15% of Companies Don’t Want You on Their Email Lists


  As you can see from my last post, I am in the process of changing my email address.  I get emails from about 100 providers – from major and not-so-major online retailers, to industry news providers, to advisory services, to stuff I just find interesting.  It’s been an interesting, enlightening, and at times, a downright scary experience having to make this single change with all these providers. 

Here are the results of my very, very informal tracking of having to change my email address over the last 3 weeks with these 100 service providers:

  • 20% are easy and allow me to get to a page to change my email address with one click.  I like this and it’s a pleasant experience.  For many I also noticed that on the same page they have other content I want to know about so I subscribe to more lists.  Nice!
  • 25% force me to go through 2 -3 clicks to get to a page to make the change.  Not bad, but I’m getting tired of this.
  • 40% require me to logon with a username (often different than my email address) and password. I’ve been on some of these list for 3+ years and I really have no idea what I should use to logon.  So I try some standard combination that works about half the time.  For the other half I need to request my logon info, but it turns out they don’t have me in their database to send me my logon info.  They are happy to send me emails, but have no way of telling me how to continue getting thier emails.  At some point it gets so frustrating I give up and bid them farewell.  It was surprising that some big name retailers and content providers fell into this category.
  • 15% don’t even give me an option to change my email address.  It’s either unsubcribe or nothing.  These 15% just don’t want me on their email list.  For 50% of these If I click “unsubscribe” at the bottom of their emails hoping that it might lead me to a page to change my info, the single click results in a real unsubscribe.  For the other half of these, I can’t figure out how to subscribe again so I just give up.  It’s just too much work.  If their content is so good that I feel I am missing it in a month or so I will search them out.  But I have found that those with really good content also have a really good process to manage subscribers.  They have looked at the entire process from their customers point of view.

Lessons Learned:

Test your business’s email subscribe and profile change processes.  Don’t take this asprect of your business for granted.  Make it easy for your subscribers to see how to do it, and get it to one click.  It’s all part of the experience of doing business with you. Many business have significant budgets dedicated to “email marketing” and building their email lists.  Many can do a much better job maintaining their lists and overall customer retention.

One other lesson to note – don’t change your email address… 

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