A newsletter subscriber hits your unsubscribe link. Oh no! You’ve lost them forever. Not so fast! Your email unsubscribe page message has the power to make subscribers think twice about breaking up with you.
Our guess is that you’re not using your unsubscribe landing page to its full potential, if at all! As the black sheep of email marketing, unsubscribe pages are often overlooked. However, if you use them correctly they can be highly effective and save relationships.
In this article, you’ll learn how to use unsubscribe messages in 5 ways that go beyond just confirming the email subscription exit. Plus, we share our best practices to avoid and manage your unsubscribes!
An unsubscribe confirmation page is the page that a subscriber is directed to when they click the unsubscribe link in your email.
One-click unsubscribe links usually lead to a confirmation page that tells the subscriber they have been removed from the list. Alternatively, the page may ask the subscriber to confirm they did indeed want to unsubscribe or provide other options.
The primary purpose of an email unsubscribe message is to confirm that someone will no longer receive any emails. But if you're only using it for this purpose, you are missing out on a lot.
An effective unsubscribe page can also offer insights, make people change their mind or take the relationship to another level (ehm, channel).
These 5 examples show you how unsubscribe pages can turn a “goodbye” into a “let’s give this another try!”.
Not everyone who clicks the unsubscribe link wants to cut all ties completely. Some just want you to bug them a little less, merely update their email address or unsubscribe from certain content topics that no longer interest them.
“If you really bug me then I'll say goodbye”
Give readers the chance to change their email preferences on the unsubscribe page, in addition to the ability to opt-out of all emails.
In this unsubscribe page example from Hollister, you’re given the option to unsubscribe from specific types of email campaigns to keep receiving only that which is of interest. Or, subscribers can simply unsubscribe completely.
Le Creuset, on the other hand, lets subscribers choose how often they want to hear from them in case frequency has been the issue.
You know when you’re in a market haggling, walk away and the salesman comes running after you with a final offer? Your unsubscribe page message is the virtual 'you' running after your subscriber.
“Oh, baby, give me one more chance”
It’s your last chance to give the reader a final, too-good-to-refuse offer to stay in touch with you. Or write down a reason that makes them think twice about their decision.
The people over at Chubbies Shorts do this brilliantly. Their unsubscribe message has all the essentials: A personal, casual message, a fun fact that makes the reader go “should I really unsubscribe?” and a call to action to follow them on social media.
It wasn't me! Or was it? Asking for feedback post-break-up can be confrontational, but it’ll make you a better partner for the next one that comes along!
“It wasn’t me!”
Use the unsubscribe page to ask for feedback. Keep it simple and provide a couple of predefined reasons with checkboxes, plus the possibility to give an open answer. Make these questions optional, not required.
You’ve spent all this time sending emails, so why not make it a proper goodbye if you and your pen pal decide to part ways? Make your email unsubscribe message feel personal so it comes across less automated, as if they were “just another number on the email list.”
“I respect that and right before I turn to leave she said: You don't know what you mean to me”
Add a personal note, make a joke, insert a picture — whatever fits your brand best. BarkBox does a great job at talking to subscribers in a personal, fun way that fits the brand.
Just because your subscribers don’t want to receive your emails, doesn’t mean they never want to hear from you again. Maybe email isn’t the right channel for them, but they’d love to keep in touch via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat. Motivate the reader to add you on your socials and continue building your relationship from there.
“My Snapchat poppin' girl yo Snapchat poppin'?”
Refinery29 created a beautiful unsubscribe page example that contains everything we talked about thus far. You can update your email preferences, unsubscribe completely or decide to follow the brand on social media instead.
Though we are all for making your unsubscribe page a nice place to land on, in an ideal world your newsletter subscribers don’t even get there in the first place. Here are some best practices to maintain a healthy unsubscribe rate.
It seems like a no-brainer, but are all your email messages really valuable for the reader? Google any email unsubscribe study and you’ll find that the number 1 reason people unsubscribe is “Too many emails.” Be picky with your email content and skip a newsletter if you’ve got nothing valuable to share. This way, readers will keep their interest and stay away from the no-go zone.
A quick way to see whether people like your email content is by inserting a satisfaction survey into your newsletter. In most emails, you’ll see a range of 2-5 smiley faces that readers can click to express their satisfaction. Survey implementation is easy and the results are super useful! You can spot trends and see what email content is beloved (or not) among your readers.
“If I leave out the unsubscribe link, they can’t leave me!” But why would you want someone to stick around if they don’t want to? It's the decent thing to add an unsubscribe link in every single email so people can leave if they've had enough. Why would you engage with people that don’t want to hear from you? This will hurt your wallet and your email stats, risking the chance of being marked as spam and ending up on a black list which will have a negative effect on your deliverability and sender reputation.
In the EU, readers need to be able to unsubscribe from unwanted emails with one click (called single opt-out). According to spam laws in the US, Canada, Asia and Eastern Europe you can ask subscribers to confirm before they make it final (double opt-out). We’re in favor of making the unsubscribe process as easy as possible for the reader to unsubscribe, but sometimes readers accidentally hit the unsubscribe button. So if your audience is outside the EU, the decision is up to you! Just remember, whatever you do, don’t make subscribers have to login to unsubscribe.
Build effective unsubscribe page now.
The best unsubscribe pages are more than just a confirmation landing page. Craft a personal unsubscribe message, ask for feedback, and give your best effort to change the subscriber’s mind. If all else fails, convince them to stay in touch via social media.
Sure, unsubscribes can be disappointing, but it’s important to give people the option to leave whenever they want. Add an unsubscribe link in every email and avoid readers clicking on this link by sending relevant email content. Spot disengagement by using email surveys to stay on track with how satisfied your email list subscribers are. This way, you can act before it’s too late. Good luck!
Just Property makes the unsubscribe form part of the background, making the entire page look professional and in line with their brand identity.
USA Today bestselling author Kelsey Browning cleverly uses the unsubscribe text to motivate readers to keep in touch with her via social media.
The Hustle wins a spot here for their smart use of unsubscribe options. Not only can subscribers select which types of content they want to see, but they can also put a 2 week pause on the daily newsletter. Great for those subscribers looking for some quiet time in their inbox without completely unsubscribing!
Interior design business coach Alycia Wicker got us laughing with her witty unsubscribe page text. It's always a good idea to add some humor to your marketing copy!
The Remote Company keeps things simple and humorous with minimal text and an eye-catching image.
We like how WordPress support and maintenance service Geek in your pocket added a personal background and gives readers the option to choose from which email lists they'd like to unsubscribe.
Helpscout makes it easy for subscribers to find what they’re interested in by breaking down their content into 8 categories they can select to hear about.
Currys plucks at the heart strings with emotional language and a cute doggo. Their text is clear and straight to the point but manages to include that all-important personal tone.
Morning Brew perfectly explains the benefits of being subscribed to their newsletter in just a few short sentences.
The chances are that if a subscriber hits unsubscribe in your email, they’ll follow-through with that intent—but the chances are even higher if you give them no other options! A carefully thought out unsubscribe page is an easy way to sway those odds in your favor.
And even if they do unsubscribe, you can redirect them to other channels that they might prefer. Including this as a part of your email marketing strategy can help to keep the relationship alive and even rekindle the love at a later stage!
What does your unsubscribe page look like? We’d love to hear your best practices in the comments below.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2019. We've now updated it with new content and examples.