How To Design an Unsubscribe Page That Doesn’t Feel Like Validation

nsync bye bye bye gift unsubscri

I have been on a bit of a tear this week in unsubscribing to the ridiculous number of emails I get. Every morning, my Inbox Promo email bundle is stuffed with messages that I usually just send to the trash, unchecked and unread. Call it end of the year cleaning, whatever.

In the process of unsubscribing from 20+ email lists, it’s been pretty boring. Some unsubscribe pages have cute message (Oh no! Was it something we did? or that ilk) or are pretty bland about it (Click to ‘unsubscribe). Like the blog post title says, it feels validating to make the decision not to receive communication from them anymore. Others asked if I’d rather just receive messages weekly, monthly, etc, like a the slow break-up of a toxic relationship.If this is our final goodbye, the rest of our relationship probably wasn’t all that positive, right?

I can’t remember why I signed up for the majority of these lists, but I do know that I don’t really read any of them.  And none of them were influencing me to change my mind and stay on the list. Until I got to Grist.

TBH I can’t say what influenced me to sign up for Grist messages in the first place. I was signed up using my maiden name email address (routed to my newer one) so it’s been a few years since I signed up, and probably a few less years since I stopped reading their emails. Unsubscribing was a no brainer,but I wound up taking a few cues from their page.

How To Design an Unsubscribe Page That Doesn't Feel Like Validation

It’s not UNSUBSCRIBE, it’s Manage Subscriptions

It’s infinitely more pleasant, isn’t it?  Speak nicely to your disgruntled customers. They appreciate it. Also, the option to opt in or out of partner emails is a nice touch at the least. Partner emails are kind of the worst.

Presenting variety in content, not delivery frequency

I was signed up for a Grist newsletter on a subject I didn’t really care for, but when I realized that I could receive newsletters tailored to my interests (i.e. technology), I started to rethink unsubscribing. Granted, not many organizations generate enough content for one interesting newsletter, let alone several. But changing up the options–beyond how often to receive emails–was enough to give me pause and reconsider.

Using color to target user action

I go back and forth when it comes to color to signify action. I believe that calls to action (CTAs) deserve some kind of call out, and a nice 508-compliant color is preferable to font/style changes. I like how Grist uses a calming blue for the “stay with me” options, then reverts to the harsh, 5 alarm clanging red for the full unsubscribe/opt out of all communication option. It’s just tricksy enough to push people away and reconsider their other offerings.


So long story short, I’m still receiving Grist emails. They’ve made the cut this round. And I picked up some ideas to integrate into my own work as well. So…thanks, Grist?



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