A couple weeks ago, we invited a group of customers to come into our office to discuss how they use our email marketing and other products. I always love hearing from our customers about how and why they use our products, and this group had a lot of insight to share.
During a lively panel discussion, one anecdote in particular jumped out at me. The customer, a local wine store, recently added an additional opt-out link to the top of its e-mail newsletters after hearing some best practice advice. When the new link went live, the number of subscribers took a hit. What’s amazing: The customer was okay with that.
“I spend all this time working on my e-mails, so I want real figures and readers,” explained the store’s creative director, who is the person in charge of the company’s e-mail newsletter campaign. Makes sense.
When building and nurturing a customer relationship, it has to be a two-way street. Customers have to want to hear from your business and you have to give them something they want to hear about. If the customer is no longer interested in hearing from you, give them an easy way out. If not, you might end up annoying them with your communications and damaging your reputation.
Amazingly, this initial drop in subscribers didn’t hinder the store’s e-mail marketing efforts. Instead, their newsletter’s open rates improved as people who really wanted the e-mails were opening and interacting with the messages. Plus, the store began adding more content (another best practice) to its newsletters — such as a Wine of the Week and a schedule of free tasting events — that was designed to get people into the store and visiting the business’ Web site. That worked too as more people started showing up at tastings and buying wine. (After all, no one leaves a wine store empty-handed) Perhaps the best news is that sales increased, particularly for the varietals featured each week in the store’s e-mail.
Now the store is growing its list again by offering Web site and store visitors a change to sign up to learn about the wine of the week and when special tasting events are happening, and to enter special contests.
While the initial switch to a super-obvious opt-out option may have reduced the store’s reach, ultimately the store is doing a better job of serving those on the list by providing content they genuinely want and can use. Good content begets good subscribers.