You've been UnsubscribedIt’s not YOU, it’s ME!

Here’s how an unsubscribe scenario typically plays out… YOU come across an interesting new product and/or service, you get excited about it and you sign up to receive email notifications. Maybe their product is already in the market, in Beta just around the corner, or it’s a big bold idea that’s yet to be hatched. But, you can’t keep your hands off it.

You sign-up thinking “What’s one more email in my Inbox?” when you get hundreds more each month anyways, right? But, then you realize that you may have over-reacted and let your feelings and emotions get the better of you. Sometimes we behave like teenagers, thinking with our amygdala and not the frontal lobes of our brains, which is what most rational adults do. A few weeks or even months go by and now you have received several emails as a result of this impulse behavior. You no longer feel the urge to read/consume content. You’re no longer clicking with it any more. Well…luckily for you, and because of CAN-SPAM, you have the option to unsubscribe.

When you do unsubscribe, do you feel that the Company should apologize? After all, they didn’t force you to sign up for their email. It seemed like a match made in heaven and orchestrated by an opt-in.

I (@nirmalp) just happen to be the recipient of one such email (among many I might add) but when I unsubscribed, they presented me with a message that read “You’ve been Unsubscribed. Apologies for any inconvenience.”

Now, here’s where I disagree. In fact, rather than apologize to me for an inconvenience that they clearly did not conceive, why not capture why I was unsubscribing. Because, it was clearly I who insisted on receiving their emails. In fact, had I not received a single email from them, that would be a great reason to apologize. I may have opted-out for a variety of reasons. Perhaps My Inbox was getting filled with marketing messages. Maybe I chose a competing product/service, or I wanted to receive their emails except not so frequently.

Rather than apologizing for something that was clearly not their fault, they should have instead taken the opportunity to politely ask about my reasons for opting out. I would’ve felt no different and they would’ve had the opportunity to engage with me one last time before a final bye-bye!

What can we gain from this anecdote? Don’t apologize for unsubscribes, use them as a way to engage and improve. The recipient may appreciate the fact that you value their feedback, and you’ll capture information on why the emails are no longer needed.

Here’s an example of a company that got it right!

Unsubscribe Done Right


  • amaboston

    The New England chapter of the American Marketing Association, AMA Boston, was formally founded in 1940. We are dedicated to being the essential resource for advancing the practice of marketing and the professional development of marketers. AMA Boston is the 4th largest chapter in the world and continues to be the number one resource for marketing professionals throughout the greater Boston area.