Earlier this month I re-published an article from last year about a great opt-in campaign executed by T.j.Maxx to entice email subscribers to sign-up for an additional email publication. I loved it because they went for the opt-in — they didn’t just assume that all their current subscribers would want additional content.

I was reminded just how unusual this is last weekend, when I received an email from another brand offering me additional content and more email messages from them. But this one is a negative option opt-out, rather than an opt-in. When you do a negative option opt-out, you assume that silence (no response) equals permission.

Here’s the email message:

access intelligence email new publication

Aside from the little personalization glitch in the salutation (where “Dear” is not followed by my name), it’s not a bad letter. But the key here is what they are looking to accomplish.

If they want more people on their list then this is the way to go. I would bet that their open rate on this was 30% or less, since they sent it to business people on a weekend. So that means that even if everyone who opened it opted out, they would still be adding 70% of their current list to this new list.

That’s likely much higher than the response rate on the T.J.Maxx campaign.

But with my clients I’m looking for email recipients that want to receive the clients’ messages; people who are motivated to open them and hopefully then click on them, every time one of my clients’ missives hits the inbox. And if this is your goal then an opt-in campaign, like the one that T.J.Maxx did, is the way to go. While you will likely garner fewer new subscribers, those you do gain will be more engaged.

One more note about the Folio / Access Intelligence email above. Notice what the new email publication is — they will be sending email messages from other organizations. They are adding these email addresses to a list they will be renting to third parties. Typically these rentals are done on a cost-per-thousand basis, so the more names on the list the more they can rent it for. So a larger list will maximize revenue in the short term – but if the performance is poor, which it likely will be based on then negative option opt-out, then they may not get many repeat rentals. Time will tell.


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