I need a moment -or a paragraph - to rant. As I highly professional business blogger (nosering notwithstanding) it's not something I generally make a practice of, but on this fine Monday, I'm going to make an exception. Here's my issue:
When did it become okay to preselect subscriptions for visitors to your ecommerce site? Wasn't "opt-in" always the way to go?
Back in my early days in this industry, I worked for one of the original, fastest-growing B2B online pubs. We adhered to best practices like zealots, and we even penned a few of them ourselves.
Now, I realize that I'm getting old and that 2000 was a long time ago, but I could have *sworn* that email marketing was strictly OPT-IN. Opt-out, as I recall, fell under "worst practices."
There's a reason for this. While preselecting subscriptions for your visitors upon checkout will undoubtedly boost your numbers, you're not likely to cultivate QUALITY leads in this way. The travel newsletter (to which I was just unwittingly subscribed as I booked a hotel) will either be deleted promptly before it's read, or - if I'm feeling particularly ambitious - I'll simply unsubscribe as soon as I see it.
Had I seen an offer that appealed to me, I would have opted in. I've opted-in for tons of industry newsletters, a few cool parenting emails and a handful of other niche publications. What Orbitz has just crammed into my inbox is of no interest to me because I don't travel much. I use their site, among others, to book rooms for the sales team when I send them out to industry events. So I won't care if they've got cruise discounts next month, nor will I care if Jamaica's on sale. Their emails are of no interest to me. I didn't opt in, and I'm not buyin'.
I'm a waste of email.
The principal behind best practices in all online marketing channels is basically this: Be respectful. Don't piss people off. That holds for email, search, blogging, everything.
The idea of opt-in only emails may be an old one, but it's still good -- and it's still a best practice.