Get to Know Gmail’s New “Unsubscribe” Feature
In an effort to make the email experience easier and more transparent for users, Google has begun to roll out a series of “quick action buttons”, one of which has some web marketers concerned. Gmail’s new “unsubscribe” feature allows users to opt-out of email subscriptions without even opening the message. While this may sound like it spells doom for your future email marketing campaigns, believe it or not, there’s no need to panic. In fact, this change may actually help your marketing efforts. Here’s how.
First, let’s put things into perspective. It’s important to remember that Gmail users only make up a portion of your targeted audience. While Google’s email service does boast somewhere around 425 million users, there are several other email providers that remain in close competition. For instance, as of 2013, Microsoft Outlook reported having 400 million active users, a number that appears to be growing steadily. AOL recently revamped its email service to retain its 24 million active users and as of September 2013, Yahoo reported a whopping 800 million active users, many of whom stay with the company specifically for its email product.
In other words, not everyone on your email subscription list will even be impacted by this recent change. For those who are using Gmail, let’s take a look at a few ways the new “unsubscribe” feature may actually benefit your business.
It will help you remain in compliance.
The government’s Bureau of Consumer Protection has placed serious regulations into effect with regards to commercial email. The agency’s CAN-SPAM Act states that any emails sent out must contain clear instructions allowing users to opt-out. Failure to comply can result in a substantial fine – upwards of $16,000 per offense. This new feature from Gmail can take much of the worry out of remaining in compliance.
It will reduce the chances of getting flagged as spam.
In many cases, people who don’t have the time or desire to search for unsubscribe information will just mark an unwanted email as spam. What this does is flag your email address so that all future communications from you will automatically end up in the user’s spam folder – including those messages that the user may actually want, such as coupons or special offers. With a simpler way to unsubscribe, readers can pick and choose which types of messages they want to opt out of, and which they’d still like to receive.
It will help to weed out non-buying recipients.
Email marketing may be cost effective, but it isn’t free. Service providers, like Mailchimp, charge a fee based on the number of recipients on your subscriber list. If a good number of people on that list have no intention of ever buying from you, you’re essentially wasting money, time and resources reaching out to them. The new unsubscribe feature can help shave down your list so that you can focus only on those that are most likely to make a future purchase.
So, while at first glance, Gmail’s recent changes may have struck panic in the hearts of marketers everywhere, in the long run it may turn out to actually be beneficial. Besides, if your readers haven’t gone looking for your unsubscribe button yet, chances are they won’t start now.