Posted: 30 Sep 2008 11:19 AM CDT
To make emails more relevant to your subscribers, offer a preference panel that allows them to control what they receive from a company. Offer the flexibility to pick areas of interest, frequency, etc. Allow readers the ability to change their selections with each mailing. Make it as easy as possible! Stay away from complicated password-protected access, these are a real turn-off, and readers may just start deleting your emails rather than try to change their subscription.
The unsubscribe function would of course be a part of this panel. But subscribers may not want to unsubscribe completely - they may simply want to hear from your company less frequently. Smart marketers should look into offering options other then "remove me from everything". And, since "too frequent" is one of THE top reasons for reporting an email as spam or unsubscribing, this preference panel would go a long way in building a good relationship with the subscriber.
Here's a great example from J.Crew, which gives the subscriber an opportunity to control the frequency - or to easily go on to remove themselves from all J.Crew mailings. This form comes up when the recipient selects unsubscribe. J.Crew offers a polite touch point between the initial 'click here to remove' request and the final 'remove' function. (NB: The form is pre-populated with the email address.)
Head of Marketing