Tips and Tricks For A Great Unsubscribe Message

Posted / 07 August, 2015

Author / Enginess


Here are a couple of tricks that we’ve picked up over the years to help you craft the perfect unsubscribe message.

Even the best email marketers are going to lose subscribers. It’s inevitable.

The trick is to use that opportunity to make a positive lasting impression on your readers.

Here are a couple of tricks  we’ve picked up over the years to help you craft the perfect unsubscribe message.

Why you should care about your unsubscribe message

Unsubscribe messages are underused when it comes to email marketing.

Many companies who otherwise practice superb email marketing tend to drop the ball when it comes to the unsubscribe, and opt for the default option.

The prevailing wisdom is that by the time someone’s unsubscribing, they’re already lost – best to get out. Since there’s nothing to be gained, companies are reticent to pour their efforts into crafting the perfect parting one-liner.

But really, the unsubscribe message is an opportunity. It’s one of the only times (along with shopping receipts for ecommerce sites) when you know it’s the last point of contact.

Imagine going to a pitch meeting, and the pitch doesn’t go well. You don’t just storm off! You want to leave a lasting positive impression. So you smile and say thanks for the opportunity.

For example, here’s an unsubscribe message from a SaaS company:bad unsubscribe messageHow abrupt is that?! Sure, it’s to the point, but it totally misses the opportunity. Your unsubscribe message should leave a good feeling in your lost subscribers.

After all, just because they don’t like your email doesn’t mean that they don’t like your company.

That’s why you should put energy into your unsubscribe. And if you can be clever, then do it.

Here are five actionable tips to get you on the right track.

1. Remind them why they subscribed in the first place

We are, of course, assuming that you’re already following positive subscriber email practices. This means:
  • Opt-in, not opt-out
  • All your subscribers were acquired organically
If that’s not the case, then you probably need to purge your email list anyways.

But if so, then a gentle reminder of why someone wanted to hear what you have to say in the first place isn’t so bad.

Eventbrite does a fantastic job of this without being pushy: eventbrite unsubscribe message The line ‘are you sure you want to stop getting the inside scoop’ speaks perfectly to what Eventbrite does without being annoying.  

2. Work on your engagement

Of course it would be foolish to talk about unsubscribe messages without talking about Groupon. Granted, it’s a little old, but we still think it’s up there for best and brightest.


Dark? Absolutely. But also it encourages Groupon subscribers to engage with the company one last time by clicking the ‘punish Derrick’ button.

Another example of this is HubSpot’s unsubscribe page, which is understandably awesome. Click the image (or here) to see the video. hubspot unsubscribe page

It’s really built like a landing page. And by having a video there, it encourages you to engage just one last time before you leave.  

3. Give your subscribers options

Just because folks have decided they don’t want to be a part of your list in its entirety doesn’t mean that they want to quit cold turkey.

If you can provide some more gentle alternatives to the unsubscribe you might retain your readership.

For example, let’s say you send out three emails a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You might give your users the option to only subscribe to the Friday email.

Another way is to differentiate by content. Let’s say you send three emails a week. One is what you’ve been blogging about, one full of special offers, and one is packed with free resources. Someone might love your free resources but not be interested in your blog. That’s fine! But make sure they have the option to keep getting what they want and cut out the fluff.  

4. Provide other ways to keep in touch

Maybe you’re cluttering their email. But at the same time, you might run a superb LinkedIn page that’s more inline with what they’re looking for.

Or maybe they want to throw your blog onto their RSS feed. Your customers might just not know about those options, even if they do want to engage that way.

So use your unsubscribe page to tell them.

Let’s go back to our HubSpot video from before. In addition to having their social icons right there in front of the user, they also touch base in the video by saying:

“You don’t need email… I’m on Facebook, I’m on Twitter, I’m on LinkedIn a fair bit”
It subtly drives the point how that there are other ways to engage with them, even if email isn’t working.

hubspot unsubscribe page social link  

5. Use cute stuff

Or you can just woo your customers shamelessly back with cute animals. That’s another option. WPromote, for example, used this as their unsubscribe page.

wpromote unsubscribe page

Shameless use of cute animals. But come on – who doesn’t love puppies?  

Wrap up

Don’t abandon your customers at the last minute. Your unsubscribe page is an easy way to redirect your subscriber traffic, engage one last time with your readers, and mostly just leave a positive, lasting impression.

It’s also an opportunity to flex your creative muscle and have a little fun with something that’s otherwise dry and boring.

And who knows – maybe your unsubscribe message will be so good you’ll never lose a subscriber again?

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