Make It Easy to Unsubscribe from Emails


As email marketers, we’re always focused on making the opt-in experience as easy as humanly possible — How else will we grow our email list beyond epic proportions? But in our preoccupation with opt-ins, sign-ups, and subscription forms, we tend to neglect the opt-out process.

I’m sure you’re wondering: “Why should I be concerned with the people who want off my list? It’s their problem, right?” While the notion that making your opt-out process incredibly cumbersome and time-consuming may result in less opt-outs, it also will lead to very angry (albeit reluctant) subscribers that will mark your emails as SPAM and take their complaints about the process to social media. From what we’ve seen, the easier you make the opt-out process, the more likely you are to retain subscribers, increase brand devotion, and reap the benefits of improved deliverability.

So, what exactly is the definition of an easy opt-out process?

  • Include visible “unsubscribe” buttons somewhere in every email that you send. I’m not saying that you need a neon button that screams “FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, STOP SENDING ME EMAILS!” but make sure that you include an unsubscribe link that can be easily found if needed. There’s nothing more unnerving than trying to unsubscribe from an email list and spending far too long trying to figure out if there’s an unsubscribe link and, if so, where it’s hidden. Want to know the quickest solution for someone in this bind? The SPAM button.
  • Make the unsubscribe process quick, easy, and painless. Once your subscriber decides they want off the ride, make the process as simple as possible. Nobody wants to relay a diatribe of their life story, they just want you to ease off the emailing. Instead of making your subscribers jump through hoops, fill out multiple forms, or “login” to an external site, just let them unsubscribe and be done with it.
  • Allow access to a subscriber preference center. Sometimes the subscriber might not want to quit receiving your emails altogether, but perhaps they would like to get your emails less frequently or maybe only specific content. Include access to a preference center that is easy to access via email where your subscriber can tell you “I only want your weekly newsletter” or “Don’t email me more than two times a week.” The more your subscriber can tailor what content they receive according to their interests, the more engaged (and happy!) they will be. It also will keep them away from that awful SPAM button.

Take a look at your current unsubscribe process and decide whether it’s a process you wouldn’t mind going through yourself if you were on the receiving end. Sure, you may want tons of exit data improve your sends for those who are still subscribed or want to try preventing subscribers from leaving altogether, but it will not behoove your marketing in the long run.


Sarah Zibanejadrad
Inbound Marketing Coordinator, WhatCounts

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