In the eyes of publishers, email subscribers are caught in an awkward position. On the one hand, many media outlets work extremely hard to gain new subscribers and keep existing ones happy, to the point where subscriber counts are often one of the top metrics used to determine the success of these initiatives. Publishers want to keep hold of those subscribers as long as possible. Think of it this way – the One Ring is to Gollum as newsletter subscribers are to media outlets.
At the same time, publishers are very well aware of the fact that trying to hold subscribers hostage is a very bad thing. If people no longer want to receive email newsletters, it’s in the best interest of the publisher to let them go. Trying to keep them roped in will only lead to brand resentment and may even encourage false spam reports from angry customers.
Push here to unsubscribe
Because handling subscriptions can be such a complicated issue, many publishers are likely to have mixed feelings about the latest announcement from Google regarding Gmail. The Internet company has begun placing an “unsubscribe” link at the top of Gmail messages that appear in users’ “promotions” and “social” tabs to make it easier than ever before to stop receiving unwanted messages.
There are two ways of looking at this. On one hand, it makes it easier for subscribers to stop receiving newsletters in a spur-of-the-moment fashion. Maybe they just got one newsletter that didn’t quite seem relevant to them – now they can quickly and easily put a kibosh on their whole subscription. At the same time, it does make it easier for people who genuinely don’t want to subscribe any more to stop receiving messages. Plus, fewer spam reports is always a good thing for the credibility of the publisher.
“Having a more prominent unsubscribe link may put the idea to unsubscribe in users’ heads,” Chad White, lead research analyst at ExactTarget, told Internet Retailer. “But the people who are most likely to do so are those who don’t get value from marketers’ emails, who are most likely to become inactive and who are the most likely to complain.”
Make content that matters
If publishers are concerned with the change, it may be time to look at the newsletter itself. Ideally, media outlets should be crafting highly pertinent campaigns that provide readers with value anyway. This makes for better email advertising efforts in the long run.