Respect Your Email Marketing Lists: Make Unsubscribing Easy

Don’t be so needy – if someone on your email marketing list wants to go, let them go

When you are selling a subscription website, one of the most highly practiced rituals for keeping people subscribed is to make the unsubscription process a chore. Asking them to call a phone number in order to cancel their subscription makes the task a chore, which can end up getting put off for months, adding dollars to your pocket if you run a monthly subscription website.

However, when you try to practice this same approach in email marketing, the resulting “chore” can actually do you more damage than good, and here’s why. When you make it too hard to unsubscribe from your email list on your terms, they will end up unsubscribing on their own terms. That means you’re going to have subscribers hitting the “spam” button more frequently, which will result in you getting blacklisted across multiple domains.

Here are some common annoyances that subscribers find when unsubscribing from email newsletters:

1. Don’t make people log-in in order to unsubscribe from your email newsletter. Most people will not remember the password they used to sign up. This may keep them on your list a little longer, but they’ll eventually report you as spam to get off your email list.

2. Never require them to call or email in order to be removed. Email is not a medium valuable enough to require a one-on-one interaction in order to remove themselves from a list. This is probably the biggest barrier you can give your subscribers, and if you’re not getting a lot of emails or phone calls, it’s because they’re reporting you as spam.

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3. Don’t hide your unsubscribe link. It may seem counterintuitive, but making your unsubscribe front and center not only gains the trust of your subscriber from the get-go, but it reminds the user that they can remove themselves whenever they want. In the Mequoda Daily email, we always have unsubscribe links at the top and at the bottom.

4. Don’t be afraid to show your social media profiles. Sometimes people just want to lessen the clutter in their email inbox and will decide to follow a business via social media before they unsubscribe. If you provide links for them to follow you on Twitter and Facebook, you can keep the relationship going. If you hide those links, you’ll lose them for good.

5. Allow the user to manage their subscription. I know that you really want your readers to open and read every single email you send, but even the best future customers won’t read all of your emails. If you offer another email subscription that lessens the load on their inbox, make sure you make it known, right next to the unsubscribe link. Something like, “Getting too many emails? Subscribe to our week in review instead.” That way, when they’re moving their mouse towards the unsubscribe link, you’re offering them a more helpful solution.


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