Recently, a new colleague asked me if he should recommend placing the unsubscribe link at the top of an email; would that be considered good client advice? But of course! Especially if the sender in question already suffers from a bad reputation. You might think: “Why should I make it easy for my recipients to unsubcribe? This will only reduce my list.” Well – think again! 

In many newsletters and mailings the unsubscribe option is located at the very bottom of the email, and in small letters too – a majority of senders still think it better to hide the unsubscribe option, so that they will not lose valuable recipients. Often the text/link color is grey on a white background and some senders even hide the text altogether, using the same colour as the background of the newsletter. This is of course very bad practice.

If recipients want to unsubscribe – let them! It is better by far to have a few recipients unsubscribe than to have them click the “Mark this as spam” button. What is more, no recipient is going to unsubscribe just because they detect the unsubscribe link in a prominent position.

Let us take a step back and see why people feel the need to unsubscribe in the first place …

Recipients unsubscribe for the following two main reasons:

• They receive content or offers which are not interesting enough (relevancy)

• They receive too many emails from a sender, within too short a period of time (frequency)

So, how can you prevent recipients from unsubscribing?

• Do not make promises you cannot keep, and send only what you outlined on your subscription page

• Do not send too often and provide an option for changing the frequency of emails – this substantially increases your chances of retaining subscribers and minimizing spam complaints

• Avoid being aggressive in your wording and offers

• Adapt to different platforms – design your newsletter to look professional and identical in every possible email client

• Provide an easy-to-use option for updating recipient email addresses – in many cases, this is only possible via unsubscribing and resubscribing with the new address.

Check out part two of this post – where we outline the best practices for unsubscribe links.