Recently I started receiving email marketing messages from a high-end department store. I honestly don’t remember signing up to get them, so I was  willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt on that. But my goodwill was very short-lived.

I soon found myself getting messages every single day. Now, I would definitely remember if, when I signed up, I had been told the frequency of email that I would receive from this company. Clearly I wasn’t. This violates one best practice standard: As they first sign up, marketers should tell subscribers how often they can expect messages, so that they know what they’re in for. Or at least,  give them a choice as to how often they would like to receive them.

As a digital marketer, I’m usually more open to receiving marketing message campaigns. After all, I want to promote our industry! But the barrage of messages from this particular marketer made me decide that enough was enough. So I hit the Unsubscribe link.

That’s when the second violation of best practices occurred. Instead of being a one-click process, in which I should immediately be  told that I have been removed from the mailing list, here’s what happened: I was directed to a page that asked me if I wouldn’t instead want to change the frequency of messages, and was given a list of options like “once a week,” “twice a week,” “once a day,” etc.

Not only did this anger me–I said I want to unsubscribe, so just let me, darn it!–but it also made me sneer at the incompetence. These frequency options should have been offered at the beginning of the subscription process, not at   the end.

The unsubscribe process should be as painless and easy for the consumer as possible. One click and it’s done. Otherwise, all you do is harbor ill will from the consumer, who will then (A) decide never to opt-in for marketing emails at a later date; (B) be wary of online commerce with the offending retailer, since his/her email address might be added to the marketing mailing list without permission–because after all this retailer doesn’t bother with best practices; and (C) choose to do business with a competing department store.

Eydie Cubarrubia, Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm Inc.
“I’d rather you text me”