Why unsubscribing from newsletters should be pain free
by Jenny Lewis, Head of UX

Why unsubscribing from newsletters should be pain free

Why unsubscribing from newsletters should be pain free

Photo credit: zieak via photopin cc

Every now and then I suddenly remember that I can unsubscribe from newsletters and emails. It’s a revelation “Oh wait! I don’t have to keep deleting all of these emails I don’t want to read – I can unsubscribe”. It should be a simple process; yet unsubscribing can be a minefield. Some companies do it fantastically – you hit that button and you are done, phew. Others insist you login or require you to manually go through deselecting areas of interest.


Why do people unsubscribe?

Typically people unsubscribe from emails because you’ve not met their expectations. This might be because the content isn’t relevant (or bad quality) or because a user is receiving emails too frequently. People also unsubscribe when they are sent emails they didn’t sign up for.  For example, if I sign up to Waitrose I suddenly get bombarded with Waitrose Wine, Waitrose Gardening and Waitrose Cooking.

Why should you make unsubscribing pain free?

Granted, as a business (or organisation) you don’t want people to unsubscribe from your newsletters or emails – but making it impossible for them to escape won’t result in positive actions. It will just infuriate them and leave a bad taste in their mouth about your company resulting in damage to your brand.

What’s more is that if they can’t easily unsubscribe from your email they could mark it as spam instead which could severely impact the deliverability of your future campaigns.

How to make unsubscribing easy

The Don’ts

1. Don’t make your users wait 72 hours before you unsubscribe them. Your database takes seconds to add them; it should take seconds to remove them too.

2. Don’t make users sign in to a profile – they’ve probably forgotten their details and then will be even  more likely to report you as spam rather than retrieve their password.

3. Don’t make them enter their email address again. They’ve just clicked a link from your email – you know who they are!

Don't make them enter their email address again

4. Don’t send users an email telling them they’ve unsubscribed. They know they just did that.

5. Don’t send them ‘we miss you’ emails. Unless you are going to offer them a really great deal (e.g. free) they won’t care and will think you are spamming them.

graze email example


6. Don’t make users give you a reason as to why they’ve unsubscribed. If you really need feedback, then provide this as an option after they have unsubscribed.

Unsubscribe Successful



1. Do create a one click unsubscribe process

2. Do make the unsubscribe link clear in the email – make it easy for them to find

One click unsubscribe

3. Do consider offering them alternatives (after they’ve unsubscribed) such as less frequent or more specific emails.

Unsubscribing options

Or offer them updates in a different way such as through social media:

Social media updates

4. Do make your newsletters mobile friendly so it’s just as easy to unsubscribe on the move.

5. Do put time and effort into your landing page – the unsubscribe page is often overlooked but it should still be in line with your brand and leave a good impression. People need to know they are in the right place and that you care.

Unsubscribe landing page

6. Do thank them – sure they are leaving – but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped being a customer. Maybe they just prefer to get your updates through Twitter. Make them feel like a valued customer and that they are welcome to come back at any time.

Why unsubscribing?

7. Do analyse your stats – are there particular times when people are unsubscribing? Specific types of content? Alongside asking, do some digging.

Finally, to end on a lighter note – here’s a great little video of Groupon’s unsubscribe process from a few years back – it made me smile!



UX Consultant Emma Peters

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01202 293652 emmajones@experienceux.co.uk