3 Unsubscribe UX Rules To Live By

Today I got the 9,347,598th notification email from a startup I was checking out a few months ago when they were in beta. I realized that their incessant emails were really starting to irritate me, and decided it was time to unsubscribe. I went to the email footer, and found something even more irritating. No unsubscribe button. So today, I’d like to chat a little about unsubscribe UX, and how you can make it less irritating for your customers, thereby retaining those customers.

1. Always have an unsubscribe link in the footer of your emails. 

This company had a “Change Settings” link instead, which annoyed me, because I just knew that clicking it was going to take me to a sign in screen, and I hadn’t used this product in a long enough period of time that I didn’t know my password, and I was going to have to have it sent to me. So I was going to have to have them send me another email, just to unsubscribe from their annoying emails. This entire circle of thought, which took place in a space of about 3 seconds, instantly made me want to just delete my account entirely because the UX was so frustrating. All of this was brought on by reading the words “Change Settings”. This brings me to point #2.

2. Make your unsubscribe process 2 clicks. 

I want to click unsubscribe in the email, and then see a screen that says, “Are you sure you want to unsubscribe? If yes, pick a reason from this nifty little pre-populated drop down or type a reason in this bonus material box.” Then I want to see a confirmation message that may even include a little warm fuzzy, “We’ll miss you, you can resubscribe any time,” message.

What I DON’T want is to have to go to your website, try to sign in, go through your multistep retrieve password process if I’ve forgotten it, finally get logged in, locate the settings area of your site, dig through the settings until I find your email notifications area, and uncheck the 5 different boxes for your mega annoying constant emails, then save, then have to log out. Because by the time I go through all that I’m not just annoyed, I’m angry with your brand for making me jump through hoops. Also, seeing the website while going through the frustrating process is not a good thing. It makes me associate your branded site with a feeling of extreme irritation, whereas just clicking an unsubscribe link in an email with a generic confirmation screen doesn’t make me associate angry feelings with your brand at all.

3. Poor unsubscribe UX can trigger customers to bail on your product entirely, so keep it clean. 

I actually liked this product. I thought it was pretty useful and I was keeping my account around for use with future projects. By the time I finished unsubscribing from their emails, however, I was so irritated that I very nearly deleted my entire account. Small details like unsubscribe workflows really matter when it comes to customer retention. Don’t let little big UX details derail your customer retention rates!

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