Opt-In or Opt-Out and the impact on email marketing metrics

When collecting prospect or customer data via your website or any paper based forms you ‘must’ and ‘have’ to think about ‘how’ you are collecting that data.

Many companies, mainly B2C, will offer the ‘Opt-out’ mechanism where you will be given the option to opt-out of receiving any further marketing material from that company in the future. Meaning if you miss the statement, you have automatically opted-in. It’s common ground for B2C companies to employ this tactic in order to increase the volume of data for future marketing purposes.

But quantity does not mean quality.

Opt-out data will have a significant impact on your stats when used for any form of marketing, be it email or direct mail. Why? Well the person may have misread or skipped your statement (usually in small print) and therefore will not have indicated or provided you with sufficient consent to receive further information from you. So when you send your marketing email campaign to a bunch of opt-out contacts they may regard it as spam.

“I don’t remember asking to receive this!”

This in turn could have a detrimental effect on your spam rating and most importantly your brand.

However, opt-in data carries quality and is reliable. Each source (webpages or forms) will need to be manually selected or ticked by a visitor or reader in order to receive further marketing information from you. This means that the person want to hear from you. By capturing opt-in data as opposed to opt-out data you will see a considerbale improvement in your email open rates, click throughs, deeper levels of engagement and an increase in conversions of your email campaigns. Again, it all comes down the fact that the contact HAS specifically asked for you to send more information. For B2B businesses most communications will be always about product or services. But not everyone wants to know about every product or every service you have to offer. How do you deal with this?

TIP: Don’t just send any old information without understand specific interests of your contacts. Some maybe interested in one subject and another segement interested in another. Use progrossive profiling to capture additional data and interests of your contact database or lists.

“Oh, here is the newsletter I subscribed to”

So, collecting data is not about building databases and lists as quickly as possible, it is about being ethical and building a group of quality contacts who a) want to hear from your company and b) are prepared to engage with you and your brand. If you are purcasing a list always ensure you ask the vendor ‘how the data was captured’ as it maybe ‘opt-in’ or ‘opt-out’ and as you have already read above, it will impact your conversion rates and other key metrics.

Here is another great post by Seth Godin who gives great examples of when to use ‘opt-in’ and ‘opt-out’.

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