The email unsubscribe experience is a crucial interaction between the sender and the recipient. If there is any friction or confusion while a recipient is trying to unsubscribe, this could mean trouble for your sender reputation and email delivery rates.

This post will describe how to streamline the unsubscribe feature of your emails, as well as provide some ideas for campaigns that you could send to recipients who you fear might be unsubscribing soon. And if you have a SendGrid account, the final section walks you through the process using the SendGrid UI.

Email unsubscribe best practices

It’s essential to have a good unsubscribe strategy in place because if a recipient doesn’t know how to unsubscribe from your emails, they may be tempted to mark your emails as spam–and this means you risk all of your emails going into the spam folder (even to those recipients who open and engage all the time!).

Common reasons users might unsubscribe from your emails include:
The content is not (or is no longer) relevant to them. (Check out our 2018 A-Z Email Marketing Guide if you’re looking for tips to combat the items above.)
They receive too many emails and are suffering from email fatigue.

The following tips will ensure that there is no confusion around how to unsubscribe from your emails.

1. Make it easy to unsubscribe

The easier your unsubscribe process is, the better for both parties. When you are deciding where to put your unsubscribe button or link, don’t hide the link, and double check that the link works. We usually see these buttons or links in the footer or bottom of the email, but they must be clear and easy to find no matter where they are.

Some other tips to make the unsubscribe easy include:

  • Don’t force readers to log in first.
  • Make it as simple as one click because more clicking around is likely going to irritate the recipient
  • Don’t wait. Unsubscribe your recipient immediately.
  • Avoid sending email confirmations that finalize the unsubscribe. (You don’t want to frustrate your recipient by sending them yet another email.)

Above all, ensure that your unsubscribe button is immediately recognizable for the recipient.

2. Provide alternatives to the unsubscribe

Each recipient is going to engage differently with your email content, so if you provide choices in email frequency and content in a preference center, you are likely going to retain some recipients who would otherwise unsubscribe.

You may also consider options to:

  • Give users the opportunity to update their email address to a new one
  • Offer your social platforms in place of your newsletter

Finding the right content to send to your email list is not easy, but if you keep testing and iterating on these techniques, you are more likely to improve your engagement metrics.

3. Consider a re-engagement campaign

Once somebody unsubscribes from your email list, you are legally obligated to remove them. But, a re-engagement campaign is a good way to reach unengaged recipients before they hit the unsubscribe button.

If you’re keeping a close eye on your email metrics, and you notice a segment of your list that is not opening your emails, develop a re-engagement campaign where you 1) candidly ask them if they would like to stay on the email list and 2) update their preference or confirm that they should remain on the email list. And if they don’t open the email, it’s time to part ways.

Continue reading to watch a video to learn how to manage your unsubscribe list within your SendGrid account.

How to manage your unsubscribe list within SendGrid

As part of our Marketing Email Service VidGrid tutorial series, the video below explains how to manage the list of people who have unsubscribed from your marketing email in the SendGrid UI.

Video Transcription

How Do Newsletter Unsubscribes Work?

Starting from your newsletter dashboard, go ahead and click your My Recipients drop down menu and then select Manage. This page displays all of the recipient lists you currently have uploaded to your SendGrid newsletter app. Many customers ask, “How do newsletter unsubscribes affect each list?” The main thing to remember here is, each recipient list you have acts independently from the others. That means an email address can exist on multiple lists, yet selectively unsubscribe. For example, an email address could exist on both this “Newsletter demo/Managing Unsubscribes” list, as well as this “NPS January” list and will receive any newsletter sent to either one of these lists. If that email address unsubscribes sent with the “NPS January” recipient list, they will be removed only from that list. They will still receive newsletter sent with the “Newsletter demo” list.

Learn How to Manage Newsletter Unsubscribes

To manage the unsubscribes for a specific newsletter list, all you need to do is hover your cursor over that list and click the Manage Unsubscribes option. This page will display a list of all the address who have clicked the unsubscribe link from a newsletter sent with this recipient list. To add a list of addresses to unsubscribe from this recipient list, all you need to do is go over to the Upload option in the bottom right corner, click the drop down arrow, and then select Unsubscribes. From here, we can upload a CSV or a TXT file into the system with a list of the addresses that we need to unsubscribe. Here is an example of an Excel CSV file with the email addresses already populated inside. As you can see, I have three addresses here and a header with the title “Email Addresses.” To upload that file we need to click Upload, find the file on our computer, click Open, and if your CSV file has headers on the first row check this box, and then come down here to click Save and Continue. As you can see, uploading that CSV added those three address to the unsubscribes on this recipient list.

Now if you need to upload a list of addresses to re-subscribe to your newsletter, you follow a similar process. In the bottom right corner click Upload, select Re-subscribes, and follow the same process: find the file on your computer, check the box if there are headers in the first row, and click Save and Continue. As you can see, uploading that list re-subscribed those three addresses to this newsletter recipient list.

The final thing you can do on this page is download a CSV of unsubscribes from all of your lists. See this option in the top left corner. Selecting that link will export a CSV of all of the recipients who have unsubscribed from any of your newsletter lists. Depending on the number of contacts in your recipient lists, this could take a few minutes. And there you go. Now you know how to manage your newsletter unsubscribes.

For more information on SendGrid’s Marketing Email Service click here. And to access the whole VidGrid library click here.



Jillian Smith
As SendGrid's Director of Content, Jillian is responsible for ensuring that SendGrid provides valuable thought leadership content through the blog, whitepapers, webcasts, and more. When not writing and editing, you can find Jillian frequenting Denver restaurants in search of the best queso.