A Quick Guide on How to Handle Email Unsubscribes


GRAPHICMAIL – Let’s face it — an email newsletter subscription is not a lifetime commitment.

Sometimes people sign up to your group emails for a while, only to decide later that what you’re offering is not really for them. At this point they’ll hit the unsubscribe button, and depending on how well you’ve set things up, getting their name off your list may or may not be an agonizing process for them.

I’m sure that everyone has, at some point, unsubscribed from a commercial email campaign, and that almost everyone would’ve come across the painful and often drawn-out “200-step or more” unsubscribe system that certain companies have in place  — seemingly to annoy you into staying on their mailing list.

The problem is that this annoyance doesn’t benefit the email marketer, since disgruntled subscribers are usually reluctant to buy from you, or even read what you’ve got to say, ever again. They might even just hit the “report spam” button, which will lower your sender reputation, or try to take legal action against you for continuing to send them promotional mailers that they don’t want anymore.

Some of the main reasons why people unsubscribe are:

  • The newsletter content has, for whatever reason, become irrelevant to them.
  • They feel that the same information gets repeated frequently.
  • They have been getting too many emails from you, too often.
  • They are simply no longer interested in your messages — they have moved on in life.
  • Or maybe they are dissatisfied with your brand.
  • While understanding why people opt out can be of great value in helping you improve your product/service or marketing campaigns, it’s inevitable that you will at least lose a few subscribers every now and then — sometimes without any good reason. So when that does happen, the best thing you can do is to respect their wishes and give them a quick and friendly send-off.

    A common pet peeve among users is when they are made to search for hidden unsubscribe buttons or jump through hoops to get their name off your list. It’s better for everyone if you make this process as simple and polite as possible, since business integrity and the law demand that you always give people a clear channel to opting out.

    The first step is to make sure your unsubscribe options/buttons/links are obvious and easily accessible on every email that you send. Your reader should never have to strain to look for it.

    And when someone does unsubscribe from your mailing list, it’s a sure sign of professionalism to send them a reassuring confirmation email that they have been successfully unsubscribed.


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