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The Case for Opting Out of Marketing Campaigns

When my mom was in the hospital, I witnessed my father pulling a U-turn on an exit ramp because he took the wrong exit on the way home one night. It was late at night, he had been at the hospital all day, and his wife was dying. At that moment, I understood on a deep level why we can never assume what other people are going through. The other drivers on the road, while rightfully terrified by my dad’s erratic driving, had no idea everything that was on his mind in that moment. But what if they did?

While I’m not condoning dangerous driving, I am in support of anyone who puts empathy first. Maybe that person speeding around you is on the way to meet their partner at the hospital for the birth of their child. What if the guy who replied in all caps to your work email thinks that all caps indicate excitement and not anger? Can you see where I’m going with this?

If the last year has taught us anything, it is that we as humans have the capacity to care for one another. We wear masks. We stay home if we’re not feeling well. We put the greater good before ourselves. And yet, for those of us who are marketers, we lose sight of that more often than many of us would like to admit.

Many brands see holidays as an opportunity to push a sale. And, sure, consumers are looking for that too. But applying some of the empathy we’ve built up can lead to greater results.

As a consultant, I’ve worked with many brands to add opt-out campaigns to their email efforts around holidays, which has consistently produced better results than my clients anticipated. Now in my current role as a customer evangelist, I see case after case where this continues to be true. And why not? There are many reasons why your subscribers might not want to receive your holiday emails.

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Maybe Mother’s Day is coming up. Consider how you can promote your brand while also showing empathy and respecting that not everyone needs a reminder of a day they won’t be celebrating.

Three Ships Beauty gets right to the point in their subject line and then delivers on the opportunity for customers to opting out of Mother’s Day emails altogether.

The Case for Opting Out  By: Val Geisler [Image 1]Three Ships’ Lillie Sun shared that this email had the highest reply rate of any email to date. Simply put, their customers appreciated the consideration. Just look…

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The Case for Opting Out  By: Val Geisler [Image 2]Several brands have taken the same approach this year.

Both Parachute and Away pulled Mother’s Day and Father’s Day into one simple opt-out (while making it clear that doing so doesn’t remove someone entirely from their email list):
The Case for Opting Out  By: Val Geisler [Image 3]

The Case for Opting Out  By: Val Geisler [Image 4]And, Etsy got in on the opt-out love too:

Opting out of a specific series of emails isn’t exclusive to personal holidays like Mother’s and Father’s Days.

On Black Friday, SuperFat recognized that the onslaught of sales emails may be hard for someone who recently lost a job or is simply trying to cut back on spending. So they took the approach of previewing what’s to come and then offering a chance to opting out for a few days.

The Case for Opting Out  By: Val Geisler [Image 5]Supply also offered a Black Friday specific opt out but kept it in the postscript of a regular promo email:

The Case for Opting Out  By: Val Geisler [Image 6]Here’s the thing: I can guarantee that all of these emails actually made money for these brands—without selling a single thing in the email, and while offering a chance to get fewer emails.

Holidays are an important part of an overall revenue strategy for every brand, but they’re also an opportunity to connect with customers. To show empathy. To create a lasting impression beyond your steep discounts and never-before-seen bundles.

So this year, marketers: Allow your customers to craft their own experience with your brand. Remember that your goals aren’t your customer’s goals. And, above all else, approach your holiday campaigns with the customer in mind.

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