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Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009 at 9:04 am

Email Feng Shui: The Unsubscribe Option

By Natalie Hart
November 25th, 2009

Picture5Early this morning, I was woken up by a constant pinging sound coming from my Blackberry.  Yes, I know I could turn it to silent or even off, but what can I say, I’m attached (they don’t call them “crackberries” for nothing).  After a few more hours of tossing and turning, I woke up to review the 47 new emails I’d been receiving since 4:30am.  I didn’t find a note from Grammy, or a funny story from my cousin in France, but rather promotional email after promotional email.  Ick!  I’d had enough.  I was going to unsubscribe from all of them!

As I begin to go through and click unsubscribe at the bottom of each email, I was shocked at where I was taken. Pages where it appears I may have actually been signing up for more emails then I was unsubscribing from! It was a nightmare.

Then, I came to  I know we’ve used Amazon often as an example of how to do online optimization well, but they just do such a great job I can’t help but share.  Here’s what they did to not only make it easy to unsubscribe, but actually made me consider NOT unsubscribing:

1. They remembered me!  Nearly all other sites had me enter my own email address.  Hello, I got to this page by following a link at the bottom of an email you already sent me, shouldn’t you know who I am?!?

2. Their button was labeled “Confirm Changes.” I know this may seem simple, but when you’re given the option of either “Submit” or “Cancel,” and you’re trying to cancel a subscription to a promotional email, clicking on the button labeled “Cancel” is tempting.

3. They sent me a follow up email on the changes I’d made. I know some people may be frustrated by receiving another email after you just asked not to be emailed anymore, but for me, it was nice to know that my request was received.  I think we’ve all been in a situation where we seem to unsubscribe from the same email over and over again, and yet continue to receive it.

While we hope that those you email won’t choose to unsubscribe, giving them an easy way to do it (that puts the customer first) may help them reconsider.

Add Your Comments

Comments (50)

  1. These are great suggestions to add to your unsubscribe page. Your unsubscribe page is your last chance to retain customers and as such it should be carefully designed and worded so customers feel they want to stay.

  2. I am not very annoyed by them usually but when i am waiting for some important information to come my way via mail, its then that real problem starts because every time i hear an alert, i instantly set out to check it.
    That’s when, i really get bugged from these.

  3. Damn !
    This is absolutly shocking !
    If one unsubsription create 3 new other subscriptions, it’s anormal.
    Isn’t it a kind of “compulsory sale”, no ?

  4. The unsubscribe situation os getting ridiculous nowadays. I hate to think what it will be like in 10 years :(

    Tax Deed
    Snowshoe Rentals
    Tax Deed
    Florida Liquor License

  5. yup really fraustrating, i get many emails again and again even i unsubscribe, they might think i’m actively checking mails.. if i just avoid those mails foe few months.. they just stop sending..

  6. I’ve actually had to change my email account because of the amount of emails that I get like the ones you’re describing.

    Don’t the emailers know that it’s not good business not allowing people to unsubscribe and continue annoying them with more spammy emails?

  7. nice post, thanks for sahring. I thought it’s a china’s strategic :)

  8. Actually, there can be a very good reason for not pre-filling in the unsubscriber’s email address.

    If you are sending interesting emails that contain valuable content, there is a chance that your email will be forwarded by the recipient to someone they think would also be interested.

    If the person to whom the email is forwarded doesn’t want it, he might click to unsubscribe, and we certainly don’t want the original person’s email to be already pre-entered, resulting in an accidental unsubscribe by a person who liked your email so much that they forwarded it to a friend.

  9. Thank’s for your post

  10. Ken, That’s a really great point. I wonder if there’s a way around that problem.

  11. The most frustrating unsubscribe experience I’ve ever had was Hilton Honors. The landing page was confusing, and after a while I gave up. I am still receiving HH emails.

    As an experiment, I recently tried unsubscribing to Bliss Beauty’s email letter to see what would happen as I admire their email marketing. The process was very easy (although the landing page did ask me to type in my email even though it was already there). When I clicked Confirm, it took me to a page with a confirmation message, but below that, it had three online specials, and an option to re-subscribe. Clever.

  12. I’m tired of receiving 1000 emails daily :(


  13. Interesting post, but it is crazy handling thousand email you’ve got!

  14. I subscribed to too many lists, I still get emails about stuff I was interested in years ago.
    nitro cars
    pink camera

  15. I really hate those emails because of that, I’m using a different email address for registration purposes. It’s very irritating to check your email with lots of unnecessary messages somebody you don’t even know.

  16. Spam is definately out of control and likely the number one e-export from China. When you unsubcribe it sometimes leads to more emails as the act of unsubscibing confirms you read the emails.

    The answer that I have found is gmail. Route all your email to a gmail account that you can personalize with as many email addresses as you wish. So your email address does not have to change.

