Thursday, August 9, 2012

Just Unsubscribe Me! 4 Things to Make an Unsubscribe Process Easier

I woke up the other day and had 40 emails in my Yahoo inbox. Now, I keep my old Yahoo account for email newsletters, bills, etc. but 40 emails? By the time I delete the ones I don't read (about 80%) I'm just irritated and now that I get my mail on my phone this has become part of my morning routine. What a miserable way to start the day.

So I've tasked myself with unsubscribing from all of the email lists that have just clogged up my inbox.

Oh, there are so many. I've been doing this throughout the day, mostly on my phone and what I've noticed is that a lot of these experiences are just not fun and often they don't even work!

Here are 4 actionable items that I feel anyone can do to make their unsubscribe process a lot less painful.

1. Clear Unsubscribe Link

Have a CLEAR, easy to locate  'Unsubscribe' link at the bottom of any email newsletter and I highly recommend using 'Unsubscribe' as the anchor text. You don't want to annoy your customers further. For whatever reason they have decided that they no longer want your email and you're not going to stop them. Don't make it hard for them or you are only serving to further tarnish your reputation with this customer.

2. One Click = Unsubscribe All

Once they've clicked the unsubscribe link they should only be ONE click away from unsubscribing completely. The urge here is to retain the customer and by all means offer options like fewer emails or even different lists but allow the customer to have a one-click-unsubscribes-all option. They'll thank you for it and who knows, maybe they'll even come back someday because it was so easy to get off the list in the first place.

3. No Confirmation Email

It's tempting. Hey, maybe they unsubscribed by accident? Maybe someone maliciously unsubscribed them from your list (Mwuhahaha, now they'll never read your newsletter!) and so you design up a nice friendly email to let them know that they've unsubscribed successfully. Sounds fairly innocent but in my opinion this is just pouring salt in the wound.

You just deleted what you thought was the last email ever from Some Company because you just unsubscribed and received the confirmation on the website that it had been successful. Yay. Upon returning to your email box the first thing you see? A new email from the company you just unsubscribed from.

Trust me, if they love your emails and suddenly stop getting them - chances are they'll investigate it or re-subscribe.

4. Be Careful with Mobile Redirects

This is probably my biggest pet peeve lately. Global redirects to the front page of a mobile website. Why would anyone do this? Someone has Googled something and chose to click on your link on their phone and now they're on some mobile homepage with no sign of the content they wanted anywhere. This is just a massive fail.

I can now say I have seen this happen with an unsubscribe link at the bottom of an email newsletter from a rather large, popular website. How frustrating. Links should be triple checked and there is no reason ever that a user should encounter a global redirect to a mobile homepage.

Lots and lots of email...

669.5 million people used mobile email in 2011, this is expected to grow to 2.4 billion by 2016.* That's a lot of people reading email and a lot that are going to unsubscribe from unwanted email newsletters.

Let's make an effort to be nice to them!

*Data from

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