Why Knowing the Difference between an Unsubscribe and a Mark as Spam Helps You Define Leads

Blog Categories:  Email Marketing  

With the exponential growth of mobile devices, and our dependence on emails, email continues to be one of the top communication and marketing tools. Although fundamentally emailing is the same as it has always been, some of the protocol, and ways to manage leads, are changing. I like to think of it in the same light as hosting a dinner party.

Think Like a Dinner Party Host

Email campaigns are like dinner parties.

Let’s say that you are hosting a dinner party and you invited a few friends of a friend, people you don’t really know (e.g., they visited your website or received an email from your company). They consider your invitation and decide, “We’re interested in getting to know this person and their friends, we really have nothing to lose, we’ll subscribe/come to the party.” On their drive home from your dinner party, they do a recap of the food, you (the host), and the other people who attended, and they have a few options:

  1. Stay on the list – We don’t know these people very well yet, but it will be fun to see where it goes!
  2. Unsubscribe – Although the people were nice, the party was a little awkward, we’ll just stick with our usual group of friends.
  3. Mark as Spam – The party was terrible, the people were creepy, and there might be a few dollars missing from our wallets. We’re never going back, and we’re telling everyone to never go to one of these parties!

Every time a subscriber marks your email as spam, you are marked with a spam complaint, ESPs (Email Service Providers) and ISPs (Internet Service Providers) take note and spam filters begin to watch you, sometimes resulting in blocking your future emails to other recipients. Ouch! Talk about killing your reputation. These complainers are most definitely dead leads and should not be contacted again. Let them go.

Unsubscribes Are Leads!

If someone unsubscribes, on the other hand, it’s like a courtesy “no” R.S.V.P. to your next event. You receive no punishment, or reputation damage, but you gain clarity that the subscriber is not entirely interested. That said, it does not mean that they won’t come to your future dinner parties, but for now they’re out. This is an often overlooked group of leads. They may not be ready to purchase now, but at a later date they may become interested. Don’t write them off yet! By law you cannot email them again, but your sales team can reach out to them in the future. Timing is everything, so don’t fully delete these contacts from your database.

As you continue to refine your email marketing efforts, think twice about disregarding those who have unsubscribed. Just because you can’t email them again does not mean that a phone call in the future won’t bring about new business!

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