Managing Opt Outs

I’ve written several times before about managing email opt-outs (Here’s a short list). One issue that I continue to encounter with my clients is that the management of opt-outs tends to be too broad. That is, the opt-out is all or nothing; say yes and I’ll send everything, say no and you’ll receive nothing.

We need to get better and segmenting our marketing and, by extension, segmenting our opt-outs. A good starting place for associations is to segment opt-outs by functional areas. For example, have separate opt-outs for events promotion, product promotions, sponsorship promotions, and so on. If you promote membership by email, have one for that, too. (But don’t have an opt-out for renewal notices!)

For your members, you should explain to them that by virtue of being a member, there are some email messages they cannot opt-out of, like official association business (e.g., emails announcing by laws changes, elections, etc.).

Oh, and be sure your opt-out message is clear. I receive emails almost daily from organizations that I want to continue to hear from, but just not about that particular topic. And I’m often left wondering “If I click this unsubscribe link am I opting out of everything or just this type of email?”

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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