Three ways to make the unsubscribe process work in your favor

19 Apr, 2016

Facing the reality that somebody no longer wants to work with you is a humbling experience, but it’s necessary. This also applies to your email marketing, as you may have continual concerns with the email unsubscribe process.

Believe it or not, however, unsubscribes can actually be a good thing. This piece will present how providing recipients a way to say “no more” actually works in your favor, if you let it.

Unsubscribing is a better option than being reported as spam

Sending emails that don’t get opened by recipients is annoying; being reported as spam is the worst.

Think of the unsubscribe process as a mutual and amicable separation. It’s often not a goodbye — as many people who unsubscribe will come back. If you make it too difficult or ignore unsubscribe requests, you’ll end up getting the dreaded “this is spam” button — which is where multiple problems can start.

Think of the unsubscribe link as a call-to-action that can be tracked

Having a link on your page which allows people to click and unsubscribe can actually provide you a segment of people you can track. The availability of this measurable provides marketers an opportunity to see not just what is going wrong, but which groups are opting out.

As long as you consistently monitor the rate of your unsubscribes you will be able to monitor which campaigns of yours work and which don’t. It’s like another form of A/B testing. As a plus, you can add a survey to your unsubscribe asking why people have opted out — yet another trackable data point.

Clarity and options with unsubscribes is key

A surefire way to really tick off those recipients trying to opt-out is to make the process difficult. Being tricky and making the link hard to access is a bad idea. An even worse — and an illegal — one is to require the use of passwords to indeed unsubscribe. In the body of your email, don’t be afraid to make your unsubscribe link visible.

While they are on the way out they might have second thoughts. There’s nothing wrong with presenting other options. Providing a form that presents alternate options — in addition to fully opting-out — out can actually save you from losing a subscriber.

Some strong alternate options are change-of-address (for those that might want to receive the emails in another account), opting down (for those that might like what you send, but prefer less of it) and the option of other channels (for those that don’t want to continue receiving content in their inbox, but would be receptive to getting it through a different mean such as social media, or mobile app notifications)

The rejection part of the unsubscribe process isn’t fun, but it doesn’t have to totally hurt as much as you fear. Do right by your customers and the unsubscribe process can help both improve your deliverability and give you additional insight to your customer’s behaviors.

Originally published at on April 19, 2016.

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