Use unsubscribe tactics to improve deliverability

Business Benefits

Improve your list health and increase deliverability rates.

Make unsubscribing easy by including an opt-out link in your email footers and headers.

Most major email platforms, such as Mailchimp and HubSpot, automatically include a dynamic unsubscribe link in the footer of all your emails. Modify your email template to also include the same unsubscribe link in your email header. Check the documentation for your specific platform, as every service provider is different.

Subscribers who don’t want to receive your emails are unlikely to scroll to the bottom of your most recent email campaign, and will be tempted to instead hit the Flag as Spam button in their inbox. Put an opt-out link at the top to avoid unnecessary spam flags, which sabotage your deliverability rate.

Direct your unsubscribe link to an opt-down unsubscribe page. Include an option to fully unsubscribe from all your emails.

Some subscribers think they want to unsubscribe, but only because the most recent email they read didn’t fully apply to them. They might be:

  • Subscribed to multiple lists, but don’t want to receive emails from this specific list.
  • On the wrong email frequency schedule. For example, a very active community member might want a daily forum update, but an infrequent visitor might want a weekly or monthly update instead.
  • Receiving emails at the wrong address. Many people have multiple email addresses, and many reserve one for mailing lists. If they are annoyed, they might simply want to change where they receive their emails.

Conduct an exit survey, with a very short one-question survey asking them why they unsubscribed.

Give them several options, such as:

  • Didn’t mean to subscribe. This is a good time to re-evaluate your double opt-in policy or make it clearer on your opt-in pages what people are subscribing to.
  • Were receiving emails too frequently.
  • Felt the emails they received weren’t appropriate.

Keep tabs on this unsubscribe data and feedback, and adjust your email strategy continually.

Clean up your list by sending a re-engagement email to subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in a while.

Some users will never take steps to unsubscribe from unwanted emails. Some email hosting providers automatically filter many promotional messages into a separate tab, making it easy for users to ignore you. Low deliverability rates impact your overall sender reputation. Rather than sending emails to uninterested subscribers, attempt to reactivate them:

  • Segment your email list into users who haven’t opened your emails in 30 days or more.
  • Create a special offer that tempts them to re-engage with your brand. This might include an exclusive discount code for your store, or a free digital giveaway from your blog.
  • Send this email to your unengaged segment.
  • Retain these subscribers and add them back to your main list segment if they open your email. Delete them if they don’t re-engage.

For example, BirchBox sends unengaged users an email offering extra samples in their next gift box if they reactivate their account. Meanwhile, photo editing app Path sends dormant users an email showing them all the app updates and photo editing filters added in recent months, and asks them to reactivate their account to see these changes.

Make the resulting unsubscribe actions effective immediately.

Whether someone manually requests to unsubscribe, or you are cleaning up your email list on your own end, take action immediately. While vanity metrics like the size of your total list may feel good, it’s better to have a small list that’s highly engaged than a big list with a low open rate. This tells spam filters that your emails aren’t applicable to the user and will only decrease your overall deliverability rates.

Last edited by @hesh_fekry 2023-11-14T11:30:47Z