Anyone working in email marketing today should be at least somewhat familiar with the laws surrounding unsubscribe links in emails. In the US this legislation is known as the US’s CAN-SPAM Act. It’s in place and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, saying you must clearly have a way for users receiving an email to unsubscribe from your commercial messages. Many digital marketers make the mistake of interpreting this as an unsubscribe link, but did you know there's a better way?

Don’t Use An Unsubscribe Link

An unsubscribe link is the obvious way for prospects to unsubscribe from your messaging. In Account Engagement (Pardot), it’s implemented as a variable tag that generates an unsubscribe link that is unique to each prospect receiving the email; meaning only that prospect will be unsubscribed when they click the link. However, you run into an issue with this when it comes to the fact that many email servers have spambots click links in an email randomly to make sure they don’t redirect to malicious sites. This means bots can randomly click your unsubscribe links, and too many false unsubscribes will throw off your data and ruin your sender reputation- making your emails more likely to be marked as spam.

Use “Manage Preferences” Instead

Instead of having a link in your email footer labeled “Unsubscribe,” a much better option UX-wise is to have a link labeled “Manage Preferences.” This link takes prospects to a landing page specially built and managed through Account Engagement (Pardot). It offers the additional benefit of allowing prospects to customize the types of messages they receive. For example, maybe a prospect no longer wants to receive your newsletters but still wants to receive your general messaging- they can customize this through the preferences pages.

Tips For a Preferences Page

When creating the preferences center that your email footers will link to, there are some important things to keep in mind:

Make sure to customize your preferences page; by default Account Engagement (Pardot) will provide you a functional but completely plain option for your preferences center. Make sure to customize it and make it look aligned with the rest of your brand.

Provide all the options to prospects. That way they can also subscribe to any additional public lists while viewing and managing their preferences.

Add an option to allow prospects to opt-out of all messaging. This way if a prospect really doesn’t want to receive messages from you anymore, they can opt-out of everything efficiently.

Using just an unsubscribe option in your email can lead to big problems and is a missed opportunity to allow prospects to customize their experience. Switching to a preferences center for your email is a sure-fire way to help decrease unsubscribes and provide a better experience all around for both you and your prospects.

Questions about creating a preferences page or switching to “Manage Preferences”?

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