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Unusual E-mail Marketing Move That Caught My Attention

If you’re an email marketer, you have people – probably the majority – on your marketing lists that never open your email campaigns. They promptly delete, ignore or flag your emails as spam. Yet, like most marketers, you keep sending more campaigns until the recipient either unsubscribes or permanently relegates you to the rank of Junk Sender in their email system. Continuing to send to these people wastes money, computing resources and reduces your open and click-through ratios on your campaigns. Have you considered simply removing these subscribers who never open your emails?

Yesterday I received a campaign from Stonyfield. I must have subscribed to receive their offers in the past, though I don’t recall when. I do recall seeing and deleting (without reading) their messages numerous times in the past. But today this particular message subject line caught my attention.

This email subject line caught my eye

The subject line says “Sorry to see you go.” That caught my attention because I didn’t recall unsubscribing. My first thought was that it might be a scam, but that proved false. To my pleasant surprise, Stonyfield’s marketers were actually removing me from their list because their analytics show that I never open their emails.


Stonyfield's email message to notify me of my pending removal from their list

Removing people from email lists (after all, the monetary cost to continue sending is next to nothing) may make most marketers wriggle uncomfortably in their seats. But I applaud Stonyfield's proactive approach to clearing out the dead wood and applaud Stonyfield’s marketers.

While I have no concrete, peer-reviewed data to back up my hypothesis, I would be willing to bet that Stonyfield will not see a negative sales impact from this move. I predict they will, however, gain an measure of increase in goodwill with customers (I do buy their products, I just don’t read their emails). They’ll also most likely see an increase in their open rates on their next round of campaigns.

If you’re an email marketer, have you tried this before? Also, what percentage of people who receive this type of notification actually choose to stay subscribed?

[UPDATE: See The Financial Brand's take in the comments below on why Stonyfield may be using this approach]

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