5 Best Practices for Email Unsubscribes

Best Practices for Email Unsubscribes Virtual Assistants Philippines
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Email unsubscribes are inevitable. Every brand that’s into email marketing receives unsubscribe requests from their customers even big players like Amazon and eBay. So don’t panic if you get them, you’re not alone. People unsubscribe for a number of reasons. They could simply be spring cleaning their mailbox and you’re unfortunately one of those who was let go. Or they just don’t like your content anymore, which could be a big blow to your brand. It could also be the reason why you were “spring cleaned.”

According to ExactTarget’s Social Breakup Report, 54% of consumers opt-out of emails due to the frequency of emails being sent by the brand. The good news is, there are creative and smart ways to handle email unsubscribes. A witty copy or an irresistible image can change your customers’ minds! Here are some best practices you can start applying to your unsubscribe requests today.

Make it Easy

Your unsubscribe button should be easily seen. Ideally, it should be at the top of your email the way PizzaExpress did it. Gmail actually helps you with that by providing an unsubscribe button beside the sender’s name but still, you have to make it visible to your non-Gmail recipients.

Don’t hide it because customers who want to unsubscribe are mostly annoyed or frustrated and for them to look for the unsubscribe button will only frustrate them more. You might even risk being reported as spam. Make the unsubscribe process fast and easy. On the flipside, make re-subscribing just as easy, too, the way Neiman Marcus did it.

Make it Funny

Groupon created the most epic unsubscribe GIF to date. At first, you will see a man doing his office job and then below is a button that says PUNISH DERRICK. When you click it his supervisor will appear and berate him. Although there’s no audio you could tell that he was blaming Derrick for your decision to unsubscribe. He then throws his coffee on poor Derrick’s face. The closing screen plays on your guilty feelings to prompt you to resubscribe. Watch the video below to view Groupon’s witty and funny unsubscribe tactic.

Make it Difficult

By this we mean you show them what they’ll miss out on if they unsubscribe. One brand that executed it perfectly is eBay, enumerating what their customers would lose by unsubscribing. Who wouldn’t want to receive discount coupons and auction updates with $0-$1 bids?

On the other hand, Fab.com gives you some ordering repercussions like you won’t be getting any updates on your order receipt or shipping updates. But they did it in a very cool way. This would make any shopper think twice about unsubscribing. The great thing about it is there’s a second option to scale back on email frequency!

Make it Flexible

Give your customer options on how they can manage their email with you. According to the 2013 BlueHornet Consumer View of Email Report, 47% of users said that if opt-down options were given to them during the unsubscribe process they would actually consider it. Bonobos did this in a very smart and funny way.

It would be better that they have the choice to opt-down upon receiving your newsletter. Econsultancy has the contact settings placed on the upper right-hand portion of their emails so you can change your email frequency whenever you choose. This prevents your customers from unsubscribing because they have a free reign on their account.

If you’re going to give them options on what subscriptions they should retain do it the way Real Simple magazine does it. They give a preview of what these newsletters look like. It will help your reader visualize what they will be receiving in the future.

Give them the option to pause their subscription, too! Marketo’s unsubscribe page is clear and simple and gives you the most relevant options for your account.

Make it Open-ended

An unsubscribe doesn’t mean goodbye. You can still keep in touch via social media to keep your readers and customers updated. Hubspot did this cleverly by asking for a second chance through social media.

You can also include the social media buttons along with the other subscription options even before they finalize their unsubscribe process.

Aside from social media, you can promote your store and remind your customers that they can still shop online. The Children’s Place used an adorable baby as a way of saying goodbye but also highlights their SHOP NOW button as their way of still connecting with their customers.

Simplicity is the key when it comes to handling unsubscribes. Don’t make it complicated for your customers. Give them clear-cut options. Make the unsubscribe button visible and process it at once. Meaning when they hit that unsubscribe button they are automatically unsubscribed—no waiting period. Remember that your unsubscribe process is also part of your customer service. Your readers and customers should have a good experience even if they’re unsubscribing. If you make it easy for them to opt-out, you also make it easy for them to opt-in because they already know that they can freely manage their account and they can always come back whenever they want to.

About Pepper Social Media

Pepper Social Media is an online marketing firm that specializes in social media management, content marketing, SEO, PPC, social media marketing, copywriting, and targeted blogging. Our creative team consists of experienced marketing strategists who can fortify your brand identity and amplify your reach.




  1. Geraldine

    I have to admit that I also do spring cleaning. What annoys me the most is receiving too many updates/newsletters in a week from a blog I subscribed. I blog owners should send only the most important, relevant and hand-picked newsletters. I agree in making unsubscribe open-ended because I might change my mind; especially when I see the things I won’t be seeing again once I hit unsubscribe.

    • Pepper

      You’re spot on, Geraldine! Too much email updates can really be annoying. Open-ended emails are also good so that we can easily resubscribe. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  2. Dionne-Mhae Winona Lugo

    Hi! Your tips are amazing! I am definitely going to do everything you have said. Thanks a lot for this!


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