Could an opt out email help your email marketing campaign?

Yes that’s right – an opt out campaign.

Email user’s inboxes are getting fuller as the months and years go by. A large majority of companies use email to contact their customers and prospects, every social media account requires an email address, and you’ve probably signed up to multiple newsletters over the years.

There are tools out there which make it easy to split your email inbox and control the flow. For example, Gmail’s new inbox tabs automatically separate the different types of email based on the sender reputation. The tabs split the emails into priority, promotions and updates – with the aim of making life easier for the Gmail users.

But have you ever considered running an opt out email marketing campaign? This refers to the process of either unsubscribing contacts or offering them a preference centre if your contacts haven’t engaged with your past campaigns. This kind of campaign is not for the fainthearted. You must be prepared to lose a number of your contacts throughout this process. This is quite a bold move, but it could mean that your engagement levels shoot through the roof.

Let’s see how you could make it work:

1. The subject line

If the contacts haven’t engaged with your previous campaigns, the tricky part will be encouraging them to engage with this one. This is why a brilliant subject line is so important.

One of the best ways to measure your subject line’s performance is through A/B testing. This means that you will send one version of the subject line to a portion of your contact list, and another version to another portion. Whichever subject lines performs the best, or ‘wins’, will be used for the rest of the contact list. For example, send one subject line to 10%, another to a second 10%, and the ‘winning’ email will be sent to the remaining 80% of contacts.

You’ll now be able to see which subject line has the best chance of performing with the contacts.

2. Use personalisation to boost engagement

Normally when we refer to personalisation we mean the use of a person’s name, location or job role. Have you considered using their level of engagement as personalisation?

When sending an opt out campaign, gently explain to the contact why they are receiving this email, and how you are helping them: ‘We noticed you haven’t opened our recent emails. We have created a preference centre, which will allow you to pick and choose which emails you receive’.

If you send different types of emails, such as transactional, newsletters, or free downloads, you could also mention the contact’s preference here: ‘We’ve noticed you have downloaded a number of our whitepapers, would you like to see more? Take a look at our preference centre here’.

Of course, these are only examples, and the tone and messaging will be different for the individual brand.

3. Implement a preference centre

When a contact first signs up to receive your emails, you may wish to ask them about their preferences at this stage. Some companies will ask for more information regarding the contact which allows them to send targeted campaigns, and others will ask contacts to complete a preference centre.

If a company has a preference centre in place, it’s usually positioned at the bottom of the email – and not in a large call to action.

Use this opportunity to inform your contacts that you have a preference centre in place and that they can change their options at any time.


Using these techniques should hopefully encourage some of those non engagers to become more engaged and interested in your brand.

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