“Can we make the unsubscribe link smaller?”

[this post originally appeared on my LinkedIn Profile]

I hear this all the time from clients. Fundamentally, it’s about fear – fear that they will lose their customer. Fear of rejection. But it’s definitely the wrong question. Here’s the correct question:

Can we make the unsubscribe link highly visible and basically impossible to miss?

Here’s the thing:

If you’re sending timely, relevant and engaging content to your subscribers, they’ll keep wanting more from you.

If your content is not relevant or interesting to your subscriber, they’re going to want off your list, and you should make this as simple as possible for them to achieve.

The alternative is a Spam complaint.

Trust me, you never want a Spam complaint. Not even one. Not ever. So make it as painless as possible for someone to let you know that they’re just not that in to you without anyone getting hurt.

Here’s an example of getting it wrong:

I cancelled my Vudu account a little over a year ago. I haven’t used their service since and really, I have no desire to do so. Every now and again I see an email from them pop in to my Promotions folder, and today I thought to my self “I should probably unsubscribe”. Except I couldn’t.

There’s no way to get to a preference center or an unsubscribe link from this email. Which means that I have just one option. The dreaded Report Spam button.

3-26-201510.01.10 AM

Let’s forget for a minute that this violates CANSPAM laws and just focus on the customer convenience aspect.

Don’t force your customers to mark you as spam, because they will. Give them an easy, one click way to get off your list – it’s better for your data integrity, and its better for your customer.

Make it clear that you understand if they’re just not that in to you, and that you’re OK with that.