The email snooze began humbly to reduce unsubscribes during brands’ highest volume times of the year. For example, this option would let a subscriber pause their subscription for 30 days or until the end of a selling season, like the holidays.
However, the email snooze has since evolved from a purely seasonal role-player to a year-round driver to reduce opt-outs and increase engagement.
Let’s talk about both ways that email marketing professionals are evolving their use of the snooze.
Adding a snooze option to your preference center is an effective retention tactic. We’ve tested the snooze option with several of our clients and are typically able to decrease unsubscribes by 82%. That level of success has caused some of our clients who implemented them solely for the holiday season to decide to make it a year-round option on their unsubscribe page or in their preference center.
This shift is driven by the recognition that it’s not just email frequency or a disinterest in seasonal messaging that would make someone want to pause their messages from a brand. Other reasons might include:
These are just some of the reasons subscribers may pause a subscription in the preference center for our Oracle Digital Experience Agency newsletter. We allow them to snooze their subscription for up to three months, or six newsletters, since we send twice a month.
A three-month pause is the longest we’d recommend because the longer you pause, the greater the risk of the reader forgetting that they subscribed and reporting your email as spam.
While two or three months is a good snooze duration for most B2B brands, B2C brands and other high-frequency senders should consider a shorter pause of one month. We recommend keeping it simple by only providing one snooze duration option. But, you could do some testing to determine the most effective duration for your audience.
Another way to reduce the risk of surprising your subscribers when emails resume after a pause is to include a banner at the top of your first email or two that acknowledges the snooze. It’s like the permission reminder that some brands include in their footers reminding subscribers where and when they subscribed or why they’re receiving a particular triggered email. However, this banner should ideally be less formal and more empathetic than your typical permission reminder since it’s so prominent.
Going from a seasonal option to a year-round option in your preference center is just one of the ways that marketers have been expanding their use of the email snooze. Now let’s dive into the newest evolution.
While adding a snooze option to your unsubscribe page or preference center significantly lowers the risk of unsubscribes, the opt-out risk is still there. That’s why some brands have started promoting the snooze option going into selling seasons where the messaging might not be ideal for everyone.
For example, we worked with a luxury fashion retail brand to include messaging in their email marketing that gave subscribers the option to snooze the brand’s Mother’s Day campaigns. The move, which took only a little effort to implement, was made out of respect for subscribers who have lost their mothers, which can make Mother’s Day a particularly painful holiday. The pandemic only heightened this concern.
Ultimately, about 1% of subscribers chose to snooze the brand’s Mother’s Day campaigns, a part of their base that was already unlikely to respond to these campaigns and might have even considered unsubscribing to avoid seeing them. Instead, that 1% likely felt seen, which should translate into longer time on list, higher subscriber lifetime values, and increased goodwill. Our client was so pleased with their results that they plan to offer a similar snooze option for their Father’s Day campaigns and several others.
Here are a few events you may want to include when considering snooze options for your campaigns:
For occasions like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, wedding season, and back to school, we recommend allowing subscribers to snooze these campaigns right from the start by including that offer in the first message of the campaign.
For longer occasions like the holiday, summer, and winter seasons, consider adding a snooze option at the halfway point in your campaign. For the holiday season, for example, that might be at the end of the week of Cyber Monday, or right after Green Monday.
There’s certainly no reason that you can’t extend this strategy to smaller occasions, too. For instance, I wasn't interested in receiving “New Year, New You” messaging this year, considering how much I had to adjust during 2020, but I know a lot of people were excited to kick off 2021 with a fresh start. If given the option, I would have opted out. Instead, I would have reacted more favorably to some new arrivals or holiday bestseller messaging.
In the end, using the snooze option in this way is really about two things:
This 2020 buzzword came in the wake of the coronavirus lockdowns. While marketers always said empathy was part of their messaging equation, COVID-19 woke marketers up to the urgent need for more compassionate and subscriber-centric messaging. They’ve embraced that priority by not only changing how they communicate in their broadcast messages, but also in their triggered messages, which unfortunately are rarely updated and optimized.
With this top of mind, we’re seeing brands use the email snooze as a tool of empathy in the same way that trigger warnings have been added to TV shows. After all, why risk potentially offending and losing a subscriber when a simple disclosure and the ability to skip the content avoids the issue completely?
Marketers are increasingly using RFM modeling, fatigue analysis, and other tools for segmentation targeting to maximize engagement and minimize opt-outs and inactivity. But no matter how sophisticated these tools get, sometimes the most effective approach is allowing your customers to simply tell you what they want—and what they don’t––to avoid fatigue.
With privacy laws tightening globally, we’re on a clear trajectory of more customer empowerment. Along with preference centers and progressive profiling, the email snooze has a role to play in collecting vital subscriber feedback. That gives subscribers more control and makes them more active players in the messaging they’re receiving, which is a positive for profitable long-term customer relationships.
Need help with your digital marketing campaigns? Oracle Digital Experience Agency has hundreds of marketing and communication experts ready to help Oracle customers create stronger connections with their customers, partners, and employees, even if they’re not using an Oracle platform as the foundation of that experience. Our award-winning specialists can handle everything from creative and strategy to content planning and project management. For example, our full-service email marketing clients generate 24% higher open rates, 30% higher click rates, and 9% lower unsubscribe rates than Oracle Responsys customers who aren’t.
Want to better understand your email marketing risks and opportunities, take advantage of our free Email Marketing Assessment. Our experts will check your deliverability, review your email creative, audit your signup process, do a partial competitive analysis, and more. If interested in this free assessment, reach out to us at OracleAgency_US@Oracle.com.
Jeannine Pine is a Senior Director of Agency Services at Oracle Digital Experience Agency. She brings over 15 years of experience in the fashion and technology space with an extensive background in CRM and digital marketing. Leveraging her client-side and professional services experience, Jeannine has delivered strategic outcomes for some of the biggest and boldest brands through her pragmatic approach to transformative consulting. She is a player/coach leader who is highly proficient in bridging the needs and priorities of the business, practice areas, and customers. Jeannine is a native New Yorker, who resides in Staten Island with her husband Keith and sons, Dean and Antonio.