In our latest webcast Anatomy of a Marketing Email we ended with one of our best live Q&As yet. One question stuck out to me in particular and I think it requires a longer response than what would fit in our webcast Q&A follow-up post. The question was:

I’ve seen unsubscribe links at the top of marketing emails—is this a good or bad thing to do?

It’s a tough decision to make! I see arguments from two differing perspectives:

Perspective 1: Up top is a downer

By placing the link at the very top of your emails, it becomes a focal point of the marketing emailand instead of being a tool for subscribers to use at the end of the email, it becomes more of a suggestion. The first thing you want to say to me when I open your email is ask me if I want to stop hearing from you? Okay…points for ease of use, but penalties for overall email experience.

Also, most emails house the unsubscribe at the bottom of the email so it’s where people naturally look to find the unsubscribe. You could risk frustrating subscribers even further!

Perspective 2: Up top is tops!

By having an unsubscribe link at the top of your email, you’re making it exceptionally easy to help subscribers who no longer want to receive mail from you. Having an easy to find unsubscribe is a best practice we preach, so with having it at the top of your email you’re basically a superstar who’s going above and beyond the call of duty. It shows your recipients you take the privilege of being in their inbox seriously and your deliverability will reflect it!

Both perspectives have valid pros and cons, so I believe it comes down to your marketing email program. If you’re in a stage where opens and clicks aren’t quite as high as they once were, but you’re not quite ready to commit to a re-engagement campaign, placing the unsubscribe link at the top of your email could be just what you need to start getting unengaged recipients off of your list. If you’re at a great place with your subscribers and they’re engaging on a regular basis with your mail, keep the unsubscribe at the bottom.

Note: Whether your unsubscribe lives at the top or bottom of your email, it should always be EASY to find and use. One click unsubscribes are your friend! Never make people manually log into your application to unsubscribe. I can speak from experience that it’s a great day if I can even remember half of my passwords, so don’t make me go through and reset my password to stop receiving your email communications!

If you’d like to listen to the full Q&A, you can access the full Anatomy of a Marketing Email webcast here.

Kate Schmeisser
When Kate isn't trying to teach herself the ukelele, make it through the mountain of books on her nightstand, or figure out if they are actually being serious about suggested serving sizes on ice cream, she is the Creative Content Manager.