In the last few days I've been getting daily emails from TWC, promoting their "Time Warner Cable Business Class" service. I don't know anything about this service, and since I don't run a business, its irrelevant to me.
Until today I simply deleted those emails, but today I got annoyed, and
made an effort to indicate it by unsubscribing from their mailing list.
However, the unsubscribe flow made me think that TWC isn't really
deterred by requests to unsubscribe. In fact, it seems it's using it as
another user acquisition channel.
And I think I cracked the protocol of this funnel:
Send daily emails to users whose emails we ~~get~~ buy.
Keep sending those emails until the user respond, by clicking on the unsubscribe link, or selecting the gmail "report spam & unsubscribe" button.
Clean user information through an ~~un~~ subscribe form
When a user clicks the unsubscribe link in the email, we have a precious opportunity to make sure the information we have about this user is correct.
When a user submit the unsubscribe form, we should update our database with the new information.
User is redirected to unsubscribe form
After we get a successful respond from our servers, redirect the user to the TWC homepage.
We assume (or hope) that when the user submit the form, she moves focus to another tab, rather than closing the one she've submitted the form in. If this assumption holds, then the user will have the TWC homepage waiting for her, and she'll get to it in the near future.
User visit the TWC homepage
At some point, as we assumed, the user zap through open tabs and open the one that displays the TWC homepage. Great, we have a new lead! The user is visiting our site, meaning she's interested in our service.
Hurry up to drop a cookie on her, and look for whatever information we can get on that cookie. Wait, we have her full name and email address!
Retarget potential leads
Let's make sure we slice the bread while it's still fresh, and find that user wherever she browse. This way we can nudge her just a little more, and try to get her to come back to our site and take another step toward conversion.
And wait, we have her email! that's gold...
Well, no bad feelings for TWC. It's just an amusing example of the absurdity of how user acquisition works.