Changing personal email address is fairly easy, there are loads of services which let you create a free address. Obviously the big 3 providers are the most popular: Hotmail (inc. Outlook.com, live & msn), Yahoo and Gmail.
When it comes to business addresses, people say you should expect more spam due to the corporate subscriber loop hole and people change jobs fairly frequently, e.g: about 2 years.
Here are a few reasons why your email program should give your subscribers the opportunity to change their email address.
1. Too much spam
The most common reason to change address is because of to much spam to that inbox and the vast majority of the time people will change provider at the same time.
Lots of people migrated from Hotmail to Gmail in the last 10 years. Their Hotmail account was full of junk they could not get rid of and Google was novel and cool.
Most of these people left their Hotmail account open as their “junk” account.
So once they’ve got their new address they have to decide which emails they want to see in their new primary inbox then go and update their details in places like Amazon etc.
There are all sorts of nasties out there trying to get free money. Some of these try to get into free inboxes to not only spam your contacts but get personal information too.
Hotmail has been a common victim of this for years. Recently Yahoo have had some security problems which caused BT internet to take their entire email service elsewhere.
When an inbox gets hacked it is most common to move providers rather than create an new address in the same space.
3. New job
The average life span of a job is still around 2 years, so when someone moves jobs they might like to take some subscriptions with them to their new job.
4. Increased level of trust
Due to the high value of email addresses, many brands try to get people to provide an email address at every opportunity; sometimes they try too hard and people can feel forced, e.g. financial support sites asking for email in a credit check; or sometimes the site does not reassure people of the security and integrity of their email addresses.
This would then result in the user providing their old junk address or a temporary address.
As time goes by the brand could/should earn the trust it needs to get value from that address and the user may decide to swap in their good address for the junk address they provided at the start.
5. New phone or tablet
Android phones require a Google address for a Google Account. Mac offers, email addresses and Microsoft made outlook.com in order to make Hotmail more like Gmail.
So when someone gets a new phone they may switch their primary email address to the new address they get for the phone or tablet.
6. New cool provider
Someone who is getting bored of their email address could be swayed by a, cool new provider. A great example of the creation and success of Gmail with no marketing. GMX has had some success with little marketing.
7. Interface update
When a provider adds a new feature or give a big revamp people like to check it out…
Outlook.com was a very novel change which woke up a lot of Hotmail users.
Yahoo has woken up some abandoned usernames and revamped their interface quite a few times.
Gmail has recently added tabs.
8. What’s the alternative?
If someone needs to change their address with you but you don’t let them what do they do?
Go through the sign up process with their new address and opt-out with their old one?
Is that too much to ask?
Would you go through all of that?
Or would you just leave it and slowly fade out of that brand?
Which brands you would take with you to your new address? Would any of those ‘vital’ brands not let you change your address?
I expect not, any brand worth your time will give you enough control over your subscription! Does yours?
When you do add this functionally, please do consider a confirmation email to ensure the user owns the address they supply and to add that extra level of trust for the recipient.
It might sound like asking for too much but someone willing to go as far as updating their address with you is very engaged and will happily do it.