Have you ever seen emails where you had to squint, scroll and guess your way to the unsubscribe link? It’s certainly one way to keep people from unsubscribing, but it’s not very sensible or subscriber-friendly.

As a marketing professional, you probably don’t give up easily when unsubscribing turns into a game of “Where’s Waldo?”. Others are not so persistent. If they don’t find the right link, they might simply shrug and delete future communications. If you’re unlucky – as we’ve mentioned before – they might just mark those emails as spam. There goes your hard-earned sender reputation.

Losing a subscriber is far better than being reported for spam. Spam reports increase your risk of being added to a blacklist (also known as a blocklist), which identifies, tags or blocks incoming connections from IP addresses thought to be involved in the sending, hosting or origination spam. In other words, your subscribers won’t see you communications. Those little unsubscribe link tricks – tiny writing, test in unreadable colors – are just inviting people to hit the “report spam” button instead.

Using the unsubscribe link isn’t necessarily a vote of disapproval: maybe your reader changed jobs or interests, or wants to connect with you in other ways. If your unsubscribe page offers alternatives, like opting down, your subscriber might even remain on your list.

If you want people’s trust, transparency is important. Make it easy to find that unsubscribe link. Here’s how:

1. We’re creatures of habit and people are used to seeing the link in email footers. Make sure it’s there.

2. Footer text can use smaller fonts than your main copy, but keep the link legible and use clear wording. Ensure the text contrasts adequately with the background and that the link is clearly identifiable. Underline it or use a different color to surrounding text.

3. Don’t make the unsubscribe link an image only; it might disappear when images are blocked.

4. Consider putting a second unsubscribe link at the top of your email.

Yes, at the top. While it’s not something we’d generally advise, if you’re having trouble with spam complaints, a more prominent unsubscribe link is a short-term fix that can switch complainers into unsubscribers. If you’re still being flagged for more than your fair share of spam complaints, review your list building and sending practices to find out why and then do something about it.

In the meantime, don’t hide that unsubscribe!

How about you? Have you tried moving the unsubscribe link? What were the results?

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