An Easy Way to Use UX to Build Loyalty & Get Backlinks

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How to Use Opting Out to to build loyalty and get backlinks

Letting users opt-out of advertising or remarketing, email and SMS campaigns, as well as subscriptions can build brand loyalty, grow your sales, and get you top-tier backlinks.  When implemented correctly you are doing something good for your users vs. chasing a single sale.  By being supportive at specific moments in their lives, you become the trusty friend vs. the company out there just to make money.

The TL:DR is to think about life events and what is important for that situation, then give the proper user experience based on the life event.

This topic is something I present on at conferences with link building and creating a destination site sessions.  Destination sites are not limited to websites, they’re also apps, communities, and aggregators.  The goal is to create a place where people feel they belong, smile when they see the logo, and come back to for more resources when they need something.  And that is why Google, Facebook, etc… no longer matter.  If one wipes you out, you have sustainable income because your user base is there for you.  This applies to affiliate sites, ecommerce stores, service providers, and communities.

Because very few apps, websites, and marketplaces do this, you can move in with the strategy below and beat your competitors.  Here’s two examples.

  • Death
  • Anniversaries and celebrations

After the examples I share how to turn it into a link building campaign.


Whether you lost a parent, a pet, or there is someone you take care of who has left, websites continue to haunt you by forcing you to relive your loss.  This applies to large companies like Amazon and Meta, and smaller brands that do aggressive DTC and subscription models.  If these brands took one extra step into customer care, they could turn what is an actively negative experience with their platforms into a positive one.  I’m going to use amazon as the example here because this is something I’m currently dealing with.

If you used to buy pet food or adult care items, right when you go back to amazon they keep showing you it is time to restock “products you may like”.  These are the same things you used to purchase for the person or loved one that just died.  Amazon in particular does not give you a way to opt-out or to stop showing ads for these. I’m there to buy groceries or household items, I don’t want reminded of my loss and there is no way to opt-out. Meta does give an opt-out to an extent, but only until a DTC company gets aggressive and uses the same buyer persona, then it starts again.

But it isn’t only care items, Mother’s Day means reservations at restaurants.  OpenTable and Door Dash are the only apps I’ve seen recently (and a Facebook friend reminded me of it again today and sent me the screenshots below to use) that actively engages customers to ask if they’d like to opt out of Mother’s Day reminders.  It can be hard to cope with the loss of a sibling, mom, grandma, and other mom, which is why this optout feature is a game changer.  People breath a sigh of relief knowing they won’t get constant reminders.

door dash optout open table optout

Letting customers optout of being shown related products and reminders to purchase builds customer loyalty.  You can also run a survey and find out why your customer doesn’t want to see these messages.  You will learn if the person had something bad happen, and have the opportunity to gain their affection by being empathetic.

Knowing something bad happened gives you the opportunity to send a card saying sorry for their loss.  Some brands go as far as sending a flower or a small gift.  It goes a long way with building a positive image and association in your customers’ minds.  Brands often forget about compassion, but compassion builds trust, respect, and customer loyalty.  Ok, lets change the topics a bit, this same strategy applies to happy life events too.

Anniversaries and Celebrations

If you’re shopping for an anniversary gift and share a computer or device, these platforms continue to show remarketing ads and recommendations which spoil the surprise.  Because there are not automatic blocking filters built into most company’s algorithms (i.e. you search with the word “anniversary” in site search and the website automatically removes you from remarketing and suppresses query specific recommendations), the gift is no longer a surprise.  Your brand ruined the happy occasion.

Shared computers mean the person is going to see what the customer was looking for.  And the same applies if the person didn’t shop because they ran out of time.  If you’re aggressive with remarketing you’re going to spoil the gift ideas as the person may have access to the same device.  Celebration based remarketing is a prime example of where a brand chases a sale vs. thinking about the user experience.  If you know the person was looking for an anniversary or a birthday gift because of a search query, product title, or tag, instead of remarketing to them, ask them if they’d like to keep the shopping a secret and let them opt out of it.

