We’ve laid out the 5 steps you need to configure the type of opt-out, the post-unsubscribe pages, the Preferences Center and email footers, customizing every aspect of the layout.

Just last week we talked about onboarding, i.e. the set of processes that revolves around the moment a contact subscribes.

Today we’ll look at the other side of the coin: offboarding, i.e. everything related to communication with contacts when they ask to unsubscribe from your mailing list.

We will then move on to the operational steps required to create a flow in order to manage this activity, which is as delicate as it is crucial. To do this, we will use Database Building, the new area of the MailUp platform where companies can develop strategies and operations to supply and manage subscribers in their database, all in one place.

Like last time, to give you an overview, we’ll flag the sections of Database Building that we’ll be using:

  • Subscriptions
  • Unsubscriptions 🚩
  • Preference Center 🚩
  • Look & Feel 🚩
  • Landing pages 🚩 

If you don’t have a MailUp platform yet, you can request a free 30-day trial now. This will allow you to do everything mentioned below.

Step 1 | Choose the unsubscribe method

Enter the platform and go to the Database Building area, then click on Unsubscriptions. You will then be offered a series of options, each corresponding to a different way in which your contacts can unsubscribe.

  • One-click unsubscribe: This means that you allow recipients to unsubscribe instantly by simply clicking once on the Unsubscribe link in the email.
  • Confirmed unsubscribeAdds an additional step to the option above: the user must confirm that they wish to unsubscribe by clicking again on a specific page (which we will look at shortly).
  • Unsubscribe with list preferences: Shows recipients all the lists they can unsubscribe from or subscribe to.
  • Unsubscribe with optionsOffers users a series of alternatives to simply unsubscribing.
  • Preference CenterAllows you to configure a page where contacts can update their personal data and their subscriptions to lists as well as exporting the information stored by the company.

Which option is best?

Each way of unsubscribing has pros and cons. Let’s take a look at them:

One-click unsubscribe

👍 Also known as single opt-out, it guarantees a more streamlined user experience in accordance with the following principle: if the user has decided to leave, their request should be granted as quickly as possible.

👎 The risk is that a recipient might click on the Unsubscribe link by accident, especially on mobile. The result? An unwanted cancellation that can only be rectified by subscribing again.

Confirmed unsubscribe

👍 The most balanced compromise: agile unsubscription (just one more click) that prevents accidental cancellations.

👎 Generally, this method does nothing to try to retain the contact who wants to unsubscribe (except for particularly sophisticated confirmation pages).

Unsubscribe with list preferences| Unsubscribe with options| Preference Center

👍 These are all ways that you can attempt to offer the recipient the option of revising their subscription to find the solution that is right for them.

👎 These options put a few “obstacles” between the contact and unsubscribing. The biggest risk is that the recipient, feeling impatient or even exasperated, might mark the email as spam.

In this blog post, we will choose the classic option, the one most common among companies: Confirmed unsubscribe, also known as double optout. The Unsubscribe link will be added automatically to the footer of the message as it is being sent.

Let’s activate it on the platform:

Step 2 | Customize the unsubscribe confirmation page

The next step is to decide what that “second click” will look like. All contacts who click on the Unsubscribe link in an email will be taken to a dedicated page.

To customize this page, click on Modify, which is highlighted in blue in the image above. The platform generates a default unsubscribe confirmation page.

It’s simple and clear, but essentially anonymous. To customize it, turning it into an extension of your brand, click on the option on the right: Customize.

This will take you to the Look & Feel section; as mentioned previously, this is a sort of control panel where you can fine-tune and define the layout of:

  • Pages (post-subscription, unsubscription, post-unsubscription)
  • Forms (subscription, profiling, post-profiling)
  • Preference Center
  • Landing pages

Now let’s customize the page layout in line with the brand identity that we came up with last week. We’ll change:

  • Logo
  • Font
  • Colors

Here’s the result:

Step 3 | Create the post-unsubscribe page

To end the flow, you need a final post-unsubscribe page. This notifies the contact that they have successfully unsubscribed and can also contain additional content or messages.

You will find another button at the bottom of the Confirmed unsubscribe page: Post-unsubscription page. Here, you’ll be presented with a default page featuring the key message – “You have unsubscribed successfully” – and the previously defined layout.

However, this page offers a touchpoint with the recipient that you can harness to much greater effect. One possibility could be to create and link unsubscribers to a survey where you ask them questions about their experience with the brand and their reasons for leaving.

To do this, go to the Landing pages section. Here, you can create a customized page with the drag & drop editor, just like you would for an email. The result could be something like this:

Once you’ve created the page, publish and copy the generated URL.

Then go back to Unsubscriptions > Confirmed unsubscribe > Post-unsubscription page. Under the heading Replace the default page with a landing page, click on Redirect to landing pages.

Click on the drop-down menu next to Unsubscription completed and choose the option External landing page; in the field that pops up, paste the URL of the landing page that you just copied. That’s it!

Step 4 | Configure the Preferences Center

The last step is to define the Preference Center, a fundamental tool that you can use to integrate all your unsubscriber management activities.

The Preference Center is a panel where recipients can modify their data, preferences, subscriptions and frequencies. This tool allows you to channel all potential unsubscribers to a place where they can redefine their relationship with the company.

Like all the other pages, the Preference Center is also totally customizable in terms of content and layout. In the Database Building area, you can find the Preference Center option. By clicking on this, you can define every aspect of the page.

Step 5 | Fine-tune your email footer

Perfecting your email footer is a key part of designing a campaign. Let’s take a look at the absolute must-haves for an email footer:

  • Unsubscribe link: We’re fully up to speed on this one. The link needs to be clear, unambiguous and easily visible. If not, the recipient is likely to become frustrated in their attempts to unsubscribe and report the email as spam.
  • Link to the Preferences Center: The display text could be Update your profile or Update your preferences. As mentioned, this is a space where recipients can update their data and adjust options such as frequency and mailing lists. The footer is the perfect place to add this link.
  • Link to the privacy policy: This directs contacts to a page that clearly lays out all the details about the collection and processing of their personal data.
  • Permission reminder: The classic wording is: “You are receiving this message because you are subscribed to…”. The permission reminder is a great way to tell recipients why they are receiving the message. It is also a best practice in terms of deliverability because it reduces spam reporting and ensures you maintain a good reputation.

An example of a footer? Check out ours:

Summing up

Making it easy and intuitive for people to unsubscribe is in the best interests of both a company and its contacts. Let’s be clear: mismanaging unsubscribers is more harmful than it is helpful in terms of reputation, brand identity and deliverability.

With the Database Building area, you can manage every aspect of your unsubscriber flow in one place. We invite you to try it; if you still haven’t got your hands on MailUp, request a free trial today. Happy Email Marketing!

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