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Stop Unsubscribers in their Tracks: A Lesson from Fab

February 28, 2013
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Marketing Strategy

Recently I came across a creative and smart marketing strategy that I thought I'd share with you, the wonderful WordStream community. Preventing newsletter followers from unsubscribing is a goal of many marketers. The Fab marketing team has taken an innovative approach to combating unsubscribers, and today we'll be taking a look at their unique technique.

Fab is a company that specializes in design-oriented retail. The Fab website exists as a marketplace for finding unique art, jewelry, cookware, furniture, etc. They sell some pretty awesome items, and their descriptions are fun as well. Take the product below as an example:

tiger outfit

 

"Being human is way overrated. We’re all soft and squishy, we don’t have enough feathers or horns, and we definitely don’t roar as loud as we should. But all that can change in an instant with a BCozy costume jumpsuit." - Fab website

 

 

 

 

Before you go and rush-order that tiger jumpsuit (it's ok, we can be honest with each other), I want to share with you the message I received when I decided to unsubscribe from the Fab email newsletters I have been receiving.

How to stop people from unsubscribing

Make 'Em Laugh

I've been making an effort to unsubscribe from the obnoxious email newsletters that continue to flood my inbox, and usually there is zero hesitation as I click through to the "unsubscribe from all emails" button.

This page gave me pause. Right away I saw that it wasn't the standard, boring copy one normally finds on unsubscribe pages. It was funny and made me smile. Even better, it actually managed to make me feel guilty. Me! Guilty!? I have no reason to feel guilty -- out of the kindness of my large, non-Grinch sized heart I decided to subscribe to Fab newsletters. They bombarded me so often that I felt it was time to cut the cord. I could argue that they abused my trust, and yet somehow they've managed to make ME feel guilty. Bravo.

The takeaway point here is that unusual copy will stand out and get users to actually read what you want them to see, rather than immediately gravitate to the nearest unsubscribe button.

Be Gently Threatening

Once Fab has my attention, I'm told that if I unsubscribe, I can't even get emails confirming my future orders with them. That's huge, especially because I've already done one order with Fab, so there is a decent chance I'll do another at some point in the future.

I'm not sure how common a practice this is, but it's pretty smart. Essentially this is an ultimatum -- stick with us or you get nothing. With most unsubscribe options, newsletters will note that I will be unsubscribed from all emails except for orders, which is exactly what I want. When Fab ups the ante and tells me I'll be unsubscribing from even order confirmations, I'm forced to back down.

Obviously don't actually threaten subscribers, but consider emphasizing the negative consequences of completely unsubscribing from future emails.

Give Users an Alternative

Fab then gently offers me an alternative, so I don't completely lose face. As they note "Okay, you still like us, just not as much." I didn't include this in the screen shot above, but below are numerous options for selecting email lists that I can remove or keep. It's key to make it easy for users to choose a new subscription option, rather than opt out completely. Consider options like a weekly email digest or segmenting newsletter lists based on certain topics, etc.

thank you cardCongratulations Fab, you called my bluff and kept me on your mailing list.

I also want to point out this great thank you card Fab sent me with my recent order purchase. I've seen order sheets with a brief "thanks for your business" letter included with a package, but never a full-out thank you card. And such a cool one at that!

Consider implementing some of these clever marketing tactics into your own newsletter setups, and let us know your results!

 

 

Comments

I'd actually say that that ultimatum may have the opposite effect.  I see it as a real turn off that they'd be that harsh just for unsubscribing.  It doesn't mean that you won't make future purchases and email confirmations are critical for online purchases.  It could make someone never shop there again. 

Megan Marrs
Mar 18, 2013

I understand what you mean Steve. I think ultimately you have to decide what the value of keeping your subscribers is. A few might get annoyed and be unable to really have an optimal ordering experience by not receiving order e-mails. For most though, I think the unique copy and risks of not communicating about future orders is enough reason to stay subscribed.

 

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