They Unsubcribed – Now What?


With all the ‘noise’ on the web these days, it’s no surprise that ‘mail jail’ has become a much more common occurrence. In Canada, anti-spam laws are in place to help regulate how often people get inundated with unwanted communications. Most email platforms include the mandatory opt out button, along with the option to provide a reason for opting out.

The other day, I made a mistake in sending out an email where I accidentally left my own name on the invitation, rather than tailoring it to each individual person. (Oops!)

The list I initially sent the communication to was an ‘opted in’ list but it was too large of an email to rescind, and for the most part, the error went unnoticed. When I checked the handful of people that had opted out, one particular person stated that they didn’t think the email was meant for them because it was directed to ‘Sarah’.

Makes perfect sense. Why would they think otherwise, right?

Here is where I thought, hmm, I could just let it be and move on, or I could take a slight risk and email this person (in spite of them having opted out) to politely explain the flub on my end and ask if they would like to re-subscribe. My whole thought process was to hold myself accountable for the error, on behalf of the company and add a human touch behind an automated email.

It could have gone either way – I could have gotten an angry response back or none at all, but instead, I got a very appreciative reply thanking me for the follow up and actually redirecting me to the right person to invite instead.

See below:

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 9.47.35 PM

So you see, if I hadn’t bothered reaching out to this person, and going that extra mile, I would have never established a personal connection with them. My follow up note came from my regular inbox as well and not from the email platform, so the recipient could see that I was owning up to my error. While she did not opt back in herself, I know she was left with a positive feeling about us and I acquired a new contact in the process.

So the moral of the story is, yes there are rules in place, but if slightly bending them could help avoid a potential misconception of carelessness for your business, then why not? When your polite, professional, honest and accountable, it would be hard-pressed for anyone to really get that irate over you emailing them after they unsubscribed.

If you strip away the automated messages, and the spam filters, we are all people talking to other people at the end of the day, and everyone is working towards the same common goals of providing for themselves and their families when they go to work. So the simple act of being polite and honest is all you really need to make the human connection which puts you and your brand in a favourable light and could potentially turn skeptics into full-blown supporters.


The header image can be found here.

3 thoughts on “They Unsubcribed – Now What?

  1. I like it when I get some complete honesty from marketing people. When I canceled my subscription to a magazine recently, the person was very nice and promptly canceled it. She then asked me if I had any feedback. She didn’t badger me for it and she had already canceled my subscription. When I explained that I was bored she responded as if she cared.
    I may not be getting that magazine any more, but at least I left with a good feeling for the publisher.
    I wanted to subscribe to another magazine and asked if they had any outlets in Canada so I could read a trial issue, they told me that they had no outlets in Canada and they could send me one and I would have to pay full postage and the cover price. While I understand this, it didn’t strike me as a good way for them to get a subscriber.

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