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What I Learned From Unsubscribing from Loads of Marketing Emails

Recently, I had to unsubscribe from a tonne of industry (mainly marketing/ content) email newsletters in one go. Quite a few companies made unsubscribing surprisingly hard (and were kind of sneaky about it). I was left scratching my head asking “where the hell is that unsubscribe button” more than once! Not a good look. It was quite an interesting experience, and I thought I’d share a few lessons on what to do when building your unsubscription journey…

Put the unsubscribe link where it’s meant to be

There is an accepted convention that there will be an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the latest email or newsletter, so don’t break the pattern. Be cutesy (if you must) and put it somewhere else as well, but please include it at the bottom!

Keep it one step away

I was confronted a few times with about seven further options after clicking “unsubscribe”. It’s definitely not my idea of fun to untick six boxes that would then (I hope) lead to an unsubscription. Don’t do this.

Don’t pretend like it was a mistake

Don’t patronise your user and pretend like it was all just a ‘mistake’. They know what they’re doing and you’re being annoying and needy by pretending that “you probably unsubscribed by mistake”.

Don’t pointlessly send me to your homepage

Some unsubscribe journeys were really weird, sending me all over the place. I am 99.9% sure that users don’t need to be sent to your homepage after they have just asked to stop receiving emails from you. A blank page saying the job is done is much more appropriate.

Ask for feedback

Users also appreciate the ability to leave feedback. Don’t make it compulsory, but give people the option to tell you why they’re leaving. Give them some quick and easy options so they can give feedback quickly and efficiently.

Learn from it

If people keep leaving, take some time to delve into your analytics to learn some lessons from it.
  • What types of emails are turning people off?
  • Do you have any unsubscription patterns or peaks that you can recognise?
  • Do people take any other actions when they leave?
People unsubscribing from your emails is natural and normal, so don’t panic. Your content isn’t going to please everyone. Make it easy to leave, and don’t question people’s motives when they do.

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Copywriter who specialises in all things digital, tech, and SEO. Also Finnish to English translation. Love B2B, tech and the arts.

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