Don’t Make Breaking Up Hard To Do

21 Sep
September 21, 2012

I called time on an awful lot of relationships this week.

In some cases it was easy. They didn’t ask questions, just a final goodbye and good luck – and made the break up painless.

Others wanted me to be sure before I walked away, and tried to convince me that maybe I’d made a mistake.

One even wouldn’t take no for an answer, like that woman who George tried to break up with in Seinfeld that wouldn’t believe it was over.

Of course, I’m talking about breaking off relationships with brands and businesses.

I unsubscribed from about 12 different email lists, and unliked about the same number of brand pages on Facebook.

Why Is It So Hard To Do?

When I say hard to do, I don’t mean the decision to remove myself from the lists. I mean the actual process of removing myself from them, and specifically, the email lists.

If people have decided that they have heard enough of what you have to say, taking themselves off your list should be a 1 click exercise.

You should not put barriers in their way. When you make it easy to add themselves, but hard to get off, it damages your relationship even more.

Two of the things that caught my eye this week were the “has this been a mistake?”, followed by a confirmation button that they want to leave the list.

Look at where the link to unsubscribe is on your email. Unless it is right next to a link to valuable content (which it won’t be), then there is no error. Typically, an unsubscribe link sits alone at the bottom of the email, for the very purpose of making people go looking for it to take action.

The other thing that makes unsubscribing difficult is asking people to re-enter their details (as above). It’s an unnessecary step – you know their address, you already have it. For people like myself too, who have multiple email addresses, having to go back to find which one it was sent to is another relationship damaging piece of the puzzle.

I also had a problem last week of still receiving daily emails (ironically from a newsletter deemed ‘quarterly’), despite no longer being subscribed. To find this out though, I had to sign into the site with my login and check my communications preferences – again, one step too far.

Leaving your database should be the path of least resistance – one click.

Making it easy to leave makes it easier for people to reconsider coming back – the last experience was a positive one.

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