Follow Up on Email Opt-Outs Using Gmail Canned Responses
If you’re like me, you take email opt-outs personally.
My go-to reaction is, “what do you mean you don’t want to be on my list anymore to read my amazing, life-altering, revenue-enhancing, database marketing ideas???” My second reaction is, “There must be some mistake.”
I work hard to deliver educational and entertaining information to my followers. And I receive great feedback regularly that tells me I’m on track. Sadly, though, marketing can be like this Pinterest quote:
If you publish the right kind of content for your audience, though, your opt-out rate should be a fraction of 1% after each send. Many times I’ve had zero opt outs. Other times, I’m annoyed with slightly over 1%–yet, still averaging in the acceptable range.
But I HATE losing even one reader. In my mind, that means I must find 2 more prospects to replace the one I lost. Otherwise, my list size shrinks or stays static versus growing–and that negatively affects my revenue–unacceptable!
So before I totally give up on an opt-out, I give it one more college try. Because of CAN-SPAM, I can’t send an opt-out contact anything else out of my marketing automation tool. But I can send one last personal follow up out of Gmail.
And since I always use the same message, just changing contact info, my favorite shortcut is sending this last follow up message using the Gmail Canned Responses extension, essentially a plug-in that lets you create email form letters.
My “opt-out process” is this:
1. Get notified of an opt out
2. Do a database lookup of that contact to see whether I want to follow up
3. If yes, start a new email using Canned Responses
4. Add a salutation and the “To:” email address
Over the years of doing this, here is the response rate I’ve gotten with this last-ditch effort:
* About 1 in 20 is an “oops, I didn’t mean to opt out, please add me back in”
* About 50% reply with a personal reason for their opt out. Some give me new people at their companies to contact instead of them. Some explain how they’ve “moved on” and don’t need me anymore (as hard as that is to believe).
When you consider an email open rate is somewhere between 15% – 45%, a 50% response rate from opted out contacts is pretty spectacular! Here’s how you can set up Canned Responses in your Gmail account.
1. Go to your Gmail inbox and click the Settings gear
2. Click the LABS tab and enter “Canned Responses” in the Search box.
3. Enable Canned Responses
4. To send your first Canned Response, go back to your inbox and select COMPOSE to write your “form letter”
5. Save it as a NEW CANNED RESPONSE by clicking the “More Options” down arrow next to the delete (trash can) icon. You will be asked to name it upon saving.
6. To send a Canned Response, COMPOSE a new message, then click the MORE OPTIONS down arrow next to the trash can, and select CANNED RESPONSES
7. Fill in the email address of your opt-out contact, the subject line (I use “Removed You”) and update any personalized info in the message
Couldn’t be simpler, and well worth the 5 seconds it takes to make one more attempt to salvage a former prospect or customer. Here’s the finished version of my follow-up opt-out message, completed using Canned Responses (but without my specific product info).