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Re-Subscribing Customers

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Jon_Jagelsky
Level 2

Re-Subscribing Customers

We recently created a new Email Preference Center to allow our leads to choose which types of communications they wish to receive from us. Previously the only available option was to globally unsubscribe from all marketing commmunications.

Ideally we would like to email our current customers who previously opted-out to see if they would be interested in re-subscribing to different communication types in order to receive relevant emails such as new product releases.

Does anyone have any experience with an email campaign similar to this? We don't want to cross any lines by emailing opt-outs but do believe they could see a lot of value in now only receiving relevant news to them. This would strictly be sent to our current customers who had opted-in at one point.

Interested to hear how other users have tackled similar situations.
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Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Re-Subscribing Customers

Hello Jon,

I'm a member of Marketo's Privacy Team. We handle email deliverability and compliance.

The unsubscribe status has legal weight to it in most countries. In the US, the CAN-SPAM act requires that you stop sending promotional material to email addresses that have unsubscribed, and there are possible legal penalties to ignoring this. Even outside of the legal penalties, chances are high that people would mark the messages as spam and complain to our abuse team, which could result in impaired deliverability and potential abuse investigations.

There are two cases in US law where you are legally allowed to email unsubscribed addresses: relationship messages, and transactional messages. You can use these to potentially win back a few folks.

A relationship message is a message that talks about changes to an existing business relationship, and only discusses these terms. An example would be a notice of technical downtime, or a notice that a company is changing their terms of service.

A transactional message is a message that someone requests and receives in response to that request. An example would be a receipt - someone makes a purchase, and expects a receipt in email. Another example is a whitepaper download or event registration.

Neither of these message types can contain promotional offers or marketing content if you send them to unsubscribed leads.

Even though you can't email marketeing content to unsubscribed people, you can email these people when appropriate with relationship and transactional messages. You can craft your campaigns or use dynamic content to note when a lead is unsubscribed, and include a link to resubscribe in these messages.

In other words, if someone is unsusbscribed but decides to register for a webinar, your registration message could also include a short note like, "We notice you're unsubscribed from our regular emails. We've added new subscription options to help you receive just the messages you want. Click here to learn more!"

A strategy like this can allow you to invite engaged leads to resubscribe when you're in contact for other reasons, while still respecting their usubscribed status. This should also keep you on the right side of both the law, and the Marketo abuse team.

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6 REPLIES 6
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Re-Subscribing Customers

Hey Jon, I certainly see your dilemma. I'm not sure that legally you're allowed to continue to contact individuals who have opted out of your email campaigns. My understanding of the CAN SPAM law is that once a user unsubscribes, you have 10 days to cease communications with them after which you may only use their email address for compliance purposes. (I'm assuming you are in the US and subject to CAN SPAM.)

If you really want to cover your bases, might be worth having your lawyer take a look at the official law to make sure you're in the clear. You don't want to incur any fines if someone you contact lodges an official compliant. (Odds on that are probably slim, but it only takes one.)
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Re-Subscribing Customers

Hey Jon: Jumping in here too. I'm going to check with a few folks on the Marketo Deliverability Team to get the legal side of this, but my "best practice" take is I would just let them be. Legal stuff aside, if they opted out, they didn't want to hear from you for some reason. While it may have been b/c the content was not super-relevant, just b/c YOU think the content is now more relevant is not a reason enough to message to those who previously opted-out.
 

In summary: I'd cut your losses and move on.

On a side note, I'd LOVE to see your new email prefs center!

Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Re-Subscribing Customers

Hello Jon,

I'm a member of Marketo's Privacy Team. We handle email deliverability and compliance.

The unsubscribe status has legal weight to it in most countries. In the US, the CAN-SPAM act requires that you stop sending promotional material to email addresses that have unsubscribed, and there are possible legal penalties to ignoring this. Even outside of the legal penalties, chances are high that people would mark the messages as spam and complain to our abuse team, which could result in impaired deliverability and potential abuse investigations.

There are two cases in US law where you are legally allowed to email unsubscribed addresses: relationship messages, and transactional messages. You can use these to potentially win back a few folks.

A relationship message is a message that talks about changes to an existing business relationship, and only discusses these terms. An example would be a notice of technical downtime, or a notice that a company is changing their terms of service.

A transactional message is a message that someone requests and receives in response to that request. An example would be a receipt - someone makes a purchase, and expects a receipt in email. Another example is a whitepaper download or event registration.

Neither of these message types can contain promotional offers or marketing content if you send them to unsubscribed leads.

Even though you can't email marketeing content to unsubscribed people, you can email these people when appropriate with relationship and transactional messages. You can craft your campaigns or use dynamic content to note when a lead is unsubscribed, and include a link to resubscribe in these messages.

In other words, if someone is unsusbscribed but decides to register for a webinar, your registration message could also include a short note like, "We notice you're unsubscribed from our regular emails. We've added new subscription options to help you receive just the messages you want. Click here to learn more!"

A strategy like this can allow you to invite engaged leads to resubscribe when you're in contact for other reasons, while still respecting their usubscribed status. This should also keep you on the right side of both the law, and the Marketo abuse team.

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Jon_Jagelsky
Level 2

Re: Re-Subscribing Customers

Thanks everyone for your feedback! We're going to hold off on emailing these leads and cut our losses for now. Too bad we didn't make the move to Marketo earlier!

@Autumn: Thank you for the clarification about what type of content unsubscribed leads can still receive. I really like the idea of including the resubscribe message to those who sign up for webinars and in our transactional messages. Right now we are using the Spark package so we don't have the ability to utilize dynamic content currently but hopefully we can incorporate that in the near future!

@DJ: Thanks for your input. Here's a link to page - http://resources.loftware.com/EmailPreferenceCenter.html  

I utilized a lot of the same concepts from the marketo masters presentation to set it up and included the check all funciton javascript. We're open to any and all input on what might make this a better user experience!
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Re-Subscribing Customers

Jon: Isn't Autumn the best? As far as the pref center, a few qustions/thoughts:
  • Why not create a simpler URL - loftware.com/email
  • I think the language/wording can be confusing. Instead of "remove me from the following" ... why not show what they are subscribred to now (pre-checked boxes) and allow them to update their prefs that way?
  • How about adding a bit of text next to each subscription type: When (and how often) does email get delivered? What is the content all about? Sample (preview) of a recent email. Set expectations!
My fav sub prefs page of all time: http://waldowsocial.com/human-preferences-page/

Just my 4 pennies worth of feedback. Take it or leave it!
Jon_Jagelsky
Level 2

Re: Re-Subscribing Customers

DJ: Thank you for your input, it's always appreciated to get an outside view. I believe we are going to wait for the Forms 2.0 feature before implenting some of your suggestions such as adding text  to the form. I'll be sure to update with once our new and improved version goes live. Thanks!