Pro-tip: When letting them opt-out from remarketing, also let them know you’ll send a private email if they aren’t ready to shop now with the product they liked.  This way they don’t forget what they wanted to buy if they aren’t ready just yet.  You can also ask if they’d like a reminder in 11 months so they don’t forget next year’s anniversary gift too.  This sets you up for another sale the following year and you’re making their lives easier.

By helping the shopper keep the gift a secret from the recipient, and offering to send an annual reminder, you’ve given the shopper a reason to keep shopping with you each year.  You can also upsell or offer anonymous shipping in an unmarked package as a bonus.  Think about yourself shopping for a gift.  If a brand starts showing what you searched for, would you be happy having the recipient find out?  Probably not. So don’t do it to your own userbase.

Now that you have some ideas on life events and customer satisfaction, lets turn it into backlinks.  Here’s the process we use as a starting point.  It is modified to meet each client’s needs, and when this strategy applies to a client.  It doesn’t always.

  1. Launch the opt-out loyalty campaigns and distribute it to the customer base.
  2. Publish your announcement of the optout program in a blog post or landing page and email, push notification, or text it to customers.
    1. Try running a small banner with it on your homepage as the holiday approaches if you feel very strong about the program.
  3. Create an influencer and ambassador campaign around the new program and have them drive awareness.
      1. Make sure to get their permission to include testimonials, quotes, and their social media shares within your announcement (next step).
  4. Once live, gather the results and have support collect feedback.
    1. You may be able to use UGC (user generated content) as testimonials if you get some good ones and their permission.
    2. These also become very good stories for “companies that care” and “feel good” types of PR spins.
  5. When the systems are functional and you have good results, put your PR plan together.
      1. Collect how many people are using this option and share the highlights of the program’s impact on their lives for B2C marketing.
        1. You can also create branded stories about how your company has a positive impact on current users to share with previous customers for a win-back campaign.  This could work great with YouTube ads.
      2. Prepare stats and pitches for B2B publications. Stats can include brand impression increases, customer satisfaction gains, increased revenue percentages for the holiday or time period YOY, new customer acquisition percentage gains, etc… Publications like NYTimes, Bloomberg, marketing and ecommerce news websites, and tradeshows are usually open to case studies like these for their business sections.
        1. You can use these stats to pitch speaking at events too.
    1. Push the announcement out to the media once you’ve included “trusted” and “known” industry people to show your campaign is actively being talked about. When recognizable people stand by your project, it builds trust.  If their audience matches the media outlet, you can make the case their readers would be actively interested as well. Your PR list can include:
      1. Mass media
      2. Bloggers
      3. Industry publications
      4. Conferences with blogs and social media channels
        1. Don’t forget, good conferences have active content creators following and subscribing, and this gets your new program in front of them.
      5. Non-profits, charities, businesses, and action groups that are directly related to your niche.
        1. Pet shelters, rescue leagues, veterinary offices, dog groomers, etc… if it is a pet opt-out for example.
    2. Once you get coverage, send a thank you to the person that covered your company’s program.  This further drives home you pay attention and care.  And don’t make it a canned message.  Take it a step further by using a service that takes an email and has a hand written postcard or thank you card sent instead.  This is one of my favorite time savers with customer loyalty.

It’s important to have the right pitch for the right audience.  Some themes could include:

  • How XY company increase customer ABC
  • XY company is making ABC lives easier
  • The secret to keeping gifts a surprise, here’s how
  • Brands that have your back in difficult times
  • 7 companies going above and beyond for their customers
  • 5 companies who show empathy to their customers
  • How XY brand is building customer loyalty and increasing YOY revenue
  • Want to grow repeat customers, here’s proven strategies from 123 brands

When done the right way you can gain a lot of attention by providing a better experience for your customers.  But not many companies do it.  And to be fair I haven’t done these types of campaigns for years because I forgot about them.  But it is something I’m going to begin doing again.

If you want to survive in bad times, you either have to be a necessity with no competitors, or build customer loyalty for the long run.  By making your user base’s lives easier for their most important moments, you can begin earning their respect and loyalty for life.  And if they marry again, get another pet, the next celebration comes around, or have a need to come back, you’ll have left a positive impression on them and may find them using your services or shopping on your site again.

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