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7. Include information about when and where someone first subscribed

Some people unsubscribe simply because they can’t remember signing up for your emails in the first place. If you give them a wee reminder of when (or even why) they signed up, this problem is solved.

Here’s an example of this information in an email footer:


8. Include a short survey to find out why people are unsubscribing

This can give you insights into how your emails are falling short for subscribers. Or it’ll just give you some peace of mind to know that you’re simply losing subscribers because people are getting too many emails (and yours didn’t make the cut).

This is what a typical exit survey looks like:

I also like this opened-ended comment box. Every once in a while, someone will leave a really interesting comment on these.


9. Customize your unsubscribe instructions

Please don’t make your company sound like a soulless machine. Change the default copy used in your unsubscribe process. Also, change the design of the pages to reflect your brand.

If you can do this in a charming enough way (especially if you include a few words about the benefits of your email updates) you might retain a few more subscribers. Even if you have to resort to images of depressed bees or lonely puppies.


10. Give subscribers the option of personalizing the emails they get, rather than just unsubscribing

Every email marketer knows that segmented emails get higher engagement rates than unsegmented ones. So why not kill two birds with one stone: Save a subscriber who would otherwise have opted out, and get their preferences information so you can send them more targeted emails. Win-win!

Here’s PopSugar’s little personalization prompt, from the footer area of one of their recent emails:

This is the page you’ll see after you’ve clicked the link. This is significantly more attractive than the usual menu of text and radio buttons.


11. Send people an unsubscribe prompt if they’ve been inactive for a certain period of time

I’ve been seeing a lot of these in my inbox over the last six months to a year. They’re a fairly new thing—most marketers wouldn’t deliberately reach out to people to ask them to unsubscribe. But I’m seeing this used so often that I suspect it’s working, or the technique wouldn’t be spreading like this.

There are two different approaches to these:

  • The strict: You have to click a link in the email or you’re automatically unsubscribed.
  • The moderate: You’re encouraged to click a link in the email, or you’re offered a short survey to complete so the company can send you more relevant emails.

Here’s an example of the more moderate approach:

And an example of the “we’re about to take you off our list” version, but in a playful tone:


12. Don’t make people wait days for their unsubscribes to take effect

It peeves me to see messages like this. We are in the Internet age—no complex filing process has to be completed to process unsubscribes. So don’t make us wait around.

I thought it would take me forever to find examples of this. Sadly, I turned up several fairly quickly. Here are two:


13. Give subscribers a way to change their address

Depending on which study you cite, the average email user has two or three different email addresses. And yet most email marketers—and email marketing studies—seem to want to ignore this.

At least in terms of managing unsubscribes, please don’t ignore this. Make it easy for people to change their email address. You might even go so far as to mention it specifically in the footer, as this company does well:

14. The unsubscribe links in your emails should work for at least 60 days after you’ve sent the emails

This isn’t just being nice. It’s following the law. The Canadian CASL requires unsubscribe links to work for at least 60 days after an email message is sent. The US CAN-SPAM is a bit more lenient; it requires the links work for only 30 days.

Do us all a favor and do far better than this, OK? Don’t force or manipulate people into staying on your list. Set those unsubscribe links to work indefinitely. (Or risk being—deservedly—marked as “junk.”)

This article was written by Pam Neely from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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