Monday, December 17, 2007
The idea of sending an opt-in (or “re-opt-in”) campaign to subscribers to verify email permission is not new, but the frequency with which we deal with these campaigns is increasing. Over the course of the past year, I would estimate that I have personally worked with over 20 email marketing clients on these types of campaigns… and ExactTarget as a whole has run many, many more. Here are a few interesting things we have learned about how to run these:
1) Be clear in the subject line. Email subject lines like, “Verify your subscription continue receiving [XYZ]” or “Your subscription will end soon” tend to work well. Often these campaigns are targeting subscribers who have not responded in a while, so breaking the mold with this type of concise and straight-forward subject lines help get people to open the email.
2) Restate your value proposition. This is a simple reminder of what your email program offers. A concise restatement of what your subscribers can expect reminds them of what you are all about… and what they will miss if they do not confirm their email subscription.
3) Use YES and NO options. This is huge (read this part carefully)! The misconception is that if you only offer a “Yes, please subscribe me” option that more people will react positively by opting into the program. We have tested using a single “Yes” option vs. the “Yes and No” options for at least 6 different clients. In every instance the “Yes and No” option resulted in significantly more opt-ins! There is something about seeing both options that drives more people to respond. Maybe these emails seem like less of a gimmick, more genuine, or more serious. Whatever the reason, the reality is that by including that NO option, you will actually get more people to click YES. (See the Peppermill Example below)
In addition, this approach to email opt-in campaigns provides you with clear answers. There are three resulting groups: 1) Those that opt-in, 2) those that opt-out, and 3) those that did not respond (even if they opened the email). This third group of non-responders will be your target for a second request.
4) Try sending a second request. There are situations where a second request is not appropriate. For example, if you are trying to clean a list suspected of containing spamtrap addresses. However, if you have used the YES and NO options cited above, the non-responders are a prime target for a second request for email permission. We find that these second requests consistently get nearly the same number of opt-ins as the first, so failing to do so could have a material impact on the success of your campaign. We have worked with organizations that have tried a thrid request using the same logic, but the dropoff at this points has been substantial in our experience--two appears to be the right number.
Peppermill re-opt-in email example
The Peppermill decided to conduct a re-opt-in campaign to these subscribers and tested the following two emails:
Which version do you think resulted in the most affirmative opt-in responses? (Keep in mind that the only choice in Version #1 is “Yes”, while Version #2 has “Yes” and “No” displayed with equal prominence.) Given the context of this example, I hope you picked Version #2. It was the winner and the results are statistically significant.