Wednesday Marketing Series

Why a contact might still be receiving emails even after unsubscription?

While working on an email marketing platform, I did face users complaining about receiving emails even though they had unsubscribed from them. It is kind of an emergency situation that affects all the people involved, from senior management to the developers, who leave aside all their work and get down to tracking this user. While this is not expected to happen, it happens and we have to deal with it, pretty quickly! And, trust me, it’s not so easy to address the problem and explain it even though there might be a valid reason. And, if that’s not the case and there is a glitch in your system, you need to fix it as soon as possible.

Here are some possible reasons why contacts could still receive emails even after unsubscribing –

  1. Multiple user entries with different names but same email address.

Database might have multiple entries of the same user with the same email address but different user names. Therefore, it is important that the list is deduped on email addresses rather than on any other field.

  1. Contact may be using an email alias.

While unsubscribing, the contact might have used his email address instead of the alias he has been using to receive emails.

  1. Multiple emails for the same user.

Contact might have signed up with two different email address; personal and business. And, while unsubscribing he might have unsubscribed with only one and not the other one.

  1. Using stale lists

It could be possible that the database is not getting updated due to some technical glitch and the user lists were not getting updated. This has to be corrected immediately as this can give rise to a number of complaints.

  1. Unsubscription link or page is not working.

Again, this is a technical glitch and due to some reason the unsub form/link is not working as expected. If this is the case, then this has to be fixed immediately.

  1. Unsubscription process is slow and takes a while before the user is actually out of the mailing list.

It is possible that the unsubscription process is slow and it takes a day or so for the process to complete and for the user to be out of the mailing list. If that is the case, you need to fix the process and make it faster so that the unsubscription is effective immediately. If this process cannot be made faster, make sure you display a message on the unsubscription page indicating how long would it take before the user stops receiving emails.

The unsubscription page below from Pinterest clearly mentions that it might take a day or so before you can actually stop receiving emails. This way the user is prepared and knows what to expect.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 9.01.55 PM

Nobody wants to land in this situation, but if you do, I hope the above possible reasons would help you investigate and address the issue. Until then, happy mailing!

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