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B2B marketing is plagued by two types of email disengagement: the “blanket unsubscribe” and the “emotional unsubscribe”. Every email unsubscribe is difficult for marketers to recover from, and when they happen it may seem like all is lost (at least with that prospect). However, there are ways around the issue, especially if you are willing to invest time and energy in strategy and content.

First, let’s talk about the different types of email unsubscribe. A blanket unsubscribe is the worst kind: the prospect receives your email and immediately clicks unsubscribe. Once they’ve confirmed in your subscription centre, it’s the end of the road for your campaign, and any other emails you send from the same address, as far as that contact is concerned.

So how do you avoid the blanket unsubscribe? There are a few strategies. The first is really just good marketing automation practice – provide personalised content, make sure every email is highly targeted, and be aware of timing and volume. Bombarding a potential client with emails is, of course, unwise, but so is sending even reasonably-paced content that is irrelevant and impersonal. Nothing makes a person reach for the unsubscribe link faster than emails that offer them nothing.

Another strategy is more nuanced, but common in the B2C arena. Instead of offering an email unsubscribe link that automatically removes them from all lists, offer your contact the option of removing themselves from just one list. That way they are not ruled out as a prospect, and can still receive content that is more relevant to them. This email centre from J. Crew Factory offers a great B2C example.

Marketing automation software offers the potential to create customised email preference centres that give prospects a choice in what they receive. Exploring these could make a huge difference to your business.

The emotional unsubscribe is more difficult. This type of email unsubscribe happens when a prospect stops engaging with or opening your content, but remains on the mailing list. They may be receiving material, but they aren’t getting anything from it – and neither are you. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if a prospect has disengaged emotionally. So how do you stop it?

Again, best practice in marketing automation is the only route. Highly personalised and targeted material is vital; people consistently open emails that are useful. Metrics also offer you more options – if it looks like a prospect has stalled in the funnel, consider adding them to a more personalised campaign and removing them from the current one to avoid or recover from an emotional unsubscribe.

It’s also worth re-evaluating how often you are sending out content, and considering whether your content strategy is effective enough. As we discussed recently, many marketers are suffering from a disappointing return on their content efforts due to an overwhelming amount saturating the marketplace.

To learn more about our content and email marketing strategies, get in touch today.


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