Stop Sending Unsubscribed Emails

When someone wants to unsubscribe from your email list, let them. Don’t make a fuss about it. What’s the point?

I know, I know. Each subscriber is incredibly important to you. They represent potential new customers. And future sales. And the bigger your list, the more you can charge advertisers to rent it.

Yes, an unsubscribe is not something marketers want to happen. We’d love for everyone to stay subscribed forever.

But what good does it do us to keep someone on our lists who doesn’t want our emails anymore. The answer is simple: it does us no good. So let them go.

Don’t force them to fill out a form. Don’t force them to confirm that they want to unsubscribe. Don’t force them to unsubscribe to each individual list.

Make it as easy as possible to unsubscribe with one click.

And please don’t make the one mistake guaranteed to piss people off more than anything else mentioned above. (I can’t believe I have to say this, because it should be so obvious to all of us)

Don’t send an email to the person that just unsubscribed to tell them that they’ve been unsubscribed. I mean, c’mon people. Think.

I have received two such emails so far this week and plan to post the names of all future companies who commit this unsubscribe fail here and on my Twitter feed going forward.


We’ve seen it before, a failure by a company or individual to understand what the unsubscribe option is for. But this is one of the worst I’ve seen yet.

Upon unsubscribing from an email that I never subscribed to in the first place, I got this message:

unsubscribe fail2.png

And sure enough, that was followed by this email:

unsubscribe fail3.png

If I don’t want to receive emails from you, I certainly don’t need an email telling me you won’t be sending me emails anymore. And it should not take someone telling you that for you to get it. That should come from your own common sense rules of email marketing.

Fix it!

5 Reasons People Are Unsubscribing

Welcome to another edition of the “5 Reasons” blog series. This will be a weekly blog series, with a fresh post every Monday. Last week’s topic was “Five Reasons to Hire a Marketer”.

This Week’s Topic = Five Reasons People Are Unsubscribing from your Emails

Successful email marketing is all about getting your email delivered. Or is it all about getting people to open? Or click? Okay so by now you should know there are a lot of elements of email marketing that need your attention. But one thing you really don’t want to see is a large number of people unsubscribing from your mailings. If you do, something is wrong.

  1. You didn’t get their permission. In this day and age, you should only be emailing opt-in subscribers. If you’re emailing people without their permission, you deserve what you get (likely your name on a blacklist).

  2. They forgot they gave you permission. This happens more often that you might think. People sign up from something they didn’t mean to, or they forgot about by the time you email them. That’s why I recommend sending something shortly after people sign up just to help set their expectations.

  3. You didn’t deliver what they expected. Be clear about what you will be sending people, and then stick with that promise. Don’t offer a monthly newsletter and then start emailing daily deals after they sign up.

  4. You email them too often. The emails I get from the Democrats will always be the campaign I point to when I tell people how NOT to run an email campaign. If you email someone too often, even if it’s something they’re interested in, you risk driving them crazy and losing them from your list. Again, it’s best to set expectations early about the frequency of your emails and don’t stray too far from that plan.

  5. Something has changed. I know, real specific right? But this is the kind of reason that is not necessarily anything you need to worry about. Maybe they purchased from a competitor and they’re not interested anymore. Maybe they moved and don’t need your local deals anymore. Something about what you’re offering no longer applies to them. So losing them from your list is not as bad as you might think.

As always, if you have your own tips, please include them in the comments below.