Don’t make it hard for me to unsubscribe

I recently wrote about not opening your inbox before midday, and I’m also one of those people who ruthlessly unsubscribes to every single mailing list, all bar my email subscription to Seth Godin’s blog, and Tim Ferris’s 5-Bullet Friday.

So when a large company who should know better makes it hard for me to unsubscribe to their communications, I’m going to call them out.

From a user perspective, if someone wants to unsubscribe from your mailing list, then the more frictionless the experience, the happier that person is going to be, even if it might be the final interaction they have with your company for some time, or ever.

But, if you make it a bit harder like Asana just did to me, then that’s just rude.

This appears at the bottom of the email Asana sent to me.

Now, I don’t know if the marketing people at Asana think they are just being clever, because the link to ‘manage email preferences’ does indeed behave like an unsubscribe button, mostly. Once you click, there are two options to unsubscribe, or not. So a second click is required, but that’s probably forgivable.

This is what happens when I clicked on ‘Manage email preferences’

What’s not forgivable is that the pseudo-unsubscribe link text looks like something that a lot of other companies use to obstruct you from unsubscribing, by requiring you to login to a marketing console that you don’t have the password for. You know the ones I’m talking about.

Maybe I’m being a little sensitive, but I would much prefer to see the word Unsubscribe used, rather than the phrase Manage Email Preferences. The former makes it very clear how I can achieve my want, and the latter leaves me wondering what I’m about to walk into, and whether I should just click the report spam button instead.

So the moral of the story is, if you send emails as part of your marketing strategy, make it very, very simple, to unsubscribe. Don’t try to obfuscate, confuse, or delay the reader. Put the link to unsubscribe at the bottom of the email, where everyone expects to see it, and make it work with just one click.

Make it easy, and that ‘unsubscriber’ may still remember your organisation fondly. Make it hard, and it leaves a bitter taste that takes a long time to fade.