We knew it was coming – ever since Google announced in February this year they were to introduce an easy way for readers to unsubscribe from their inbox we email marketers have been a little, well nervous, as to what this might mean for our clients. Now that it’s here, we can see that far from being a threat, it opens up an opportunity for us to impress interested readers with effective messaging.
What is the concept?
On August 6th Google accompanied their launch with this message:
“Now when a sender includes an “unsubscribe” link in a Promotions, Social or Forums message, Gmail will surface it to the top, right next to the sender address.”
The idea being that instead of a reader having to trawl through the small print of an email to find a very hidden unsubscribe button if they no longer want to receive mailings, this can be dealt with immediately and easily.
Where is the new unsubscribe button?
I must admit, I was surprised. When I read about the concept, I imagined this unsubscribe button to sit alongside the subject line in my inbox, allowing me to go click happy with the unsubscribe button without having to open any of the messages. However my inbox looked the same as always:
So where was this much feared unsubscribe button? I then realised I had to click INTO the email for it to reveal itself:
I should mention that this only appears to be available on a desktop at the moment. A check of an iPhone and an Android (both on the browser and in the app) revealed no such unsubscribe button – but I suspect this will be resolved very quickly.
So what does this mean for marketers?
In my view this is good news for marketers. Instead of a person undertaking a “spring clean” of their inbox – they still have to click into your email to unsubscribe. Therefore, there is still an opportunity for your message to catch the reader’s eye before they unsubscribe. If we have done our job properly and made it a relevant, timely and personal message then there is less chance they will unsubscribe at this stage. Remember, if the competition have not applied these principles, it is likely their communication will be deleted, making the remaining emails more prominent. At the moment, a client’s message could be competing with several other similar messages – but if more irrelevant messages are deleted, only relevant, timed, personal emails will remain – with fewer messages vying for the reader’s attention.
This will be of a particular importance when it comes to mobile – if a message does not work well on mobile, then the customer will be reaching for that unsubscribe button as soon as it is introduced.
Should we fret if the reader exercises their right to unsubscribe?
Of course not! There are numerous lengthy articles on this subject but my view is simple – if a reader doesn’t want to hear from you then you don’t want to be wasting time and effort in marketing to them – especially as we are all working towards a more personalised way to message. It is far better to concentrate on converting the customers that want to be converted than trying to persuade a lost cause.
So is this actually a good thing?
Yes! Anything that dissuades the reader from reaching for the spam button as being the path of least resistance is good from a deliverability and reputation point of view. It will also help senders maintain a current, interested database.
In conclusion the unsubscribe button is good for uninterested readers – but also a very positive thing for us marketers.
18th August 2014