    The spam filtering in gmail is very effective. The only types that it does not catch are ones where the return address is your own email address. It is easy to make a filter for this.

    Gmail caches an average of 200 spam emails a day for me. I love it.

  17. Another good idea for unsubscribe pages is to have an OPTIONAL question on the page asking why they are unsubscribing. Can get you great insight.

  18. as this blackberry became a trend now, Blackberry ISP should put the Antispam addon software to their customer, so the customer have their choice to block / whitelist the sender.

  19. I hope there really exist a thing like Email Feng Shui

  20. [...] Source:Email Feng Shui: The Unsubscribe Option Share and Enjoy: [...]

  21. The problem with making it hard to unsubscribe is that people will just hit spam button and the accumulation of that will cause your emails to be identified as such.

  22. ye this spam thing is so annoying.. i keep making new emails but once they got to you there’s no escape :(

  23. As we use our customer database to let our subscribers know of Nampa homes to rent we often get hit by the spam button, because they have forgotten they subscribed!

  24. As we use our customer database to let our subscribers know of Nampa homes to rent we often get hit by the spam button, because they n they subscribed!

  25. the problem is identified as ” does unsubscribing cause more emails to come your way ” i saw 20 responses and not 1 solution!!!! not 1 whats the point of me coming to this site for a solution and all i get is a regurgatation of what i already know.

  26. Great suggestion, might do the same for my mailing list .. thanks ;)

  27. I thank you for this informative article. And I thank you for this I follow your vendors. It’s verry good. I wish you continued success.

  28. yes, some of them just won’t let you go :)

  29. Your suggestion about the unsubscriber’s email is very useful for me and I nearly make mistake about it.

  30. I’m get very angry when I try to unsubscribe and succed something like that,If I could, I send their mail to some Spam filter system… if they put thins hard for me perhaps I could do the same for them!

  31. I subscribe and unsubscribe to lists every week, when I’m going to unsubscribe it’s simply because I don’t want more information, the insubscribe formulary could be very prety and so on, but I’m going to do it for sure!

  32. I get loads of email daily from where I have subscribed in past and even I have unsubscribed from many of them some still seems to be sending mail by and then.

  33. Subscribing is really something to be think about. Once, I subscribe to this Health Magazine and I was so annoyed that every minute they send me subscription and its all surveys and promotions. I have to log-in my account and unsubscribe but then it doesn’t stop there. It still sending me surveys and promotions. What should I do about it?

  34. If you have an email account spare, you may even consider using your mystery shopper email address to find out about spam websites and where to avoid!

  35. The process was very easy (although the landing page did ask me to type in my email even though it was already there

  36. Yeah the problem is when you give you email to someone, or rather a company, which in turns gives away your email, sometimes without your consent. Thats illegal in Canada.

  37. I feel your sentiments as I also get tons of junk mails daily. Even upon hitting the unsubscribe button, they still keep on sending the same emails! So irritating and frustrating.. grrrrrrr!

  38. I always check the unsuscribe options, I dont trust the unscrupulous marketers.

  39. The easiest way to unsubscribe is directly from an email in your inbox — especially if you don’t remember your password. To do this, simply open up one of the emails in your inbox, and find the unsubscribe link down at the bottom, under “Change Subscription Information” — and just click it!

  40. It’s very irritating to check your email with lots of unnecessary messages somebody you don’t even know. The problem with making it hard to unsubscribe is that people will just hit spam button.

  41. I agree with you a good web design that considers the users is not a difficult thing to achieve, yet often we are left looking at half baked information, no clear directions or instructions. This can be frustrating and demonstrates lack of awareness for their customers(the ones visiting their site) and or connection with their ultimate aim that is to create loyalty.

  42. Yeah the problem is when you give you email to someone, or rather a company, I agree with you a good web design I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.
    I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.

  43. We must all be serious in subscribing any blogs or emails so we can avoid any issues in the future.

  44. A new problem that I discovered is that spammers will now subscribe to a list and immediately unsubscribe. It seemed puzzling until I realized that they were harvesting my email address from my confirmation and unsubscribe replies!

  45. Well I have a big habit of hitting unsubscribe when I have to sign up for something just to see a web site or use a fake mail acct but for things I am really interested in you have good ideas on the unsubscribe. I am looking at doing a newsletter down the road myself.

  46. I am also sick of unwanted e-mails. Some sites don’t stop to send mail even we have unsubscribed them.

  47. With the email spam so sensitive these days. I’m always checking the spam box for legitimate emails.

  48. Subscribing emails are very annoying. Many of the emails that I received say that I’m subscribing their services or products but actually I was not. Is anybody can help me on how to filter them?

  49. I finally decided to unsubscribe from all of the unwanted e-mail lists I was on and had a similar experience. I agree that I was more likely to change my mind when I went to a page that made it easy for *me*. There were a few who didn’t lose my subscription.

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Natalie is a Persuasion Analyst with FutureNow.

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