No, that’s not a typo. It does say “opt-down” which is quite different than “opt-out.”
Let me explain.
We all know that opt-out is a critical element and a requirement to be compliant with the CAN-SPAM laws. Marketers who send commercial emails must provide a one click mechanism that allows the recipient to unsubscribe from your messages. Failure to comply can get you in trouble and damage your company’s reputation.
The concept of “opt-down” came about after research showed that most people unsubscribe because the email message is not relevant or because they are receiving too many emails.
“Opt-down” is not a way to circumvent the law. As the CEO of a company that provides Do Not Contact compliance solutions, I would never suggest that. What I am saying is that instead of a universal, all-or-nothing opt-out, you can provide a means for opting in to more relevant content.
Here’s how it works.
When the recipient clicks on the Unsubscribe link in your email, it takes them to an online Preference Center. Here they can continue the opt-out process and unsubscribe from your emails, if they wish, or they can choose to “opt-down” by selecting other communication options.
For instance, if you sell children’s items, you may be sending emails about clothing, furniture, educational toys, electronic games, and more. This hodge-podge of information may not be relevant to the readers’ interest. Your preference center can let the recipient opt-down to just receiving your emails about educational toys. Clothing could be further divided by age range or the sex of the child. By giving the consumer a choice of what they want to receive, you personalize your email communications with the recipient and also keep your emails relevant to their current interests.
Without the opt-down approach, every opt-out becomes a channel closing situation and blocks any further communication with that customer using that marketing channel.
Of course, your emails (or other marketing channels) should regularly encourage your readers to visit your online preference center to update their preferences.
If you are not using a Preference Center with an opt-down approach, I encourage you to consider the benefits that it can bring to your marketing program.