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Unsubscribe pages: Turn goodbyes into opportunities

· 18 min read · Websites and forms · Jun 22, 2023
Gabija, Deliverability Team Lead at MailerLite.

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.

I know it may sound counterintuitive. Why would losing subscribers be good for your business? Well there are a couple of reasons why the unsubscription process is so important, so you’re going to want to give your unsubscribe page as much attention as you give your signup forms.

1. It’s the law

In many countries, including the United States, it's a legal requirement for email marketers to include an unsubscribe link in all their communications, as stated in the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In fact, MailerLite automatically includes an unsubscribe link in all email templates. This is to protect consumers from unsolicited emails and noncompliance can lead to some scary penalties. Offering an easy unsubscribe process adheres to these laws and respects your audience's rights.

2. You can learn about your audience and improve your service

Understanding the reasons for unsubscribes helps to improve your marketing and product over time, and an unsubscribe page can serve as a valuable source of feedback. By asking why users are unsubscribing, you can learn a lot about their experience with your product or service. This information can guide improvements and future strategies, ultimately leading to a better product and higher customer satisfaction. 

3. You’ll have a positive brand reputation

Making the unsubscribe process easy and straightforward can contribute to a positive brand reputation. If customers find it difficult to opt out of your communications, they may develop negative associations with your brand. On the other hand, if the process is simple and respectful, they may leave with a more positive impression, increasing the chances that they'll return or recommend your brand in the future.

4. You can improve your email deliverability

Yep, having people unsubscribe can actually improve your email deliverability. Email service providers track how many of your emails are opened and interacted with, and low engagement can lead to your emails being classified as spam. Letting people unsubscribe ensures that your email list consists of engaged and interested users, increasing your open and click-through rates.

While it's crucial to let people unsubscribe easily, your unsubscribe page is also a great chance to remind them of all the cool benefits they might miss if they choose to leave.

An effective unsubscribe process begins with a clearly visible link to unsubscribe from the list or update preferences in every email. This ensures transparency and respects your audience's right to opt-out at any point. But an effective unsubscription process doesn't end here; the unsubscribe page can offer so much more than a confirmation message. Let's dive into its key components:

Consistent design and branding

The unsubscribe page should reflect your brand identity through consistent use of logos, fonts, colors, and overall aesthetics. This enhances brand recall and ensures a cohesive user experience, even when they're leaving.

A clear and descriptive heading

The heading of your unsubscribe page needs to be clear and direct, something along the lines of "We're sorry to see you go." This communicates the intent of the page immediately, reducing confusion and frustration for the user.

An optimized unsubscribe comfirmation message

An effective unsubscribe confirmation message validates the user's action and prevents potential misunderstandings. Keep it concise and personalized, reinforcing your brand's value by referencing past useful content. Express gratitude for their time with your brand and propose alternatives for staying in touch, like social media, promoting continued engagement.

A feedback form

Include a simple form asking for the reason behind their decision to unsubscribe. This is a valuable source of feedback, and it gives you insights into areas for improvement. For example, your emails may not be relevant enough, or you’re sending them too frequently.

Alternative content (social Links, newsletter archive, video, etc)

Give subscribers compelling reasons to stick around. Share links to your social platforms for ongoing updates, an archive of past newsletters to highlight the value they've received, and an engaging video to remind them why they subscribed. These elements might make them reconsider their decision to leave.

Remember, an unsubscribe page isn't merely a goodbye; it's an opportunity to reconnect or make space for a graceful parting that keeps the door open for future re-engagement.

An effective unsubscribe page offers insights, makes people change their mind or takes 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!”.

Email preferences: Tell me what ya want, what ya really, really want

Not everyone who clicks the unsubscribe link wants to cut all ties completely. Some just want you to bug them a little less, 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”
- Spice Girls

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.

Hollister unsubscribe page example
Image credit: Hollister

Le Creuset, on the other hand, lets subscribers choose how often they want to hear from them in case frequency has been the issue. 

Le Creuset usubscribe page example
Image credit: Le Creuset

Questions: Are you like, sure sure?

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”
- Jackson 5

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.

Chubbies unsubscribe page example
Image credit: Chubbies

Feedback: Where did we go wrong?

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!”
- Shaggy

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.

Haute mail unsubscribe page example

Personal: A proper goodbye!

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 as 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”
- Nelly

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.

Bark & Co unsubscribe page example

Beyond email: Why don’t we take this elsewhere?

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'?”
- Rapsody

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.

Refinery29 unsubscribe page example

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 unsubscribe page best practices to maintain a healthy unsubscribe rate.

Avoid unsubscribers by sending valuable emails

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. Experiment to find the perfect email frequency that works for your audience. This way, readers will keep their interest and stay away from the no-go zone.

Always add an unsubscribe link

“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 blocklist which will have a negative effect on your deliverability and sender reputation.

Make it easy to unsubscribe

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 log in to unsubscribe.

Ask for feedback

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.

Provide multiple options

Just because your subscribers need some space, doesn’t necessarily mean they want to break up. Instead of just offering an "unsubscribe from all" option, provide subscribers with personalized choices to manage their preferences. This could involve reducing the frequency of the emails they receive, perhaps moving from a daily digest to a weekly newsletter. You can also offer the option to choose the specific types of content they’re interested in or opt-in to a different email list. These customizations will better align with subscriber needs and interests, potentially preventing a full unsubscription and enhancing their overall experience at the same time!

👉Tip: Some people have slippery fingers. Add a re-subscribe button to your unsubscribe page for people who clicked the unsubscribe button by mistake. Especially if you have subscribers in the EU!

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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!

P.S. Using MailerLite?

Watch this tutorial video or head to the knowledge base to see in detail how you can create your own custom unsubscribe page.

Just Property makes the unsubscribe form part of the background, making the entire page look professional and in line with their brand identity.

Just Property unsubscribe page example
Image credit: Just Property

USA Today bestselling author Kelsey Browning cleverly uses the unsubscribe text to motivate readers to keep in touch with her via social media.

Kelsey unsubscribe page example
Image credit: Kelsey Browning

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!

Hustle email unsubscribe page
Image credit: The Hustle

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!

Alycia Wicker unsubscribe page example
Image credit: Alycia Wicker

The Remote Company keeps things simple and humorous with minimal text and an eye-catching image.

TRC unsubscribe page
Image credit: The Remote Company

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.

Geek in your pocket unsubscribe page example
Image credit: Geek in your pocket

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. 

Helpscout email unsubscribe options
Image credit: Helpscout

Non-profit organization, Charity: Water, provides multiple options based on email frequency and content, letting subscribers know exactly how often to expect emails from each channel.

Unsubscribe page with buttons to toggle on and off subscriptions to different newsletter channels from Charity: Water
Image credit: Charity: Water

Currys plucks at the heartstrings 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.

currys unsubscribe text example with picture of a dog
Image credit: Currys

Morning Brew perfectly explains the benefits of being subscribed to their newsletter in just a few short sentences.

Morning brew simple unsubscribe page example
Image credit: Morning Brew

Yankee Candle injects their brand personality all throughout their unsubscribe form. Keeping the unsubscribe process simple and pleasant.

Yankee Candle unsubscribe page with personal, candle-related feedback options.
Image credit: Yankee Candle

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, does it add to the subscriber experience?

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2019. We've now updated it with new content and examples.

Jonas Fischer
Jonas Fischer
I'm Jonas, Content Manager at MailerLite. I’m not the 4th Jonas Brother, but I do write content (which is similar to being a teen heartthrob). After writing for a bunch of companies over the years, I discovered my professional passion—helping add some humanity to B2B marketing. Email is the perfect place to start!