Do your meticulously crafted email campaigns get frequently greeted by unsubscribes? I remember how that made me question my skills as an email marketer. 

It’s reasonable to see the unsubscribe button email marketing relationship negatively. Watching people show their disinterest feels like a loss of potential business.

However, I realized it doesn’t have to be a sign your messages aren’t resonating with your audience. An unsubscribe button in your communications can, in fact, empower your email marketing strategy!

Unsubscribes help refine your approach and boost deliverability. Read on to find out how, with unsubscribe best practices, email marketing will be successful!

The Power of the Unsubscribe Button

Many marketers fear the unsubscribe button. But I think it’s time to change the narrative around this much-feared option. 

I know unsubscribes mean your precious email list is shrinking. But what benefit can you get by growing your email list without genuine connections?  

An unsubscribe option can boost deliverability and help identify engaged subscribers. If you ask me, email marketing best practices include a prominent unsubscribe button.  

Legal and Ethical Compliance: 

Did you know that including an unsubscribe button isn’t optional? The CAN-SPAM Act requires commercial emails to include both opt-out information and an unsubscribe link.

So, you must give your recipient a clear choice not to receive your emails. The option should be valid for 30 days after sending the email. 

The Act also mandates that you honor an opt-out request immediately. By that, I mean you’ll have 10 business days to honor the request.  

But let me tell you, this button goes beyond legal requirements. It’s about courtesy, ethical email marketing, and good email hygiene while keeping our email list clean. 

Improved Deliverability Rates:  

An easy-to-spot unsubscribe button can reduce email spam complaints and improve email deliverability. Let me explain how these two are connected. 

If recipients can’t access the unsubscribe button easily, they may just mark your emails as spam. And multiple spam complaints indicate that your emails are unwelcome. 

Eventually, even emails sent to interested subscribers may end up in their spam folder. I’m sure you can understand how that can hurt your deliverability and sender reputation.

It’s almost shocking that in 2023, 45.6% of emails sent were identified as spam. Clearly, it’s important to make an effort to avoid spam complaints and boost inbox placements.  

Valuable User Insights: 

Don’t view unsubscribes as a loss of potential buyers! Consider them as valuable insights into your content’s relevance and audience’s preferences. 

The Unsubscribe Rate and Spam Complaints are key metrics indicating email quality and relevance. Use the analytics dashboards of email marketing tools like MailVio to track them.

I like to analyze unsubscribe patterns to identify areas that need improvement. Accordingly, I tailor the campaign to better meet my subscribers’ needs. 

Good email hygiene means delivering value to genuine subscribers to increase email open rates and engagement. So embrace unsubscribes as an advanced list-building and maintenance technique, as described in this MailVio blog.

More Control for Subscribers: 

An unsubscribe option may seem counterintuitive, but it actually builds trust and credibility. Your recipients will appreciate that you respect their wish to opt-out. 

Think of it this way. Don’t you get irritated with brands that keep emailing, and you just can’t stop them?

The unsubscribe button in communications puts the control in your recipients’ hands. Trust me, they’ll enjoy the assurance that they can choose not to be bombarded with unwanted emails. 

It gives them a sense of power and fosters a positive perception of your brand. In my experience, people will likely engage with businesses that respect their choices and inbox space.

Making Unsubscribe a Positive Experience

By now, you have an idea of how the unsubscribe button can benefit you. But what about making it a positive experience for the recipients? 

I want even those opting out to think favorably about my brand. That opens the door for them to return later or recommend my business. 

It’s not rocket science, really! There are simple yet powerful strategies to make their exit as smooth and respectful as possible.

Frictionless Unsubscribe Process: 

To avoid frustration, subscribers should be able to unsubscribe in no more than two steps. So don’t make them jump through hoops, like logging in first or navigating a complex menu.    

I also ensure that opting out is a breeze by incorporating an easy-to-spot unsubscribe button. I like a clear font size, style, and color that makes it stand out against the background. 

Position is also important so that it’s accessible, but it’s not the first option subscribers see. The footer is usually a preferred spot.

Give people the option to select specific topics or frequencies and add your social media links. Here’s how The Hustle placed the button with alternative options to stay connected.

How Can Handling Unsubscribe Buttons Effectively Boost Your Efforts as an Email Marketer

Source: HubSpot 

User-Friendly Language:  

When crafting the unsubscribe process, use user-friendly, concise language. Incorporate clear CTAs like “Unsubscribe” or “Manage Preferences” for your button or link. 

Don’t try to confuse subscribers with technical terms, complex expressions, or ambiguous words. They’re smart enough to see through your attempt to prevent them from going away. 

Attempting to guilt-trip people into staying is another poor move that makes you seem needy and unprofessional. Being whiny, defensive, or rude will only make people more frustrated. 

Respect the wishes of those who unsubscribe and focus on engaging with subscribers who stay back. Unsubscribers might become valuable customers or proponents of your brand later.

Avoid Hidden Unsubscribe Buttons: 

As a kid, I used to love a good game of hide-and-seek. But as a grown-up marketer, I’ve learned not to play it with subscribers. 

One major mistake I find in email campaigns is a hidden unsubscribe button. Burying the unsubscribe button within blocks of text will not help keep disinterested recipients. 

Its placement should be obvious, and the font size, style, and color shouldn’t make it visually inaccessible. Also, it should not require multiple clicks. 

Avoid the recipe for confusion, exasperation, and spam complaints. Instead, show your subscribers that you value their time and respect their choices.

Turning Unsubscribes into Opportunities:

Yes, losing subscribers seems discouraging. But, if you play your cards right, these unsubscribes can be valuable for growth and improvement. 

