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Email Unsubscribe: Exploring its Nitty Gritties with Examples

This post was originally published on 22nd October 2014. It has been updated on 12th September 2019...

One of the most challenging things that email marketing managers have to deal with, is email unsubscribes. While the unsubscribe rate cannot be totally eliminated, you can still reduce it.

So, what is a good email unsubscribe rate?

According to the norms, less than 0.5% is a good unsubscribe rate. If your unsubscribe rate is higher than 0.5%, you must consider revisiting your email marketing strategy.

However, the silver lining to the cloud of unsubscribe from emails is that it is better than getting marked as spam.

That said, let’s discuss the positive aspects of unsubscribes.

1. Your sender reputation remains undamaged

Although unsubscribes mean that you have lost a prospective client (perhaps, forever), it does not damage your email sender reputation. As a result, your sales funnel remains intact. An email unsubscribe means that the user is not interested in your products or services. It is, therefore, better that they leave the list rather than staying on the list but not engaging with your emails. If you want to create emails that not only blows your subscribers mind but also are highly engaging, then contact us.

2. You can get to understand why they unsubscribed

When a subscriber clicks on the unsubscribe mail link, you can redirect them to a preference center and request their feedback. This will let you know the reason for unsubscribes and understand their expectations. It is quite likely that you would not receive feedback from everyone who unsubscribes but those who do can share valuable insights with you.

3. Your list will have only qualified prospects

More often than not, subscribers get on your list without any intention to purchase. As bitter as it may sound, not everyone is interested in the products or services you offer. These prospects are not qualified for your services which makes it an impractical approach to make them stay on the list. Therefore, whenever an uninterested customer proceeds with an email opt out, it is actually a blessing in disguise.

4. Unsubscribes allow you to determine the flaws in your email marketing strategy

If you start noticing too many unsubscribes, you should analyze your email marketing strategy and determine whether you are sending too frequent emails. You should check if your emails are relevant for the recipients and their buyer’s journey. Making the necessary changes will help you reduce the email unsubscribe rate by creating emails that resonate the most with the target audience.

Email Uplers can help you in building emails that not only have a low unsubscribe rate but also bring more conversions.

The Downside of Unsubscribes

Unsubscribes imply that the reader will not engage with any of the future communications which might have a negative impact on sales.

A higher email unsubscribe rate means increased customer attrition and burn out of the list. It can hamper the growth of your business if unsubscribes continue to increase.

In case your unsubscribes exceed the rate of subscription rate, it can lead to considerable drop in the number of conversions which can be a matter of serious concern for marketers.

How to Reduce the Email Unsubscribe Rate

1. Segment the Email List

Segment the subscribers in different groups based on their age, gender, educational qualification, demographics, job position, past purchases, and other parameters that match your industry type and business. So essentially when your subscribers go for an email opt out, they unsubscribe from this list.

By segmenting your email list, you can send out personalized emails that are more relevant for the subscribers. The most effective segmentation criteria are purchase history and demographics. To start with, you can pick two unique segments and go on to build multiple email campaigns with advanced segmentation options.

2. Map the content to match the buyer’s journey

Whenever you get a new subscriber on your list, you can send a welcome email and try to gather more information that would let you understand their preferences. You can use an automation software tool that would allow dynamic segmentation and help you in the creation of better emails based on the stage the buyer is in.

If you want to build an effective email automation workflow, get in touch with us.

3. Inform the subscribers about the alternative communication channels

Despite all your efforts, if the subscriber still chooses to unsubscribe from all emails, he or she should know that you are also active on social media in case they want to stay in touch with you or receive important company updates. Include social sharing buttons in the footer of the unsubscribe page or the preference center so that the subscribers can still have a chance to hear from you.

4. Monitor the load time of your emails

The load time of emails varies based on the email client and device of the users. You should have a fast loading email that will leave a better impact on the reader. Do not add too many images or heavy visual elements that can make the email slow to load.

5. Send the emails at a consistent schedule

Receiving emails at a particular time sets the right expectations and works as a powerful brand statement. For instance, I receive an email from Invision App every Wednesday morning at 10 AM in which they share interesting articles related to their industry. Such kind of consistency makes me look forward to their emails and learn more about their services.

6. Analyze your email frequency

Determine the right email frequency for your segments. Although it might take several email frequency tests and trial & error method to work it out, you must make sure that you are not sending too many or too few emails.

