Email Marketing Best Practices: Don’t Raise a Red Flag

Email Marketing Best Practices: Don’t Raise a Red Flag

Today I got a shock. An unsubscribe shock.

I’ve been getting emails from a major retailer for some time, years, but never acted on them. Finally today I clicked on the Unsubscribe link (instead of just deleting the emails like I have been doing). In that way, this big behemoth company is adhering to email marketing best practices: The unsubscribe link was easy to find, and clicking on it took me straight to a web page where I could opt out.

So I did opt out, and that’s when I got the shocker.

The confirmation page told me my email address had been successfully opted out…and that it will take effect within 10 business days.

Ten business days! It’s an email address. In a database. It should take effect right away. Now, I appreciate their honesty, because if I get another email from them in the next few days, I’ll think “Oh, that’s right, they warned me it would be up to 10 days.”

On the other hand, I’m wondering what they could possibly be doing with my email address that it will take 10 days to unsubscribe. Even if my information was on a 3 x 5 index card in a file box buried in a storage closet, I would expect a company to find and change my record in less than 10 days. Am I going to get a series of “please come back” emails between now and 10 days from now? Are they going to send some once-in-a-lifetime offer that will convince me of the value of their emails and get me to re-subscribe?

Email marketing best practices are many, as you know. Sometimes annoyingly numerous. But this is an easy one to avoid. We are already marketing to a cynical consumer audience. Raising a red flag of any kind is something we simply should not do. Period.