Unsubscribes don’t just allow for analyzing email campaigns and identifying genuine subscribers. You can actually use the unsubscribe button as an opportunity. 

Strategies like preference management, feedback collection, and retrieval campaigns can change the game. Lost connections can become opportunities to refine your approach.  

Offer Preference Management:  

What if you could prevent your recipients from choosing to be completely disconnected? Yes, there’s a way! 

You can give subscribers a say in the content they prefer to receive. If your email service provider allows the preference center option, it can let people fine-tune their experience. 

Subscribers can select the subject they’re interested in and adjust how often they want communications from you. This will potentially reduce full unsubscribes!

Also, include links to your social media pages. They might still engage with you on other platforms even if they don’t want your emails. 

Unsubscribe Feedback Survey (Optional):  

To dig deep into why people leave, consider a short but insightful unsubscribe survey email marketing tool. Keep the survey brief, with 3-5 questions only, and offer multiple-choice options for quick responses. 

Add options like excessive emails, repetitive/redundant emails, and disparity between subject lines and email content. These are the three primary reasons for getting unsubscribes.

Add an option of “other reasons” with the space to write a short answer. Remember to keep this survey optional, not a mandatory step for opting out.

Such a survey will help identify where you’re missing the mark. You can tailor your future campaigns accordingly instead of shooting blanks. 

Win-Back Campaigns:  

You can revive interest and bring back former subscribers with a win-back campaign email marketing strategy. It’s targeted to re-engage valuable subscribers who may have unsubscribed temporarily.

You can woo them with discounts, exclusive content, etc., and re-establish connections through personalized messages. But I suggest not sending the email immediately after they unsubscribe. 

I wait for some time to respect their decision before emailing a question, offer, announcement, etc., like: 

  • Was our email frequency too high?
  • We miss you!
  • We’ve got something new for you!

Beyond the Unsubscribe: Building a Loyal Audience

I’m sure you understand that using unsubscribe properly is a small part of email marketing. It will only work when you focus on the other aspects of the game, too. 

Many aspects go hand in hand to create a killer email outreach. For starters, I advise marketers to pay attention to quality content, hyper-targeting, and continuous test-based optimization. 

Focus on High-Quality Content:  

Quality, for me, is all about delivering value to my audience, which is achievable by being relevant. Your email outreach must resonate with your target audience to be effective. 

Your email content can deliver value in any form. Discount codes, access to webinars, mini-courses, newsletters: the options are many!

Research your audience and understand their pain points. Find out what problems they want you to solve, and offer actionable advice.

Pay attention to every aspect: subject line, images, formatting, CTA, and more. You can check out this MailVio blog for tips on how to write professional and effective emails.  

Personalization and Segmentation:  

I think segmentation, personalization, and automation are three major factors in email marketing. Start segmenting email lists based on interests, activities, demographics, etc.

Email marketing tools like MailVio offer advanced dashboards with metrics and data. Use them to your advantage for micro-segmentation, as this blog describes. 

Based on the information, hyper-personalize every campaign to suit each audience category. Once again, pay attention to everything from the subject line to the CTA. 

Finally, set up email marketing automation to send emails at predetermined times or in response to triggers. This will ensure that no opportunity for effective communication is missed. 

A/B Testing and Optimization:  

A/B testing is crucial for analyzing and understanding what drives user engagement for email marketing. It also helps you identify which areas need improvements to boost engagement.

Experiment with subject lines, email formats, content, etc., continuously to see what works and what doesn’t. Monitor which options increase email open rates, clicks, conversions, etc. 

Analyze what increases unsubscribes, spam complaints, bounce rate, etc., to tweak campaigns accordingly. Based on the data collected, you need to optimize your future campaigns. 

Remember, A/B testing and campaign optimization must remain a continuous process, not a one-time thing. If you want to know more about email testing, take a look at this blog


It’s time to shift your perspective around opt-out. With a strategic unsubscribe, email marketing campaigns will keep you connected to genuinely interested people. 

After zeroing in on engaged audiences, you plan to monetize your email list. And eventually, with the right strategies, you may even regain some of the unsubscribers.   


Q: Should I be worried about people unsubscribing from my email lists?

A: People unsubscribing from your email list is common. Instead of worrying about it, use it as important information. Analyze the possible reasons behind unsubscribes to fine-tune future campaigns. Also, focus on engaging with interested subscribers.

Q: Where should I place the unsubscribe button in my email? 

A: Your unsubscribe button should be placed where recipients can view it easily. But it shouldn’t be the first actionable link, either. The footer of the email is an excellent place to position the unsubscribe button. 

Q: What should I write in my unsubscribe confirmation email?

A: After a subscriber opts out, send an email to confirm the unsubscribe in a simple, direct tone. Provide a link/option to adjust preferences instead and a special offer like a discount to attempt re-engagement.  

Q: Is it okay to ask for feedback when someone unsubscribes?

A: It’s perfectly okay to ask for feedback when someone unsubscribes. It is a great way to understand why you lost a subscriber. That way, you can fix the issue based on data instead of guesswork. 

Q: How can I win back subscribers who have unsubscribed?

A: You regain subscribers who have unsubscribed with the help of a proper win-back campaign. Wait for some time after unsubscribing and shoot an email. Entice them with an offer or a request to join back.

Q: How often should I clean my email list?

A: For proper email list hygiene, clean it on a fixed schedule. It can be once a week, a month, or at any interval. The frequency depends on your bounce rate, unsubscribe rate, spam complaints, etc.


Diptesh is a professional content writer and aficionado of Email Marketing and Affiliate Marketing. An experienced entrepreneur with both offline and online businesses, he understands the importance of email marketing and has plenty of first-hand experience supplementing his revenue streams with affiliate marketing.

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