets and widespread impressions can be somewhat elusive.

When Google added tabs to their inboxes, marketers initially reacted in frenzy, fearing Google’s automatic grouping would disintegrate their open rates. However, as the storm passed, most brands realized that the tabs didn’t drastically change their open or click through rates; users quickly became accustomed to selecting the promotions tabs when they were in shopping, or at least browsing mode. After tabs became the new norm, many marketers even recognized the inherent opportunity tabs provided: promotion to the primary tab. However, in order to achieve the shift to primary status, brands need to commit to emails high in quality, not just quantity.

Similar to the apocalyptic reaction to Gmail tabs, the recent announcement of Gmail’s unsubscribe button has reset the panic button. As the unsubscribe callout is only in the initial stages of rollout, marketers have yet to feel the effects but are already anticipating high uptick in unsubscribe rates. Like Gmail tabs, despite the initial foreboding sentiment of fear, this stage of evolution in Google’s email structure will likely work in marketer’s favors. Brands have to work a little bit harder to convince audiences that they actually want to read and engage with their content and offers. This increase in standards, in spite of short term headaches, can provide the impetus brands need to implement a long-term, effective email strategy. Content, and relevant, personalized content at that, will serve as the focal point going forward. Producing engaging content that induces customer loyalty should always be the priority among marketers, and the unsubscribe button will ensure that this value is thoroughly enacted within every line of content in every email.

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As Google continues its gradual rollout, marketers can prepare by honing and implementing their best email and marketing practices. Some of the most significant components to consider include:

  • Audience– Understanding every aspect of your unique email audience from how they read your emails, to lifestyle and buying history ensures relevancy. Utilizing existing analytics data to determine these trends, and possibly implement personas (link to Paradysz blog) allows for targeted content.
  • Content– Is your message informative, entertaining, and helpful or is the only visible intent to drive a sale? Engagement should take higher precedence over sales in your emails, as engagement leads to top of mind awareness and ultimately, loyalty.
  • Design– As the number of smartphone users grows, so does the dependency on mobile accessibility. Email recipients will likely access their accounts from more than one device, so emails need to be optimized to accommodate varying screen sizes. In proximity design elements are more crucial than ever for brands to remain accessible and engaging at all times and within all formats.
  • Branding– While each email should be unique in content and offering, it’s also necessary to consider email as an important piece of your brand story.  Integrating the natural voice and aesthetics of your brand will help maintain lasting awareness.
  • Measurement– Email content does not fit into a defined formula. Brands need to invest in testing different variation of emails to understand what their audiences want in their inboxes. Comprehensive tracking and analytics strategies will help determine strengths and weaknesses to proactively affect future performance.
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