Is goodbye always the end?

26th January 2018

By Emily Hemmings

You’ve spent days carefully crafting your content, had sleepless nights perfecting your subject line and passed countless hours moving around the same call-to-action button. Despite your best efforts, you can see that a few of your subscribers have hit that button every email marketer dreads: unsubscribe.

Us email marketers have a tendency to treat unsubscribes like a bad break up. We’re here to tell you, it’s time to stop. Instead, utilise your last moments together effectively and try to encourage them to stay; or failing that, part on good terms. Here’s six tried and tested techniques to apply to your unsubscribe page to help you win back your subscribers' hearts.

“It’s over.” - the unsubscribe

Once your subscriber has made the decision to unsubscribe, allow them to leave at ease - after all, if you really love them, you’ll let them go. Hiding the unsubscribe button in your email can work as a double-edged sword, causing your subscribers to become frustrated with your emails and lose trust in your communications. Does that ever really work out for anyone? Instead, allow your subscriber to graciously leave through the front door rather than infuriating them and risk being marked as spam. Include an easy-to-find unsubscribe link in the footer of every email you send to your list.

Here’s a great example of an unsubscribe page from Groupon, which allows subscribers to retract their cold action and re-subscribe and rekindle the relationship:

“Why are you leaving me?” - the survey

Asking your subscriber why they’re leaving will help you learn more about your list and their behaviour as well as providing insight into exactly what users are looking for in a marketing email. We all learn from our mistakes. Find out why your subscribers are leaving so you can create more targeted content and reduce the risk of heartbreaking opt-outs in the future. A simple checkbox list can be used to determine why your customers are unsubscribing.

Here's a great example from Wufoo:

 “Am I too clingy?” - the two-way relationship

Just like relationships, marketing is all about the give and take. Take New York Media as a perfect example. A recent case study showed that their average unsubscribe rate was lowered by 76% in one year after the Big Apple’s media giant set up a preference centre. It’s clear that this is an opportunity not to be missed. A preference centre is a landing page on your company’s website which allows the subscriber to add, change or delete email preferences. People want to be able to control how they hear from you, so let them.

Here’s a great example from Bonobos, combining humour and personality in their preference centre in hope of holding onto their subscribers:

 “Are you giving up on me?” - the final effort

Humour and creativity are a surefire way to win back the hearts of your subscribers - just watch any romcom. A little personality can go a long, long way. No one wants to be bored, after all. Have a look at this great example from a not-for-profit charity which shows employees throwing water balloons at their managing director. Who doesn’t want to stay with creative, joyous people? 

“Can we still be friends?” - the last hope

Users on your email list may have fallen out of love with your emails, but that doesn’t mean they want to silence you forever. If they subscribed in the first place, there’s obviously something they like about you! Once they get to your unsubscribe page (sad face), offer them different channels where they can stay connected with you.

Here is a creative and witty example from Hubspot which encourages users to keep in touch on their social media platforms if they are opting out of their email subscription:

“I wish you all the best” - the clean break
Sometimes it’s best for everyone to part ways completely. Just make sure it’s on a good note. Your unsubscribe process is also part of your customer service and should be treated as such. If a user unsubscribes from your emails it is very important that they are removed without further delay, from both a brand point of view and a GDPR one! Our final tip is to avoid using the one-click unsubscribe feature without linking to a dedicated unsubscribe options page, at all costs. This puts you at risk of losing valuable subscribers and destroying the relationship through a teeny misunderstanding - now, wouldn’t that be a shame?

If you’ve put these practices in place and your subscribers are still unsubscribing, it’s OK to let them go. On the bright side, your email campaigns will have a better engagement rate when you’re sending to addresses that actually want to receive your emails!

We love coming up with creative ideas for unsubscribe pages for our clients. If you would like some email marketing inspiration, give us a call on 01273 208913 or drop us a line. You can also sign up to our newsletter to get the latest marketing and industry updates delivered straight into your inbox. 

Sign up to our newsletter Sign Up
Contact Us