How to avoid annoying your newsletter subscribers

I originally had another topic planned for this week, but I stumbled acrossMake sure your newsletter tools are simple and easy to use something that will be useful to everyone who provides an e-newsletter or similar online news alert service.

I decided to tidy up my various email addresses yesterday, in an effort to streamline which emails go to which address: shopping emails to one, friends and general emails to another – and one for business-related emails only.

Before I started working on my addresses, most of my email newsletters and alerts went into my general inbox.

I thought I could easily sort it all out by clicking on the links in each alert and updating my email address details on the various third-party websites.  No more than around 20 minutes’ work at most.  Or so I thought.

Are you making your newsletter subscribers jump through hoops?

While some newsletters contained straightforward email address update links at the end of each email, such as: ‘change your email address’, ‘update your profile’ or ‘enter new subscriber details’, many didn’t.

The worst offenders forced me to log in first (and because I had forgotten my passwords, I had to search for the ‘lost password’ button, and then wait for the new password link to arrive in my inbox).

I was made to go through a three-stage process of clicking an update button, then confirming my choice by confirming a confirmation email.

Some newsletters provided no update options whatsoever while others provided them at the top of the emails in microscopic print – making it very difficult to find the information.

In one case, I had the option of unsubscribing only and when I tried to re-subscribe, the form kept refreshing and highlighting one problem or another.  Each time the form re-appeared onscreen, it had wiped all the information I had just typed in.  I gave up on that one.

Test drive your newsletter sign-up tools

Whatever functionality you offer on your site do test it out for yourself to see how it works.  And this applies to any newsletters or other content alert services you offer.

What may appear straightforward could end up irritating your new customers or alienating your loyal ones.

Email addresses are something we can and often do change regularly, so do all you can to make it easy for your customers to receive your content with ease.  Because if you don’t, someone else will.

Post written by DEBBIE THOMAS on 12 September 2011.