Wait I’ve Unsubscribed – Three Steps to Reduce Email Complaints

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Ever get a message from an irate prospect that goes something like this? “I already unsubscribed from your $%^%# newsletter. Why am I still getting your $%^%# emails?”Stop Email

These emails are always great when the recipient fires off the response to the entire executive team killing the day’s productivity. That usually causes a nice fire drill for the marketing department. In many cases, there is a legitimate reason why email was sent but how can you tell? How can you address?

The Usual Suspects

Below are a couple of top reasons why someone may receive an email when they previously unsubscribed.

  1. Duplicates. John Smith signed up via a personal and business email. John Smith may have opted out with one email address but not the other.
  2. Email alias. John Smith is on an email alias (salesdepartment@xyzcompany.com) that receives email. When the John Smith unsubscribes, John uses his own email address instead of the alias.
  3. Email forwarding. Kenny Black has left the company and his email is being forwarded to John Smith.
  4. Person never unsubscribed. In some cases, emails from other companies look the same and the person may have unsubscribed from another company’s email. These issues are usually the hardest to track down as there is no record of an unsubscribe. This is why it is important for your marketing automation solution to track unsubscribe activity details in a log or unsubscribe date field.
  5. Unsub form isn’t working. In rare cases, the Unsubscribe form just isn’t working. If you find this is the case, fix the problem right away.

Steps to Reduce Email Complaints

  1. Dedup your database to reduce #1. Nevermind unsubs, duplicate records cause havoc for many organizations in terms of overall data management. Marketo does a fantastic job of deduping based off of email address. However, to dedupe off of multiple fields like email address, company, etc, organizations should look for advanced tools to assist with ongoing and legacy deduplication. Check out DupeBlocker and Ringlead. If you need guidance, shoot me a note as we’ve used Ringlead.
  2. Make sure the recipient’s email address is in the footer of the emails your company sends. This little detail is vital to the troubleshooting of an email and can help you track down items 1-4.  When the complaint arrives, make sure to request that the person send you a copy of the email. After determining the cause, let the recipient know the reasoning and inform them that the situation is now resolved.
    • Tip for execution: Like merging in the FIRSTNAME field in the salutation, use a sentence like the following in the email’s footer……….”This email was sent to EMAIL ADDRESS.”
  3. Build a policy around aliases like sales@yourcompany.com. Decide how your organization wants to handle aliases not only for email, but also for lead lifecycle, scoring, etc.

Once that policy is built, organizations can create Smartlists and campaigns to automate the desired activity ranging from doing nothing to creating workflows. For example, if the email address contains  “sales@,” “marketing@,” etc, marketing suspend the lead and disqualify it.

Implementing the above steps should decrease undesired mail complaints significantly. Of course, delivering relevant content is important but that is a post for another day.




Josh Verrill

Services: Strategy, Assessment, Ongoing Services

“RevEngine Marketing has helped Dyn reach amazing results. Within 60 days, REM helped Dyn establish repeatable best practices to improve marketing efficiencies over 50%. That enabled our business owners to focus on the business, not on our system.
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