7. Take the customer feedback seriously

Whenever you get an unsubscribe, ask for the customer’s feedback so that you can modify your email marketing strategy to cut down unsubscribes. Even though the feedback might not bring the recipient back, it will help you shape up the future strategy.

8. Send personalized and exclusive offers

Incentivize your customers with personalized offers they cannot deny. It will not only keep them engaged but also discourage them from unsubscribing.

9. Give the customers an option to adjust their email preferences

Redirect the unsubscribe link to a preference center from where the customers can change their preferences and put the changes into practice as soon as possible.

That said, let’s move on to discuss some of the most interesting unsubscribe HTML templates to inspire you.

1. KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics’ one click unsubscribe page has sharp statements and a clarification. There are no chances to re-subscribe, but it’s good in a way to follow legal guidelines.

KISSmetrics Unsubscribe email template

2. Abercrombie & Fitch

This is one of the best unsubscribe page examples. It stands out because of its monotone. It simply asks for the email id to be unsubscribed.

A&F Unsubscribe email template

3. H&M

H&M has kept it extremely short and simple by merging checkboxes for receiving emails or unsubscribe, with not many options, making the entire process very brief.

H&M Unsubscribe email template

4. HubSpot

HubSpot has an amazing video on the unsubscribe landing page with this message. Another way it stands out is that it points out to the subscribers to keep in touch on social platforms if not the email subscription.

HubSpot Unsubscribe email template

5. Groupon

Groupon’s unsubscribe page generated quite a stir with its funny video that punishes Derrick for his folly of sending an email the subscriber did not like, followed by an immediate closing screen that reads- “That was pretty mean… I hope you are happy. Want to make it up to Derrick? Resubscribe!” Surely a creative marketer’s way,

Groupon Unsubscribe email template

6. Alibris

This unsubscribe landing page by Alibris uses content that points towards what the subscribers are likely to miss on if they decide to unsubscribe. However, their content also implies that they value the subscriber’s decision, making them feel considered and thus more likely to change their mind.

Alibris Unsubscribe email template

7. Costco

Costco’s unsubscribe showcases a ‘Did you know?’ box on the side containing the links to benefits, security assurance and preferences to the Costco subscription. The use of words ‘You’re in control!’ makes the subscriber feel that they can still continue with their final decision.

Costco Unsubscribe

8. Bonobos

Most good companies go for this approach seeking approvals from their subscribers regarding the frequency of mails they would prefer. This helps serve the subscribers exactly in the quantum they need. Bonobos has incorporated this approach along with delightfully cheesy implications to them, increasing the subscriber’s chances to stay.

Bonobos Unsubscribe

9. HP

A few big companies like HP here, also opt for an unsubscribe form listing all their editorials with check boxes alongside for the subscriber to decide if they still want to stay subscribed to different types of information.

HP Unsubscribe


JETSETTTER’s unsubscribe page has a neat table containing various email frequencies with a short description about what to expect from each one of them. The unsubscribe email message allows the user to set the preferences according to his or her choice. That increases the likelihood of reducing unsubscribes.

unsubscribe email templates - Jetsetter Email Preference

Other creative ideas that can be incorporated to design unsubscribe landing pages, are as follows:

1.Blending past behavior with rational reasons to stay back!

Example: A future sneak peek – Larger than life heaven’s preview in email or landing page.

2. Real time personalization on unsubscribe page!

Examples: Sand clock – “Dying in your separation, 8 seconds to bring us back to life” – Resubscribe

You left a time bomb! Tick Tick Tick, It’s dreadful, Save us – 10,9,8….2 Resubscribe and a few seconds later… 1 Blast!!

It is 7.00 AM in Sydney, our email manager hasn’t woke up yet and you are about to spoil his day. Unsubscribe later as he wakes up? No?

3. Showing the loss in humorous way using a funny image.

Example: “No longer want to receive insightful blog updates? Well, you can leave us for sure, but half knowledge is a dangerous thing! 😛

Wrapping Up

Incorporate these simple-to-implement ideas into your businesses’ unsubscribe landing page, to be able to make those priceless subscribers stay!

Signing off with an opt out email example to inspire you:

However, remember that the best unsubscribe email message of confirmation is the one that you don’t send.

If you have any other tips, do let us know in the comments below.

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    Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing email design and coding companies. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage, share insights with fellow marketers, and enjoys sharing his thoughts on the latest email marketing best practices.

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