manual email opt-out We've all seen them after an email send.

The people who opt-out by replying to your marketing email.

They could click the unsubscribe footer link, but instead write back.

They say stuff like:

  • "Please remove me from your list"
  • "Unsubscribe me"
  • "Stop emailing me"

It's a small percentage, but it can be a major pain at scale.

There are 2 ways to deal with it:

1. Manual. Sort through your replies, find the needle in the haystack, manually update your database.

2. Automated. Use Siftrock to categorize all email replies and automatically update your database when a manual unsubscribe is found.

Just over a year ago we added, the "Unsubscribe" type to our classifier. Our NLP segments those explicit opt-out requests from your positive human replies. Then you can set-up sync workflows to automatically invalid those people in Marketo, HubSpot, Eloqua, Pardot, or Act-On.

It was a small part of our overall product strategy, but something that customers wanted to save time and cut out manual processes.

Fast forward to today.

This small feature has gotten much more attention.

We've been surprised to find that it has even become a top priority for some of our customers and prospects.

The GDPR Effect

Why Now?

The higher attention to opt-out management mostly ties back to GDPR (The EU General Data Protection Regulation).

GDPR has put a spotlight on consent and opt-in processes. And, when you are being thoughtful about opt-in, you quickly start to consider leakage in your opt-out process.

These "manual unsubscribes" are one case that needs to be covered.

Human & Conversational Email

The other trend we see: B2B email is getting more human and conversational.

35% of the Cloud 100 now send from a "human" alias.

When you encourage people to reply, you get more hand-raisers engaged. This is a great way to find intent and tee-up great conversations for sales. But it can also lead to negative replies. In general, people are only willing to take the time to respond (positive or negative) if they believe a real person will received their response.

So marketers need to be ready to handle the opt-outs, just as they are building systems to handle the positive human replies.

The Glass Half Full View

"Why can't they just click the link!?!"

Most marketers probably wish that these manual unsubscribes would go away. We've built our a great automated way to handle opt-out requests! Just click the link! We have an awesome subscription preference center.

Still, people will reply.

I'm feeling optimistic today, so I'll propose an (overly?) optimistic view on these replies...

Take them as an opportunity for feedback.

When someone writes to unsubscribe, write back with something like:

"Thanks for the note. I've removed you from our list so you won't get our emails in the future. Do you have any feedback for us to improve out marketing?"

Since Siftrock can help you automatically update your MAP based on these replies, you might have a few extra minutes to collect feedback from your detractors.

Lemons -> lemonade. :)

Adam Schoenfeld
Adam Schoenfeld
Adam is CEO and Co-Founder at Siftrock, data geek, golfer, and breakfast enthusiast. He is passionate about data, marketing, and creating simple solutions to big business problems.
Published Monday, March 12th 2018